Our Resident Scrutiny Panel

Residents are directly influencing our services and decision-making

What do the panel do?

  • Work with us to make sure that we are providing the services that are important to all our residents.
  • Help us to put you, our residents, at the heart of everything that we do.
  • Review our service delivery processes, measuring, testing and monitoring services.
  • Make sure that we are as effective, efficient and economical as possible.
  • Make recommendations for service improvements directly to our Board.

What are the panel reviewing at the moment?

The panel are reviewing the ‘resident voice’ . Over the next few months, they will be gathering information and assessing service delivery ‘on the ground’ to ensure it’s as effective and efficient as possible. They expect to conclude the second part of review and present their findings to the board in Late 2021.

What have the panel achieved so far?

Since April 2014 they’ve completed ten service reviews:

The resident scrutiny panel undertakes in depth service reviews and makes recommendations to Board to positively influence and improve services for all residents. Since 2014, the panel have completed ten service reviews and made a total of 218 service improvement recommendations. To date, 157 have now been implemented, with several more currently being actioned.

Service reviews and recommendations:

Resident Voice phase two

Resident Voice

  • Given the prominence of the ‘resident voice’ in TCH’s corporate strategy and in the social housing white paper, re-iterate oversight of this important matter to a member of TCH’s leadership team so in effect, they own the portfolio, including delivery of the panel’s recommendations (where accepted).
  • Consider developing ‘resident voice’ champions. This could be a staff member from each team or department to cascade important information and updates to colleagues. The champions could meet quarterly or as often as needed and be chaired by the assigned member of TCH’s leadership team as suggested above. This approach may also aid cross-department working across the organisation.
  • Provide more information about TCH’s ethos and social purpose in job adverts and recruitment packs, including a video for the latter to include a section about residents.
  • Recruit a pool of residents who can participate in ad-hoc procurement evaluation panels as required, and/or consider development of a dedicated procurement panel. Give them in-house training (and consider offering the TPAS course – ‘procurement and the role of customers’). Also deliver involvement in various ways to maximise accessibility.

Full summary review:  Resident Voice phase two January 2022

Resident Voice phase one

Resident Voice

  • Optimise the search function from the home page so information is easier to locate. Enable key phrases such as ‘grounds maintenance’ to be searched as opposed to separate word ‘grounds’ and ’maintenance’. Display results with pages before blogs hierarchically according to relevance, perhaps with pinned pages and with equal sized tiles. Redefine some ‘tags’ such as ‘involvement’ rather than ‘involved’ and ‘antisocial behaviour’ rather than ‘ASB’ to enable results to be displayed on popular search topics. Consider if a more intelligent search function could be utilised to filter results as shopping websites do. Search function currently displays as huge text. This should be reduced and the autocomplete function does not work.
  • Add more videos to explain information where possible and optimise the use of info graphics to overcome any language or literacy issues.
  • Ensure website functionality is consistently excellent across device platforms. Our research indicates that most residents view the website on their mobiles, yet mobile and tablet views appear different which can make finding information harder on one device when compared to the other.
  • Include measurable timeframes within the customer service standard.

Full summary review:  Resident Voice July 2021

Service Charges

Service Charges

  • Improve the search function of the website, separate the rent and service charge information and link TCH website, Love Living Homes and My Home Online by using clearer branding.
  • Improve the presentation and transparency of statements and clarify that TCH does not make a profit from service charges.
  • Explore if digital technology is available to provide residents with evidence of contractors completing requirements (e.g. grounds maintenance and cleaning) and if snapshot surveys by email or SMS can be undertaken after services have been developed.
  • Provide more information about sinking funds, and the environmental impact of fly tipping
  • Create a newsletter for leaseholders and shared owners similar to the one sent to tenants.

Full summary review: Service Charges Review – January 2020

Leasehold and Shared Owner Services

Leasehold and Shared Owner Services

  • Overhaul of the shared ownership Love Living Homes website to include case studies, explanatory videos and examples of likely costs.
  • Delivery of regular engagement and involvement opportunities for leaseholders and shared owners with regular chances to influence initiatives and policies which specifically affect them.
  • Avoidance of segregation of tenants and shared owners (by separate entrances) within the same building in new home developments.
  • Careful consideration to be given before implementing third party collection of utility charges in new home developments.

Full summary review: Leasehold and Shared Owner Services Review – February 2019

Planned Repairs and Maintenance

Planned Repairs and Maintenance

  • Improved website information
  • Simplification of technical terminology and jargon used in customer correspondence
  • Improved complaints feedback to contractors
  • Data cleansing to better identify vulnerable persons
  • Reiteration of the ‘See the Person’ campaign to staff
  • Improved profile of the resident liaison role (as part of the George Jones & Son Ltd (external works contract)
  • Incorporation of an open field within the new customer satisfaction survey format which can be used to give feedback and report snagging issues

Full summary review: Planned Repairs and Maintenance Service Review – December 2018

Responsive Gas Repairs

Responsive Gas Repairs

  • Improved information on the website and ‘My Home Online’ so residents can better understand how to report a repair, how they will be communicated with throughout, typical/average response times for boiler or other gas services breakdowns and how they will be kept informed if the issue cannot be fixed first time
  • Revision and publication of the “Engineer’s Code of Conduct” for gas repair operatives on the website
  • Consideration about how best to capture resident satisfaction feedback about planned repairs, including automated gathering following completion of works

Full summary review: Responsive Gas Service Review – September 2017

Money Support

Money Support

  • Better Money Support website information to enable residents to refer themselves to the service
  • More Money Support self-help tools on the website such as an explanatory video and better sign posting to external sources of assistance
  • Better publicity on the website about the outstanding work of the Money Support service, including anonymised case studies

Full summary review: Money Support Review – January 2017

Grounds Maintenance

Grounds maintenance

  • For improved transparency and clarity, the scoring in the Caretaking and Cleaning Photo Book used to monitor maintenance standards has been simplified (i.e. ratings of Excellent, Good, Needs Improvement or Poor are used, rather than a scale of A-D). These standards are also published on the website
  • The publishing of clear information about hedge standards on the website
  • The publishing of future TCH communal land and property inspections on the website to enable interested residents to participate
  • Improved “site mapping” (plans showing TCH land and property borders) to provide better clarity for residents and contractors about our ownership of land, including detailed information about trees

Full summary review: Grounds Maintenance Review – September 2016

Empty Homes Standard

Empty Homes Standard

  • Changing our approach to routinely removing carpets from empty properties – carpets in good condition will be left for the new tenants
  • Changes to the paint packs that some new tenants receive to help with decorating. A contract, which is much better value for money, has been agreed

Full summary review: Empty Homes Standard Review – November 2015

Day-to-Day Repair

Day to Day Repairs

  • You should now always receive a repairs job number when you first report your repairs so it’s easier to track the progress of the repair
  • Changes to the way contractors make and record maintenance appointments for customers who need slots avoiding school run times,  including making sure it is fully communicated to the operative who will carry out the repair
  • Clearer telephone options when you ring for repairs
  • Better general information provided to residents about the repairs service

Full summary review: Day to Day Repairs Review – June 2015

Customer Service

Customer Service

  • Additional training and information for our Customer Service Advisors who answer your phone calls. This means they can answer more of your queries at the first point of contact without having to pass your call on or get someone else to ring you back

Full summary review: Customer Service Review – November 2014

Resident call for scrutiny

Residents are directly influencing our services and decision-making

It is very important that all residents have an opportunity to influence which services the panel scrutinise. The ‘resident call for scrutiny’ enables residents to ask the panel to review an area of the business on their behalf.

If you are concerned about the quality of a service that we offer, you can contact the panel to request that they consider reviewing a specific service as part of their review programme – just contact us.

Want to get involved?

Get paid to help improve your services

The resident scrutiny panel can have up to 12 Town & Country Housing residents as members at any one time. They undertake in-depth service reviews. Panel representatives attend Board meetings to make their service improvement recommendations.

What’s involved:

  • Specialist resident scrutiny training and development
  • Up to ten meetings per year in Tunbridge Wells
  • Activities in between meetings – reading information, forming opinions and giving objective feedback via email or telephone
  • Undertaking occasional site visits and shadowing of services

What we offer in return:

  • An allowance of £1,300 per year (after completion of a satisfactory probation period); OR
  • £300 in vouchers + £1,000 in life and employment skills training
  • Personal development through specialist resident scrutiny training and development
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • A unique insight into Town & Country Housing’s services
  • Free transport to and from meetings and site visits, or reimbursement of transport expenses
  • Food and refreshments at meetings

Who are the panel?

Residents are selected and recruited onto the panel, have six months' induction training and continue to receive support and training throughout their time as panel members.

Lorraine Gettings

Lorraine has been a Town and Country tenant for over twenty years, she was born and raised in Tunbridge Wells and still lives in the town working at a nearby contact centre. She is married with two grown up sons and joined the scrutiny panel in 2021 having been involved in a couple of previous TCH focus groups.
Natalieann Leadbetter

Natalieann Leadbetter

Natalie has been a resident since 2015. She has always worked in a medical, health and social care. She is a member of St John Ambulance and has a personal interest in special needs, learning disabilities and child and adolescent mental health.
Paul Evans

Paul Evans

Paul joined scrutiny in May 2018 as he wants to make a difference to residence. When he's not working at MacDonalds, he enjoys spending time with his family and doing a little diy around the home.
Emma Lovell

Emma Lovell

Emma has two young children and works as a sales assistant for a major retailer in Tonbridge, following a career in catering for ten years. She has a degree in photography and is currently developing a photography portfolio and is also undertaking the Freedom Programme.

Teresa Godden O’Callaghan

Teresa has been a tenant since 2003. She works as a hairdresser and is mum of three. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors – preferably in a tent camping with her family, friends and dog!
Francesca O'Neill

Francesca O’Neill

Fran is an aromatherapist and has had a varied career ranging from market trader to managing retail outlets. She has been a hairdresser, a senior keeper at Battersea Dogs’ Home and has worked supporting adults with learning difficulties and fosters orphaned fox cubs.

Kevin Dodds

Kevin has been a shared owner since 2016. He has had an extensive career working as a Theatre Technican in entertainment venues across the country, in the Westend and for a cruise line. He has now settled back down locally to be close to family and friends and now works full time as the Deputy Technical Manager of a nearby Theatre.

Valerie George

Valerie has been a Shared-Ownership tenant since 2016. She is currently looking to pursue a Nursing career in Rheumatology. In her spare time she enjoys attending her local gym, spending time with family and friends and enjoying her lovely home with her partner.

Adam Field

Adam joined scrutiny in Summer 2018. Once a GB Athlete, Adam is now a dedicated tennis coach. In his spare time he likes watching Manchester United, enjoys cooking and loves spending time with his family and friends.

Andrew Palmer

Andrew has been an assured shorthold tenant of a TCH flat in Eastbourne for the last seven years. For the previous ten years he lived and worked in south west France. He is married, has two children and five grandchildren. He is a keen angler, walker and lawn bowler. Andrew joined the scrutiny panel in 2021.

Alex Tuckwell

Alex grew up in the Tunbridge Wells area. She has been a TCH tenant for 3 years and joined the scrutiny panel in 2021. She is currently training to be a counsellor and in her spare time loves playing video games and binge watching TV shows’