Service Improvement Panel Update 4

I can’t believe it is only 7 weeks until Christmas; it seems to have crept up on us this year what with no summer to speak of.  Since September I have been busy with the NIBE boiler scrutiny that I am leading, visiting Bedford and the surrounding area many times during the last 6 weeks.  I can now find my way round the one way road system in the dark and can even get home to Stilton without going via Luton! (and I’m not joking).

One of the pleasant tasks this month has been RSIG’s trip to York to attend the 2nd Annual Tenant Panel conference organised by Northern Housing Consortium on Transparency and Value for Money.  Both relevant topics in today’s environment and of course we also discussed Welfare Reform, housing, health and social care and the challenges this will bring to all housing providers.

After the three main presentations the day continued with a choice of workshops and to enable us to get a good overview of the subjects on offer only two RSIG members attended the same workshop.

One of the workshops I attended was on a scrutiny carried out by ‘Calico’ on Older People’s Services and while the methods used to gather information from residents was interesting it was refreshing to know that we are at least up to scratch, and in some cases, ahead of how we work with our landlord.   The scrutiny group for Calico are called RAISE (Raising Action to Improve Standards and Excellence), have 12 members who all take part in a review; coming together at different times to discuss progress.  This particular review took 8 months to complete which was a surprise to me as our reviews, which are divided into sub-groups, take approximately 4 months from start to finish enabling us to carry out three full scrutiny procedures a year giving, we think, much better value for money. Carrying out reviews in this relatively short time span can be very intensive and time consuming for those involved, usually 3 members but at others it is more relaxing and my car gets a rest from ploughing along the A1 and A421.

Other workshops I attended were on ‘Carrying out scrutiny with dispersed stock’ and ‘Attracting, using and rewarding feedback from residents’ respectfully.  The latter being the most interesting as I know Elaine has difficulty in attracting new members to RSIG but unfortunately the presentation was hijacked by too many people asking negative questions with the result the presenter was side tracked.

The best part of the trip was the opportunity to network and get to know the other members of RSIG better.  There is no better way to get to know your colleagues than to be stuck in a car for 5 hours on a 2 hour journey thanks to accidents on the A1 and M1.