Driving up resident engagement standards with contractors

Wednesday 30th of June 2021

Michael Hill, Tpas Business Development Manager talks here about the work he has been leading on to create a set of contractor resident engagement standards.

During the last few months, we have been working with our members on developing our first set of contractor resident engagement standards.

This is a significant activity and a continuation of our work to drive up the standard of resident engagement across the social housing sector.

With many commercial contractors delivering a repairs and maintenance service or major refurbishment programmes on behalf of social housing landlords, we feel it’s important to have some similar engagement expectations.

Obviously, there will be some differences that need to be recognised, especially around governance and financial transparency, but there are some areas where we can drive mutual behaviours.

As repairs and maintenance is responsible for a large percentage of dissatisfaction amongst residents, we want to introduce a set of standards that:

  • Underlines the importance of meaningful and appropriate communication Encourages a positive culture of resident engagement
  • Stresses the role, learning from challenges can play
  • Places respect for residents front and centre
  • Respond to the context of social housing

Community Focus

The other part of this task was to provide a chance for contractors to showcase their community investment strengths. This is one area where contractors have some great examples of creating long-term community focussed social value impacts.

The Process

We engaged our landlord, resident and commercial members in roundtables to determine the scope of the standards.

Alongside those, we have canvassed opinions from sector colleagues that specialise in contract management and we have had our own in-house discussions. We were also very keen to be consistent. We will ensure that these standards have their DNA taken from our tenant engagement standards, which is of course has some of its focus rooted in regulatory expectations as well as good practice and our own experience.

These links will, we believe, place us in a strong position to drive home some of the good practice and regulatory expectations through both landlords and their contractor partners. The overall impact will be to make the resident experience consistent regardless of who delivers the service.

The outcome

We now have an advanced draft that is very near completion. It has five key themes containing 26 standards with culture running through every theme.

Those themes are:

  • Encourages Engagement
  • Responds to challenge
  • Respects Residents
  • Communicates Effectively
  • Supports Local Communities

For those working in the sector, the standards will make perfect sense, with clear lines of sight being able to be seen through to the operating environment of social housing. We feel it is important that anything we promote is based on sound reasoning, and these standards are no exception.

Next Steps

After one last round of internal scrutiny, challenge and design we will be launching in late summer and delivering a series of awareness sessions designed to showcase the standards and build momentum towards a range of support services for our contractor members.