Summer 2010

viridianhousing.org.uk

Summer 2010 - Viridian Housing

London

Summer 2010

West Worthing

The road to

becoming Viridian

Page 3

We’re coming

to meet you

Page 6

Short Notice

Inspection

Page 7


Introduction

Inside your link

News 3

• The road to Viridian

• An open apology to all residents

• New tenancy agreements are

coming soon

• Local offers

• Mini-STATUS survey - 2010 results

• Short Notice Inspection

• Gas safety

Resident involvement 9

• National Residents Forum

• Scrutiny panels

• Resident involvement in action

Around the houses 11

• Midlands

• London

Resident stories 16

• Football as an alternative

• Making A Difference

The working life of … 18

• The London ASB team

How are we doing? 20

• A look at our performance

Puzzles and fun! 23

Situations vacant 20

viridianhousing.org.uk

Note from the

editorial group

Hello to all residents,

We hope that you liked the first edition of

your new look Link and will enjoy reading this

bumper issue. The World Cup is now finished,

but the football spirit is still alive at Viridian.

Take a look at how football has been used

to help combat anti-social behaviour on

page 16. But don’t just take our word for it

being a bumper issue, have a read yourself.

We would love more of you to be involved

in the magazine. So get in touch if you have

ideas for stories or if you would like to let us

know what you think of this edition. Email us:

linkmagazine@viridianhousing.org.uk

The editorial team

Contact us

London & South East

Housing 0330 123 0220

Minicom 0330 123 0221

Repairs 0330 123 0220

West Midlands

Housing 0121 444 6666

Repairs 0121 415 0000

East Midlands

Housing 01604 745 100

Repairs 0845 604 3444

West Sussex

Housing 01903 734 339

Repairs 0845 602 4286

Link magazine enquiries

Phone: 020 8307 3308

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 Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

News

The road to becoming Viridian

We became Viridian on 17 May 2010 and the

process to becoming Viridian was long but

very insightful. There were two main reasons

we wanted to change our name.

1. As the last Servite Friar left the Board,

they asked us to think about whether we

still wanted to be called Servite as they

wouldn’t have an input into the direction

of the business, also

2. Over the past couple of years we have

been through a change programme,

where we’ve looked at what we do and

where we do it. As a result of this we

decided that now was a good time to

change the name, to go with our new

focus and vision “Quality homes for you to

make the most of your life.”

What it means for you? The main difference

you will notice is a new look for your local or

regional offices and around your schemes

(all new signage should be completed

by the end of August) along with the new

look Viridian Facilities Management vans

driving around your local area and the new

website. Another important change will be

who you pay your rent to. All cheques need

to be made payable to Viridian Housing. But

if you pay by Direct Debit or Standing Order

we will update this for you automatically.

If you have any questions about the

name change please contact us by email

questions@viridianhousing.org.uk or write

to us: Viridian Housing, FREEPOST, SW1155,

London, W6 9BR

Celebrating

becoming

Viridian…

Many of our schemes

and offices celebrated

becoming Viridian with

small parties to mark the

occasion.

Link Summer 2010

3


News

An open

apology to

all residents

Our customer

services centre

was below par

in April. We

experienced

high call

volumes for repairs and

were not able to answer

calls as quickly as our

service standard requires.

We aim to answer 80% of

calls within 20 seconds,

which is equivalent to five

rings. We didn’t achieve

this in April and we are

really sorry. We know how

frustrating it is when you

can’t get through to us or

have to wait a long time

for us to answer your call.

The problem was largely

caused by problems with

our new IT system which has

been introduced to help

organise when and where

operatives do repairs and

to make appointments

with residents.

We are working hard to

resolve the problems,

although this issue is still

ongoing. In May we

achieved our service

standard on most days.

We know there is still room

for improvement. Please

continue to contact the

customer services centre

on 0330 123 0220 and let

us know if you experience

any difficulty so that we

can fix it. Thank you.

Heather Thomas

Operations director

viridianhousing.org.uk

New tenancy agreements

coming soon

Back in November we consulted with you (a legal

requirement) about the proposed changes to all tenancy

agreements. We wanted to gain your opinion about the

proposed changes. All of your views and feedback were

considered and where we could, and if it was legal to do so,

we have made changes to the agreements. We would like

to thank everyone who made comments and suggestions.

Why you should sign your new agreement?

• The old agreements are difficult and costly to administer

and enforce. It has resulted in us being unable to apply

an efficient, effective and, most importantly, consistent

housing management service to all residents.

• The new agreement is stronger but fairer and can be

applied and acted upon in the same way no matter

where you are a resident.

• Once new tenancy agreements are signed you should

see an improvement in the way we manage your property

making your home easier for you to manage also.

What happens next?

We will send all residents two copies of your new tenancy

agreement with a letter explaining in more detail why we

are changing and where to return your signed agreement.

We will start sending your new agreements out to you by

August and encourage all residents to sign up.

If you have questions about the change in tenancy

agreements please speak with your housing officer, scheme

manager or customer services officer in your local or regional

office. All contact details are at the front of the magazine.

Remember as of 17 May we became Viridian. All cheques

for paying your rent need to be made out to Viridian

Housing. If you pay by standing order or direct debit these

will be updated for you automatically.

4 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

News

Local offers and what it means for you

The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) has

recently consulted with residents about the

best way to ensure that all public sector

landlords deliver the best quality services.

The TSA now wants us to:

• agree with you how we will deliver the six

TSA standards covering customer services,

repairs, tenancy issues, neighbourhood

management, value for money and

governance and financial viability

• agree how these services should be

provided locally

• report on how we have worked with you

to improve services and listened to your

priorities for the coming year

• agree with you how we ‘co-regulate’

together so that you are able to influence

service improvement

What next?

To understand how you want services to

be provided locally, we need to decide

together what ‘local’ means – it could be

by region, local authority area or type of

housing. Once we’ve done this, we can

agree how services will be provided locally

under a ‘local offer’.

We already have involved residents in place

(the NRF and scrutiny panels) to give us their

feedback, but we need to be sure that these

structures will allow you to focus on service

planning, the delivery of the standards and

local offers, and hold Viridian accountable

for performance and service delivery.

So that you know how we are doing, each

October we will publish an annual report

setting out how we are performing against

the TSA standards and local offers and our

plans for co-regulating with you.

We have already started to identify your regional priorities by analysing the consultation

that took place following the Short Notice Inspection (read more on page 7):-

Priority

1st

2nd

3rd

South West London

Day to day

(responsive) repairs

Dealing with antisocial

behaviour

Managing your

tenancy

North & South

East London

Day to day

(responsive)

repairs

Making

contact with

your landlord

Dealing with

anti-social

behaviour

East Midlands West Midlands West Sussex

Day to day

(responsive) repairs

Making contact

with your landlord

Helping you

manage your rent

Day to day

(responsive)

repairs

Dealing with

anti-social

behaviour

Making contact

with your

landlord

Making contact

with your

landlord

Day to day

(responsive)

repairs

Dealing with

anti-social

behaviour

Over the summer, we will be holding

“Conversations with Viridian” events and

touring the regions to talk to as many of you

as possible, finding out what you would like

to see as a local service and the quality of

services you want delivered. Find out more

about this on page 6. The results of the mini-

STATUS survey carried out in March this year

have given us a good starting point for these

discussions, and the scrutiny panels have

already discussed this new approach to

regulation and fed their views and comments

to the NRF.

For more information on the new TSA

standards and developing local offers, or to

find out when a ‘Conversation with Viridian’

will be taking place in your area, please

see our website viridianhousing.org.uk

or contact the business improvement

team on 0330 123 0220 or email

businessimprovement@viridianhousing.org.uk

Link Summer 2010

5


News

viridianhousing.org.uk

Mini-STATUS survey 2010

– the results are in

Every three years, we carry out a survey to find out what you

(our residents) think about us and the services we provide.

This survey is known as the Standardised London Tenant Satisfaction

Survey - STATUS for short, and our last STATUS survey was

carried out in 2007. But we think that isn’t enough and also

West Worthing

carry out a smaller survey, known as a mini-STATUS survey, to

monitor your views more regularly.

During February and March 2010, 9,773 mini-STATUS

questionnaires were sent out, with 3,250 being returned

giving a response rate of just over 33%. That’s a fantastic

achievement and our thanks go to everyone who took the

time to complete the questionnaire, by doing so you are

helping us to improve.

What you told us:

You are less satisfied with us now than last

year - overall satisfaction has dropped slightly

from 77% in 2009 to 75% in 2010, although our

assisted living residents are more satisfied at

90%, up from 85%

The rents we charge are good value for money

- satisfaction with value for money of rent has

increased slightly from 73% in 2009 to 74% in 2010

You like where you live - satisfaction with your

neighbourhood is up from 81% in 2009 to 84%

in 2010

You are less satisfied with our repairs and

maintenance service now - satisfaction with

our repairs and maintenance service has

fallen from 72% in 2009 to 65% in 2010

We could do more to keep you informed

about things that affect you - 75% felt we are

good at keeping residents informed, down

from 79% in 2009

We have looked at the survey results in a number of

ways, such as by region and type of housing, for example

assisted living, supported housing and general needs. We

will be looking at the results to see where we can make

improvements and improve your satisfaction levels with us.

If you would like a copy of the full report, contact the

business improvement team on 0330 123 0220 or email

businessimprovement@viridianhousing.org.uk.

6 Link Summer 2010

We’re coming

out to meet you!

The Viridian camper van

will be touring the country

to find out what matters

to you. You should have

received a letter from us

with the dates and times for

your area, if you can’t find

it or need more information

please contact your local

or regional office, or visit

the website viridianhousing.

org.uk/campervan

We want to know your

views on:

• What is important to

you in your home and

community?

• Are you pleased with the

services you receive from

Viridian?

• What needs to get better?

If the van isn’t coming

to a venue near you

but you live nearby, still

come and talk to us or let

us know what you think

on our website, or email

businessimprovement@

viridianhousing.org.uk or by

speaking to your local or

regional office.


viridianhousing.org.uk

News

Short Notice Inspection – what next?

In the last edition of Link, we told you about

our recent Short Notice Inspection (SNI)

carried out by the Audit Commission. Since

then we’ve been working with you, the

Commission and the Tenant Services Authority

(who regulate us) to put together an action

plan, and we recently sent out the summary

of that plan to all households. You can also

find a copy on our website by visiting

viridianhousing.org.uk/inspections

The consultation we carried out with

residents produced over 3000 responses,

and we’d like to say a big thank you to

everyone who took part or participated in

a follow up phone survey or focus group.

The plan has also been reviewed by the

National Residents Forum.

Just a reminder, we were inspected on three

service areas:

• Voids (empty properties) and re-letting

empty homes

• Former tenants arrears (money owed

to us by tenants who have left our

accommodation)

• Complaints

The Audit Commission also looked at the

‘cross cutting’ services of customer care,

equality and diversity and value for money.

As a result of the SNI we were given two

separate scores. The first score assesses each

service as a balance of strengths against

weaknesses - a separate score is then

given (called a ‘prospect for improvement’

rating) based on our ability to improve these

services. These were the results:

We’ve been making great strides in

completing our action plan to meet the

Audit Commission requirements. Here’s what

we’ve achieved so far:

3 We are progressing with our customer

care training programme ‘Live It’.

Currently 68% of our people have

attended the course and we’re on target

for 100% attendance. We hope you’ll see

a real difference in our customer services

as a result of this training

3 We are moving ahead with the

development of the customer services

centre and developing ways to let you

know how we are getting things ‘right first

time’

3 We have consulted with residents on

changes to the complaints policy and

are building their suggestions into our new

complaints database

3 We are carrying out a pilot of revised

opening hours for our customer services

centre with a pilot in the London area first

3 We have taken steps to increase the

management of former tenants arrears

and are working with an external

company to help us improve our

collection rates

3 We have set up an equality and diversity

group including members of our Board

and residents to help us deliver on our

new equality and diversity strategy.

We’ll post regular updates on our website,

and we’ll keep you posted in Link about

what happens next.

Service area 1st score 2nd score

Voids and re-lets Strengths outweigh weaknesses Promising prospects

Former tenants arrears Weaknesses out weigh strengths Promising prospects

Complaints Weaknesses out weigh strengths Promising prospects

Value for Money Strengths and weaknesses in balance Promising prospects

Customer care Weaknesses outweigh strengths Promising prospects

Equality and diversity Weaknesses outweigh strengths Promising prospects

Link Summer 2010

7


News

viridianhousing.org.uk

Gas safety

– make it

matter to you!

As your landlord, we have a legal duty

to make sure that all Viridian owned gas

appliances in your homes are safe, energy

efficient and well maintained.

In order to meet our legal requirements all

gas appliances must be serviced every 12

months.

The facts

• An unserviced gas boiler costs more to run

and is at risk of breaking down when you

need it the most.

• Deposits build up inside the boiler and

central heating system which will cost you

more to heat your home.

• Over time parts become worn and may

break down causing the system to stop

working.

• A regular service will address all of the

above and keep the equipment working

efficiently.

Most importantly regular servicing also

reduces the chance of more serious risks

to life such as fires, explosions or carbon

monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Every year in the UK up to 30 people are

killed and many others are affected by

carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas

installations such as fires and boilers in their

homes.

Carbon monoxide is a particularly

dangerous gas because you cannot smell

it. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness,

tiredness and nausea (feeling sick). Some

of these symptoms can be mistaken for flu

and other common viruses, or even food

poisoning.

A gas inspection only takes around 90

minutes, so please don’t put yourself, your

family or neighbours at risk. Ensure you allow

us access to your home to help keep you

safe and warm and even save you money!

If you do not allow access we will have no

choice but to take legal action, which will

cost you money or even cost you your home

for breaking your tenancy agreement by

not allowing access.

8 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

Resident involvement

2010

11

Scrutiny panels update

All scrutiny panels met at the end of May and beginning

of June. The panels now have shared agenda items which

include; a report from each region about how well Viridian

is delivering services, information about the TSA proposals for

local offers, and views about local issues.

Local offers was a particularly important topic for all scrutiny

panels. You can read more about local offers on page 5.

If you would like to join the scrutiny panel for your area take

a look at the situations vacant section on page 24.

Contact box

NRF meeting dates for 2010/11

• Saturday 11 September 2010 London

• Saturday 4 December 2010 Birmingham

• Saturday 12 March 2011 London

If you would like to attend as an observer

please contact the RICE team.

For more information about any of these stories

in the resident involvement section contact the

RICE team

Phone – 0330 123 0220

Email – RICE team:

community@viridianhousing.org.uk

Write

Web

– National Resident Forum members:

NRF@viridianhousing.org.uk

– Viridian Housing, Aura House,

53 Oldridge Road, London, SW12 8PP

– viridianhousing.org.uk/involved

A new vision

for the NRF

The NRF met on Friday 11

June for a strategy and

planning session. Members

wanted the opportunity

to talk about how best

they can improve services

for all residents. They also

wanted to be clear of their

strategic approach before

meeting with the Board in

July where they discussed

the TSA’s proposal of coregulation

and how the

NRF and Board can work

better together.

On Saturday 12 June

the NRF held their first

meeting of the financial

year in West Sussex and

they were joined by four

resident observers from

London and West Sussex.

The key discussion areas

for the meeting were

the annual budget for

Viridian, service charges,

the TSA’s proposal for

co-regulation and local

offers and priorities for

resident involvement for

the coming year.

The NRF agreed to:

• Write a timetable to

involve the NRF in setting

the budget for the year

2010/11

• The way in which Viridian

will consult with residents

about service charges

• Prioritise local resident

involvement activities

and in particular scrutiny

panels and the East

Midlands region.

Link Summer 2010

9


Resident involvement

viridianhousing.org.uk

Resident involvement

in action

East and West Midlands we are ‘Listening to You’

Milton Keynes was the scene for the first

‘Listening to You’ event for the year. It was a

great opportunity for residents to meet the

team and talk about the different services we

offer. It was also an excellent opportunity for

the team to talk about and discuss the Short

Notice Inspection and moving forward with

the action plan.

On the day residents got to meet the

housing team and learn more about what

services are available locally. Surveys

were used to find out what residents really

thought about our services and a range of

other questions. The results are currently on

display at the Northampton office.

The West Midlands team have also been

busy holding ‘Listening to You’ days across

the region. Residents have been meeting

housing officers and local Viridian Facilities

Management operatives.

As a result the teams have identified

previously hidden anti-social behaviour

issues and have started to address these

with residents and the police. In some cases

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts are being

developed with young people.

Kitchens which are in urgent need of

replacing were found and these have

been brought forward in the reinvestment

programme as a result.

Young active resident

The RICE team can help all residents (where

they can) to live your dreams and do

something a little extra. On a recent visit to

Beverley Fairhurst’s (a resident) house her

housing officer discovered a number of

trophies in the family living room. It turns out

that Beverley’s son is very good at karate

and his team were successful in qualifying

to participate at the Karate World Cup that

took place in the Czech Republic.

Beverley was not able to fund the trip

for Arthur, but after contacting the RICE

team and applying for money through the

community chest fund, Arthur was able to

go on his trip. We contributed towards his

entry fee, flights and accommodation.

Beverley wrote to the RICE team to say

thanks:

“Thank you for all your help and support

you gave me to get my son Arthur to the

Arthur (right) waiting to receive his medal.

Karate World Cup in the Czech Republic.

The competition was extremely high level

with over 1070 competitors, from 22 different

countries. Arthur competed both days and

with his training and dedication came home

with a bronze medal for Team Kata.”

If you have any great ideas for community

projects or need support such as Arthur,

please contact the RICE team. Contact

details for the team can be found on page 9.

10 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

Around the houses

Midlands

Older peoples’ services

in Birmingham to stay

In April we let all Birmingham assisted living

and sheltered housing residents know about

possible changes to the way in which

services were to be delivered in the area.

Birmingham City Council has decided to

abandon the changes and have confirmed

that they intend to:

• support the continuation of the existing

model of scheme based managers in the

region,

• and will negotiate new contracts with

existing providers by October 2010.

This is very positive news as it means that

your scheme manager will continue to

provide support to you on site rather than on

a floating support basis. It also means that

we will still provide both support and housing

services to you.

We still have a lot of work to do with

Birmingham over the coming months to

agree new contracts but we believe that

this is a great opportunity to work with you,

Birmingham City Council and the local

community to secure stability of older

people’s support services.

If you would like more information about

this, talk to your local scheme manager.

Reinvestment

works end in

a party

There was singing and dancing at Old

Oscott Hill, a sheltered housing scheme in

Birmingham to celebrate the completion

of the reinvestment bathroom upgrade

programme.

To thank the residents for their patience,

Lorraine Bell the scheme manager put on

a spread of food and drink accompanied

by singing and dancing.

Link Summer 2010

11


Around the houses

viridianhousing.org.uk

Midlands

Fences a plenty

for the Midlands

We have an ongoing programme of estate

improvements for all regions, but in the Midlands we

have been concentrating on fencing.

Many residents have been asking for new fencing

or improvements to existing fencing and under the

improvement programme we have been able to

meet these needs on 12 sites in the West Midlands

and four large estates in the East Midlands. This has

helped to improve the appearance of many estates

where fencing had become dilapidated; most of the

wooden fencing was replaced with attractive metal

fencing. For others the new fencing improved privacy

and the appearance of the estate.

“The new fencing has made such a difference. I feel

more secure than before. Also it is more private and

I am now able to use my dining room to eat,” Miss

Emmison commented.

Downsizing to

a new home

for the better

Loretta Matthews lived

in a four bedroom house

in Newtown, Birmingham

which she moved into 12

years ago with her five

children all of whom have

since moved out. The house

was too big for her and

it also had a number of

disrepair issues.

Knowing that we had a two

bedroom property nearby

coming empty Sue Sargent,

(housing officer) suggested

the idea of moving to a

smaller property to release

her house for another larger

family. After viewing the

new house Loretta decided

that it would be much

easier for her to manage

and agreed to accept

the property. Loretta took

the opportunity to have a

massive clear out of items

she had collected over the

years. She is now settled

into her new home and

her granddaughter will be

moving into the property to

offer care and support.

Loretta outside her new

‘smaller’ property

12 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

Around the houses

London

Bikes a plenty for young residents

John Morris House was the venue for our

official bike project for 2010. Young residents

learnt important information about bicycle

safety and maintenance. The initiative

was partially funded by the London Cycle

Campaign.

This event also gave people the chance

to put their riding skills to the test as

there were loads of activities geared to

raising awareness in the benefits of safe

cycling and being active. In addition, the

programme made participants get their

hands ‘dirty’ with practical lesson on how

to fix tire punctures, check air pressure

and check brakes. Najah, aged 10 said, “I

really enjoy learning about fixing bikes - as it

taught me how to repair simply things which

I didn’t know before.”

All bikes were donated by the local Safer

Neighbourhoods team and the youngsters

got to keep their restored bikes at the end

of the event.

Going that extra mile for a good cause

The Wandle Wanderers football club, in

London is a club run entirely by volunteers

and aims to provide a safe environment for

kids of all backgrounds to play football.

The club has given youngsters the

opportunity to be part of a team, build

on their confidence, and reward them

for showing respect to their team and all

involved.

On July 28 - 31 the Wandle Wanderers under

11’s team will be travelling to Staffordshire

to compete in the Keele International

Tournament. This has been made possible by

the hard work of Nathan Liburd, supported

housing officer who did a sponsored bike

ride to raise much needed funds for the

team. Viridian came on board for the team

and matched Nathan’s funds and have also

sponsored the team.

The bike ride stuck with the football theme,

and saw Nathan riding to all the London

based Premier League Clubs, from East,

North, West and South London.

Good luck from Link to the Wandle Wanderers!

Link Summer 2010

13


Around the houses

viridianhousing.org.uk

London

Day out at Thorpe Park

Young people from the Viridian Youth

Forums were treated to a fun day out

to Thorpe Park as a celebration for their

participation and hard work. The event

was organised by the RICE team and was

a way to have young members and their

parents more included with the activities we

develop and coordinate.

“This trip was a fitting reward for the hard

work our young people have done towards

improving their local community.

“In addition, it also gave parents a chance

to speak to employees and learn about our

ideas for wider participation, and how they

can play a key role in reinforcing this positive

message,” said Brian Akintokun, RICE officer.

Youth Board member Sheaden spoke

about the trip and the experiences of

braving Thorpe Park’s most nerve-jangling

rides, “I really enjoyed the trip as some

of the rides were very, very scary - they

made my belly go funny!”

For more information and upcoming

Youth Forum activities and events,

or if you wanted to sign up, contact

Brian Akintokun on 0330 123 0220.

14 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

Around the houses

London

IT training to help boost

employment prospects

The RICE team have partnered up with experienced

national skills and employability training providers

Exchange Group, in a new initiative to support residents

and service user who are interested in IT training.

“This will be a great opportunity to help support our

residents learn new skills to improve their employment

opportunities, and working along such experienced

partners will give the project an extra boost. The

training will see residents given practical and essential

skills which are necessary in today’s modern workforce

environment.” RICE officer, Brian Akintokun said.

The training will offer free basic IT qualifications which

are accredited and recognised across Europe, and as

well as offering information, advice and guidance to

people who need additional support.

Weekly workshops will take place at John Morris House

community centre in Wandsworth with a dedicated learning mentor on hand to answer

queries and give advice, support and guidance to participants.

The training is due to start in August and we will send out more information when the

time is closer. In the meantime, if you would like to register your interest contact the RICE

team, contact details on page 9.

Residents take charge

Resident from the St. John’s area in

Wandsworth have taken a role in helping

to alleviate some of the issues which have

for long blighted quality of life in the local

community. New and existing active

residents took part in an important meeting

to discuss the first steps of designing an

estate action plan, which the RICE team are

working with residents and other partners to

set objectives and timeframes on dealing

with local issues and the long-term physical

condition of the estate.

Residents showed their desire to take a more

prominent role in how we tackle problems

which have previously hampered the

community morale in the area. The estate

action plan process will enable us to track

how working in partnership with residents

will improve services and deliver ‘real’ social

regeneration to that community.

Estate action plans will be rolled out to other

areas in the coming months. Keep an eye

on Link for more information for your area.

Link Summer 2010

15


Resident stories

viridianhousing.org.uk

Football as an alternative

The Durington area of Worthing previously

had one of the highest levels of crime and

anti-social behaviour outside of the town

centre. The area has a high level of social

housing and very few affordable facilities

for young people.

Viridian, together with other RSL’s in the

area, helped to fund a

project run by Brighton

and Hove Albion and

the Football Foundation.

The project provides free

holiday football training

to young local residents.

The holiday project

was so successful that

Brighton and Hove Albion

expanded the scheme to

provide weekly football

sessions on Thursday

evenings and Saturday

mornings in the area.

The project has now been

running for about two

years. Over this time many

young residents have been

able to enjoy the free

holiday sessions, football

tournaments and the weekly sessions. The

sessions provide a much needed focal point

for teenagers in the area. The project is more

than just football.

Hannah Hamilton (18 years old) lives in Moore

Close Durington and has been attending for

about two years. Hannah told Link that before

the scheme started there was a lot of trouble

on the estate because there was nothing

much to do in the area and it was very

difficult to get to places where activities were

run if you don’t have a car, or the money to

pay for transport.

Hannah went on to tell us that she really

enjoys football and that it’s a fun way to

keep fit and meet loads of different people

and helped her to learn

to be more organised and

confident.

The project also provides

free training opportunities

to young people and

Hannah’s coaches

encouraged her to take

an NVQ course in Football

Coaching and she passed

with flying colours.

Hannah now acts as a

volunteer assistant to the

Brighton and Hove Albion

coaches both at the

weekly sessions and at the

regular holiday sessions.

Hannah told us that she

enjoys football and loves

coaching the younger

players and has learned a lot about

teaching and motivating others.

Hannah would like to become a

professional football coach and in

recognition of her voluntary work with the

scheme, Viridian have agreed to fund

Hannah to take her NVQ Level 2, the next

step towards her goal.

16 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

Resident stories

Calling all young people –

are you Making A Difference?

M.A.D

Making A Difference

Link chatted with Lashai Lindo who is a

resident of Church Manor Estate in London to

talk about life and find out what M.A.D is.

Q Tell us about yourself?

A I’m 14 years old and live on the Church

Manor Estate.

Q Do you do any other activities after

school?

A I’ve join a group called YBOC which

stands for Youth Board of Church Manor.

Q Tell us more about YBOC and your role?

A We are a group of young people aged

11-15, we meet up every Tuesday at the

estate office and talk about different

opportunities for young people. YBOC

also enables young people to have a

voice and for that voice to be heard. We

gave a presentation at the NRF meeting

where we asked for support to offer more

services for young people on the estate.

Q Who came up with the idea of M.A.D and

what is it?

A M.A.D stands for Making A Difference and

the YBOC team came up with the name

as we feel that young people can make

a difference if they do well in school and

with different activities out of school, like

volunteering.

Q So what is M.A.D?

A It’s a youth festival which will give young

people information about education

and employment. There will be different

workshops like music technology (DJing)

journalism, well being (healthy eating,

sports massage and fitness) and fashion

design. There will also be information stalls

from different colleges like the London

College of Fashion, Communication, Arts

and Science.

Q What else is happening on the day?

A We’ve already confirmed Marvel Boys,

Princess Nyah and Elle Goulding as

performers on the day.

Q What would you like to say to people

about M.A.D.

A Decide to start Making A Difference and

come along to the event.

The event is being held in London at the

Ministry of Sound and we will be sending out

more information about the event closer to

the time, so watch out for a flyer.

Link Summer 2010

17


The working life of…

viridianhousing.org.uk

The London anti-social

It’s been a busy year already for the London

ASB team and we are only half way through.

In this edition of Link we follow the team

around and find out how they deal with a

variety of problems ranging from violent

neighbours, to managing over enthusiastic

cat lovers. Link walks a mile in their shoes,

read on to find out more!

Case one sees us travelling to North London

where ASB officer, Ken Andrew, was called

to deal with a complaint. It was alleged

that a resident had been hit several times

in the face during an unprovoked assault

by a neighbour. Ken contacted the victim

and took a full statement from him. Within 48

hours, a court appearance took place, and

instantly an injunction was granted against

the perpetrator prohibiting him from any

further attacks. Two weeks later, an open

court hearing was held, with the perpetrator

present, and the injunction was confirmed

for 12 months.

Ken was able to resolve the issue quickly,

and will continue to monitor the situation,

and stands ready to take further action

should the situation deteriorate again.

Case two - what would you do if your

neighbour had 15 cats in a one bedroom

flat? Our next case takes us to SW15,

where complaints were received about a

large number of cats being kept in a flat.

Neighbours complained of an overpowering

smell in the communal areas from the large

numbers of cats.

ASB officers attended the property, but

progress was hampered by difficulties in

communicating with the residents who

owned the cats. Letters went ignored,

and the residents were unwilling to allow

access. When Paul Smith was assigned to

the case, he immediately began rallying

other agencies (such as Environmental

Health and the RSPCA), to get involved. As

before, the residents rejected any attempts

to resolve the matter

until finally Paul was left

no option other than to

contact legal services

and seek an injunction to

make them remove the

nuisance. Sadly, in this

case, the residents chose

to end their tenancy

rather than comply with

the court order, but their

neighbours now have

their quiet, odour free

environment back.

Case three - In SW11, a

resident contacts the

ASB team after reaching

breaking point with her

neighbour. She had

tried to be tolerant and

18 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

The working life of…

behaviour team

Of course, it’s not always your fellow

residents who cause you problems.

Sometimes it’s their friends or your visitors

who cause ASB.

That’s the situation Jodie MaCarthy-

Mills encountered in South Norwood

recently. The son of an elderly resident

was threatening and intimidating both the

neighbours and his own mother, despite

having left home several years before.

understanding of his needs, (she believed

he had mental health problems), but was

finally worn down by his singing out loud

in the early hours, and worst of all, by him

following her in the street shouting abuse at

her.

This was a difficult case in many ways, since

the resident causing the problems was not

receiving support and denied that they had

a problem.

Officers gathered evidence whilst liaising

with health professionals to help. After

seeking legal advice we applied to the

court for a possession order. Early in 2010,

the resident’s mental health had become so

poor that he was admitted to a psychiatric

hospital for treatment. Chris Allen (ASB

officer assigned to this case), together with

supported housing officer, Nathan Liburd,

liaised with staff at the hospital, and other

housing providers, and arranged for him to

be transferred to a new home where he

would receive a higher level of support...

and his old flat? It’s now being re-decorated

ready to be let again.

The ASB team had addressed the same

problem some years ago, by making him

sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract

(ABC), and pointing out to his mother

that she was responsible for his actions.

As a result she asked him to leave the

property. Over time the son started visiting

the scheme again and causing ASB. The

issues were not reported to us until they

became serious. Jodie quickly got to the

bottom of the issue by interviewing residents

and liaising with the local Police Safer

Neighbourhood team. It was decided that,

because the ABC had proved ineffective,

more drastic measures needed to be

taken, so a week later a court injunction

was obtained to ban him from the property

completely. Because of the nature of

the harassment, the court also granted a

power of arrest to the injunction, for the

protection of all residents of the block. The

perpetrator’s mother has been referred

to social services for some much-needed

support.

Tune in to the next edition of Link to find out

what a walk in the shoes of the regional

teams looks like (we might cover your

housing officer next) and find out what sorts

of things happen throughout their day.

Link Summer 2010

19


How are we doing?

viridianhousing.org.uk

A look at our performance

We take a look at some of our services to see how we shape up against

other housing associations. This quarter we look at:

• Support satisfaction

• Complaints

• Repairs

• Satisfaction with ASB

handling

• Call answering

• Recommendations from

the Resident Service

Inspectors

Support satisfaction

Overall, how satisfied are you with the

support service we provide to you?

30%

4%

4%

Would you recommend Viridian support

service to a friend or relative?

6%

31%

19%

Very dissatisfied

Satisfied

Complaints

62%

Fairly dissatisfied

Very satisfied

44%

No Maybe Yes Definitely

Source: Support satisfaction survey April 09 - March 2010

Percentage of complaints responded to within target time of ten working days

100%

90%

80%

70%

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

78% 72%

91% 94%

Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10

Target = 90%

How we compare with other housing associations

Housing association Performance Rank

AmicusHorizon Group 91% 1

Viridian 81% 2

One Housing Group 65% 3

20 Link Summer 2010


viridianhousing.org.uk

How are we doing?

Repairs

Repairs completed on time

101.0%

100.0%

99.0%

98.0%

97.0%

96.0%

Emergency

(target 100%)

Urgent

(target 95%)

Routine

(target 95%)

95.0%

Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10

How we compare with other housing associations

Housing association Emergency repairs Urgent repairs Routine repairs

% Rank % Rank % Rank

AmicusHorizon Group 98% 2 91% 3 93% 3

Viridian 99% 1 99% 1 97% 1

One Housing Group 95% 3 93% 2 96% 2

Satisfaction with ASB handling

Percentage of residents satisfied with the way their ASB case had been handled

120%

100%

100%

80%

60%

40%

75%

65% 63%

Target = 75%

20%

0%

Apr-Jun 09 Jul-Sep 09 Oct-Dec 09 Jan-Mar 10

How we compare with other housing associations

Housing association Performance Rank

AmicusHorizon Group 65% 1

Viridian 63% 2

Swan Housing 45% 3

Link Summer 2010

21


How are we doing?

viridianhousing.org.uk

Call answering

Percentage of calls answered within 20 seconds

80.0%

70.0%

60.0%

50.0%

40.0%

30.0%

20.0%

10.0%

0.0%

74.6%

60%

63.0%

58%

Jun-09 Sep-09 Dec-09 Mar-10

Target = 80%

How we compare with other housing associations

Housing association Performance Rank

AmicusHorizon Group 83% 1

Viridian 71% 3

One Housing Group 81% 2

We have trained Resident Service Inspectors (RSIs) who carry out surveys of our

services to help us improve. The RSIs have recommended the following to us.

RSI recommendations

Customer service officers need to be aware

of the complaints service, particularly how to

make complaints regarding Viridian Facilities

Management.

A review of how the telephone system handles

calls should be carried out, particularly a review of

the message given to callers whilst waiting for their

calls to be answered.

Provide information on the alternative formats

information leaflets are available in and how they

can be requested.

Visitors to the offices should always be offered the

opportunity of speaking to employees in private if

preferred.

Residents should have access to their information

on line so they do not have to visit the offices and

have improved access to services.

Reception employees should be reminded of the

importance of acknowledging visitors and making

them feel welcome.

Our response

During June and July the customer service repair

officers had further complaints training so they can

deal with repairs complaints more effectively.

The technical issues with the phone system have now

been resolved, giving the correct information on

queuing times.

All new Virdian leafets now have a translated

statement (in our most requested languages). The

translation explains what the leaflet is about and gives

details on how to request a translated copy.

Visitor conversations will always take place in an

interview room, however, there can be occasions

when interview rooms are all in use. Visitors will be

given the opportunity to book an appointment for

another day or wait until an interview room becomes

available.

Now that we have launched our new website we

need to find out what services residents would like to

see and will use on the website. In the coming months

we will look into which services we can offer.

This is one of our service standards and if you find that

employees are not acknowledging your arrival please

let us know, either by filling out a complaints form or

speaking with the officer you came to visit.

22 Link Summer 2010


Sudoku

viridianhousing.org.uk

4 6 3

5 2

7 9 8

9

2 6 9 5

3 1 5

2

8 2 5

7 6

How to play:

Puzzles and fun!

Place a number from 1 to 9 in each

empty cell so that each row, each

column and each 3x3 block contains all

the numbers from 1 to 9, with no repeats.

Solution in the next edition.

Solution for last edition

4 6 5 9 2 1 3 8 7

8 1 7 3 5 4 2 9 6

9 3 2 7 8 6 1 5 4

7 8 4 1 9 2 6 3 5

3 2 6 5 4 7 8 1 9

5 9 1 8 6 3 4 7 2

2 5 3 6 1 9 7 4 8

1 4 9 2 7 8 5 6 3

6 7 8 4 3 5 9 2 1

Colour by

numbers

1 - Blue

2 - Pink

3 - Yellow

4 - Purple

5 - Green

6 - Brown

Link Summer 2010

23


Situations vacant

viridianhousing.org.uk

Estate champions – we are looking for active

residents to become local estate champions.

You will liaise with your housing officer about

local issues, join in estate inspections and

help us monitor estate contractors.

Scrutiny panel members – All you need to

do is give us an evening once every three

months to give feedback back about our

services and how we can improve them. It’s

also a chance for you come with new ideas

for service and community activities.

Resident green team – We are going green

and we need residents to help us with ideas

and feedback about anything you are

doing to improve the environment and your

local area.

Interviewing new employees – We would

like residents to help us interview new

employees to help us make sure we

are getting the right people to provide

your services. If you have experience of

interviewing or would like to find out how this

is for you. Everyone will receive training in

how to carry out interviews.

Community chest steering group – Our

community chest fund provides money for

community activities and projects. We need

residents to help decide which groups or

projects should get a grant.

Lettings focus groups – We would like your

views about how we manage our empty

homes to make sure they are let to new

residents as quickly as possible and to what

standard we decorate and repair empty

homes before they are relet.

Local offers feedback – Are you interested in

setting local standards for your area, estate,

street or scheme, or if you have suggestion

of what you would like included we want to

hear from you.

If you are interested in any of our situations

vacant please complete the card in this

issue – tick the boxes and send it back – it’s

easy and it’s free.

RSI scheme moving from strength to strength

The scheme was launched in March 2009

and has proven successful as an excellent

partnership between residents and the

organisation has been formed. The

scheme has been moving along very well

over the past year and we have noticed

very good benefits to both you and us.

Benefits for you

• Training opportunities

• An opportunity to give feedback and

recommend change

• Opportunity to participate in the running

of the organisation

Benefits to the organisation

• Quality, true and honest feedback as

the service user is the inspector.

• Residents input in decision making

• Residents taking ownership and leading

the organisation into change.

Michelle Symonds the lead resident

inspector says, “We feel that the

organisation is now taking us seriously and

there has been a culture change that is

allowing room for resident led scrutiny.”

Taking the scheme forward, we hope to

encourage as many residents as possible to

join in and work with Viridian to ensure we

carry on delivering quality services. If you

would like to find out more about the RSIs

visit our website viridianhousing.org.uk/rsi.

You can also read all RSI reports on the web.

24 Link Summer 2010

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