A message from Kathryn Harrison, English Rural’s new Resident Services Director
English Rural’s success means that we continue to grow, either by building new affordable rural homes or by like-minded housing associations joining us. This growth has led us to think about how we can deliver services to residents in a better way. We have been listening to feedback from residents, many of whom have told us that the way we have traditionally supported them no longer works as effectively as it once did.
Reflecting on this feedback and the changing needs of the association, the decision was taken to restructure both the housing and property staff teams. We are confident that the new structure will secure the skills, talent and staffing levels that we need to continue to grow, but more importantly it places residents firmly at the heart of our activity.
We have created a new Resident Services Director role, in place of the two service heads. This role will lead all aspects of our resident service offer including repairs and maintenance, compliance, asset management and sales and lettings.
We have also strengthened the skills available to support our work with residents. This includes three new roles – Repairs & Maintenance Surveyor focused on improved contractor performance and cost control; an Asset & Compliance Manager who will oversee planned investment and compliance; and a Customer Services Manager responsible for providing a positive customer experience. The Customer Services Manager will be supported by; three dedicated Customer Services Advisors who will respond to resident enquiries; and a Sales & Lettings Advisor acting as a dedicated resource for our growing sales and lettings function.
Three Regional Housing Managers will continue to act as the first point of contact on the ground for resident welfare and tenancy and arrears management. These roles remain unchanged and aside from residents living in the New Forest, your dedicated housing managers will remain the same.
The new structure streamlines the communication channels between English Rural and its residents. The overall benefit to residents is a more efficient and transparent service, clearer communication and collaboration, improved feedback mechanisms and a more ‘joined-up’ service offering.
Many of the existing staff have taken up roles within the new structure, we have also said goodbye to some and will be recruiting new individuals as well. By investing in this new structure English Rural will be enhancing the way that we will be able to support residents, it also increases the number of staff delivering services. Residents can still contact us in the same ways as before.
We are confident that both residents and staff will begin to see the benefits of the new structure as we head into 2021 and beyond.
Kathryn Harrison, Resident Services Director