Hello and welcome
For those Customers who may not know me yet, I’m Scott Black and I'm Places for People’s Chief Operating Officer. I’ve been in this role for the past 12 months, but I’ve worked for Places for People for three years.
One of my main, and most important, responsibilities is to make sure our homes and Communities are meeting all our Customers’ needs. That includes reviewing our performance, identifying what we’re doing well, and how we can improve.
Throughout 2022/23, there have been many challenges, including the cost-of-living crisis. This has had a huge impact on Customers’ lives and it’s been our priority to try and tackle this.
In response, we launched a Cost-of-Living Taskforce to deliver a range of support measures, including a £715,000 Cost of Living Fund. Benefiting hundreds of Customers, this funding has provided rent relief and vouchers for essentials such as food and fuel.
Alongside this fund, several other initiatives have been rolled out to extend our support through the crisis, all of which you can read about in this report.
Making sure Customers benefit from the right support would not be possible without your input. That’s why our Customer groups are so important. These provide an opportunity for you to have a say on the issues that matter the most.
The National Customer Group
The National Customer Group (NCG) is one example and has continued to play a vital role in influencing and improving your services in 2022/23.
Janet Boston, Chair of the National Customer Group, explains more about the NCG’s fantastic work and the progress that’s been made on the Customer Engagement section of the report.
If you’re interested in making a positive difference and would like to join the NCG or any of our other Customer groups, we’d love to hear from you.
In terms of our performance, you will see a slight change to the way the key performance indicators (KPIs) are reported this year. That’s because Chorus Homes, Cotman and Derwent Living are now all part of Places for People.
Bringing these housing providers under one brand will ensure consistent services, standards and processes across our organisation, improving the experience for all Customers.
You will also see that demand for our repairs service increased significantly in 2022/23. This trend coincided with several challenges affecting the whole housing sector, including rising inflation, higher material costs, and labour shortages. We’re taking several steps to address this situation.
We’ve launched a recruitment campaign for around 100 more tradespeople and are trialling video technology to speed up the repairs process.
We’re equipping our Colleagues with more resources too. This includes a new £4m fund for implementing tools, measures or equipment that address local needs. There is, however, always room to do more and this will be a key focus in 2023/24. We’re introducing a new set of standards, designed to significantly improve the quality of our existing homes and services. We’re also developing regional teams who will be much closer to Customers. This will enable us to gain a greater understanding of local needs and mean more of our Colleagues are on hand to help in your Communities.
I’m looking forward to working with my team to make these improvements while supporting our Customers, ensuring everything we do will make your Community thrive. Because Community Matters.
Scott Black, Chief Operating Officer
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