One Housing Riverside ICA
Monday 6th of September 2021
Tpas activity update: 11 October 2021
What has been happening?
Its now nearly 5 weeks into the consultation on the merger between One Housing and Riverside. We thought we would give you an update about what we have been doing and what has been happening more generally.
Contact via freephone
For us we have had a steady stream of enquiries from both tenants and leaseholders who have rang our Freephone number and also, in a few cases emailed. The conversations we have had have been interesting and have been a mixture of people asking for clarification on some particular points and people giving us their take on the merger proposals in the context of their experiences as customers.
All the conversations have been recorded in our Feedback Log, which we update weekly. Interestingly we have a column for feedback on the merger proposals themselves and one for feedback on service issues generally. On the latter, where we need to, we have passed these issues onto the landlords to deal with.
So, with about a week to go before the end of the consultation, please get in touch with us if you would like to talk through anything or would like our advice.
Meeting people in person
Tpas members of staff have also attended the majority of the drop in information and feedback session that the landlords have been running in the London area to enable customers in different area to come to a local venue and talk about the merger.
We have really enjoyed these and met lots of people, as well as getting loads of feedback! in fact we have answered more questions and recorded more feedback than we have via our freephone advice line. This is not that surprising we suppose but it has been good and customers have been glad we have been there as an independent source for them to talk to. Again, we have recorded all the feedback we have received at these events in our log. The pictures accompanying this show the different venues we have been at alongside landlord Housing staff.
Passing on your comments
All the feedback we are given by customers is passed confidentially onto the landlord for them to add to their own feedback information that they are building up. In addition to what we send, their record of customer feedback is based on the much larger number of survey responses and the Landlords own conversations with customers.
At the end of the consultation period the Landlords will produce a report based on the survey responses and other feedback they have received so their boards can assess customer responses to the merger proposals which will help them to decide whether to go ahead with the merger and how.
The Feedback will also be assessed by the members of the Joint Customer Advisory Panel (JCAP) which is made up of customer representatives from One Housing and Riverside. They will also feedback their views to the landlord boards on what they think the implications of the consultation results are and the next steps in the light of it.
Supporting your customer representatives
As well as talking to customers individually, checking that the information people receive is accurate and that as many customers as possible are able to participate we have also been supporting the JCAP group customer members. This has really involved giving them any advice they need on housing issues and proposals, updating them on the feedback we have received and helping them examine landlord proposals in detail where needed. The members of the group themselves are highly experienced as most of them have been selected by regional involvement bodies to represent customer interests. So our work is very much in an advisory capacity but based on their feedback we do think they have found our support useful.
JCAP have been consulted on the consultation process, consultation document, pledges, and the wording of the feedback survey as part of their oversight of the project. This doesn’t mean that all members necessarily support the proposals or don’t have questions etc, but the important thing is they are the body who the project team have been reporting to before and during the consultation In terms of agreeing consultation content, organisation and progress and so have therefore been able to give their views on it throughout. They are currently working with the project team to make making sure customer feedback is fully taken account of at the end of the consultation and in the report that goes to the landlord boards.
As an example, the JCAP group hosted a meeting with Chief executives and Chairs of each landlord last week and asked them a number of detailed questions which drilled down into the proposals and how they will be implemented and monitored if the merger gets customer support and goes ahead. This meeting was useful to help them talk about the pledges and their implementation in detail with the senior landlord team and how this can all be closely monitored if the merger goes ahead. This is something the JCAP group will also agree and work with the landlords on if it goes ahead.
So hopefully you can see that your customer representatives have been fully involved in the process and in our opinion are effectively representing customer interests during it. Working with your representatives here has been a big part of our focus and one we have really enjoyed.
Make sure you give your views!!
So, there is still a few days to go to the end of the consultation process we would urge you to make sure you get your feedback in to your landlords. If you have any problems, you can contact your landlord direct or get in touch with us. we would urge you to go along to one of the consultation events if there is one in your area and you have time.
Watch our video giving our view on the process, pledges and key customer issues
Finally, you can see a YouTube presentation Dave, our lead advisor on the project has done, below which gives you his take on the process, the pledges and key issues for customers when feeding back.
Who are Tpas?
Tpas is a national non-for-profit provider of independent and impartial advice for tenants and residents with a long and successful track record across the UK.
Who selected Tpas and what is our role?
We were selected by your customer representatives to be the Independent Advisor during this consultation. We were then appointed by both landlords
As your Independent Advisor our role is to provide independent and impartial advice to any Riverside or One Housing resident on any aspect of these proposals.
We will also be advising your resident representatives as they work with us on these proposals.
What does this mean in practice?
Basically, our role is:
- To make sure the information you get is fair and accurate
- To make sure the consultation process is as inclusive as possible
- To answer any queries or concerns you may have from an independent perspective
- To give you our own independent take of the process and the issues
- To provide your customer representatives with independent advice and support as they work with your landlords to understand customer feedback on the proposals for merger and decide on the next steps.
So to sum up, we are an independent organisation that can answer your questions, check the information you get, make sure your views are listened to and help your representatives represent you effectively.
If you want to find out more about the transfer process itself and how you can get involved please see the section entitled ‘So what are customer being consulted on?’ section below.
Your Tpas Team for this project are (left to right):
- Dave Smethurst Tpas Associate: Lead Independent Customer Advisor
- Emma Flynn Tpas Associate: Independent Customer Advisor
- Matthew Wicks: Tpas associate: Independent Customer Advisor
- Gillian McClaren: Tpas National Consultancy Manager: Project Manager
- Emma Gilpin: Tpas National Consultancy Manger: Independent Customer Advisor Support
- Leanne Farrell: Project Coordinator: Tpas Business Services Officer
If you would like to talk to us about anything at all in relation to the process you can contact us by:
Phone: on our freephone number: 0800 731 1619
Or you can email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please leave a voicemail with your name, telephone number and landlord and we'll aim to get back to you within 24 hours. we will respond to emails within 3 working days. Alternatively, you can ask any member of your landlord’s staff to contact Tpas on your behalf and a member of our team will get in touch with you directly. You can call your landlord to do this or ask a member of staff face to face.
Your details will be held confidentially by us and will only be passed on to your landlord for further action should you explicity request this.
We really do want to hear from you about anything you want to discuss! This could be a question about how the proposals could affect you, any questions you have about the process itself, something you don’t understand or you think it is unclear in something you have read or some concerns you have about what will happen to an existing service or local project. These are just examples but hopefully you get the idea and we really are happy to answer anything.
We have also prepared a list of frequently asked questions which you can find below.
Finding out more about us and our services
If you are interested in finding out more about Tpas and accessing resources that may be of help to you, such as information about tenants’ rights, housing issues and getting your views heard, as both your landlords are members of Tpas you can get free access to the members only area of our website, using the links below:
The standards we work to
If you want to know more about the standard we work to as an Independent Advisor you can view our Independent Advisor Service Charter - ‘The Good ITA Guide’ which tells you what you should expect from a good Independent Customer Advisor service. This is often called an ITA (independent Tenants Advisor) service as this is the historic term used.
So, what are we as customers being consulted on?
As you will probably, we be aware One Housing and Riverside have sent all their customers a consultation document called ‘Better and Stronger Together: Proposals for the Riverside Group and One Housing Group to come together in a new partnership’
In this section we give you our take on what is happening, what you are being consulted on and the proposed process. we will also tell you about how you can give your views to your landlord.
One Housing and Riverside are looking to join forces and become one landlord.
- The aim of this merger is to enable them to pool resources to provide improved services and have more resources for repairs, property improvements and building new affordable homes. The merger is also intended to provide long term financial stability for both organisations.
- As regulated Social Housing providers they are required to consult all their customers on their proposals for the merger. This will be done by sending all customers a customer consultation document that describes the process and their proposals for the future management of people’s homes.
- As well as outlining what is proposed the customer consultation document also contains 6 pledges to customers about the services they will receive, their tenancy rights, rent, property as well as neighbourhood investment, customer engagement and delivering on their promises.
- Customers will be asked to give their feedback on these proposals via a short survey that can be submitted by freepost, electronically or by phone to the customer contact centre. This feedback will be used by the landlord to decide on their future approach to the merger
- The proposals have been developed with a panel of 12 customer representatives, who are made up equally of customers from Riverside and One Housing. The purpose of the customer panel is to ensure customer interests are being considered in what is being proposed and the consultation period. They will also feedback to landlords at the end of the consultation process on future merger proposals.
- The customer consultation period will run from the 6/9/21 to the 15/10/21. The results will be discussed in November with a recommendation going to both landlord Boards on whether to go ahead with the merger and if so, the proposals recommended in the light of customer feedback will be adopted.
- Work on the merger of the 2 landlords will commence early in 2022 with a view to completion in early 2024.
- During this period an intense period of service review in consultation with customers will be undertaken followed by the introduction of a new service delivery framework near the end of this period. It is unlikely you will see any significant change in terms of the services you receive in 2022.
- One Housing will become a full member of the Riverside Housing group at the end of this 2-year period.
Hopefully this brief summary helps you to get an overview of what is being proposed.
The above is our take on the situation based on the information we have received. We will update this section and our website more generally as the consultation process progresses if we need to. We will also add more questions to The FAQ section based on what people ask.
To view what’s proposed You can see the customer offer document called ‘Better and Stronger Together: Proposals for the Riverside Group and One Housing Group to come together in a new partnership’.
How can I make my views known to my landlord or find out more during this consultation period?
Both landlords have sent all their customers the customer consultation document, as well as providing key information there will also be a prepaid feedback reply card where you can give your views.
Via your landlord website:
- You can give your feedback online or by phone to your landlord. For details of how you can do this or to leave your feedback
- Your landlords will also be producing regular updates and their own Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) based on feedback they have received from customers
- Your landlords will be running some face to face drop in sessions which you can go to and speak to members of staff directly
For details of all the above please visit your landlord website:
If there is no drop-in session in your area you can ring up your landlord and ask for someone to get in contact with you to answer any queries you have using your normal contact number.
The landlords are also aiming to produce a video explaining the process as well as some video updates. These will also be available on their website.
The landlords will also be focusing on any customers or groups of customers that may have difficulty in accessing this information to make sure they understand what is proposed and can give their views. If you feel you may be in this position or know somebody who is, please call your landlord on the normal number and they will make sure they get in contact.
If you have any problems, please contact us at Tpas via our Freephone 0800 731 1619 or by emailing email@example.com
What will Tpas be doing during the consultation period?
We will be:
- Responding to any customer queries from customers who contact us
- Updating the landlords and customer representatives on what people have feedback to us as well as analysing and advising them on any customer feedback received by the landlords themselves
- We will be looking to produce a video explaining our role and our take on the process this will be put on this site when its produced and on landlord websites.
- We will also be holding a number of virtual drop-in sessions which people can access via computer or their social media devices. These will be advertised on this site and via your landlords website and other usual contact routes for customers.
- We will also be producing additional briefing articles and regular updates throughout the process which we will post on this site as well as updating our own FAQ’s based on what people ask us.