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					Appendix 1 Complaints – April to September 2006 Service Improvements

Repairs  As a result of debris not being cleared away after a repair to a customer’s property, Morrison staff have received awareness training, which will be included in induction training if necessary. Liaison meetings between the company and Morrison will continue. As a result of a customer having to wait a long time for fixtures to be fitted and an order to repair a garage door being lost, sub-contractors have been made aware of the KPIs, targets and completion dates and KPI definitions have been amended to ensure completion within target dates. As a result of surveyor failing to visit a customer regarding a repair, a record of all referrals to the Building Surveyors is maintained. A number of improvements are proposed in the second quarter, however these still have to be agreed with Morrison.

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Voids  As a result of a property having various external repairs that required attention, employees have been advised to make sure that when inspecting a void, any external repairs are reported to the Repairs Reporting Service that may affect lettability. As a result of a property not being cleaned to the appropriate standard and the stopcock being faulty, Morrison employees have been briefed on the standard of cleaning required when making properties ready to let and stopcocks are now being checked informally as part of relet work and will be included in the review of the Lettings Standard. As a result of old tiles not being removed and the condition of the actual floor of the customer’s property not being checked before new floor tiles were fitted in bathroom, the Lettings Standard is reinforced in inductions and training so that all staff and any new staff are aware of standard to be adopted and Morrison has been fully briefed on Relet Specifications. As a result of the company not stripping a wall to check condition of plaster prior to a customer decorating, the preparation of surfaces for decoration will be considered as part of the review of the Lettable Standard. As a result of an intercom not being repaired as part of the Lettable Standard when property at Regent Court was void, measures have been put in place so that repairs to communal areas (other than the Lettable Standard) are reported to the Repairs Reporting Service to repair before the property is ready to let. It will also be included in the review of the Lettable Standard. As a result of a customer having difficulties connecting mains services, tenancy termination date and notice period, it has been reinforced to Housing Management Assistants that during sign up it is always made clear to customers that it is their responsibility for arranging gas and electricity connection with their chosen suppliers and the Gas Safety Team won’t book appointment for gas

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safety check until gas has been connected. The requirement will be clarified in the leaflet on the Lettable Standard. As a result of kitchen replaced on relet being smaller that what would have been installed under a decent homes scheme, kitchens are now being fitted to decent homes standard rather than on a like for like basis. As a result of nail heads protruding from the floorboards of the customer’s property, this will be added to the Lettable Standard, which is under review.

Gas Servicing  As a result of a customer having not hot water and being told it needed replacing and a number of appointments being missed, or Fenhams being late for appointments, Fenhams were taken off the contract in May 2006 with Morrison taking over all the work and agreeing to all the proposals. The service was centralised with the creation of the new Gas Servicing Team. The team instructs Morrison which areas require a gas service within a 12-month target deadline. A gas service audit will check the service and the quality of work produced by all contractors. As a result of old pipe work being lead but not renewed to customer’s property, Morrison were instructed to replace all lead pipe found with copper pipe and new procedures have been written by the Gas Service Auditor.

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Multi-Storey Blocks  As a result of lifts breaking down at Warwick Court, the lift has been made ready with alterations to the access and testing of lift beams, in the event of the other motor failing and regular meetings take place with Kone (maintenance contractor) to review performance and maintenance records of all lift installations. In the longer term, a policy is being implemented to recondition parts from lift installations being refurbished and kept in stock for emergencies, which could save breakdown times. The maintenance contract is being reviewed in March 2007. Lifts broke down at Redheugh Court and Monk Court and refurbishment works are due to be completed in April 2007 and June 2007 respectively. As a result of Warwick Court lift being out of order the day a customer was moving, a new protocol has been put in place whereby the company will be responsive to the individual customer. As a result of automatic doors breaking down at Regent Court and not being repaired for a number of days, a protocol has been implemented whereby any breakdowns of any equipment are reported immediately to the Safety Section. As a result of no response to alarm going off in Sydney Court lift until person passing heard banging, an alarm bell has been mounted on the outside of the building that was being used as an alert of persons trapped in lift has been upgraded to an electronic device connected to a permanently manned station in Gateshead Civic Centre. Following the incident, a communication system has been installed in all the south side lifts at Barns Close flats. An action plan has been put in place to tackle anti-social behaviour problems in Redheugh and Eslington Court. As a result of the caretaker leaving the lift floor at Lough Court soaking wet with no wet signs in place, it has been discovered that static signs are inappropriate and Operational Support Officers will ensure all blocks have sufficient wet floor signs.

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Lettings  As a result of customer receiving a HomeChoice pack advising that the customer had been awarded Band 1 status when in fact it was Band 2 status, the Lettings Team has worked with the company’s ICT section to improve the system used to produce mail correspondence. As a result of a customer being unable to bid for properties whilst homelessness application was being assessed, the Council’s Homelessness Section has altered the procedure to ensure that applicants remain live and are eligible to bid. As a result of customer not being informed a home thev wanted was no longer available, guidance was reissued and new procedure introduced.

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Decent Homes  As a result of substantial mess caused to a property during decent homes work, FHM has employed a local cleaner who goes in each property that a main trade has been in that day at 4.30pm and undertakes a general clean up of dust and mess from that days’ work. This will be rolled out to other partners by January 2007. Customer was given conflicting information about whether a door was to be repaired or was irreparable. Although this was a judgemental issue and some doors were borderline, some customers put pressure on operatives and planners to replace the doors. Morrison has been made aware of this and instructed planners and operatives not to take the easy option and repair the door. Birtley Villas communal block was untidy and rubbish was left behind, work took longer than it should have and the quality of work was below a satisfactory standard. Work to communal areas was not treated as a proper scheme and was not monitored sufficiently. As a result of this complaint, communal works are now incorporated into the works programme and progress is monitored at the site meetings. As a result of kitchen plan showing the position of a new boiler when a new boiler was not being fitted, kitchen plans to only show boiler position where a boiler is to be installed. As a result of damage caused to items in customer’s property following decent homes work and articles going missing, and customer’s patio getting stained with running water that the workmen were using, item to be included at pre-start meeting reminding contractors of their obligations and that they must provide site protection where necessary. As a result of noise and dust caused by external work carried out to Council owned property next door, Frank Haslam Milan write to all owner occupiers regarding external works to neighbouring Council properties and visit owner occupied properties when they carry out the 14-day visit to the tenanted properties and advise them that scaffolding will be required and where necessary they arrange access. All contractors are required to use dust suppression equipment. As a result of customer being given incorrect information about which items would be replaced, training has been given to technical clerks and tenant liaison officers are randomly checking mail merges to ensure data is correct. As a result of work to property being put back as result of unforeseen circumstances on adjoining property and two different surveyors giving vastly different results to people, the contractors have been advised not to mislead tenants with start dates and advised of their obligations at all levels.

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As a result of customer’s property being left in an unacceptable state at the end of every working day when having works carried out, Local Environmental Services resident liaison service now ensure that each resident signs to say they have agreed to the items in the 14-day visit. The emergency numbers are given out at this stage and details of what dust etc are required. Tenant liaison assistants have been accompanying resident liaison officers on some visits to ensure this is happening. As a result of workmen blocking access in and out of street, issues brought to the attention of the contractors at all levels and contractors to discuss issue at site inductions. As a result of damage caused to owner occupier’s property whilst work was carried out, and work to another customer’s property being incomplete and condition of property being left untidy on a daily basis, Morrison have been reminded of obligations under the Major Works Compact to take reasonable care. Morrison piloting additional cleaning support.

Housing Management  Customer received lack of assistance from Blaydon Housing Office relating to problems with local youths, a delay in home visit being carried out to access medical priority and a delay in assessing customer’s application to exchange. o The company is carrying out ongoing training with employees to help deliver the commitments within its anti-social behaviour standards. o Performance on anti-social behaviour for each Estate Officer is now produced monthly. Anti-social behaviour is standard item at 1-2-1s and appraisals and features in all meetings between Housing Managers and Area Housing Managers. o Service standards have been re-circulated and more intense performance figures are produced. o Protocol for medicals have changed as a result of HomeChoice. The Council’s Housing Services carried out neighbourhood briefings during October/November 2006 on the protocols. o Tenancy management training has been delivered to all frontline staff and staff have been provided with easy access to procedures. As a result of letter from customer giving notice of tenancy termination received by Central Housing Office two weeks after it was received at the company’s headquarters, staff at headquarters will notify out based offices by phone when terminations are received. As a result of customer not being told during sign up that his gas supply needed to be connected before gas safety check could be carried out, all Housing Managers have been instructed to ensure that new customers sign are advised of this and a record of the discussion kept on the gas check form. As a result of an anti-social behaviour case being closed prematurely, closure procedure was amended to ensure consistent and appropriate actions taken prior to closing a case.

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