How we performed last year (2020-2021)

Find out how well we've delivered our services and how you've helped to shape them, as well as our priorities for the year ahead. We hope you find this information useful.

The past year was certainly more challenging than most, and as many of us spent more time than usual in our homes during lockdown, it made us understand the importance of our home and communities on our overall health and wellbeing.

We want to be there for you through the good times and the bad, supporting you when you need it, and helping our communities to thrive. And I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved to support our customers, communities and staff through the pandemic. We helped customers access more than £6.1 million in benefits or income they were entitled to, supported 330 customers back into work, made thousands of welfare calls to check customers were okay, and provided £250,000 to community groups and foodbanks to support our local communities.

Instrumental to our approach were our 1,300 involved customers, who we engaged with us in new ways due to government restrictions, so we could continue to listen and understand what matters most to you, hear your opinions and help you to shape our services. Their involvement shaped our approach to the coronavirus pandemic and getting our services back up and running after the lockdowns.

Another key focus for the year was ensuring our services are transparent for you. Our involved customers played a vital role in helping us to co-design a set of service standards  to make it easier for you to understand the level of service to expect from us and to help you see how we are performing against these commitments. We’ll regularly check we’re meeting our service standards and provide quarterly updates on our performance, alongside the annual update below.

Below, we share how we’ve performed over the past year against our service standards in more detail. You’ll be able to find out how well we delivered our services to you, how you have helped to shape our services and what our priorities are for the year ahead. We hope you find this information useful.

Jonathan Cowie, Chief Operating Officer

We want to be there for you through the good times and the bad, supporting you when you need it, and helping our communities to thrive.

How we performed last year

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You can find more detail about how we performed here:

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, when it was beginning to disrupt public life in a way we have never seen before, we set out to provide the best support to our customers, as well as the communities in which we work. Safety, wellbeing and strong partnerships were central to our approach, and we were delighted that our response was recognised at the European Contact Centre and Customer Services Awards for ‘Responding in a crisis – supporting customers’ in March 2021.

 

  • We promised that no customers would lose their home due to financial hardship caused by coronavirus.
  • We provided 400 sim-enabled tablets to keep customers and their schoolchildren connected, made thousands of wellbeing phone calls to check customers were okay and arranged extra cleaning rotas in our sheltered schemes.
  • We took swift action to provide £250,000 to community groups and foodbanks. This included supporting 46 charitable and community organisations through our “We’re All Together” fund in partnership with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation.
  • We also worked with our partners to provide emergency accommodation to help ensure rough sleepers had somewhere to call home.
  • We ensured that our support services continued throughout the lockdowns to support those experiencing loss of income due to job losses and furlough and also those suffering with mental health, with our employment and training team supporting 330 customers back into work and 234 customers accessing our wellbeing service.  
  • We’ve seen the number customers claiming Universal Credit rise from 4,000 to 8,000 this year, many who’ve never needed to make a claim before. To support our customers with their Universal Credit claims, we re-shaped our teams so we’re better-equipped to provide the level of extra guidance and support needed.
  • Following government announcements, we took quick action to adapt our services and then reintroduce them, updating you through regular emails, text messages and letters, as well as via our website and social media channels.
  • We set up a Customer Coronavirus Guidance Group, made up of 636 customers who joined regular webinars to review the way that we were responding to the pandemic. Some of the topics covered include communications, repairs and our approach to coming out of lockdown.
  • All of our services are now back and up and running, and we’re significantly through the backlog of repairs from lockdowns, whilst ensuring that safety and wellbeing remain at the heart of all we do.

We’re here to support you achieve your aspirations, with your home and the neighbourhood you live in playing an integral role. Our aim is to provide the right services and support and invest in place-shaping activities so you’re proud of where you live.

 

  • Customer satisfaction 80.4%

We’re pleased to have achieved 80.4% overall customer satisfaction against our target of 80%. We’ve worked harder at keeping you informed of your tenancy or repairs issues as well as resolving complaints at the first point of contact. Our teams have made sure you know we’ve been here throughout the pandemic to provide services and support. Thank you for being patient as we’ve had to change our services to ensure you and our staff stay safe.

 

  • 992 customer compliments

We saw an increase in positive feedback, including the following from our customer, Sharron: “Can I just say how fantastic VIVID’s been throughout this awful time, from regular updates, to the huge donations you’ve made to local charities, to just knowing that you’re still there on the end of the phone.”

 

  • We introduced new quarterly performance updates

It’s important for you to know how well we’re delivering our services and any improvements we’re making, so the services that matter most to you are prioritised. We work closely with customers to review our performance and make recommendations, and this year we introduced quarterly performance updates so you can see how we’re doing. Customers have also helped us to create a set of service standards, so you know the level of service you should expect from us.

 

  • Bright futures with VIVID Plus

We’re delighted to have launched our charitable arm, VIVID Plus, which focuses on helping your communities to thrive. VIVID Plus will invest in a wide range of projects to help create brighter futures - from providing money and benefits advice, offering employment and training initiatives and running wellbeing and mental health services. It’ll also invest in neighbourhood initiatives to help you to feel proud of where you live. It plans to invest £21 million over the next 5 years. We have two customers on the VIVID Plus Board – find out more about VIVID Plus and the projects it’s funded so far.

 

  • A new approach to complaints

We completed a self-assessment against the Housing Ombudsman’s new ‘Complaint Handling code’, which showed we complied. However, we know we still have improvements to make in our complaint handling. We’ve already taken some actions, including reviewing our definition of a complaint in our policy and focusing on resolving complaints faster. But in some areas further action is needed to consistently meet the requirements, such as making sure we follow our process for keeping you updated during your complaint. Here is an overview of how we performed during 2020-21.

 

  • We've investigated 1,419 serious cases of anti-social behaviour

We saw reports of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse rise during lockdowns, as we all spent more time at home due to restrictions. We know that dealing with anti-social behaviour is important to you and we worked hard to support these customers who have found themselves in challenging situations.

 

  • We welcomed 2,699 new customers into their homes

During the pandemic we worked innovatively to ensure that we could continue to deliver our lettings service in a safe way, by allowing customers to view homes for rent and sale online during lockdown. We’ll continue with some of these new ways of working moving forward to offer customers more flexibility in our approach. We let 2,268 new homes and sold 431 new homes to shared owners and leaseholders.

Your safety and security are our top priorities and we work hard to make your home as safe as possible. We also want you to enjoy living in your home, so we do our best to make sure it’s well maintained to a good standard.

 

  • Fire and building safety remain a top priority

We’re continuing to take action to ensure our homes are at the highest level of safety in the event of a fire, prioritising work based on the latest government recommendations. We’ve successfully replaced the cladding at 3 of our blocks and work is underway on a further 3 blocks to ensure the safety of our customers. We’re preparing for the new Fire Safety and Building Safety Bills being introduced by the government and we’ve created a customer fire safety group to support the introduction of new changes.

 

  • 72,357 repairs completed

During the year we completed 72,357 repairs, working at pace to complete the backlogs that had built up due to service restrictions during the various lockdowns. Customer satisfaction with repairs completed in your home is 8.8/10.

 

  • Average 6 hrs 42 mins to complete emergency repair (target 24 hours)

All of the repairs reported to us are given a priority – either emergency, urgent or routine. We realise the importance of having safe homes which are in good working order, so we ensured that emergency repairs remained in place during lockdowns, as well as some urgent repairs such as heating and hot water issues, and essential checks against health and safety standards. In line with the government advice, we stopped completing routine repairs within your home during the various lockdowns to ensure your safety by avoiding unnecessary contact. We’ve hired more trade staff and are utilising contractors to help us catch up on the backlog of these repairs, and we’re confident that we’ll have completed the majority of the backlog by the autumn.

 

  • Invested £42.2million into planned and major works on existing homes

Throughout the pandemic, we continued to improve, repair and maintain our existing homes, and have invested the equivalent of £3,486 for every home in the last year. This includes the replacement for 468 kitchens, 259 bathrooms, 1,143 heating systems, 972 doors, 2,116 windows and 125 roofs.

 

  • 100% properties with gas certificates

Gas safety remains really important to us to ensure your safety. During this year’s lockdowns, we continued to provide this essential service with new safety measures in place to allow us to complete a gas service in 100% of the 23,088 homes that require one. Thank you for letting us gain access to your home to complete this essential check.

 

Your views matter to us. It helps us to improve the way we design and deliver good quality homes and services. We have over 1,300 involved customers who have had their say on our services and provided great insight over the past year – they’ve helped in the following ways:

 

  • Through webinars, we’ve worked with customers in our coronavirus guidance group on 8 topics relating to our approach during the pandemic, including communication, repairs, customer experience, understanding customer priorities and our approach to lockdown 3. The group helped us identify the best option for handling the backlog of repairs and following their guidance we agreed to prioritise those repairs that are likely to get worse first, rather than those reported first.
  • Our Customer Services Committee, which includes 3 customers, reviewed our 11 service standards, which have been created to provide transparency on the level of service you should expect from us. Feedback from customers included the recommendation to create a twelfth standard specifically for shared ownership and leaseholder customers.
  • Our consultation group suggested that some of our payment methods such as paying over the phone were difficult. So, we’re using this feedback to make the process simpler and easier to use.
  • To represent the views and voices of the community and ensure the best investments are made, 2 customers are on the VIVID Plus board. One of the two customer board members, Giuseppe, said: “I’m very pleased to be involved and I hope that I can help in making positive decisions on the projects and initiatives that VIVID Plus chooses to support, to ensure they have a direct impact on local communities.”
  • We have a total number of 1,362 involved customers and we have a range of different ways that you can get involved to cater to your interests, preferences and capacity. Some of the activities and groups that these customers are involved in include:
  • 9 customer members of VIVID Impact
  • 2 customers on the VIVID Plus Board
  • 40 Neighbourhood Volunteers
  • 3 customers working alongside employees on our Customer Service Committee
  • 12 resident group officers
  • 636 customers on the Coronavirus guidance group
  • 924 customers involved in policy consolations, procurement consultations and service consultations
  • 367 customers involved in focus groups, task and finish groups and virtual forums

 

If you’re interested in getting involved, find out more about our opportunities here.

We believe in helping you to build brighter futures and a large part of this is providing support if things become difficult.

 

  • We provided 3,395 customers with wellbeing, employment and money and benefit support

 

  • 330 customers back into work

Over the past year, our Employment and Training team has been hugely important in supporting customers who have lost their jobs or been affected in other ways by the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve helped 330 customers get back into work and 151 customers enrol in training courses to further their skills.

 

  • Secured £6.1m of unclaimed benefits/income for customers

We’re pleased to have secured £6.1million of unclaimed benefits for our customers. Much of our work has also focused on supporting customers with Universal Credit claims, as we’ve seen claimants double in the past year due to the impact of coronavirus.

Our priorities for the year ahead

  • Returning our services to normal after coronavirus. Following the most recent lock-down, we’ve moved quickly to restore services as fast and safely as we can. This includes addressing any outstanding repairs and we are aiming to have caught up on routine repairs the autumn and any planned works by the end of the year, providing that our services aren’t affect by any further lockdowns or impacted by staff needing to self-isolate.
  • Developing plans to become carbon neutral. The government has set targets aimed at making the UK carbon neutral by 2050. This requires significant investment in our homes and work is already starting to look at what needs doing and what the best solutions are. We plan to create a customer group to work with us on these plans as the solutions are likely to involve improvements inside and outside your home.
  • Fire and building safety. We’ll continue to take action so that our buildings remain compliant. Work to our buildings will be prioritised based on the latest government recommendations. Our Fire Safety Group is also working on new actions introduced by the government through the new Fire Safety and Building Safety Bills.
  • Ensuring a consistent approach with our key services. We worked with customers to co-design a set of clear service standards that reflect customers’ priorities. These will allow us to provide a more consistent service and focus on the services that matter most to you. We’ll also continue to review our processes and how our systems can be improved to provide a better experience.
  • Ease of access to services. We’ll continue to look at improvements to our contact channels to ensure they provide ease of access and meet your expectations. We are also looking at how we can provide you with more information directly, with more access to services directly via self-service.
  • Focus on the way we handle complaints. We’re looking at the root causes to our complaints and adapting our processes as necessary. We’ll also be putting in place a new ‘Customer Success Team’ to help address issues early and ensure we prioritise the right actions to get your query resolved.
  • Making a difference through VIVID Plus. We’ll be announcing new partnerships and initiatives this year that will play a part in helping our local communities to thrive. Keep an eye out for updates throughout the year.

Read our 2020/21 Annual Review and Financial Statement

If you want to read more about our performance last year, you can read our 2020/21 Annual Review and Financial Statements report.

read our review