What a SMART review did for us
Friday 10th of May 2019
We asked Tanya King, Customer Engagement & Inclusion Manager at Stockport Homes about her experience of working with us to review their engagement strategy and framework. Here is what she had to say.
It’s not often as a professional that you ask to be reviewed, but our recent Tpas SMART review was most definitely a positive experience!
We’d had internal changes, with two teams merging, a new manager, several team members had changed role or moved on, and with the Green Paper proposals as well it was a great time to step back and review what we were doing. We felt we needed someone to cast fresh eyes over our approach to ensure we were engaging customers and enabling them to influence services in the best possible way (as SHG always aspires to be the best!).
The whole process was supportive and friendly from the outset, not an inspection type affair at all, so no need to hide anything! We did a positive but honest self-assessment which we sent off to Gillian Mclaren at Tpas. She then spent a day at Stockport Homes speaking to staff, customers and the CE team about anything and everything relating to customer engagement.
The team leaders and I all said it felt like a therapy session! We spoke very honestly, not just trying to showcase our great work (although she was quick to pick up on our areas of excellent practice such as community development projects and complaints handling!) but also highlighting areas where we wanted things to work better but didn’t know how to do it!
Gillian seemed unfazed by any of it. She quickly picked up what the areas for development were and was incredibly knowledgeable about good practice elsewhere which could help us develop our approach to engagement. That practical approach made change feel very achievable.
The final report was a mixture of our self-assessment, Gillian’s assessment, her recommendations and specific examples of good practice we could use. We are now using this as a starting point to support other teams to see how, when well planned, customer engagement can add value to their services and be a bonus not a burden!