"Accreditation offers a true independent view of how we’re performing"

Wednesday 10th of January 2018

We asked Karen Cowan, Head of Customer & Support Services at Ongo on why they think it's important to have external verification/ assurance through Tpas PRO engagement accreditation

I personally love accreditations and awards.  Not because they gives us lots of tick boxes, or because we get great publicity from them (although both are true) - but because they provide us with a true independent view of how we’re performing.


Here at Ongo, we believe we live and breathe the benefits of customer engagement and that we do everything possible to make this happen.


On a daily basis we provide a ‘business as usual’ customer engagement service.   Yes, we routinely monitor our performance including outcomes, impacts and resources, and we continually brainstorm to come up with new, creative ways of working.  But what we don’t routinely do is a deep dive of the service as a whole.  We get so entrenched in the day to day service delivery that sometimes we just don’t see beyond the horizon.


Signing up to Tpas accreditation forces you to re-focus 100% on the whole customer engagement remit.  It challenges the thinking and alerts you to new possibilities. 


This entire process involves self evaluation and an independent external audit of the customer engagement scope.  The findings can then be used to influence changes and improvements, making sure the service is fit for purpose and, in this changing social housing world of tighter budgets, that it is indeed ‘value for money’ (VFM).


This validation process is welcomed and recognised here at Ongo, with it forming a critical element within our own ‘governance assurance’ framework.  This means it’s included in assurance reports to our tenant body Community Voice, to our Board and to the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) as part of our annual compliance submission.


What other factors do I really like about this particular accreditation?  Well, it provides a real ‘deep dive’ review of the service (and you can’t bluff your way through this one as TPAS really are the experts and know what they’re looking for).  Also with my value for money hat on - unlike most other accreditations, this one lasts for three years with no annual cost in between.    And of course, effective customer engagement (listening & using views to improve services) is proven to increase customer satisfaction, realise fit for money VFM services and safeguard an organisation’s business plan for the future. 


What else can I say, other than it really is a no -brainer for me!

Watch Karen talking about the accreditation process