East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) housing service looks to bounce back from COVID and deliver a programme of improvements.
As part of EDDC’s commitment to improvement, an independent survey has recently reported back on tenant satisfaction. Plans are now in place to make changes based on the messages received.
The survey, carried out in March 2023 and conducted by independent company Service Insights Ltd, was sent to approximately 3,700 tenants, through a variety of channels including letter, email and text.
The firm received a 22.5% response rate (831 replies) and the results have shown areas of concern, particularly in relation to repairs, communication and EDDC’s complaints processes.
Reflecting on the results, Councillor Dan Ledger, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said:
“We know the service we have been delivering to some of our tenants has fallen short of the standards we were delivering pre-COVID. As a good social landlord, we are committed to working closely with our tenants. We are listening and acting on the concerns raised. EDDC is making the necessary changes to ensure our tenants are happy in their homes, we deliver to the standards expected and that we have a good tenant-landlord relationship across our housing stock. These changes will take time to fully bed in so please bear with us as we go through this transition.”
As part of regulatory changes being introduced under the Social Housing Bill, which come into effect in 2024, EDDC will now be conducting a tenant satisfaction survey each year. However, the Council took the opportunity to get ahead of the game to assess post-pandemic satisfaction levels and to help guide where improvements need to be made.
To support tenants the housing service has introduced estate walkabout events, and annual tenancy inspections which will see all properties visited each year. The housing service is also currently undertaking a review of how tenants are involved with the service and will be refreshing its tenant involvement strategy. Following the results of this survey a number of tenant focus groups are also being set up in order to understand more about tenant’s experiences.
Amy Gilbert-Jeans, EDDC’s Assistant Director for Housing said:
“We all know the operating environment for providing our services has been really tough over the last couple of years. The service has had significant officer turnover and vacancy levels which has impacted on our ability to deliver in some frontline areas. We do have a dedicated team of housing officers who are listening to this valuable feedback our tenants have provided and we are now developing enhanced ways to work with them. These survey results have shown there is work to do, but we are making steady progress and we are grateful to all those tenants who participated.”