Earlier this year I wrote to you to share a summary of our improvement and recovery plan. I promised that we would share regular updates about the plan so that you could see our progress and the steps we have taken to improve.
Today I want to share with you our May update on the progress we have made against each of the five key themes in our plan. Our key priority remains to provide safe and good quality homes for all our residents. You can read the update below.
Yvonne Arrowsmith - Interim RBH Chief Executive
This information is available in Braille, audio, and community languages. Please phone Freephone 0800 027 7769 or email email@example.com. You can also use the "language and accessibility" button on this page.
Our key priority is to provide safe and good quality homes for our residents.
- The RBH Board have agreed to invest an additional £45 million in our existing homes over the next five years.
- We are also accelerating our programme of replacement of kitchens, bathrooms, and central heating systems so that work scheduled to take place over the next seven years will instead be completed in four to five years.
- We have also commissioned a 100% stock condition survey, so that we are clear on what the future investment needs are. This work will give us a much better understanding of the condition of the homes of our tenants and help us plan necessary investment works in homes.
- While we concentrate on the quality of our existing homes, we have paused our plans to develop new homes. We need to get our existing homes right first.
We are combining all our property-related services into one new team. This team will include repairs, environmental services, and asset management.
We've revamped the information available on our website about what to do if tenants experience damp or mould - please visit www.rbh.org.uk/dampandmould to find out more. We are particularly grateful to the RBH tenants who took the time to attend workshops to help us to update these materials. We will continue to review and improve this information.
Tenant Involvement and Empowerment
In April 2023, we reintroduced community drop-ins which now run monthly in four locations from 10am until 4pm. More information about the drop-ins is available at www.rbh.org.uk/dropin.
Customer-centric training for all RBH employees has started, with the first groups completing their courses in March and April 2023. We also had a session at the RBH all-employee conference, including a discussion with the Housing Ombudsman, Richard Blakeway.
We're improving how our colleagues can support tenants for whom English is not their first language. We've rolled out the Language Line app for all front-line colleagues and a training campaign has begun to ensure that colleagues can use the tools available to them. We have also created new leaflets with our updated damp and mould information, which are available in both English and a range of community languages.
Our elected tenant and employee Representatives have appointed Kevin Brady as the new Chair of the RBH Board. Kevin brings a broad range and depth of experience in both housing, central and local government, and he will play a vital role as we implement our recovery plan and rebuild trust with our tenants, communities, and partner organisations. Our Representative Body has also appointed Tim Weightman as a new Non-executive Director. Further appointments are due to be made to the Board later this month.
Recruitment is ongoing for our new permanent Chief Executive, and we hope to make an announcement in the early summer.
Employee Representative Alex Allen has been appointed as the new Chair of the Representative Body. Click here to watch his introductory video message. Nominations for the 2023 Representative Body elections will open on 16th June.
The RBH Board have approved the setting up of a Tenant Services Committee, which will scrutinise how we are delivering for our tenants. This will include tenant representatives – we will share the advert for these tenant roles soon.
Rebuilding Trust and Confidence
Our interim Chief Executive Yvonne Arrowsmith has met regularly with key stakeholders. This has included meeting with individual Councillors and MPs. Yvonne attended the March scrutiny committee meeting to take questions from local elected members.
On 28th March the Housing Ombudsman published their report on their special investigation into RBH. It looked at how we had managed complaints and some related wider issues. We accept the findings in full and we apologise unreservedly for the failures highlighted in the report. Click here to read a full response from our interim Chief Executive, Yvonne Arrowsmith.
Work continues on our in-depth review of what went wrong and why. We will publish a summary of the report and recommendations later this year, including details of how we intend to implement those recommendations.