Agenda item

New Review - Stage 1 Wider Tenant Engagement within Housing Leeds - Ian Montgomery

To explain in detail to the board how tenant engagement are engaging with wider tenants and generating feedback and the tools now being used/developed to support wider engagement i.e. User Centred Design (UCD), Engagement HQ and bespoke surveys.



IM explained the principles of user-centred design and how they are used to improve accessibility, to help inform the changes made to the website. This was achieved by working with approximately 1,000 tenants in various exercises and listening to feedback about what information they perceive as most important and how they would navigate to find it.


Research has been undertaken elsewhere across the council in the rent discovery project, working with staff and customer data and experiences to develop service responses and improve the customer experience. Similar research is also being utilised with the choice based lettings service with surveys sent to all new applicants about their experience and how it may be improved. Over 2,000 responses have been received so far, and further requests for feedback are made to those that wish to participate.


The STAR tenant satisfaction survey is undertaken citywide every two years, to track various aspects of satisfaction.  The results are shared with tenants, for example as an insert in their rent statements, and are used to help shape the council’s response to target areas of concern. The previous survey was sent to all high rise tenants in order to gain better insight into the perception of those living in high rise blocks. Due to the coronavirus, the STAR survey that was scheduled for 2020 has been delayed by one year.


IM explained how previous STAR survey data has been used to improve the contact centre which has seen a significant increase in the number of calls answered within 20 seconds. There are also automated lines that enable customers to pay rent or to be directed to the repairs line. The changes are contributing to an increase in satisfaction for users of the contact centre which can typically expect 30,000 calls every month.


One-off surveys are being employed for all new tenants within the first month of their tenancy, and their feedback is being used to help shape the service. The Retirement LIFE service is conducting surveys of residents about their experiences concerning the service response to coronavirus. Tenants who receive a repair to their home are sent a text or automated phone call survey about their experience, with all feedback taken on board and any compliments fed back to staff and contractors.


In terms of targeted communications, emails and texts are able to be sent quickly to selected blocks/streets in response to more urgent reports or situations, including coronavirus safety reminders and details of repairs to water and electricity outages. Hard copy communications have also been used for targeted communications, recently for the high rise engagement sessions where a leaflet was designed with relevant information for each block.


Social media has been used to share key communications and updates from services as necessary. Posts can reach a wide audience and can be timed to be sent out during the evening and weekends. The 11 HAP panels each have a Facebook page on which local updates are shared and residents can share their ideas and views.


The ways which Leeds residents are engaging with the council are monitored so the most effective channels of communication can be utilised on a case by case basis and takes into account the feedback of tenants and staff members. The way complaints are categorised was also changed in April to improve how the council records and learns from them. 


New tools are being added to the ones currently available, for example there have been trials of virtual walkabouts. There will also be a new platform named ‘Your Voice Leeds’ aiming for launch w/c 19th of October. This platform is being used by a growing number of councils and offers the ability to post consultations, surveys, maps, Q&A sessions, and many other features. IM offered to arrange a demonstration in a future session.


JG thanked IM for his presentation and reiterated the desire of the board to begin work on the review. JG suggested a meeting to inform the chairs of the other involved tenant forums on the plans the board has. IM responded that the consultation with the other forums would be for the second phase of the review, and that wider feedback is a part of the first phase. IM offered to collate a list of opportunities now in terms of who and how the board can engage with to begin gathering their own evidence – subject to the board selecting from this what their areas of interest were. KM added that consultation with Leeds Tenants Federation is possible, but as an independent body are not within scope of the review but the board may wish to share any insight and engage with them more generally.


JG questioned how important papers may be sent to board members without internet access, IM committed to supporting the provision of hard copy papers as best can.


IM confirmed there is an informal meeting on the 2nd of October for members of all the citywide groups. The meeting will allow group members to catch up with each other, and Housing Leeds to share an overview of its activity over the last six months in terms of support for residents and how services have adapted to Covid-19. IP will call any members not on email with details on how to dial in.