The lockdown low down on Resident Engagement

Lockdown has been a strange time for Elaine Warwick, our Resident Engagement and Scrutiny Co-ordinator, who has been desperate to work with you yet massively restricted.

However, we have good news, even though our Bedford Heights head office will remain closed for most things for the foreseeable future, Elaine has put together a plan to ensure we still work with residents, gather your feedback and use that to improve our services – despite the restrictions in place.

Elaine said: “It’s vital that we continue to work with our residents, talk to them and use their comments to build upon the services we offer. I am aware that these times are particularly challenging for many of us and how important it is that resident voices continue to be listened to and acted on.”

Our team of resident volunteers will still be working closely with us. This year members of Resolve, the residents that review complaints, will have a particular focus on our Complaints Process, looking at complaints we’ve received and making sure they have been dealt with fairly. Also, as we start looking at moving to carrying out planned works our volunteer Resident Inspectors will be making telephone calls to gather feedback on how the work has gone.

Elaine is also currently looking at organising a series of online resident focus groups, set to gather feedback on different parts of bpha.

We’re aiming for business as usual

We’re working hard to maintain ‘business as usual’ as much as we can and are hoping that our efforts now will mean there is less to catch up on when lockdown ends. The most important thing for us is keeping both residents and colleagues safe and well so we are following Government guidelines strictly.

We’re very aware that the coronavirus pandemic might mean some of the services we offer change, yet at the moment it’s still too soon to know what those changes might look like. So, we’ve decided that the Service Charge amounts for April 2020 – March 2021 will still remain. We will continue to review the services offered as part of your Service Change payment. As soon as the situation improves we’ll be in touch to let you know if anything is set to change and if the amount you pay will stay the same, decrease or increase.

These times are so uncertain but please be reassured that we’re doing all we can to make sure that we are providing the services you expect, while keeping everyone safe.

Coronavirus hasn’t stopped our partnership working

We may have had to think up some different ways to do things, but we haven’t let lockdown get in the way of our work with other organisations.

Thanks to the strong partner working relationships we have built (and a bit of technology) we’ve joined forces with other Bedford based organisations to ensure we’re all supporting communities in the right way.

Since lockdown, our Community Development team has formed ‘The Covid 19 Partnership Support Group’ and co-ordinate and chair the monthly meetings with representatives from a whole host of organisations. These include Bedford Borough Council, Public Health, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue, Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, the charity Faces and other housing associations. Meetings have focused on working together to deal with safeguarding issues, looking at solutions to address unwelcome behaviour and supporting each other with our exit plans as we slowly come out of lockdown. The sharing of information and support received has been great.

Work continues to develop these partnership groups in areas outside of Bedford.