Taking care of your home isn’t just about your four walls – we also help to look after neighbourhoods so that they are pleasant places to live. Our work includes helping to combat anti-social behaviour, maintaining communal spaces and working with our partners to keep your area safe.
During the year, we worked closely with tenants who are passionate about the services we provide to improve cleaning and grounds maintenance. We also focused on combating tenancy fraud, training our staff to raise awareness of issues around safeguarding and finding out more detailed information about our residents so that we can provide tailored services.
Improving services for communal spaces
After working with a panel of tenants and staff experts, in 2019 we signed a new contract for cleaning and grounds maintenance in our communal spaces. These services will now all be provided by Accuro.
We have listened to the feedback from residents about the changes they would like to see, and incorporated them into the new contract. In particular, our resident inspectors have informed us on the actions that need to be taken to improve the service. Now, amongst other changes, grass will be cut based on how long it is, rather than just a set number of times per year, there will be an annual programme of deep cleans and newly-trained cleaners will receive the Real Living Wage for their work.
Tackling tenancy fraud
Tenancy fraud is a crime covering a range of illegal activities such as sub-letting rooms, abandoning a property and not reporting additional members of a household. We aim to tackle tenancy fraud to make sure that we can provide homes to the people who need them most.
In 2018, we set up an anonymous tenancy fraud hotline so that residents or neighbours who have seen any suspicious activity can report it in confidence – you can call it on 01923 209120. We also held a key amnesty to encourage tenants who may hold keys to a property fraudulently to return them.
As a result, 12 cases of tenancy fraud were referred for investigation and one abandoned property has already been successfully recovered.
Tailoring our services to you
By finding out about more about our residents – the ages of people in your household, your needs and preferences, and the condition of your home – we can help to provide you with services that meet your expectations.
This year, we carried out 1,155 tenancy audits – these are visits to your home that allow us to verify details about the house itself and the people living there. We also collected diversity and inclusion data from 77% of residents, so that we can ensure our services are suited to your needs.
Safeguarding and supporting residents
Carrying out tenancy audits and collecting data about residents also allows us to identify where we may need to offer more support. Our staff have received in-depth training from relevant organisations such as the police on issues including human trafficking, hoarding, cuckooing and safeguarding children.
This training, along with gaining access to one fifth of our properties throughout the course of the year, has meant we can offer better support for residents. In 2018/19, we referred 61 safeguarding concerns to relevant teams and made 59 referrals to the mental health charity Hertfordshire Mind Network.
Successful partnership working
A key part of our work in your neighbourhoods involves working closely with local authorities, the police and the fire service, as well as other partners. Our work with other organisations has led to significant success. In 2018, we worked with the police to issue a closure order for a former problem property, meaning the house could be refurbished and a new family could move in.
In August 2018, we signed up to work closely with Mediation Hertfordshire, which helps to resolve conflict and rebuild relationships in local communities. Through this service, we resolved three long-standing disputes. We have also continued to join forces with local organisations to promote safety, security and healthy living through the Community Safety Partnerships.