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HIGH WEALD HA SATISFYING TENANTS' HOUSING NEEDS

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High Weald Housing Association is providing a satisfactory service to tenants, according to a report out today from...
High Weald Housing Association is providing a satisfactory service to tenants, according to a report out today from the Audit Commission.

A team of housing inspectors found High Weald is providing quality services to its customers. Strong features of the association are its reception service and the management of anti-social behaviour. Further strengths include the sign-up procedure for tenancy agreements, follow up visits and a low cost telephone number for reporting repairs.

The inspection team found some examples of High Weald working towards continuous improvement. The association is raising standards in service delivery. The team were impressed by:

- The quality of the new homes pack

- The mystery shopping exercise to obtain tenants' views of the housing association

- The 'sorted initiative'. This is a fast track telephone complaints service for minor problems.

The team concluded that the association needed to work on:

- A fully operational repairs appointments system.

- Tenant involvement and participation.

- A holistic asset management strategy. The association needs to take a wider view of planning for the future of its homes and take full account of customers needs - both now and in the future.

Although High Weald's approach to continuous improvement using best value principles was slow to get off the ground, it has nevertheless established a comprehensive framework and programme to move forward. Given the high calibre of staff and the detailed work that has already taken place, we are satisfied that there will be further improvements to service delivery over time.

Bernadette Fry, principal inspector at the Audit Commission said:

'High Weald housing association is delivering effective services to tenants and leaseholders. We have seen good evidence to show that it is working hard to improve services, particularly in relation to tenant involvement, equality and diversity.

'However, the association does need to play a more a ctive role in housing plus initiatives and to continue its work on best value.'

The association, based in Tunbridge Wells, is part of the Town and Country Housing Group. The association has 5,776 homes, which include general needs and sheltered accommodation, The majority of the stock is located in West Kent and East Sussex.

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