Best Practice Case Studies – 2014 winners

Gorton Monastery provided a stunning venue for the CSI Awards
– the first of its kind, celebrating and recognising the fantastic achievements of tenant and resident scrutiny panels, tenant & resident inspectors and mystery shoppers.

The ceremony provided a fitting tribute to all tenants and residents involved in inspection and scrutiny activities – those that make a real difference – by supporting the landlords to make the right investments, achieve value for money and improve the quality of services they provide.

There are many successful panels, inspectors and mystery shoppers across the UK
and the CSI Awards celebrated the very best.

Award 1 - Excellence in Tenant Inspection and Mystery Shopping
Read more about SARH Customer Inspectors

Award 1 - Excellence in Tenant Inspection and Mystery Shopping

Winners: SARH Customer Inspectors

Presented by Rafael Runco, Independent Housing Advisor & former Deputy Housing Ombudsman

The quality of submissions in all categories was high; however, in the case of this first category, the judges decided that three groups should be recognised for their commitment and the quality of outcomes delivered.

The first highly commended award went to a group that demonstrated a high degree of independence, with a fantastic focus on equality and diversity issues in conducting their inspections. The outcomes they have achieved for people with support needs provided a benchmark for others.

The first highly commended award went to: Shropshire Housing Support Group.

The second highly commended award went to a group that plays an active role in inspecting a range of key front line services across a wide geographic area. The group designed its own questions and forms to capture findings from their inspections of repairs, estates, blocks and maintenance work. As a result of their approach and hard work, the group can truly measure how much standards have been raised across the areas of service they inspect.

The second highly commended award went to: AmicusHorizon’s Resident Monitors

The overall winner of the Excellence in Tenant Inspection and Mystery Shopping, went to a group that demonstrated a great track record in developing their approach very much from a customer perspective. They take full control over their inspections, deciding the areas to inspect, activities to be completed and they write and present their own reports. They also have a systematic process for evaluating the impact of their inspection results. This group has completed 10 inspections since 2008, making over 100 recommendations. The group has been able to demonstrate significant outcomes resulting from their recommendations, including measurable increases in customer satisfaction.

The award for Excellence in Tenant Inspection and Mystery Shopping went to: Stafford and Rural Homes’ Customer Inspectors

Award 2 - Most Inspiring Newcomers
Read more about Jephson H.A’s Scrutiny Panel

Award 2 - Most Inspiring Newcomers

Winners: Jephson H.A’s Scrutiny Panel

Presented by Linda Levin, Independent Housing Advisor & Consultant

Another highly competitive category with a good level of nominations from across the UK. Those who were short listed impressed all of the judges with the progress they had made in a very short space of time.

The Highly Commended award went to a group that had certainly hit the ground running! Their members were recruited under 12 months ago, were trained and began operating independently of their trainer in April 2014. Their first priority was to identify the areas where their scrutiny would have the biggest impact, moving swiftly to complete their first independent review. They produced their own report template and wrote their report, making 19 recommendations for improvements – and some of these have already been implemented.

The Highly Commended Awards for Most Inspiring Newcomers went to: Challenge and Scrutiny Team (CAST), Contour Homes

The overall award went to a group that has achieved a significant amount in a really short period of time. The group has demonstrated independence in that it:

  • Chooses its own topics
  • Decides its approach to reviews
  • Produces its own reports
  • Has chosen to do a mix of detailed and light touch reviews

As a result of the recommendations made by this group in their first detailed review, their landlord has refreshed its approach to customer involvement. They subsequently carried out a lighter touch review which resulted in a contractor making changes, not just for the landlord’s customers, but for other landlords’ customers the contractor works with.

The overall award for Most Inspiring Newcomers went to: Jephson HA’s Scrutiny Panel.

Award 3 - Most inspiring individual contribution
Read more about Yvonne Denny

Award 3 - Most inspiring individual contribution

Winner: Yvonne Denny, Vice Chair of Scrutiny Panel at Homes for Haringey

Presented by Sasha Deepwell, Deputy CEO, Wulvern Housing

The judges were impressed by the level of submissions to this category and consequently they shortlisted eight finalists...

  • Ian Parker, Chair of Stockport Homes Customer Scrutiny Panel
  • Debra Davies, Chair of RAISE – Calico
  • Jan Durbridge, Hyde Housing
  • Larry Shelbourne, Chair of Cobalt Tenant Scrutiny Panel
  • Andy Crooks, Chair of Scrutiny Panel, Circle Housing South Anglia
  • Yvonne Denny, Vice Chair of Scrutiny Panel - Homes for Haringey
  • Andrew Shaw, Lead Scrutineer, Halton Housing Scrutiny Panel
  • Dougie Partridge - Housing Service Panels and Tenant Inspector - whg

Two stood out for their personal commitment and the impact they have made to the local community – the highly commended awards went to:

  • Debra Davies, Chair of RAISE – Calico
  • Andrew Shaw, Lead Scrutineer, Halton Housing Scrutiny Panel

The overall winner in this category went to: Yvonne Denny, Vice Chair of Scrutiny Panel - Homes for Haringey

Award 4 - Most Inspiring Communications
Read more about Cobalt Tenant Scrutiny Panel

Award 4 - Most Inspiring Communications

Winners: Cobalt Tenant Scrutiny Panel

Presented by Max Salsbury, Online Editor 24Housing

The best customer scrutiny panels are built on trust between the landlord and its tenants. The use of communication and engagement is the best way to build this trust. It is also the best way for the scrutiny panels to get their own messages out there – working with the landlord, using the channels they use – and doing this in a collaborative way.

There’s some great work going on out there, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

The judges closely examined all of the submissions, to identify examples of positive practice regarding communications about the work of the scrutiny, inspection and mystery shopping groups. They also researched landlords' websites to look for best practices. Whilst they came across examples of information displayed on landlords' websites and some use of social media, it was clear more could be done to communicate more widely with tenants about the role and achievements of tenants involved in scrutiny and to invite other tenants' views about the topics that should be scrutinised. One submission stood out above the rest.

This was Cobalt Housing Scrutiny Panel's measures to communicate widely with tenants. They set up their own website, which displays copies of their reports and information about their meetings. They also have a facility on the website for tenants to put their views forward. In addition, they use Twitter and Facebook to communicate more widely. The positive practice award for communications went to Cobalt Housing's Scrutiny Panel for the excellent progress they have made in communicating with all of Cobalt's tenants.

Award 5 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – North of England
Read more about Cobalt Tenant Scrutiny Panel

Award 5 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – North of England

Winners: Cobalt Tenant Scrutiny Panel

Presented by Phil Morgan, Independent Housing Advisor and former CEO of TPAS and Executive Director at Tenant Services Authority

This was the category with the most nominations, and there was so much to celebrate in terms of range of topics reviewed, outcomes achieved, independence and commitment of the panels. The panel chosen for recognition as the highly commended winner has been operating successfully for some time and has consistently achieved some fantastic, positive, measurable outcomes for tenants and landlords.

The award went to: Tenant Management Team from New Charter Housing Group

When it came to choosing the Winner for the Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel (North) award, the judging committee were particularly impressed by one panel that has achieved some extemporary outcomes, they also consistently demonstrated a high level of skill and independence that shone out from their submission.

The award for Inspiring Scrutiny Panel North went to: Cobalt Housing’s Tenant Scrutiny Panel

Award 6 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – South of England
Read more about Soha Housing Scrutiny Group

Award 6 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – South of England

Winners: Soha Housing Scrutiny Group

Presented by Tim Gilling, Deputy Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny

Again this was a very strong category with excellent examples of positive practices in scrutiny and a short list of six finalists

The highly commended went to a panel that has been operational for about two and half years and in that time have completed three high quality reviews. Their submission demonstrated some first class outcomes that have benefited a wide range of customers. In addition, the panel follows through after each of its reviews, ensuring that performance is improving as a result of the changes they recommend. The panel also shows an high level of independence, choosing, planning and completing their reviews with little support, whilst

fostering good working relationships with their landlord.

The highly commended certificate went to: Croyden Housing’s Scrutiny Panel

The overall award went to an established panel that has carried out a significant number of high quality reviews, covering strategic as well as service delivery reviews. This panel is highly independent and works exceptionally well with officers and other tenants in carrying out their role. The panel has a class leading track record of delivering positive outcomes for service users. In addition, this panel has worked hard to help many other panels from across the country – sharing their best practices and insight. The award for Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel South went to: Soha Housing Scrutiny Group

Award 7 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – Scotland
Read more about REST, Thenue Housing Association

Award 7 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – Scotland

Winners: REST, Thenue Housing Association

Presented by Linda Levin, Independent Housing Advisor & Consultant

The submissions received for both Scotland and Wales were fewer than in other regional areas and also highlighted the broader experience in both the north and south of England. Consistently, the best customer scrutiny panels are built from the foundation of their relationships with the landlord. The judges recognised there’s some great work going on in Scotland.

The judges closely examined all of the submissions, to identify examples of positive practice in the work of the scrutiny, inspection and mystery shopping groups and one submission in each of the Scotland and Wales regions stood out above the rest.

In Scotland this was: REST, Thenue Housing Association – who were commended with a Recognising Positive Practice Award.

Award 8 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – Wales
Read more about Newydd Tenant Scrutiny Group & Newydd Housing Association

Award 8 - Most Inspiring Scrutiny Panel – Wales

Winners: Newydd Tenant Scrutiny Group, Newydd Housing Association

Presented by Linda Levin, Independent Housing Advisor & Consultant

A similar picture emerged in Wales with submissions fewer than in other regional areas. The judges closely examined all of the submissions, to identify examples of positive practice in the work of the scrutiny and again, one submission from Wales stood out above the rest.

Newydd Tenant Scrutiny Group, Newydd Housing Association were commended with a Recognising Positive Practice Award.

Award 9 - Best Overall Service Improvement

Award 9 - Best Overall Service Improvement

Winners: Soha Housing Scrutiny Group

Presented by Michael Gelling OBE Hon CIHM, Chair, TAROE

The judges reviewed all of the submissions in each of the categories when choosing who to award Best Overall Service Improvement. This one really was a tough call – so many of the nominees were able to demonstrate excellent positive outcomes from their reviews. In this category, the judges were only focusing on the outcomes from reviews. The overall Winners Award went to the panel who’s submission demonstrated a wide range of outcomes resulting from the reviews completed. Two of their reviews in particular resulted in significant value for money gains. The Winner of the Best Overall Service Improvement Award 2015 was Soha Housing Scrutiny Group

The highly commended award for 2014 went to: New Charter’s Tenant Management Team.

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