Update on Customer helping achieve improvements now meetings

During the recent months, we have held a selection of CHAINS (Customers Helping Achieve Improvements Now) sessions.


Topic: Safe homes consultation

Attendees: 10

A call for evidence by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was made in January 2019. The Ministry asked for views on how residents and landlords work together regarding fire and structural safety and how residents are supported to each play a part in meeting their responsibilities. The call for evidence ensures the voices of those affected by any potential changes are heard and listened to.

Customers from medium and high rise buildings were invited to a consultation event to give their views and comments on 23 specific questions relating to fire safety and structural safety. All completed questionnaires were submitted directly to the Ministry. We will share any information/feedback we receive with attendees.

Topic: Tree management and garage policy

Attendees: 8

Albert Copus - Estates Manager, Dave Boucher – Estates Manager and Sarah Treadwell – Policy Analyst presented two new draft policies; Tree Management Policy and Garage Policy and asked the group for comments and feedback.

The group came up with some fantastic ideas and made some useful suggestions on the content of the policies.

For example the group realised that there is a gap in the Garage policy in relation to repairs and maintenance. It was agreed that the policy could include some wording regarding how to report repairs, what the repair timescales are, what repairs will be completed and batch work. The policy will be amended to reflect this.

It was also noted that there is a lack of reference to a complaints procedure in the Garage Policy. As a result of the CHAIN (Customer Helping Achieve Improvements Now) the complaints procedure will now be included in the policy. Any complaints should be made to the Neighbourhood Coordinator for your area or to Repairs and Maintenance if the complaint is relating to a repair.

With regards to the Tree Policy it was raised that there is an historical issue of the wrong type of tree planted in Washington, the question was asked “can we ensure that we don’t plant the wrong trees in the future?” Albert advised that we understand about the volume of trees that were planted many years ago in Washington. The majority of trees are cherry trees. We now have moved to small type Rowan Trees or Birch trees.

Topic: consumer standards

Attendees – 8

The comments and feedback given at this meeting were really useful in helping Gentoo pull together our compliance update position and to identify improvements we will now make. A Consumer Standards Compliance overview report was taken to the Operations Committee on 9 April 2019 and the feedback from this session was included in the report.

Topic: Garden competition update

This CHAIN saw customers discuss changes to the competition, and how they would be implemented to ensure a successful gardening competition. 

Topic: Website improvements

This CHAIN was arranged on the back of customer feedback from the Community Engagement Forums. The group discussed content, layout, accessibility and peer review.  All feedback was passed to the Communications team who will be reviewing the website in the near future.

Topic: Vulnerability policy

This policy was revised as a result of customer comments and those involved will be sent the revised policy for their information.

Chargeable repairs policy consultation

Comments and suggestions were taken on board and changes will be made to the policy as a result of this consultation.

Upcoming CHAIN meetings: 

Topic: Fire safety consultation 
Location: Silksworth office
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm 

Topic: Environmental policy consultation
Location: Silksworth office
Time:  10:00am-12:00pm

If you would like to be invited to any of the future CHAINS, please contact the customer and community team on 0191 525 2760 or via email to