What you’ve said, and what we’re doing

In May this year, we invited all tenants to complete the STAR Survey, which we send once every two years. This survey has always been based on Housemark’s questions for resident satisfaction.

In 2022, the Regulator of Social Housing introduced new mandatory Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs). We added these TSM questions into this STAR Survey – look out for the ‘TSM’ symbol to find them.

1,900 Southway tenants completed the survey this year. We’re grateful that so many of you have taken the time to give us feedback that we can use to help us to learn and improve.

Satisfaction with Southway overall has dropped since 2021, as have your scores in many of the other areas.

This was really disappointing. But, we also weren’t completely surprised by our result, given the feedback we had already had from you in the earlier Inspired by our Communities consultation.

At times we have struggled when faced with external challenges.

The rising costs of services and materials, and recruitment and resourcing issues, meant it has been difficult to recover our performance back to the levels that we delivered before the pandemic.

At the time that you answered the survey, we were not consistently keeping up with the volume of incoming calls to the Hub, or repairs that were being requested — and your results completely reflect this.

Overall satisfaction was 69% down from 83% in 2021

We want to say sorry and assure you that we were also unhappy with some of the service standards that we were offering in May.
They fell short of the standards we strive for. This year, we’ve been putting everything into improving these services to a level you’re happy with.  

At the end of the survey, we asked, what are the main things you would like to see improve?
Here were the top comments by service:

Your Neighbourhood priorities are

  • Dealing with ASB.
  • Parking issues.
  • Untidy gardens, and garden maintenance – comments asked for more action taken against issues, and more help for those who couldn’t manage.
  • Community events, services, and spaces – a large portion of this feedback was about reopening community cafés at Age Friendly schemes.

Your Customer Service and Communication priorities are

  • Answering the phone quicker – this was the comment we saw the most.
  • Quicker response times elsewhere – from the Housing team, about your repairs, and in response to referrals.
  • Better Digital services - improving our website forms, and the MySouthway tenant portal, in particular the repair booking tool, is very important to you.
  • Listen meaningfully – show we’re listening and what we’ve done with your feedback.

Your Property priorities are

  • Fencing and gates – particularly support with replacements.
  • General improvements, upkeep, and maintenance – you asked for more investment in current housing stock.
  • Tackling damp, mould and condensation – comments were about finding the root causes of problems, leading to long-term solutions over quick fixes.
  • Heating and energy efficiency – you asked for energy
  • efficiency upgrades and more efficient boilers.

Your Repairs and Maintenance priorities are

  • Faster response to repair requests.
  • Outstanding/overdue jobs – deal with these as soon as possible.
  • Better information and communication needed – especially when scheduling or completing repairs.
  • Better quality repairs in some areas.

No improvements needed

10% of comments gave us positive feedback or said no improvements were needed. Thank you for this feedback, it lets us know where we’re doing well and should keep investing. Positive feedback talked about:

  • Being grateful for the safety and security of living in a social home
  • Southway going above and beyond with support offered
  • That we’re doing lots for the benefit of the local area
  • Appreciation for the respect and politeness of our staff

View the full results summary.  ***URL DOES NOT EXIST*** (https://www.southwayhousing.co.uk/STAR-Survey)


How we’re responding to feedback

Your feedback is now being used to shape how we deliver many of our services and will also be at the heart of any future plans for improvements.
Here are some examples of how – you can find out more throughout this newsletter.

  • Customer and Housing Services

    House IconYou Said

    • I want Southway to be easier to deal with, and for online services to improve.
    • I want the phone answered quicker when I ring, and for other response times to shorten, like when I have a referral to my Housing Officer.
    • I want to know my local Officers and see them in the community, and have access to a better, more responsive Housing service.

    We’re Doing

    • We’ve relaunched the MySouthway Repairs portal, meaning you can book your own repairs again 24/7.
    • We’ve invested in the Customer Hub and Repairs team, increasing staff in each and spending more on resources.
    • We’re prioritising improving the Customer Hub phone service and email response because these routes are important to you.
    • We’re answering the phone much quicker on average and always responding to emails within timescales.
    • We’re professionalising our Housing Management Service, with an emphasis on better customer care, being out in the community, dealing with problems quickly at the source, and speaking to you on the doorstep and in the neighbourhood.
  • Communication and Relationships

    Speech Bubble IconYou said

    • I want to feel I’m treated fairly and with respect in every interaction with Southway that I have.
    • I want to be kept informed on the things that matter to me.
    • I want Southway to listen to my views and act on them.

    We’re Doing

    • We’re doing lots of work to strengthen our Customer Care culture and the way we communicate with you, which will include a new regular training programme for staff, focusing on respect. We’ve built this into our Complaints Review.
    • We’re relaunching our Customer Care Standards to make sure they meet expectations and drive strong services.
    • We have a new Communication Strategy, with an aim to make the way we communicate with tenants and one another at Southway (internal communication) better.
    • We’re part-way through a project about putting Tenant Voice at the heart of decision making and have heard from lots of you at our two Voice events. We’re learning from other housing associations and their tenants about what works, and will be using this to make changes at Southway.
  • Repairs

    You Said

    • I want repairs to be completed more quickly.
    • I want to be kept better updated about my repairs.
    • Sometimes, you can arrive without the right materials for the job, slowing the repair process down.

    We’re Doing

    • We’ve reviewed the Repairs Policy with help from tenants. You can find our new standards in this Policy on our website.
    • We’re doing a full end-to-end review of the Repairs Service, with a focus on improving the customer journey and making things more efficient, which will help to speed up our repairs.
    • We know that communication around repairs needs to improve and this will be another big focus of our review.
    • We’ll be inviting all tenants to be involved when we have a new, better repairs process ready to consult on. We’ll update you on this in the next issue of Southway Stories.
  • Maintenance

    You Said

    • I want a home that’s well maintained.
    • I’d like the energy efficiency of my home to be improved, so it can be heated more affordably.
    • I want help tackling damp, mould and condensation in the home for good.

    We’re Doing

    • We’re making lots of improvements to our Damp and Mould repairs process. This includes quicker response times, more communication and support, including aftercare, and working together to treat the root cause of issues.
    • We now have new Property Care Officers to guide you through this.
    • We’re running programmes to improve the energy efficiency of over a quarter of our 6,000 homes. We have started with the least energy-efficient property types.
    • We’re also raising our Empty Home Standard to do the same.
  • Rent, Money and Advice

    You Said

    • I have less financial security than at the time of the last survey in 2021. This has made rent and service charges feel less affordable.

    We’re Doing

    • We’ll keep offering free and impartial advice services, and always look for new ways we can help. This includes:
      • Our Living Well Fund
      • Our regular programme of free
      • Employment courses and jobs fairs
      • Cosy Mondays – weekly warm space events at Southern Gate with winter warmth freebies and money advice sessions. See the full list.
    • We will always support you to maintain your tenancy and avoid arrears. We can do this by setting up affordable arrears payment plans, and helping you to manage your money and maximise benefits. Just get in touch.