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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 11/07/2006
PROCEDURES AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR DEALING WITH REPAIRS TO COUNCIL HOUSING OWNED BY WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL.



ANNEXE

1. STANDARD OF TELEPHONE ANSWERING REQUIRED · All telephone calls should be answered promptly – within four rings if possible
· Speak clearly and use greetings such as “ Good Morning” or “ Good Afternoon” followed by our section identification “Housing Maintenance” followed by your first name (for example “Annelie speaking”). Pause after the greeting to allow the customer to “ tune in”.
· The caller should always be treated with respect and should be politely asked for their name and address and this will allow the Customer Services team member to enter the details onto the Orchard computer system and view the property history. For further details of how to add a repair onto the computer system please refer to the Orchard Manual.
· The Customer Services team member should politely ask the caller for the details of the repair that they wish to report and establish if it is a new repair to be entered, if it relates to an existing repair already reported, if it is a repair for which the tenant is themselves responsible or if the caller needs to be redirected to another member of the team or to another internal section or to another organisation (e.g. Surrey County Council)
· Whilst speaking try to establish a rapport with the customer (this will not always be possible)
· Try to speak clearly (about 80 words per minute is the general guideline)
· Try to use positive language
· End your conversation with the customer by summarising your understanding of the details obtained so far. This should help to ensure accuracy and understanding on both your and the customers behalf, so that you both understand what action will be taken and when. Always check that you have clearly understood the customer’s requirements for making an appointment. Please ensure that you inform the customer the timescale that applies to their job. This is critical for 4hour, 1,3 and 7 day jobs. 2. IF A NEW REPAIR IS TO BE REPORTED the Customer Services Team member should ask appropriate questions to determine the following information · Establish the name of the person reporting the repair and the name of the tenant. (This will be useful if the validity of the order placement is queried at a later date)

· The details of exactly what the repair is that the customer is reporting · The exact location of the repair

· The information necessary for access – The customer must be politely asked if they would like an appointment to be made with them by the contractor for carrying out the work. The customer must be advised that the contractors will contact them to establish whether they would prefer a morning or an afternoon call within the established priority timescales for the repair.

· The contact telephone number (s)– home, mobile or work telephone numbers or that of a friend or relative should be noted and entered onto the order together with the relevant details of the appointment required.

· Details should be noted of any special needs and the information used to make appropriate decisions when ordering the repair. For examples of special needs (see paragraph 8).

· Please note that Orchard contains warnings for those customers that are entered onto the Waverley corporate Staff safety register. Further information on each case can be obtained by viewing the register. (in order to locate this go to the Waverley Bulletin Board and double click on the green line which reads “Report It! Report a Problem”. Next click once onto “View Staff Safety Register” and press ” OK”). Depending on the wording that you find present against the customer’s name you may need to advise the Contractor or the Inspector to visit accompanied by a colleague. Should you require further guidance then please contact Elena Howe, Chris Slade or Keith Allen (Safety Officer (Ext 3480). · The customer should be advised if the repair that they are reporting qualifies under the RIGHT TO REPAIR SCHEME. The 1994 Housing Act requires that the Council carry out certain repairs within a set timescale. If it does not do so then the customer may request the Council to get another contractor to carry out the work. If the second contractor doesn’t do the repair within time then compensation is payable of £10 as a set fee plus £2 for each day that the repair is not completed up to a maximum of £50 in total. (for more detailed information on this scheme see separate leaflet entitled “Your Right to Repair As a Tenant of Waverley Borough Council”)) · The customer should be advised of the timescale that is being given to their job so that they are aware of when the job that they are reporting should be completed.

· All customers should be treated with respect at all times. It is recognised that not all customers are polite and respectful when speaking to Waverley Officers and staff however staff are expected to meet the highest standards. Staff can report aggressive customers via the Staff Safety Register and can terminate face- to- face interviews or telephone calls where the customer displays signs of aggressive behaviour or uses inappropriate language. Staff members who have advance notice of having to meet a known aggressive customer should always elect to be accompanied by a colleague for the duration of the interview. Any concerns by the staff member relating to difficult customers should be shared with Chris Slade or David Simmons.
4. REPAIRS THAT ARE THE COUNCILS RESPONSIBILITY 1. ASSIGNING PRIORITY TIMESCALES Toilet not flushing (where there is no other working toilet in the dwelling house)
Leaking from water or heating pipe, tank or cistern
Insecure external window, door or lock

Priority 3 (3 working days)
Loose or detached banister or handrail
Rotten timber flooring or stair tread
Partial loss of water supply
Total or partial loss of space or water heating between 30/4 and 1/11
Blocked sink, bath or basin
Tap that cannot be turned
Partial loss of electrical power

Priority 7 (7 working days)
Leaking roof
Door entry phone not working
Mechanical extractor fan in internal kitchen or bathroom not working
Missing manhole cover

Priority 20 (20 working days)
Fencing
Plaster repairs
Sticking window
Brickwork
Note – The jobs identified above and any others appropriate to this priority will only be carried out if they have a health and safety implication. If they do not then they may be noted or refused as it is of critical importance that all available funds are targeted at achieving the governments Decent Homes Standard by 2010. Please raise an Inspection request if you are in doubt.

Priority O (4 hours)
There are no individual definitions for this priority. The priority is to be used where a repairs situation demands it for example elderly, disabled or vulnerable customers or where families have young babies in the households. See paragraph 8 for further information re

2. COMMON TELEPHONE NUMBERS FOR REDIRECTION INCLUDE:

Gas Central Heating Maintenance – General Housing 0800 917 9306

Gas Central Heating Maintenance – Homeless Properties 01403 254213

Fire Alarm Faults in Homeless Hostels 01483 523128

Surrey County Council – Highways 01483 517540

Pavillion Housing Association 01252 338800

Waverley BC Switchboard 0

Waverley BC Reception desk 3010

6. EQUALITY OF SERVICE PROVISION. 7. SPECIAL NEEDS

Listed below are a number of examples where when receiving repair requests the Customer Services team member may need to be aware of a special set of circumstances:
1) Your ID Code L24438
2) Your organisation name & department Waverley Borough Council Housing Maintenance Section.
3) Your name e.g. C. Slade
4) The language that you require – if you are unable to detect which language that your customer is speaking then please show the customer the language identification card. Please advise the service of the location of the customer. After a wait of 90 seconds you will be connected to an interpreter. Make a note of the interpreter’s identification number.
5) Advise the Interpreter what type of phone set-up you have (e.g. single handset, speaker phone, two handsets).
6) Ask the Interpreter to introduce you and them and to check if the customer is happy to talk using the interpreter or would they prefer an interpreter of a specific gender?
7) Follow this with your lead question e.g. How can I help you?
8) The interpreter will relay the information between you and your customer.
9) End your call by saying “I have all of the information I need, is there anything else you would like to ask me?” The operator will ask you for 8. THE TENANTS CHARTER FOR THE REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE SERVICE. 9. WHEN TO ENTER AN INSPECTION RATHER THAN ISSUE AN ORDER FOR REPAIR. 10. CONSIDERATIONS FOR OFFICERS WHEN VISITING A CUSTOMER’S HOME. 11. ACTION TO TAKE IF ACCESS TO THE PROPERTY IS REFUSED BY THE CUSTOMER.

Comms/o&s1/2006-07/018