At Accent, we take the health and safety of our customers very seriously, which is why we reviewed the way we communicate with them about fire safety.
Customer feedback indicated that customers are confused about the recommended course of action in the event of a fire. Ambiguous communication from Accent may be contributing to confusion.
You said: Respondents did not have time to read and absorb the fire safety leaflet provided to them when they moved into their property. Some respondents did not recall receiving it at all.
We did: New customers are now shown a video about fire safety, as part of the process of applying for a home. We hope this will help to make our fire safety guidance more engaging and memorable.
You said: 58% respondents were not clear about what to do in the event of a fire. The Grenfell Tower incident appears to have confused customers about the recommended course of action.
We did: We will issue reminders to all customers periodically about fire safety. In order to make sure the message gets through, we will attempt to engage customers through their preferred channel; which may include updates by email, text message, letter or meetings in communal areas.
You said: 58% respondents were confused about which evacuation policy applies to their building.
We did: We have begun updating the signage displayed in the communal areas of our blocks of flats. We will remove signs which give conflicting or ambiguous advice. New signage will be clear, concise, consistent, sensibly situated and site specific.
You said: Accent needs to communicate fire safety more effectively with vulnerable customers (for example; people with sight problems, people who have difficulty reading, people with dementia etc.).
We did: We will use Customer Partners’ (Housing Officers’) local knowledge to identify and engage with vulnerable customers. We already have a new feature in our housing management system to indicate when a customer has a sight and/or hearing impairment.
You said: Homeowners were unclear about where Accent’s fire safety responsibilities end, and where their own fire safety responsibilities begin.
We did: Homeowners will be included in any of the updates about fire safety mentioned above. People who are in the process of buying a property from Accent will receive information about fire safety in the ‘Welcome Pack’.
How will we know these measures have been successful?
- We will keep records of the updates and reminders we administer and the engagement events we carry out.
- We will monitor engagement with our online communications to make sure that messages are received and understood.
- The National Scrutiny Group will inspect schemes to make sure that signage is up-to-date.
- The information on our housing management system will be accurate and up-to-date.
- We will carry out another survey next year to see if things have improved.
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