Wokingham Borough Council wanted to change their survey process to ensure their surveys were working as best as they could, and that tenants’ voices were being heard. They chose to tap into Housemark’s expertise via a survey review and workshop. We spoke to Baljinder Reyatt, Policy and Performance Specialist for Neighbourhoods and Communities at Wokingham Borough Council.

What areas of your business did Housemark look at and how did they help?

“We want to become an excellent service provider and felt like we were doing a good job, but we also want to be confident that we are doing all we can to provide the best service for our tenants, so we sought assurance from Housemark.

Throughout the process of the survey review, we met with our service managers and tenants and worked together to build some surveys. Housemark reviewed them and came back with a final report and suite of recommendations.

The key elements of the project included assessing the current surveying approach and reviewing plans for future resident satisfaction surveying, as we wanted to move away from postal surveying to digital methods. Housemark also offered advice on regulatory compliance and suggested actions which we could take to resolve issues identified by this review.

Housemark reviewed our satisfaction scores in the context of variables which can affect these scores so that we can understand how changes to survey design and collection method may affect results and how these compare with other social housing providers. They also delivered a workshop with tenants which shares the findings from the review and recommendations within the report.”

How have you used this insight and learning within your business?

“We’re at the beginning of the journey. We’ve got concrete recommendations to build a best practice survey regime now. We’ve been facilitating workshops with our tenant volunteers to understand how best to adapt our surveys and the best way to send them out.

Housemark has shown us the importance of knowing our tenants. We’ve now adopted digital platforms and utilise different communications channels in order to engage and reach out to tenants that we previously may not have.

We now know that over 55s still want surveys in a paper format, but that some people will want to engage with us via email, text etc. Previously we’ve only done a paper STAR survey with a self-addressed envelope to return. Moving forward, we will become more digitally focused and ultimately have more engagement with our younger tenant base.”

How has this impacted on your employees/tenants/organisation?

“Everyone from employees, to tenants, to survey managers, think it’s a great idea. We’ve had far more surveys back – 700 repairs surveys and counting so far. That means we have more data to act on which ultimately enables us to improve our services for our customers.

It’s also saved us time and resources – we used to manually go through our paper-based survey results, but we can now access this data a lot quicker.

Housemark stressed to us the importance of on-time data in order to make service improvements across a range of business areas and to make living situations much better for our tenants. We now can publish our Repairs, ASB and complaints information in the form of a quarterly report of satisfaction results on our website for the wider tenant base to review.

We’re now giving our tenants more transparency and we feel we’re on track to meet the requirements of the new Consumer Regulation standards. Housemark gave us a list of actions and objectives and, as we meet these, we are confident that we’ll become an excellent service provider. We had a fantastic experience with Housemark and we’ll definitely use their services again. “