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On Reflection by Simon Warde

On reflection

As 2021 draws to an end there will likely be mixed feelings about the year, for some it has felt rather long and others wondering where the time has disappeared to.

My personal perception of time has changed somewhat the last couple of years with confusion whether some things happened 3 months ago, or actually 6 months ago. I have even been pretty convinced certain things were this year and with more reflection realised it was in fact last year!

When reflecting on Tenant Involvement, I feel that we have all had some really great successes. I’m thrilled to see how much the Ambassadors work on the Great Estates has developed and grown since we first got you involved. I’m also pleased that we carried out post work surveys for sites completed in the last financial year.

It was a pleasure to work with Ambassadors to deliver the first STAR Survey since 2015. You helped us evaluate the tenders, award the contract and continued working with the contractor before and during the survey life cycle. This was the first time the survey included Leaseholders, which was essential, and by delivering the survey in a different way, we had a much higher response rate than prior years.

There was a massive push to contact customers post STAR survey and through this we have welcomed new Ambassadors on board who have been really committed and we would not want to be without.

Fresh involvement with Oxford Direct Services is underway and I know this will deliver some really worthwhile outcomes for our tenants and leaseholders.

An Ambassador continues to work on the Housing Ombudsmen Resident Panel, learning a great deal, and has been able to share their new knowledge through Tenants in Touch and this portal.

A new Building Safety Review Group has started and I am amazed with the contributions already from Ambassadors. These meetings are generating very worthwhile and thought provoking conversations.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Review Group is also up and running, producing many productive outcomes.

We have had many more Ambassadors forming part of the Housing & Homelessness Panel meetings with Councillors. This has helped generate a transparent forum, with an opportunity to learn more about OCC/Housing and provide invaluable contributions from a customer’s perspective.

Tenants in Touch magazine continues to be produced, landing on your door steps as always on time, with excellent contributions from you all.

The team have been very fortunate to welcome a new Apprentice, Abigail Orona. She has quickly got stuck in and is very capable.

Our work programme got busier the latter part of 2021, which will likely continue into 2022.

There is going to be increased focus delivering the obligations of the Social Housing White Paper, and the Building Safety Bill. Both of these have a longer term focus and will very much require formal scrutiny and joint working with yourselves as our Ambassadors. We will also be running the STAR survey again.

“Thank you” all for your commitment and the time you dedicate to Tenant Involvement. You do this voluntarily and in your limited spare time. I am truly grateful for this and none of it could be achieved without you.

I hope you all have a break as 2021 comes to an end. For those of you that embrace Xmas and the New Year…..I do wish you a merry and a happy one.

Simon Warde

Tenant Involvement Manager

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