These standards set out the level of service that we aim to provide overall and in our main areas of work.
We are committed to meeting these standards. We welcome your feedback to help us to monitor what we do and further improve.
Our guiding principles
At all times, we will:
- be polite and helpful;
- communicate clearly;
- respond as quickly as we can to your enquiries and try to provide our services right first time;
- not keep you waiting without an explanation;
- make it clear what we can and can’t do and when it can be done;
- treat everyone fairly and with respect, and try to tailor our services to be accessible to your needs;
- admit when we have made mistakes and try to put things right;
- have well trained and knowledgeable staff to deal with your enquiries;
- tell you who is dealing with any matter you have raised with us;
- promote use of our Your Waterloo customer portal as a way of doing business with us at a time and place to suit you;
- follow data protection law, treating information we hold about you in confidence and working to make sure the information we hold is relevant and correct.
When you use Your Waterloo customer portal, we will:
- Enable you to report repairs at any time and keep track of repairs reported to us;
- Enable you to make payments and check your rent account whenever you wish;
- Give you the opportunity to give feedback or update your details;
- Provide answers to many of the questions frequently asked by customers, including information about your home or tenancy.
When you write to us, email us or contact us through our websites, we will:
- acknowledge your communication within a maximum of three working days; and
- reply in full to your communication within ten working days, and let you know if we can’t and when you can expect a full reply.
When you phone us, we will:
- answer the call as quickly as we can and tell you who you are speaking to;
- aim to resolve your enquiry at the first point of contact;
- offer to take a message or arrange an appointment to ring you back if the person you need to speak to is not available;
- ring you back within two working days if we are unable to resolve your enquiry immediately;
- use our answer-phones only when it is necessary and;
- leave a message on our answer-phones to let you know when we will be next available;
- when calling the Contact Centre at busy times we will give you the option to leave a message with your details and we will call you back within 24 hours.
When you want an appointment to see us, we will:
- arrange an appointment in your home, at one of our offices to suit your needs or a suitable venue of your choice;
- make the appointment for a time convenient to us both and;
- tell you as soon as possible if we cannot keep the appointment, and why.
When we visit you at home, we will:
- be on time or, if delayed, call you to let you know when we will arrive;
- show you suitable identification and be happy to wait while you check it;
- explain the reason for the visit;
- respect your home and all reasonable customs and;
- leave a card if you are out, telling you how to contact us.
Our housing services standards
Our housing services standards below apply for the most part to our rented homes. Please see our separate standards that apply to leasehold or shared ownership homes managed by Waterloo Homes, as some of the services (for example, relating to repairing or maintaining your home) are different or are not applicable.
A: Repairing and maintaining your home
The repair and maintenance of your home is as important to us as it is to you. Your home should feel well-maintained and safe. If something goes wrong, we want to put it right first time.
Key standards we will deliver:
- we will provide and maintain all homes to a high standard;
- we will deliver a prompt and efficient repairs service with clear published timescales for carrying out emergency, urgent and routine repairs;
- we will provide a variety of ways to easily report a repair, including being able to request an emergency repair at any time, every day of the year.
Non-emergency repairs will be able to be reported by using the self-service 'Your Waterloo' customer portal on our website where you can, or by calling our Contact Centre;
- we will explain whether the repair work is our responsibility or yours;
- we aim to complete your repair at the first visit. If this is not possible we will keep you informed of progress;
- we will try to offer you a choice of repairs appointment times and will let you know if we are unable to keep them;
- we will cancel a repair if you do not keep the appointment we have made with you and charge you for the cost of the call out, unless there are exceptional circumstances for this;
- we will consult you about any planned improvements which affect your home and give you clear timescales for such planned work;
- we will carry out yearly service and safety checks on all gas and solid fuel appliances in your home;
- we will respect your home and clear up after the work has been done;
- we will ask your permission if we need to use your electricity supply or other items to carry out works in your home, though we may be unable to carry out these works if you do not give us this;
- we will gather residents’ feedback on the performance and behaviour of our repairs staff and contractors and inform you of the outcomes of this. This may be by way of a phone call to you after works have been completed, or by asking you to complete a short survey.
B: Your local neighbourhood and community
We want you to enjoy living in your home and neighbourhood, without fear from others. It should feel like a place where people get along and you are proud to call home.
Key standards we will deliver:
- we will ensure that the estates we manage are clean and safe;
- we will regularly inspect our estates and do estate walkabouts to check and monitor their upkeep, condition and the services we provide;
- we will use a range of ways to help prevent and deal with anti-social behaviour;
- we will treat reports of anti-social behaviour seriously and confidentially, and investigate them quickly and efficiently;
- we will take appropriate action against people who cause a nuisance to their neighbours and work with other agencies where necessary to resolve this;
- we will discuss with you the steps we plan to take to deal with the problem and keep you informed of progress;
- we will produce an action plan to deal with on-going problems we need to monitor and review;
- we will guide you towards any other relevant sources of help and support and will focus on your needs and concerns;
- we will provide a variety of ways to easily report an issue, particularly through using the self-service 'Your Waterloo' customer portal is you are able or by calling our Contact Centre otherwise.
C: Letting our homes
We want to help as many people as we can to live in an affordable home. When you want or need to move, we will make it as easy as we can for you to live in the place you choose.
Key standards we will deliver:
- we will let homes as quickly and as fairly as possible;
- we will take part in ‘mutual exchange’ schemes to help you if you want to move home by exchanging your property with another tenant;
- we will tell you how to apply for housing, as well as the help we can offer you to apply for any related welfare benefits;
- we will give you information about how we work with local authorities to provide housing, including how the housing waiting list or choice-based lettings scheme operates in your area;
- we will tell you about our services as your landlord, together with other information to help you settle into your home including information on how to use the heating system and any other appliances provided by us.
D: Setting and managing rents
Paying your rent is an essential condition of your tenancy. We want to help and encourage you to pay on time.
Key standards we will deliver:
- we will offer a range of payment options, including Direct Debit which is our preferred way for you to pay your rent;
- we will give timely information to you about your rent account, with support for those who need it;
- we will provide a number of ways for you to check your rent account, including at any time using the self-service portal ‘Your Waterloo’ through our website;
- we will keep rent arrears low by taking firm but fair action, and keeping you informed of any action we are planning to take;
- we will contact you promptly if you fall into arrears with your rent;
- we will take appropriate legal action against you if you repeatedly fail to pay your rent, which could lead to eviction;
- we will work with specialist agencies to provide you with advice on managing your money, including help with budgeting and dealing with debt.
E: Involving you
We want you to feel that we are open to your feedback and always interested in what you have to say. Your involvement influences our decision-making and helps us to improve.
Key standards we will deliver:
- we will offer a range of ways for residents to get involved to help improve and develop our services, including through our Your Waterloo customer portal, surveys and by using digital communications such as text messaging, email, social media and our websites as appropriate;
- we will listen to you and take your views into account wherever possible;
- we will consult with you as soon as we are able to on changes that directly affect you;
- we will tell you the outcome of your involvement and what changed;
- we will encourage and assist residents from under-represented groups to get involved;
- we will encourage and promote Local Board membership, mystery shoppers and involvement in our residents’ scrutiny panels;
- we will provide regular online news updates and a tenants’ report to you once a year;
- we will make sure at regular intervals we update the information we hold about you, including any particular needs you may have, and how you would like us to communicate with you;
- we will give you the ability to pay your rent anytime to suit you through our dedicated payment provider, Allpay.
F: Achieving value for money
We carefully manage our business and finances to try to provide value for money. In all that we do, this means striking the balance between price, performance and resident satisfaction.
- we will focus on delivering services that offer value for money and will work with you to achieve this;
- we aim to deliver services to you in the most efficient and effective way;
- we will involve customers in reviewing how we are doing on delivering value for money, and report progress to you.
What you can do to help us
We can only achieve these standards with your help. Your responsibilities to help us achieve these standards include:
- where possible, using our self-service portal 'Your Waterloo' for routine enquiries or information, such as checking your rent account;
- trying to discuss minor neighbour issues in most cases with your neighbour before involving us;
- being polite when speaking to us;
- paying your rent on time;
- paying your rent by Direct Debit;
- taking reasonable care of your home;
- reporting to us quickly any repairs we are responsible for;
- giving us access to your home to carry out repairs or safety checks;
- repairing quickly the things you are responsible for;
- behaving in a responsible way towards your neighbours and other people;
- keeping appointments we make with you, or telling us if you can’t;
- telling us when you think we have done a job well, or if you feel we have not;
- reading the information we send you;
- giving information we ask you for, when we need it and;
- informing us when you start to claim Universal Credit.
What we will do to check we are meeting these standards
- we will record telephone calls to our Contact Centre for training, monitoring and feedback purposes;
- we will work with our residents’ scrutiny panels to carry out ‘mystery shopping’ checks on a range of services;
- we will monitor all complaints and customer feedback and what we have learnt from it;
- we will carry out regular customer satisfaction surveys to check how you rate the service provided;
- we will check how our repairs’ contractors are performing;
- we will monitor how we are doing on an on-going basis and identify areas to improve;
- we will tell you about how we are doing and our plans to further improve in our annual reports to tenants and on our website;
- we will compare our performance against other similar housing providers;
- we will deliver customer service training for all our staff and those contractors who work with our customers;
- we will work with our resident-led Local Boards to monitor our performance against these standards.
Please let us know if you have any query or comment about any of these standards. If you want to make a complaint about our services, we have clear published timescales for responding and will tell you how to take the complaint further if you are not satisfied.
You can contact us in the following ways: