Leaseholder Forum Meeting
14th March 2011
In attendance: Officers in attendance:
P Purcell Helen Thorpe
Miss Grainger Jonathan Drake (Part)
L Nicholson Mike Pullin ( Part )
S Wright (part) Margaret Graham (Part)
D Thornton Reece Young
P F Boyce Thomson
Linda Manley (part)
Brian Moriarty (part)
J W Goulding
1.0 Introductions and Apologies
1.1 Apologies were received from Mrs Baldacinno.
2.0 Election of Deputy Chairperson
2.1 Laura Nicholson was elected as the new deputy chairperson
after being proposed by Miss Grainger and seconded by Mrs
3.0 Previous Minutes and matters arising
3.1 The minutes from the last meeting were agreed as a correct
3.2 Matters arising not on the agenda:
Some members of the leaseholder forum are now part
of the working group for the security review.
It was asked at the last meeting if updates for PFI can
be brought forward for the Leaseholder Forum Meetings
Helen advised no specific updates available however a
newsletter is due to go out to everyone living in the PFI
The programmes team have advised that when major
work is being done, then all residents living in the block
or on the estate including leaseholders will be given a
named contact both within Salix and for the contractor
carrying out the work. Any issues or problems that arise
(eg. dirt and dust getting inside your home) should be
brought to the attention of the contractor initially and
then Salix if it can’t be resolved with the contractor.
Mrs Taylor confirmed that the flags at Woolston House
have been repaired.
The suggestion of giving addressed envelopes to return
comments on the cleaning service was passed on to the
cleaning team leader.
4.0 Customer Satisfaction Survey (This item was brought
forward from agenda item 5)
4.1 Mike Pullin introduced himself and advised the group of his
role within the business. As part of his role he needs to think
of ways of receiving customer feedback in order to improve
4.2 Mike advised the group that Salix are looking at reducing the
number of satisfaction surveys that go out to customers. Mike
advised that a single survey has been designed and the plan is
to send this out to tenants every 3 months (with different
people receiving it each time) and to all leaseholders once a
year in September. Mike asked if September was the right
time to send it out to leaseholders and the group agreed that
this was ok.
4.3 A copy of the survey had been provided – this was not for
people to fill in now but to have a look and to comment on the
questions –eg. are they the right questions?; are there too
many of them? It was suggested that the group members take
the survey with them to have a look at and bring any
comments back to the next forum meeting.
4.4 The group asked how many people normally respond to the
surveys. Helen advised that for leaseholders the biggest
response is usually about 20%.
4.5 Mike informed the group that an external company (M.E.L.) will
be running the survey and collecting responses. Group
members questioned whether this was value for money. Mike
advised that it was, given the number of customers we have to
4.6 Following the meeting Mike confirmed that it is costing less for
M.E.L to do the survey than it would be for Salix to do it ‘in-
house’. It is also costing less than the 2009 survey cost which
was run by another company (we have traditionally used
contractors for our annual survey in the past). The Leaseholder
element of the survey is costing around £1600. The total costs
work out at less than £2 per tenant/leaseholder (this includes
design, printing, covering letter, sample selection, postage out
and return, processing, initial basic analysis and reporting back
to us). Salix have identified savings of around £27k by
removing other surveys across the business (Rents, Rate-
your-neighbourhood and High rise blocks for example)
4.7 Sandy asked if this would be the only survey sent out to
leaseholders each year. Helen advised that it would be the
only satisfaction survey but that there might be other surveys
or consultations done to ask for people’s views about specific
services eg. the work being done now on the security review.
4.8 It was queried as to why we have to do satisfaction surveys
and whether they are of any use. Mike advised the group that
satisfaction surveys are used to improve our services and
improvements have been shown from the last survey.
4.9 It was asked if a contact number could be included on the
survey – Mike confirmed that the number for M.E.L would be
on the survey for people to phone if they needed help with
Action – Group members are asked to look at the draft
survey (Mike has sent an updated version which you will All
receive with the minutes). Don’t answer the questions but
write on the survey any comments you have eg. tell us if you
don’t understand what a question is asking or if you don’t see
the point of asking it; tell us if you think there are too many
questions; tell us if you think one of the questions is a good
question. Then bring the survey with your comments on it
to give to Mike before the next forum meeting on the 18th
April – Mike will be available from 5.30pm-6.00pm.
5.0 Grounds Maintenance Update
5.1 Jonathan Drake attended to update the group on the issues
which were raised at the previous meeting :
Cornwall House – introduced rose bushes.
Victoria House – Improving turf and edging , carried out
removal of moss in drying area, looking at long-term
options for the drying area which will include
consultation with people living there.
Blackfriars / Whitefriars – Carried out a walkabout , sent
copy of Service Level Agreement and put together a list
of what needs to be done. Brian asked why nothing
had actually been done yet eg. why had the tree not
been removed. Jonathon said that it was because not
everything could be done at once and he needed to
know what the priorities were – if the tree removal is a
priority this can be done first but some of the other
things will take longer.
5.2 Mr Goulding asked why extra planting had been done at
Cornwall House an not elsewhere. Jonathon advised that this
was because plants were being replaced that were already
there – it was not new planting. Mr Goulding had some
concerns about the grounds maintenance in his area. Helen
asked him to speak to her about these after the meeting so
they could be addressed.
5.3 Helen reminded the group that the purpose of the forum is not
to raise individual issues but to look at the service as a whole.
At the last meeting Jonathon had attended to discuss the
service level agreement for grounds maintenance. As some
individual issues had come up Jonathon had looked into these
and was reporting back in person today so that people knew
their problems had been listened to and actions taken, as this
has been a common complaint of forum members in the past.
Jonathon advised he will continue to ensure grounds
maintenance issues are addressed and we are able to reach a
point where customers are happy and can see what the money
they are paying for grounds maintenance is being spent on.
5.4 The chairperson thanked Jonathon on behalf of the group for
attending to provide this feedback.
6.0 Leaseholder Improvement Plan .
6.1 A written update had not been circulated this time so Helen
gave a verbal update on some of the actions:
SCC Policy on Major works – this is still ongoing –
members who regularly attend the forum meetings had
been sent a copy to comment on between meetings.
David Thornton said he had still not had a response to
his comment. Helen agreed to chase this with Mark Helen Thorpe
Hart who is the SCC officer leading on this piece of
Review of service charges - each service is being
reviewed in turn to ensure people are being charged
fairly. Caretaking was reviewed last year and security is
currently under review. The low-rise cleaning service
will be looked at next financial year.
Provision of an emergency and standard repairs service
– Rick Swift (maintenance manager) is looking at
arranging for leaseholders to buy into this service (for
repairs that are their responsibility). Rick has sent Mark
Morris (the leaseholder representative or this action)
some information on the costings. Rick will be
developing a draft protocol which will be shared with the
forum for comments before it is finalised. Patrick asked
if the costs would be the same as they are for tenants.
Helen advised that the material and labour costs would
be the same but there would be administration charges
that leaseholders would have to pay for the service. It
was asked if the service could be provided as an
insurance type scheme where people pay one price for
the year and then have work done as and when it is
needed. Helen advised that this had been considered
but it was felt it would only be workable if a significant
number of leaseholders bought into the scheme and
from previous experience interest is likely to be low
which means that it will work better if people pay for the
service each time they use it.
Promoting customer involvement opportunities for
leaseholders – Margaret Graham is attending the forum
meeting to speak to the members about changes to the
customer panels and vacancies on the senate.
Information is also going out in Limelight.
Updating the leasehold pages of the website – Helen
advised that she has taken over this piece of work from
Vicky Bowe now that she has moved into her new role.
Patrick pointed out that the forum information on the
website is not up to date as not all the minutes are on Helen Thorpe
there – Helen will bring this information up to date.
Laura asked about the introduction of the new IT
system. Helen advised that the first programmes will go
live from April – including the repairs programme so
leaseholders should see a change from them in terms of
how any repairs they report through the contact centre
are dealt with because their details will be registered on
the new system. The leasehold charging programme
will not be introduced until later on. Margaret Connor
informed everyone that from April it will be Morrisons
who will be providing the repairs and not Jackson
Lloyds – some of the operatives will be the same but the
management is different.
7.0 Customer Panels and Senate
7.1 Margaret Connor gave a presentation about the new customer
involvement structure. This has changed after the customer
senate scrutinised ‘Count Me In’ (the menu of opportunities for
involvement) and decided that there were too many panels and
too much duplication. In future there will be:
3 Customer Panels ( People , Property and Place )
5 Neighbourhood Panels .
Established Forums – including the leaseholder forum.
7.2 Concerns were raised within the group that it wasn’t right to
single out minority groups. Margaret advised that everyone
can attend the customer and neighbourhood panels but there
is a need for established forums for minority groups to look at
issues that are specific to them and to understand any barriers
they face in accessing the services provided by Salix Homes.
The leaseholder forum is no different in this respect as
leaseholders can attend the customer and neighbourhood
panels but have their own forum to look at issues specific to
7.3 Helen suggested that the leasehold forum might want to have
a representative on the places panel because it discusses a lot
of the services that leaseholders receive - including grounds
maintenance, caretaking and cleaning and security. It was
agreed that further discussions should be held at the next All
forum meeting regarding this.
7.4 Margaret informed people that the customer senate are
currently recruiting members and there is a place for a
leaseholder on the senate that needs to be filled. All
leaseholders will be invited to apply for the position – it does
not have to be someone who currently attends the forum
meetings but the successful person will have responsibility for
feeding back to the forum. Margaret said it would be good for
the forum to have feedback from the senate as a regular
agenda item for future meetings. Margaret was asked about
the time commitment involved in being on the senate and she
said that it would require a minimum of 6 hours a month. If
no leaseholder applies to be on the senate then the leasehold
position will remain unfilled and leaseholders will not be
directly represented in the scrutiny work which is likely to be
looking at grounds maintenance and caretaking in the near
8.0 Any Other Business
8.1 Helen asked the group what items they would like to see on
the leaseholder corner within the limelight. Suggestions
Tips on how to rent out / sell your property from
someone who has done this eg. what steps do you
need to take if looking into this.
Comments from individual leaseholders on what they
like about Salix and what can still be improved – Patricia
Purcell agreed to give some comments for the summer
Helen said she will keep this as an agenda item for forum
meetings and if people have ideas they can bring them up at
9.0 Date of next Meeting
9.1 April 25th had been scheduled for the next meeting but as it is
a bank holiday it was agreed to move it to the 18th April.
9.2 The meeting is due to be an information event – Helen asked
what topic the group would like to have for the event. Anti-
social behaviour had been mentioned at the last meeting and
Helen advised that she had spoken to the anti-social behaviour
manager and he had confirmed he would be able to attend the
meeting to give a presentation about anti-social behaviour and
answer any questions about the policy or procedure but he
would not be able to discuss individual cases due to
confidentiality issues. The members agreed to this and said
they would still like this to be the topic for the event.
9.3 The next meeting will be on 18th April 2011at Diamond
House between 6pm-7pm. Pam Roberts (Homes and
Support Manager) will attend on behalf of Helen Thorpe who
has given her apologies for the meeting.