Getting to grips with the Consumer Standards - we’re not perfect, but we won’t stop improving until we are

Friday 30th of June 2023

The Social Housing sector is facing astronomical challenges; enormous decarbonisation targets, funding constraints, ageing housing stock, and increasing demand, to name a few.

Alongside these challenges, later this year the government will formally introduce the new consumer standards which cover the themes set out in the Social Housing White paper.

In this blog post, I’ve highlight how Fortem is not only embracing these changes but also implemented strategies to ensure we deliver an exceptional repair service to our valued clients and residents.

1. Putting residents first
At the core of our approach is the safety and well-being of our residents. We’ve rejuvenated our Health & Safety standards, introduced more rigor through Group Inspections and expanded our accreditations. We’ve developed ReferIT, an innovative app that allows for easy identification and reporting of potential hazards and supports estate management and safeguarding. By prioritising safety, we provide peace of mind to residents and ensure they live in a safe home.

2. Prioritising Quality
We’ve placed a strong emphasis on delivering high-quality repairs and ensuring long-lasting results. Our trades undergo regular training to stay updated with the latest industry standards and techniques, including upskilling, complaint training and regulatory updates. In addition, we’ve implemented rigorous quality control processes to assess the effectiveness of repairs and address any recurring issues promptly. By delivering a quality service we aim to foster trust and satisfaction among residents.

By working in partnership with our clients and sector experts, we have designed a decarbonisation service, called Net Zero Now. Through this service we offer comprehensive reviews of housing portfolios to deliver holistic whole-house retrofit solutions.

3. Enhancing Communication Channels
Clear and effective communication is key to meeting the new consumer standards. We’ve taken steps to establish robust communication channels to ensure seamless interactions between residents and our team. We’ve implemented a dedicated helpline, email support, and online portals with clients to facilitate efficient reporting of repair issues. By streamlining communication, repairs diagnosis has improved, response times have reduced and customer satisfaction has increased.

4. Transparency
We’ve adopted innovative tools and systems to enhance efficiency and accuracy in our repair services and to provide accurate asset data to support our clients’ planned programmes. Our PowerBi provides real-time updates on repairs, the management of our service and trends in repairs data. In addition, our operatives are equipped with mobile devices to access real-time data, enabling them to efficiently manage repair requests and update work status. Moreover, we utilise digital platforms for scheduling appointments, tracking repair history, and generating automated reminders, ensuring a seamless repair experience for residents.

5. Resident engagement
Meeting the new consumer standards is an ongoing process. We value the feedback provided by our residents and actively encourage them to share their experiences and suggestions. Through monitoring complaints, regular surveys, focus groups, and social media engagement, we gain valuable insights into areas where we can further enhance our repair services. Our active membership of Tpas supports engagement and our understanding of resident needs. By continuously seeking feedback and striving for improvement, we ensure that our services remain customer-centric and meet the ever-changing expectations of social housing.

As repairs contractors dedicated to the social housing sector, we truly grasp the significance of meeting the new consumer standards. We're not just about repairs; we're all about going above and beyond. By revamping our communication channels, embracing the latest technology, and placing a strong emphasis on quality, we're evolving our service to meet the sector’s needs. We’re not perfect, but we are always striving to improve our service. Our goal isn’t to simply keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social housing repairs; we're here to lead the way.

Our commitment to providing reliable and customer-oriented solutions runs deep, and it's something that fills us with immense pride. We're honoured to be a part of this sector, and we're ready to make a positive impact on the lives of our valued clients and residents.


Leigh Garbutt - Fortem