Tuesday 15 December
One of the first meetings of the day was the Building Safety Communications group. This was set up to ensure we’re responding to the new requirements from the Building Safety Regulator. We met to review the feedback from our senior management team on the Building Safety Communication and Engagement Strategy ahead of it being presented to the next Safe and Strong meeting. Following this we’ll be working on putting this strategy into practice.
Lunchtime consisted of a Midlands Network meeting for Resident Involvement (MNRI). I’ve been part of this group for over 5 years and our usually communication method is Yammer. However given the launch of the White Paper, and the focus being on hearing our customers voice, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to discuss what we thought the paper meant for Customer Scrutiny, and understand what other associations might be doing as a result. For me, benchmarking and sharing best practice is a fantastic tool that is often underutilised as there can be a reluctance for some to share their data, or what’s working for fear of not looking the best, or ideas being used. The MNRI is great for breaking down this notion and the meeting allowed us to think about some useful ways we could adapt our engagement strategy moving forwards.
Living in Coventry, a usual day pre-march would have meant leaving the house at 6:30am and getting home 12 hours later. This also means endless “sorry we missed you cards” from the postman! Working from home has been great get that work life balance back, and meant I was in for the arrival of an unexpected parcel just after my meeting finished. Whilst parcels in the run up to Christmas are not uncommon, this wasn’t one I was expecting. Once opened I realised an old colleague had sent me a Christmas gift. This colleague was someone I worked with over 6 years ago and we stay in touch regularly, although lockdown has meant I haven’t seen her for over 9 months! It was a lovely reminder for me of how important the social aspect of work is, how it can build meaningful networks and relationships and of course, given the gift she sent, just how strange this year has been!
After lunch myself and Vick, who is a Scrutiny Officer in my team, caught up with the head of our in-house maintenance team following our review of how effective our customer hub is at enabling operatives to deliver a first-time fix. We caught up with Paul to run him through our findings and recommendations. This is a crucial part of my role, as its important that we work in partnership with our customers and other colleagues. This meeting was also an opportunity to thank Paul and his team for all the feedback they provided during the review.
Wednesday 16 December
One of the first tasks of the day was for the team to catch up with our Director, John. John has made time throughout our new working arrangements to catch up with the team regularly, check in on how they are, and provide answer to any questions or queries the team might have. At this catch up we discussed the key projects the team were working on and had a useful conversation about the value and power of feedback.
I had chance to respond to a few emails before the next Teams call. This call was with Trevor Stanley, one of our involved customers. Trevor sits on our Operations Committee and chairs our Customer Oversight Group (COG). I caught up with Trevor ahead of our bi-monthly COG meeting to go through the papers and format of the meeting. During this call Trevor expressed just how much he valued the fact that the team had very clearly listened to customers feedback. The papers had been designed in a way that gave them detailed information that they could use to ensure we gather and utilise customer views, a key requirement from our regulator.
Then another teams call, this time it was my daily catch up with the team. This is an important part of the day to give the team chance to talk through any challenges they are having and to update each other on what they are working on. It’s so easy working from home to realise you hadn’t seen anyone all day, so this catch up keeps everyone connected engaged and motivated.
The last meeting of the day was with members of the women’s network Balance which I chair. We met to begin to put all of the ideas we came up with at our last meeting into a clear communications plan to tackle some of the challenges women face at work.
Thursday 17 December
First task of the day was to work on some final amends to our first-time fix report ready for it to be reviewed by all stakeholders before being presented for approval at our Operations Committee. The draft was sent to all stakeholders, including our customers.
Once this was done I had a meeting with some of my team about improvements to our catering survey which customers in our Retirement Schemes complete monthly. We’d found that they survey didn’t give customers enough encouragement to feedback and we wanted to capture a lot more meaningful comments. The Communications team also did a great job at the artwork for it.
I caught up with the team to talk through what needs to happen next to switch over to the new survey. Then it was a quick chance to respond to some emails before logging off. It was a short day for me today, as I was on annual leave from 11am!
Friday 18 December
I scheduled in some time this morning to ensure all of the actions from the women’s netwowk meeting were sent out to the group.
Today was one of the quietest days of the week as there were only two scheduled meetings so it gave me a chance to get some planning in for the New Year. In Scrutiny, we can be working on over a dozen projects at once it’s important to take stock and get prepared for next year.
We had our department Christmas party over lunchtime which was a great way to catch up with colleagues. As someone who loves Christmas I also got quite competitive during the Christmas scavenger hunt!
After lunch I began to develop a new reporting mechanism for our estate champion programme. This will allow us to highlight some of the common pieces of insight and feedback our customers give to us about the areas they live in.
Monday 21 December
I spent some time first thing delivering some development training on time management. Given the number of projects we manage, providing support and techniques to the team to manage time and multiple projects is crucial.
Mid-morning consisted of our Christmas get together with involved customers. This was a fantastic chance for us to showcase what we’ve achieved in 2020 and our plans for next year. We also delivered an update on the social housing white paper so they know what’s to come. The virtual get together was topped off of course with some Christmas quizzes! Whilst we planned this event to say thank you to our customers who approached the transition to a completely virtual way of involvement fantastically, it was also really nice to hear customers give such high praise to the support the team had been giving them over the year. A really lovely way to top of a week in scrutiny!