Spring 2011

viridianhousing.org.uk

Spring 2011 - Viridian Housing

Spring 2011

New service

standards

Page 3

LGBT history

month

Page 7

Around

the houses

Page 13-16


Introduction

Inside your Link

News 3

• Join the Link editorial panel

• New service standards

• Conversations with Viridian

• We are Viridian

• Green lights

• London head office move

• Tenancy variation reminder

• LGBT history month

Greening Viridian 8

• Cavity insulation programme

• Green awards

• Green strategy

Resident involvement 10

• Co-regulation update

• Viridian community grants

• The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

• East Midlands scrutiny panel

• West Sussex scrutiny panel

Around the houses 13

• Midlands

• West Sussex

• London

Spotlight on services 17

How are we doing? 22

viridianhousing.org.uk

An open

apology

In the last edition of Link you should have

received a copy of our rent calendar. We

wish to apologise for an error that occurred

in the design and printing stage which

meant St George’s Day was not printed in

the calendar. This was in no way intentional

and we would like to apologise to anyone

who may feel offended by this oversight. St

George’s Day is 23 April every year and is a

day to celebrate English heritage, if you are

planning on holding an event to celebrate

this day we would love to hear about it, so

get in touch.

Contact us

London & South East

Housing 0330 123 0220

Minicom 0330 123 0221

Repairs 0330 123 0220

West Midlands

Housing 0121 444 6666

Repairs 0330 123 0220

East Midlands

Housing 01604 745 100

Repairs 0330 123 0220

West Sussex

Housing 01903 734 339

Repairs 0845 602 4286

Link magazine enquiries

Phone: 0330 123 0220

Email: linkmagazine@

viridianhousing.org.uk

Printed on Evolution Satin 75% recycled paper.

Manufactured using 65% de-inked post consumer waste,

30% mixed waste and 5% mill broke. The paper is produced

without the use of chlorine.

2 Link Spring 2011


viridianhousing.org.uk

News

Be part of your magazine – join Link

editorial committee

It is important to us that Link is informative, educational and an all round good read

for our residents. We are currently recruiting new volunteers to be part of our editorial

committee. You don’t need any experience, and you can participate by either coming

to our London office or via email.

If you are interested in being part of the committee and having a say in how your

magazine is put together, then please contact us on 020 8307 7996 or email the

communications team on communications@viridianhousing.org.uk

New service standards –

resident approved!

Over the last few months, residents have

been voting for the service standards they

want Viridian to report on. The list below is

the top ten selected and approved by the

National Residents Forum (NRF), scrutiny

panels and resident service inspectors.

These service standards will come into

force from 1 April 2011, with the first report

for Quarter 1 2011/12 (April to June 2011)

available on the website in July and printed

in the next edition of Link. The service

standards are:

1. We will answer 80% of your telephone

calls within five rings (20 seconds)

2. We will return 90% of your telephone

calls within 48 hours if you have left us

a message

3. We will send a written response to 90%

of your letters, faxes or emails within 10

working days

4. We will greet you within five minutes of

your arrival at our offices

5. If you have an appointment at our

offices, we will not keep you waiting for

more than 10 minutes

6. We will write to everyone on the transfer

list at least once each year to check

they wish to remain on it and their details

are up to date

7. We will review your rent and service

charge every year giving you adequate

notice of any changes, and will consult

with you on the services which make up

your service charge

8. We will carry out 100% of emergency

repairs within 24 hours, ensuring they are

left safe and secure

9. We will respond to 90% of new reports

of domestic violence, hate-based

harassment and violent behaviour within

one working day

10. We will acknowledge receipt of 97% of

complaints within three working days

If at any time you feel that we are not

meeting any of these standards, please

contact our customer services centre on

0330 123 0220 and let us know where we

have gone wrong.

Link Spring 2011

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News

viridianhousing.org.uk

Your new

local

offers

In the winter edition of

Link we told you about

the key findings of the

conversations we had

with over 1,180 residents

to find out how services

should be delivered

locally. We have

been working hard to

turn your feedback

into improvements

to make sure we get

things right or make

a difference to you.

These improvements

are known as local

offers, and can now be

viewed on our website

at www.viridianhousing.

org.uk. If you would like

us to send you a copy

of your local offers,

please contact the

customer service centre

on 0330 123 0220.

We will be consulting

with residents again over

the summer to make

sure the local offers

are still relevant, and

to begin to understand

what your priorities will

be for 2012. Thank you

to everyone who has

taken part so far, and

we look forward to

meeting you again over

the summer.

4 Link Spring 2011

We are Viridian!

As you may be aware, Viridian has traditionally provided its

repairs and maintenance service through Viridian Facilities

Management.

As part of our ongoing efficiency drive, we made the

decision to bring this service ‘in house’ so that it forms part

of the main organisation with our other key service delivery

areas.

We are forming a property directorate which will be

responsible for maintaining our homes, improving them and

planning for their long term future. This new directorate will

also be responsible for the new homes we build. In doing

this, we will further ensure that the homes we build are as

easy to maintain as possible and meet the highest possible

standards.

The service you receive whilst we undertake this change

will not be affected, and you will receive a seamless service.

There are no cost implications to residents and we hope that

you will see the benefits in the years to come.

We expect that the major parts of this transfer will have been

completed by July and we will keep you updated through

Link and your resident involvement panels.

As with all our major decisions, we have involved residents

and listened to your feedback. The National Residents

Forum and various resident panel members are supportive

of this decision.

If you would like more information about this change

or would like to talk to us about it, please contact

Ben Atkins on 0330 123 0220 or by email on

ben.atkins@viridianhousing.org.uk.


viridianhousing.org.uk

News

Green lights for Viridian

The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) published its Viability Report on Viridian

and we are delighted to say that they have increased our rating to

the highest grade possible, a full green traffic light. This is a tremendous

achievement for Viridian and our residents at a time when the TSA has

continued concerns for the housing sector in the difficult economic climate.

There are four gradings used by the TSA, full green, light green, amber and

red. We moved from amber to light green in July 2009. We have achieved

our new full green light by getting our finances right over the last three years

and making sure that our budgets and long term financial plans are realistic.

London head office move

Our Aura House office in Balham and Estra House office

in Streatham are moving to Colwell House in Clapham.

From Friday 13 May 2011 Aura House will be closed to

the general public, the new address is: Colwell house,

376 Clapham Road, London, SW9 9AR.

The office will be open as of Tuesday 17 May 2011 from

8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Our customer service phone number and opening

hours have not changed. Please call us on 0330 123

0220 Monday to Friday from 8am – 6pm. For emergency

repairs that are a safety issue, please call 0330 123 0220 outside our normal hours.

There will be limited phone service on Friday 13 May and Monday 16 May. We are sorry for any

inconvenience caused.

The nearest tube stops are Clapham North on the Northern line and Stockwell on the

Victoria line. More public transport information and a map can be found on our website

www.viridianhousing.org.uk by clicking on ‘contact us’.

Time to sign and return your tenancy variation

A reminder for those residents who haven’t already signed and returned their new

agreements, you should do so now. In brief, some of your rights have changed but

services will stay exactly the same. There are better clauses to protect you from antisocial

behaviour from others, and we encourage you to sign it.

If you would like more information about what rights specifically have changed contact

your housing officer or our customer services centre on 0330 123 0220. You will have

been provided with two copies, make sure you read them, sign both, and then send

ONE back to us in the pre-paid envelope.

Link Spring 2011

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News

viridianhousing.org.uk

AMRAG needs you!

The Asset Management Residents Advisory Group (AMRAG) is looking to recruit a minimum

of three new resident members. The group is keen to expand its membership in order to

establish a number of sub-groups to assist employees in the following areas of work:

• responsive maintenance/mechanical and electrical business improvement

• major works business improvement

• resident testing panel.

The group meets every two months with meetings normally held at the Balham office

(and will move to the new Clapham office) starting at 6.30pm. Should the group

be successful in establishing the above sub-groups, resident members will also be

expected to take part in other meetings from time to time. We pay for normal travel and

subsistence expenses.

If you are interested in becoming a member of AMRAG please send Tony Clark,

director of asset strategy and planning a brief expression of interest.

Contact Tony:

Email: tony.clark@viridianhousing.org.uk

Post: Viridian Housing, Kings Heath Office, 41 Poplar Road, Birmingham B14 7AA

Telephone: 0121 441 6013 if you have any questions

Online awareness

Please be aware that we have recently received an e-mail from a resident saying

that a Viridian employee had contacted them through Facebook. The message

said that they wished to talk to the resident about a late relative, and they were the

only one contactable.

We would like to make all residents aware that Facebook is not our usual method

of communicating with residents on matters like the above. We believe this to

be a possible scam e-mail. Please just delete any such emails and report to us

immediately if you receive anything similar and we will try to investigate it. Please

call the customer service centre on 0330 123 0220 to report any similar incidents.

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viridianhousing.org.uk

Viridian celebrates LGBT

(Lesbian Gay Bisexual

Transgender) history month

News

LGBT history month takes place every year

in February and celebrates the lives and

achievements of the LGBT community. All over

the country different events were held. Both

residents and employees celebrated, as part

of raising awareness of equality and diversity

events.

At one London event a group of employees

and residents celebrated by joining together

for tea and cakes and to listen to guest

speaker Sue Sanders, chair of LGBT history

month UK. Sue was impressed by the event

and commended us for our efforts saying:

“I was delighted to attend events with

Viridian employees to celebrate LGBT

history month. Getting safe housing

is not easy for anyone, when you are

a member of the lesbian gay bisexual

transgender community it can be very

hard. Homophobic hate crime is rife so swift

action needs to be taken to make LGBT

people safe. It was great to meet so many

enthusiastic staff and I trust that they will

transmit that into good practice.”

Link Spring 2011

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Greening Viridian

viridianhousing.org.uk

Cavity insulation programme

You may remember from a previous Link that we had won a grant of more than £1m to fit

cavity insulation to our homes. This grant was from the Homes and Communities Agency,

and part of its £84m Social Housing Energy Saving Programme.

We have been working with a number of contractors over the last six months to

complete this work in all our regions. We can now confirm that we have fitted cavity

insulation to over 1,100 homes.

This work will allow residents to save money on heating bills, and make their homes

warmer in winter and cooler in the summer. This work also helps reduce fuel poverty for

residents. Fuel poverty is when home occupiers spend more than 10% of their income on

heating their home. Reducing fuel poverty for our residents is a key priority for us within

our housing energy strategy.

Green awards

We are proud to announce that we have been awarded a bronze

award from the Sustainable Homes Index For Tomorrow (SHIFT).

A SHIFT assessment focuses on four criteria – strategy and management,

offices, existing stock and new build. We will continue to develop our

green credentials and be more energy efficient in how we work. Our

ambition is to go for the top award of gold in the coming years.

If you are interested in finding out more information on SHIFT you can visit their

website www.sustainablehomes.co.uk/sustainablehomesindex or contact

our environmental manager on the contact details on page 9.

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Greening Viridian

Green strategy launched

We manage a wide variety of homes

and accommodation and are conscious

that quality of life comes from more than

bricks and mortar. Effective environmental

management – in other words, being green

– plays an important part in what we do and

our residents lives.

In order for us to be green and move

forward our green agenda, we have

been asking residents and other key

stakeholders to identify priorities. From these

conversations we have established our

priorities to be:

• increasing your spending money despite

high utility bills – with the cost of energy

and water set to double over the next

five years, it is essential that we build new

properties that are energy efficient and,

where possible, we make our existing

properties more efficient

• effectively managing resources – we

will, where possible, reduce unnecessary

waste by using recycled products,

providing recycling facilities and

encouraging employees and residents

to use them. We will also promote the

efficient use of water in all the buildings

we construct, own or manage.

Through the green strategy we will set

targets to achieve these green ambitions

across the whole organisation in the

following key areas:

• Energy/carbon management (housing

and office stock)

• Water management (housing and office

stock)

• Waste management and recycling

• Sustainable procurement/resources

management

• Transport/travel

• Adaptation to the effects of climate

change.

More information

If you want to find out how to be greener in your home and to see other ways we are

tackling green issues visit www.viridianhousing.org.uk/getting-involved/greenviridian

If you have any questions about the articles on the Greening Viridian pages

please contact Geoff McDonnell, Environment manager by email

geoff.mcdonnell@viridianhousing.org.uk or phone 01604 745 136.

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Resident involvement

viridianhousing.org.uk

Co-regulation update

– residents summit

We have been working hard with residents

to set up our new co-regulation framework.

The aim is to make sure we listen to

resident views about how well we deliver

services to you, make the changes you

want to improve services, and provide an

opportunity for residents and employees

to talk about how to resolve any ongoing

issues.

In February we held our first residents summit

to look at how we can make co-regulation

work. We invited everyone who has been

active over the last year in our key resident

groups. Residents from around the country

and from the different types of housing we

provide took part. The meeting was chaired

by Shaun Lansfield from the National Residents

Forum and the following was agreed.

The key groups for co-regulation will be the

regional scrutiny panels, these will report to

the National Residents Forum every three

months about how well Viridian is delivering

services in their region. The National Forum

will discuss this feedback with senior

employees and then report to the Viridian

Board.

If there are any serious concerns about

services these will be monitored and

employees will be required to provide a

date these will be resolved and a plan as

to how the service will be improved.

To help make this work we would like more

residents to take part in the regional scrutiny

panels alongside the existing members. The

panels meet every three months to look

at what’s happening in your local area. To

make sure they are successful Viridian has

made the following commitments to support

the panels work:

• We will provide training and support for

everyone who takes part

• We make sure that the right employees

who have the authority to resolve issues

attend the meetings

• We will keep a record of all the issues you

raise and provide feedback by an agreed

date

• We will provide feedback about the

meetings to all residents in Link and on our

website

• We will make the meetings accessible and

pay expenses of residents who attend

We see this as a very important part of

getting our services right and meeting your

needs. We need to work with you to make

this happen.

Interested in joining the scrutiny panel?

Contact Robert Cooper, Resident involvement manager

Telephone: 0330 123 0220 Email: robert.cooper@viridianhousing.org.uk

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viridianhousing.org.uk

Resident involvement

Viridian community grants

We are happy to announce Viridian is launching a community grants scheme. The aim is

to provide the opportunity for residents and local communities to improve their quality of

life through local action and activities, and to encourage and support existing initiatives.

We could give grants for the following sorts of things:

• A social event that brings you and your neighbours together

• A workshop or sporting activity for young people and children

• A recycling or gardening project that improves your estate or scheme

• Equipment for your local community group

These are just some suggestions but we expect the real creativity to come from you, so

let’s hear your ideas. Grants will be up to £2000 but a typical amount would be £500.

To apply all we need to know is your idea, how it will improve the quality of life for

you and your neighbours, how much you want and what you will spend it on. Grants

will be at the discretion of the Grants steering group who meet every three months.

Application forms are on our website (under ‘Getting involved’ and ‘Resident

involvement’). For help and to talk about your idea please contact the resident

involvement team, contact details on page 12.

Stand out amongst the crowd

Would you like to make a difference and be

noticed for your achievements?

We are proud to announce that we will be delivering the

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) for young people ages

14 to 24. The aim of the DofE is to provide an enjoyable,

challenging and rewarding programme of personal

development for young people. The programme is divided

into three levels; bronze, silver and gold, and participants

take part in four sections; skill, volunteering, physical and

expedition. All young people who complete the programme

are guaranteed an expedition in Europe. All gold level

participants must also complete an additional residential

section. The DofE is highly regarded by schools, universities

and employers.

Get in contact

To take part in this amazing programme contact DB Crawford on 0330 123 0220

or mobile/text 07903 847 004 or email: db.crawford@viridianhousing.org.uk.

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Resident involvement

East Midlands

scrutiny panel

The main role of the scrutiny panel is to

assess performance and question where it

has dipped. The East Midlands panel has

some long standing members who always

give Viridian valuable insight into how well

we are performing.

At the last meeting the panel discussed in

depth the reinvestment works taking place at

some of our properties in Milton Keynes and

Northampton. The scrutiny panel members

came up with the idea of showing residents

what work is going to be carried out for the

window replacement scheme at Bedford

Mansions in Northampton. This helped the

residents at this scheme see what work

would be carried out and have a better

understanding about what is involved.

The East Midlands panel is very keen to hear

from other residents who might be interested

in joining the panel. The panel agreed that

new members were needed and said “This

is your chance to come and see that your

rent money is being spent efficiently and

appropriately. This is your opportunity to come

and influence how Viridian performs for you.”

Interested in joining?

We need new members for the East

Midlands panel, and would particularly like

to hear from residents in the Milton Keynes,

Northampton and East Northamptonshire

areas. Please contact the resident

involvement team on the contact details

below to find out more.

viridianhousing.org.uk

West Sussex

scrutiny panel

Six members of the West Sussex scrutiny

panel met in Littlehampton on the 15

February; Steve Sandell, Christine Worsley,

David Worsley, Wynn Woon, Shirley Woon

and Frances Rainey. Steve Sandell, our

resident chair was keen that we invite local

speakers to come along, as it helps to

keep the meeting interesting for all those

attending.

This time Heather Grant, a consultant

working with Arun District Council, came

along and gave a short presentation

followed by a discussion on proposed

changes to Arun’s allocation policy.

Everyone agreed that they found it

informative, and as a result of the

consultant’s attendance, Steve Sandell and

Frances Rainey were invited to attend a

local focus group to discuss the changes in

more detail. All feedback will be taken into

account before the final policy is drafted.

The panel also looked closely at local

performance information on our core

services including; ASB, rent arrears, lettings,

repairs and planned maintenance. The

panel was happy with the performance

achieved in the region over the last quarter,

with the teams exceeding targets in all

areas.

Contact box

For more information about any of these stories in the resident involvement section

contact the RICE team

Phone – 0330 123 0220

Email – RICE team:

RICE.team@viridianhousing.org.uk

– National Resident Forum members:

NRF@viridianhousing.org.uk

Write – Viridian Housing, Aura House,

53 Oldridge Road, London,

SW12 8PP

Web – viridianhousing.org.uk/involved

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Around the houses

Midlands

Working together to improve

properties and communities

Before

Late in 2010 we secured the possession of a house on Woodlands Road in Birmingham

following years of anti-social behaviour by the former resident who had been violent and

racially abusive to her neighbours. Not only had the resident abused her neighbours, she

had also vandalised the property. When we finally regained possession the real work began.

We had to repair the property and try and bring the community back together so residents

could enjoy living in their neighbourhood again.

After we regained possession of the property, an inspection revealed damage amounting

to £15,000. The tenant and her sons had vandalised the inside of the property by punching

holes in walls and ripping out fixtures and fittings.

Our maintenance team had a major job on their hands to

get the property ready to re-let to the next resident. All of the

properties on this road have recently had

new boilers fitted and will also have

new kitchens fitted in 2011/2012 under

the asset management reinvestment

programme. New metal front fencing

has also been erected to improve the

appearance of the front gardens.

At the same time housing officers have

identified the area as being suitable to

develop an estate action plan. We first

need to appoint estate representatives

for the area who will act as the link

between residents and Viridian. Then we

will be able to move forward with the

estate action plan.

After

Link Spring 2011

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Around the houses

viridianhousing.org.uk

Midlands

Reinvestment continues at a good pace

We are making good progress to carry out improvement works to our general needs

properties in the Midlands to ensure our residents enjoy living in properties maintained to

a good standard.

In 2010/11 the following works have been carried out:

New kitchens

Windows and doors

Birmingham

81

Birmingham

25

Milton Keynes

21

Northampton

40

Bromsgrove

4

Bromsgrove

5

Daventry

1

Solihull

2

0 20 40 60 80 100

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

New bathrooms

Boilers

Birmingham

13

0 3 6 9 12 15

East

Midlands

West

Midlands

15

26

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Pictured: Pam Khan in her newly

refurbished kitchen

Fighting against anti-social behaviour

Over the past nine years one Birmingham resident had been causing major anti-social

behavior towards their neighbours. Usual measures did not seem to work with the

resident and we had no other choice but to take legal action against them. In total

we had to issue the following; four injunctions, two powers of arrest, one exclusion

order and three claims for possession, one of which resulted in a suspended possession

order which became a landmark case in the legal world. However after significant

negotiations, the most recent possession claim was settled when the resident gave us

a notice to quit and ended her own tenancy.

This not only saved the 27 witnesses from giving evidence but saved Viridian significant

amounts of money in legal costs. The claim was dealt with using our in-house legal

team. The legal department considered this to be the largest and the longest antisocial

behaviour case it had dealt with and is really pleased with the outcome. The

defendant’s neighbours said: “I feel like I can have my life back again” and “thanks to

Viridian, my faith in justice has been restored.”

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Around the houses

West Sussex

Are you a Viridian resident

in West Sussex?

Are you currently looking

for a job in construction?

If you answered yes to both these questions then

we may be able to help you. We recently started

developing some new houses on Clun Road in

Littlehampton. The contractors are looking for local

people to work on the site, all construction jobs for the

development will be advertised on site as well as the

Viridian website. If you are interested in getting

some onsite construction experience, then keep

an eye out for the adverts, which will appear on

www.viridianhousing.org.uk/jobs. If you do not

have internet access, have a chat with your housing

officer and they will make sure that you receive

notifications of any jobs that become available.

Contact details for the West Sussex office can be

found in the front of this newsletter.

Calling all football players in the Littlehampton area

We have teamed up with Brighton & Hove

Albion in the Community and are running

a football club at the Littlehampton Sports

Field, St Flora’s Road, every Wednesday

morning for male youths aged 16+ who

are not employed, looking to get back

into football, or interested in sportsrelated

qualifications which could lead to

employment.

The sessions will help you get fit and build

self-esteem. You will also be encouraged

to sign-up for a variety of courses so you

can gain qualifications. First up will be a

Community Sports Leaders Award course.

Following this award you will be signed up

for a Personal Best course. The Personal Best

course Elizabeth is for Prout adults Gardens who lunch are afternoon 19+ years old

who are currently out of work and looking

to gain employment. The course looks at

a number of areas and is based around

becoming a volunteer for the London 2012

Olympic games.

In addition, every participant is given an

Albion Goals Passport as an incentive. Each

attendance means a stamp in the passport,

each stamp is a way of earning prizes, for

example match tickets or an Albion kit.

Want to join?

Contact the West Sussex office on

01903 734 339

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Around the houses

viridianhousing.org.uk

London

Residents at the meal with Julie King and Pauline Sheppard, scheme manager standing at the back, and

Christine Shepherd from Waste Watch on the far right.

You are what you eat

The residents at Palladino House have

been taking part in a series of interactive

workshops focusing on society’s changing

relationship with food. The workshops

came about by our partnership with the

environmental charity, Waste Watch.

The workshops have included talking

about how our attitudes have changed

about food since World War II to now. A

‘supermarket sweep’ of local markets and

shops was followed by food tasting and

discussion, as well as making orange curd.

The project ended with a celebratory meal

of home cooked food supplied by the

residents. This has been a very interesting

project and has been a great opportunity

for our elderly residents to look at our

attitudes to food and learn more about the

value of food.

Palladino residents making orange curd

in the communal lounge

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Our services

Moving to a smaller home is worth it

We have an under occupation scheme

available to those residents that live in a

property that is too big for them due to family

changes. You may be eligible to move under

this scheme if; you are finding your home

too costly to run and difficult to manage,

the number of people in your household has

reduced because children have left home,

or you want to move to a different location

to be nearer to family or work.

We understand that moving home may feel

like a very daunting task but we are here to

help if you choose to move home under this

scheme. If you agree to move to a smaller

property, we will:

• Give you additional priority on the transfer list

• Offer £1000 where one bedroom is given up

• Offer £2,000 where two or more bedrooms

are given up

• Arrange for removals to be complete by a

Viridian contractor, or give you up to £500

towards the cost of removals

• Help with redecoration, redirecting post

and reconnecting utilities and appliances

such as cookers and washing machines

Please note: the above incentives are only

available for under occupiers and not

mutual exchanges.

Does this scheme sound like something

you could benefit from?

To apply for a smaller property please

contact your local office and have

a chat with your housing officer. All

contact details can be found on page

2 of Link magazine.

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Our services

viridianhousing.org.uk

If you need to move home due to

a growing family or changes in your

circumstances then you might want to

consider exchanging your home with

another Viridian resident or a resident from

another housing association or council

anywhere in England or Wales. Under the

mutual exchange scheme you can do

just that, to register for a mutual exchange

please visit www.homeswapper.co.uk. You

can also contact your local office to get

further information about homeswapper.

Housing waiting list review

In order for Viridian to keep up to date

records, a review form for our home seekers

was sent out in December 2010.

The reasons for the review include:

• Making sure we have an accurate list of

the number of home seekers waiting for

alternative accommodation

• Making sure that the details held on home

seekers and their current priority on the

waiting list reflects their current housing

and medical needs

• Making sure that our waiting list allows

us to support our policy of providing

properties to those who need them most

and making best use of our stock

• To create efficiencies by minimising the

number of offers made to home seekers

who no longer wish to move

• To provide clarity on the level of detail

that needs to be added to each home

seeker’s application on our database

The review covered all applications

for family accommodation and

accommodation for older persons, residents

requiring a smaller or larger property (due

to family changes), applications for nontenants

for accommodation where we have

open waiting lists and internal and external

requests for retirement accommodation.

A deadline for responding to this request

was January 2011 however if you have not

received a form or have any additional

questions please contact your local office.

18 Link Spring 2011


viridianhousing.org.uk

Our services

Suspect a housing cheat?

You maybe eligible for a £250 reward

We are committed to being fair when it comes to housing

and re-housing people and we stick to the rules. We need

your help to identify and deal with those who are occupying

a Viridian property without our agreement.

We have set up a dedicated anonymous telephone

answering service for any tenants who are suspicious that a

Viridian property near them is being occupied unlawfully.

Your help is so valuable to us that we are offering up to £250

reward for information that helps us to recover a home as

part of tenancy fraud.

BLOW THE

WHISTLE ON

HOUSING

CHEATS

Tenancy fraud can involve:

• Subletting whole or part of the property

• Failing to notify us when the legal tenant moves out or passes away

• Key selling - where the tenant moves out and sells the keys for a one-off payment or favour

• The legal tenant not occupying the property as their principal home

If you suspect anything unusual, please call or text:

0330 123 0220 or 07540 122 767

OR

email us at: subletting@viridianhousing.org.uk

OR

You can complete the form below. You don’t have to tell us your name but if you would like

to be considered for the £250 reward then please fill in your contact details.

All information received will be treated in confidence

I believe that the property below is being sublet.

Address:..............................................................................................................................................

Optional: I am willing to give you my contact details and would like to be considered for a

reward if you are able to recover this property

Name:.................................................................................................................................................

Address:..............................................................................................................................................

Tel:.......................................................................Mobile:....................................................................

Return this form to: Daniel Heavey, FREEPOST RRUZ-UXRE-AUCE, Viridian Housing, London, SW12 8PP.

Link Spring 2011

19


Our services

viridianhousing.org.uk

Anti-social behaviour

Joining forces with a

local community forum

We recently joined forces with the newly

formed Wandsworth Council’s Hate Crime

Forum to better deal with hate crimes. The

forum is made up of agencies (such of the

police and the council) and community

groups (such as Balham Mosque and

Wandsworth Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Gay and

Transgender Forum). The group has come

together to discuss the incidence of

hate crimes in Wandsworth borough and

identify ways to deal with them better, as

well as prevent them. At the last meeting

discussions included the harassment of the

Muslim Ahmadiyya community.

The forum also discussed ways in which

residents could report hate crimes other

than directly to the police. We offered our

offices as a place to receive reports of hate

crimes (these are known as ‘third party

reporting’ sites). Attending the forum also

helps us get a better service from other

organisations for our residents when they

report hate crimes.

Wandsworth residents can report hate

crimes to a national 24 hour phone helpline

run by Stop Hate UK. Stop Hate UK will

take details of incidents and will offer

ongoing support. Callers can also remain

anonymous.

Contact Stop Hate UK

Telephone: 0800 138 1625

Web: www.stophateuk.org

Supporting victims of

hate crimes

We successfully obtained a court order

called an anti-social behaviour injunction

against a Wandsworth resident who started

harassing his neighbours as soon as he

was released from prison after a racially

aggravated assault on them. We acted

immediately by arranging emergency

accommodation for the victims whilst

we monitored the police response to the

incident. When the police advised that

they were unable to arrest the perpetrator,

we applied to the court and obtained an

emergency anti-social behaviour injunction.

The perpetrator was ordered not to threaten

or harass or cause noise nuisance to his

neighbours. The injunction has ‘a power

of arrest’ attached to it which means that

if the perpetrator breaches the order he

could be arrested and imprisoned. We had

tried to exclude him from his home but the

judge was not prepared to give us an order

for this.

To support the victims we accompanied

them throughout the court process and kept

in daily contact with them. The victims were

very concerned to return home. We were

also concerned how the perpetrator would

react to receiving the order so we arranged

for an out-of-hours support service. The

residents were able to call out the service to

attend to any incident throughout the night.

The residents found this very reassuring.

We are currently closely monitoring the

situation for any incidents that could mean

the court order is breached and have

started action to evict the perpetrator.

20 Link Spring 2011


viridianhousing.org.uk

Our services

Problems with your neighbours?

Don’t wait till breaking point before you tell us!

When people think about anti-social behaviour (ASB) often drug dealing and ASB

orders spring to mind. Whilst some of the work of our ASB service involves obtaining

court orders and dealing with serious crime we do so much more. Most of our work

involves taking action without the need for court orders. Whatever your concerns about

ASB we are keen to hear from you and offer assistance.

A confidential chat

Sometimes people put up with problems for

a long time before contacting us. If you are

experiencing ASB it’s important that you tell

us as soon as possible. The earlier we hear

about ASB the sooner we are able to deal

with it and stop things from getting worse.

Our officers have lots of experience with

dealing with residents affected by ASB. We

take your concerns seriously and discuss

what can be done with you. We only take

action we have agreed with you. When you

first contact us we agree an action plan on

what we do next. You will be sent a copy of

the action plan to refer to.

Early action gets results

Research has shown that early action by

the landlord is enough to stop the ASB in

over three quarters of all ASB cases. Often

the action of an officer investigating ASB or

issuing a warning letter is enough to stop the

ASB. If it isn’t, we’ll take more serious action.

Where an officer obtains evidence of ASB

they will agree further action with their line

manager to decide what is considered fair

but sufficient to stop the ASB.

At the end of the ASB case we use an

external organisation to get residents’ views

on how well we handled their case through

phone surveys. The survey results allow us to

compare the performance of the service

and identify ways we can improve.

Ways to report ASB

Face to face

You can report anti-social behaviour

in person at any of our offices. If you

prefer we can visit you in your home.

By phone

We can take your report over the

phone by calling 0330 123 0220

Online

You can report ASB at

www.viridianhousing.org.uk/

residentsandcommunites/

report-anti-social-behaviour/

Link Spring 2011

21


How are we doing?

viridianhousing.org.uk

The performance areas

covered in this edition are:

Anti-social behaviour

• Anti-social behaviour

• Repairs and

maintenance

• Customer feedback

• Informal complaints

• Compliments

• Service standards

Number of anti-social behaviour (ASB) cases closed between April 2010 and December 2010

Region

Cases resolved at closure Cases unresolved at closure

Number Percentage Number Percentage

East Midlands 27 9% 17 16%

West Midlands 48 16% 2 2%

North London 46 15% 7 6%

South London 141 46% 35 33%

West Sussex 44 14% 46 43%

Total 306 107

Jargon buster - Resolved means we have taken action on an ASB case and we are satisfied

that the ASB has stopped, we then close the case and categorise these cases as resolved.

Unresolved means we have investigated reports of ASB and either could not prove the ASB

occurred or do not consider the reported issues to be ASB. Or where we cannot take any

further action due to lack of contact from the person complaining. We then close the case

and categorise it as unresolved.

Repairs and maintenance

Repairs completed in target

100%

95%

90%

85%

80%

75%

70%

93.8%

90.7%

89.8% 91.0%

83.1%

84.4%

93.6%

91.8%

87.4%

Quarter 1 (Jun-10) Quarter 2 (Sep-10) Quarter 3 (Dec-10)

Emergency

(Target 99%)

Urgent

(Target 98%)

Routine

(Target 98%)

We benchmarked our quarterly performance against housing associations of a similar size.

This is how we compare.

Housing association Emergency repairs Urgent repairs Routine repairs

Top performer 99.7% 99.6% 99.6%

Viridian Housing 87.4% 93.6% 91.8%

Bottom performer 87.4% 93.6% 91.8%

The failure of a scheduling system we were using last year led to a sharp fall in performance

in our repairs service. The system has been replaced, we have a new manager for our

repairs service, and we have reorganised our teams with the aim of achieving all our repairs

in target and to a satisfactory standard.

If you wish to report a repair please call us on 0330 123 0220, or 01903 734339 if you live in

West Sussex. Or visit our website: www.viridianhousing.org.uk.

22 Link Spring 2011


viridianhousing.org.uk

How are we doing?

Customer feedback

Here’s what you told us… Source Here’s what we did…

Carry out post-event surveys to fully

understand what residents do and do

not enjoy about attending events and

make changes from suggestions.

Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) residents

are less satisfied with the value for

money they are getting from their rent.

Customer service employees should

listen to a sample of their calls with their

team leaders to understand how they

sound to the caller.

Make it easier to make a complaint

online.

Resident

Service

Inspectors

STATUS

survey

Resident

Service

Inspectors

Resident

Service

Inspectors

This has now been introduced as a

standard at all events.

A BME focus group has been set up to

engage with us and offer advice on

issues that affect all our BME residents.

Team leaders now listen to five calls

with employees each month and

arrange further coaching or training

where necessary.

A 'Make a complaint' link has been

added to both the home page and

contact us page.

If you would like to get involved in shaping our services, please contact the RICE team on

0330 123 0220.

Informal complaints

We started recording informal complaints in July 2010, following the recommendations from

the Audit Commission Short Notice Inspection. An informal complaint is a complaint that

we can resolve for you immediately, without the need for a formal investigation. We record

these informal complaints to learn where we can improve our services.

Since then, we have received 171 informal complaints. Of these complaints, 24 (14%)

progressed to formal complaints requiring investigation by a manager. The remaining 147

(86%) informal complaints were resolved at the first point of contact. This is because we do

not contact residents to resolve informal complaints. These complaint types are resolved

when residents call us up. Anything beyond this will enter the category of a formal complaint.

Breakdown of informal complaints

Service area

Number

Anti-social behaviour 6

Commercial services 1

Estate services 3

Home ownership 5

Rent and service charges 1

Repairs and maintenance 115

Resident involvement 1

Staff and customer services 1

Supported housing 1

Tenancy management 20

Others 17

Total 171

Link Spring 2011

23


How are we doing?

viridianhousing.org.uk

Compliments

We began capturing compliments in October 2010 and have received 26 compliments from

residents.

Service area

Compliments

Repairs and maintenance 17

Staff and customer services 8

Allocations and lettings 1

Total 26

If you wish to make a complaint or pay us a compliment, please call us on 0330 123 0220 or

visit our website.

Service standards for Quarter 3, 2010-11

Service standards

We will always provide a named

officer and full contact details in our

correspondence.

We will give all new residents a

handbook at the beginning of their

tenancy with information on our

policies and procedures.

All new residents will be sent a

questionnaire within four to six

weeks of moving into their new

home to check how satisfied they

are with it and the lettings process.

We will send you an easy to read

rent statement every three months.

We will contact you within two

weeks of your rent account getting

behind to agree repayment of the

arrears.

We will tell you when you report

a repair what priority it has been

given and the target time for

completion.

Target (where

available)

100%

100%

100%

Performance

80% of complaint responses quality

checked included the correct

contact details.

A random check showed that 100%

of new residents had signed the

checklist confirming receipt of their

residents’ handbook.

The new lettings survey has been

outsourced and is now collected

on a sample basis by an external

company.

10,722 rent statements were sent

out for the period October to

December 2010.

During 2010, 425 new agreements

to repay rent arrears were set up

compared to 246 in 2009.

49% or residents surveyed said

they were told what priority their

repair was, with 43% being told the

timescale for completion.

We will provide a 24-hour

emergency repair service every

day of the year.

100%

87.4% of emergency repairs have

been completed on time so far

this year.

24 Link Spring 2011

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