Our commitment to you
We have launched our Customer Commitment, which, as it sounds, is what we are committing to do for you, our customers.
- It sets out the levels of service you should expect from us.
- It makes clear the behaviours you should experience when you contact us or meet one of our team.
- It confirms some of your key responsibilities as an Incommunities customer.
We worked with customers to produce our Customer Commitment, as we wanted to make sure that it covered the areas that really matter to you.
You can expect your home and any communal areas to be good quality, well-maintained, safe and well-managed.
Please report any repairs to us immediately so we can schedule a visit to repair or inspect and get it sorted for you as quickly as possible and line with our policy timescales outlined below.
Repairs – we will
- Attend to all emergency repairs within 24 hours of you reporting them.
- Complete all non-emergency routine repairs within 20 working days of you reporting them.
- Prioritise routine repairs if you have individual needs that mean we should complete the repair more quickly.
- Aim to complete your repair on our first visit. If we can’t, we will let you know what further works need doing and arrange a follow-up appointment.
- Carry out inspections on a sample of completed repairs to check that the standard we expect is being met.
Keeping you safe – we will
- Contact you to carry out an annual gas safety inspection.
- Contact you to carry out an electrical test. We will carry out electrical tests in our homes every 10 years as a minimum and move to testing all homes every 5 years by March 2024. We’ll also test every time we re-let a home.
- Carry out an annual fire risk assessment in communal blocks.
- Carry out annual asbestos re-inspections in our communal blocks.
- Visit you within 5-7 days, of you reporting damp, mould or condensation, to complete an inspection and check if any work is required.
Moving in – we will
- Make sure that any property that you rent is safe, secure and meets our Lettable Standard
- Provide each new customer with a property standard checklist on the day they sign up for their new home.
Your neighbourhood and tenancy
When you move into your new home, we will provide you with all the information you need to help you start and maintain your new tenancy.
We will ensure we support you when you move into your home and provide clear standards for how we will deal with anti-social behaviour if it occurs in your neighbourhood (for example noise nuisance and harassment).
We will engage with you around priorities for your neighbourhood and we will work with our partners such as the police and the local authority to focus on the things that matter most to you in the area where you live.
We have teams who deliver cleaning and grounds maintenance services to keep communal areas and the wider neighbourhood looking good and we will have clear schedules to do this that we will measure performance against.
How we will do this
Around move in
- Your neighbourhood officer will carry out a new tenancy visit with you during your first 6 weeks in your new home to check that you are settling in well.
- Your Income Officer will contact you within four weeks of moving in to help you with any questions about paying your rent.
If you report anti-social behaviour
- We will respond to urgent anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse within 1 working day and agree the next steps with you. This includes racial harassment or other forms of hate crime and any threats of violence or actual violence.
- We will respond to all other types of anti-social behaviour within 5 working days.
- We will take the time to listen and understand your situation and where we are able to provide support we will agree an action plan with you and regularly keep in contact about it.
- Where appropriate we will work with other partners such as the police to provide support. In some cases, if criminal activity has taken place we will ask you to report this to the police as well.
- We will not always intervene in minor disputes between neighbours and may ask you to address some things yourself.
In your neighbourhood
- Your Neighbourhood Officer will carry out a full estate inspection every 3 months to identify any environmental issues that need addressing and agree actions for how they will be rectified either by Incommunities or our partner agencies. We will invite customers to join us on our inspections and feed in their views.
- We will produce a neighbourhood plan for the area where you live highlighting the priorities we will work on with our partners. We will publish progress against these plans and review them annually in partnership with local customers.
- We will always work proactively in partnership with other agencies in your area through the Ward Coordination Group especially the Police, Local Authority officers and Councillors and Social Services.
- Some Neighbourhoods have a formal Community Safety Partnership. Where this is the case, we will ensure we are involved and influencing their priorities.
- We will make sure you know who your neighbourhood officer is, what they are responsible for and how to contact them.
Grounds maintenance and cleaning
- We will carry out a weekly clean of the communal areas in our high-rise and low-rise blocks and retirement living schemes, in line with our detailed cleaning specification.
- We will cut the grass in communal green spaces every 2 weeks during the growing period, April – October.
- We remove small or single items of fly-tipping on our land within 7 days of receiving a report. We will work with the Local Authority and other agencies to deal with larger incidents of fly-tipping.
- We will ensure we remove offensive graffiti on the day it is reported to us.
- We will carry out a weekly inspection, sweep and clean of all play areas that we own and report or make safe any equipment in need of repair.
Your relationship with us
Our relationship with you will be based on openness, honesty and transparency. Our staff will listen, empathise and work with you to resolve your enquiries and support needs.
We will treat you with respect in all of our communications and interactions. We will be friendly, helpful and be clear about response timescales if we can’t resolve things first time. If we get things wrong, we will say sorry and fix them as soon as we can.
When you contact us - we will
- Aim to resolve your query at the first point of contact. If we can’t, we will provide you with a clear timescale by when you will hear back from another member of staff.
- Respond to all emails within 3 working days.
If you need to make a complaint
- We have a clear complaints policy and process in place which is available to all residents and on our website.
- When you make a complaint we will acknowledge it within 2 working days.
- We will contact you, investigate and provide you with a written response within 10 working days of the acknowledgement letter.
- If you are not happy with our response at stage 1, we will escalate your complaint to stage 2 of our complaints process. We will carry out an independent investigation and provide a written response within 20 working days.
- We will tell you what you can do if you are not happy with our stage 2 complaint including seeking further advice from the Housing Ombudsman.
View our Complaints and Feedback page
- We will make sure our staff feel empowered to provide the best service for you and are empathetic and respectful when they speak to you.
- We will share information on our website, in our Customer Newsletter and through our annual report to customers about how we are performing and how we are run as an organisation.
- We will make sure that the information we send out is clear and simple and easy to understand.
- We will provide lots of methods for you to get in touch with us and give us feedback.
- To cater for different customer needs, we will provide information in different languages, in an easy to read format and will use accessibility aids on our websites such as ‘Recite Me’.
- Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy will outline the areas we will prioritise to ensure inclusive and accessible services and we will build a more diverse range of customer engagement groups to help us understand and adapt to the needs of all our customers.
- We have a Reasonable Adjustments policy, developed with our customers that outlines how we will vary our service offer if required to take account of individual customer needs.
Your voice and influence
Your views will be used to inform decisions and improve services. We want every individual resident to feel listened to by us on the issues that matter.
Having your voice heard
We will gather your feedback on a regular basis through a variety of methods, including:
- Phone and text message satisfaction surveys
- Surveys, workshops or customer working groups about specific issues
- Social media feedback
- Customer scrutiny activities – where we will support groups of customers to review a specific service area or activity that is important for our customers for example repairs or complaints
We will use your feedback to improve services and keep you informed about the improvements we have made.
How you can hold us to account and the information we will provide
- Our Customer Voice Strategy, sets out how we make sure we will be accountable to you.
- Our Customer Experience Committee makes sure we act on your feedback, and it reports into our Board. We have residents on our Customer Experience Committee, working with us to use your feedback to help us improve services.
- Our Scrutiny Panels will carry out in-depth reviews on issues raised by you about our services.
- We will publish how we are performing against our service standards, satisfaction measures and any improvements we are making.
- We will publish an annual report for customers here.
Your tenancy agreement outlines what your responsibilities are whilst you are an Incommunities customer. We have highlighted some of the more important ones below:
- When you are speaking with or meeting Incommunities staff we ask that you treat them with respect and behave appropriately.
- We also expect you to treat your neighbours and other people in your neighbourhood with respect and courtesy.
- We encourage you to engage with your neighbours, support each other and help make your neighbourhood a success.
- We expect you to pay your rent on time and to speak to us quickly if you think you may not be able to.
- We need you to report repairs to us in good time and allow us reasonable access to carry these out so we can keep our homes in good condition.
- Some repairs will be our responsibility, but we expect you to carry out some minor repairs. Our repairs policy includes further information.
- You will be responsible for the internal decoration of your home.
- We expect you to look after your home and return it to us in at least the same condition you received it including removing your belongings and any rubbish.
- We expect you to look after your garden and maintain all grassed areas, trees, fencing and paths within your property’s boundary and be free from rubbish.
- Not to cause any damage to your home – you will be asked to pay for any damage to your home and charged for any item or rubbish left in your home if you move.