We consulted with customers about our approach to carrying out essential health and safety checks.
We have a legal obligation to carry out certain checks on customers’ homes to make sure they are compliant with certain safety standards. However, in some cases customers refuse to engage with us – which can make carrying out these essential checks much more difficult.
You can find the results from the survey here and the outcomes below.
You said: 77% of respondents agreed that Accent should have a policy to allow us to force entry into a property to carry out essential health and safety checks, when all other means of gaining access have been exhausted.
We did: We introduced a ‘Guaranteed Access Policy’. This policy aims to ensure that we meet our obligations as a landlord and employer to keep our customers and employees safe. Accent has a zero-tolerance approach to health and safety risks of any form and will take any necessary, reasonable and lawful action to keep our customers safe.
You said: Respondents were very concerned that Accent takes into consideration the circumstances of individuals before proceeding with forced entry.
We did: We will carry out a risk assessment where the guaranteed access policy is being considered, which will take into consideration property type, customer profile and known risk factors. The outcome of the risk assessment will determine the appropriate course of action to be taken, for example to proceed with a forced entry, make further attempts at contact or take court proceedings.
You said: Respondents suggested that Accent makes a more concentrated effort to engage with vulnerable residents.
We did:Our proposal is to carry out a ‘customer care check’ with every customer on an annual basis. This will usually involve a home visit and will be aimed at identifying vulnerabilities which could impact on health and safety. The will promote stronger relationships between customers and their Customer Partners. Find out who your Customer Partner is here.
You said: Respondents were concerned that Accent relies too heavily on one form of communication to engage with customers.
We did: Our housing management system is now capable of recording contact preferences (email, phone call, letter), vulnerabilities which may impact on communication (sight or hearing impairment etc.), and whether the customer requires contact in a different format (other language, large print etc.). This will help our staff and contractors to engage with customers for effectively. See an example here.
You said: Respondents recognised that customers who routinely fail to cooperate with essential health and safety are dangerous to themselves, their neighbours and their buildings.
We did: We will flag persistent offenders on our housing management system. We will start the engagement process much earlier with customers who are ‘hard to reach’. We will prioritise them in the gas servicing cycle to allow us extra time to carry out essential checks within a 12 month period.
Join the Accent 500
An informal online community of involved residents, who take part in regular surveys and consultations.