Making sure that we work to keep everyone involved with ccha safe – our residents, staff, partners and Board members.

Our priority this year: Act as a responsible employer by making sure all of our staff have adequate health and safety training, resources and support for their wellbeing.

A safe work environment

At the start of the pandemic, we quickly put measures in place to protect residents and staff by following government guidelines. This meant that we had to close our head office to visitors and ensure staff who needed to stay in the office had the adequate safety equipment and rotas in place to help everyone stay safe.

Staff were given key worker status and offered regular tests for Covid-19. We also made tests available to staff in the office.

To reduce contact and ensure staff safety in the workplace we installed a key drop box in the building and other processes moved online. Throughout the pandemic, we continued to follow the guidelines and review our own risk assessments.

We publicised the changes to residents and other stakeholders on our website and social media, and through email and public notices.

Staff working from home were given equipment such as monitors, chairs, laptop stands and mobile phones. We asked them to complete a DSE (Display Screen Equipment) self-assessment at home to ensure they had healthy workstations.

Support for staff

For many of our staff, the changes meant a completely different way of working. Not only did they need to adapt to working remotely, many of them had to also manage family life at home, with children not at school.

To assist staff, we provided a confidential wellbeing service where they could get advice and support. We also made sure staff were safe working alone and they were able to use track and trace at our older persons sites.

We promoted our safety measures to staff – masks, shields, hand sanitiser, cleaning, 2m distance.

Icon representing use of face masks
Icon representing face shield use
Icon representing the use of hand sanitiser
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Our second priority for this year: act as a responsible landlord by being well informed of the latest health and safety legislation and standards

Working to improve services

When the pandemic arrived, our priority was to keep services running while keeping everyone safe and maintaining compliance with health and safety regulations. While we did have some delays due to residents shielding, self-isolating and companies delaying inspections, by the end of the year we were 100% compliant.

Both Brexit and the pandemic have affected our repairs services. There has been a shortage of operatives across the country and sourcing materials has become an issue. We also had a higher number of enquiries from residents and we know that our communication with them has been affected.

Our contract with Axis began a week after lockdown started. It was a challenge mobilising a new team of operatives and only being able to complete emergency repairs within the first six months. When non-emergency repairs could restart we were very busy and it took time to deal with the backlog.

We know that our service hasn’t been what it should be, but we have been working with Axis on an action plan to improve our service. Part of this includes recruiting staff into management and administration roles, as well as taking on more operatives to help clear the backlog.

This will help us deliver all aspects of the contract, such as the handyperson service in our older persons schemes and our social value initiatives – where Axis will provide jobs, training and apprenticeships to residents. Axis will also review their supply chain to give local businesses the opportunity to become a supplier.

Our customer service satisfaction data (April 2021) showed that:

53%

of residents were satisfied with our repairs and maintenance service (target 76%)

With the challenges this year has presented us with, we know that our repairs service hasn’t been as good as we would expect. We are working closely with our contractors, Axis, to improve our service by bringing in more resources.

Remote working brings benefits

The pandemic has led to remote working which has brought some benefits. Video conferencing has replaced the need to travel to meetings – making us more efficient. Our relationships and way of working with contractors has also improved as we have been able to meet more often through video calls.

We have also made better use of technology with residents. For example, they have been able to provide photos of repairs that need doing rather than operatives visiting their homes, which has helped to speed up the repairs process. Going forward, we are looking to adopt this approach as one option available to residents, through both email and WhatsApp.

During the year, we reviewed, set up or extended the following contracts:

  • domestic and commercial gas contract will be managed by Smith & Byford for the next two and a half years
  • asbestos surveying contract has been awarded to Pennington Choices – this has been operating now for almost 12 months
  • water hygiene contract has been extended for 12 months and is being delivered by Churchills
  • fire equipment servicing contract has been extended for six months until October 2021 and is being delivered by Millwood Services
  • lift contract will be awarded later in 2021
  • electrical contract is currently being reviewed.

100%

of our homes comply with the Decent Homes Standard

92%

of communal areas passed quality inspections for cleaning and grounds maintenance (as measured by our contractors)

99.5%

of emergency repairs and 90.2% of non-emergency repairs were completed within target time frame (target 100% and 95%)

100%

of our homes now have a minimum energy efficiency SAP Rating of 55 or above

We achieved 100% compliance with all Health and Safety obligations, including:

Properties with valid gas safety records

Properties with satisfactory Electrical Testing Certificates

Properties with Fire Risk Assessments

Communal areas with Asbestos Surveys

Properties with Water Hygiene Risk Assessments

Properties with Lift Statutory Inspections carried out

Strategic objective 4: More affordable homes pledge