Supporting People We have delivered a total of 7500 hours of direct housing related support to people living within Merthyr Tydfil - 386 people received ‘one off’ housing support and 141 people received ongoing tenancy support. Our aim with this service is to support, encourage and equip people with the skills to live independently – we achieved this with 69 people. 40 are still receiving support.
Recycling Fly tipping continued to be a problem for the borough, and we continued our work not only to clear the mess but also to educate and encourage people to take responsibility for their own rubbish and unwanted items.
We collected 75 tonnes of rubbish, the majority of which is recyclable. All rubbish was taken to the recycling centre in Dowlais, where materials are separated and, where possible, recycled. Along with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council we held a joint recycling event in Caedraw and provided Swn Yr Afon and Maesygarreg with boxes and shelving to create recycling centres for the flats. This has helped to increase the levels of recycling there.
We held a community skip day in Trelewis, where we provided 2 skips for residents to get rid of any unwanted good free of charge, helping to keep the area tidy.
We were part of a multi-agency group which included Keep Wales Tidy, Flytipping Action Wales and National Resources Wales, which looked at levels of fly tipping and litter in Gurnos and came up with ways to address it. The outcomes have informed Welsh Government ‘Our Valleys’ project.
In 2018 we will be working Pantyscallog Primary School on a “Don’t WASTE our future” project/campaign to educate and raise awareness of the problems fly tipping causes.
We will work towards being the best We are proud of how we take responsibility as a mutual, and we encourage our employees to take responsibility in the work that they do day to day. We believe that taking responsibility and having a sense of pride results in good customer service and tenant satisfaction. We have continued to monitor tenant satisfaction of our services, and this has increased.
Overall tenant satisfaction is at 85% - they are happy with the services they receive from us. We completed 99.9% of emergency repairs on target time – with just one repair not being completed within target.
In terms of urgent repairs, our performance has continued to improve year on year with 99.4% of urgent repairs were completed on time – this is above our target of 97%.
89.6% of routine works were completed on time – this is an improvement from 86% last year.
Tenant satisfaction for repairs has increased from 97% last year to 99.5% this year.
We carried over 12,000 repairs with 99.8% appointments kept.
We received 45,421 of calls and 96% of these were answered in an average of 3 seconds. We were ranked the best housing organisation in Wales for the speed in which we answer calls and 3 in the UK. (Housemark 2017/18)
Last year we let 290 homes.
We continue to improve the length of time properties are empty between tenancies and last year we had 31 homes empty at the year end and the average time in days from keys being handed in to the home being signed up for by a new tenant was 40 days. This has improved from last year’s average of 42 days.
We take always try and act responsibly and tenant feedback is really important to us, as we can use feedback to highlight where improvements are needed.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, 67 complaints were received and considered, in line with our Complaints Policy. Of the 67 complaints, 24 were upheld or partially upheld. These figures show a reduction in total amount of complaints received of 42% compared to last year.
Last year we worked hard to resolve communication issues around our repair service. We used to receive a lot of complaints around poor communication and we hard on this to reduce the number of complaints. We asked our Scrutiny Panel of tenants to check this was correct. They carried a telephone survey calling a sample of tenants who had received a repair in the 3 months prior and asked them how well we had kept them informed about the repair and when it would be carried out. We received positive feedback from the tenants but it was acknowledged that there were a small number of occasions where we had not kept the tenant informed especially where outside repairs were concerned.
We will continue to monitor any trends through the next financial year.
Our Complaints Appeal Panel, made up of tenant and employee representatives from the Democratic Body, has continued to deal with all complaint appeals we receive. They initial decide whether an appeal should be considered or not, and if so they then hear the appeal and have final authority to decide the outcome and any compensation. Last year eight appeals were received – a reduction of 50% on the previous year and the panel upheld 2.
2 complaints were made to the Ombudsman, however in both instances the Ombudsman did not investigate or report.
We believe that everybody has a part to play, and we actively encourage members to get involved in some way to have a say, and influence what we do. We provide lots of opportunities for our members to become involved, and provide information and support to empower them. We want people to have more choice, to be able to do more for themselves and to take more responsibility.
As well as having the opportunity to become a member, and ‘have a say’ through membership activities, people can become involved in a variety of ways. In addition to the Democratic Body, we have a range of opportunities on several Panels and Forums.
Our Residents Participation Forum (RPF) looks at MVH services to see how well we are doing. They work with us to identify any areas for improvement and help us to change services to meet the needs of our tenants. Vacancies on the Forum are advertised to tenant members, who are then invited to attend an informal meeting to see the work RPF undertake and the difference that can be made.
Our Grant Panel is made up of tenant and employee members working together to assess applications from groups who want to provide projects and activities within Merthyr Tydfil. The Panel make a decision on what levels of funding to award and receive feedback on what impacts the funding has had for members of the community. Vacancies are rare and only offered to MVH members. The Panel try to be as inclusive as possible and offer the vacancies to people who are not on other forums and panels.
We have two health and safety related forums. They do not have any statutory accountability for our compliance with occupational health and safety legislation instead they are our consultation and communication bodies.
The Tenant Safety Forum (TSF) is a group of tenants who are committed to helping us to deliver our goal of ‘Safe Homes and Everyone Home Safely’. The purpose of the TSF is to help us to monitor, review and develop safety policies and procedures which support our goal. They scrutinise our performance in relation to gas safety, fire safety, asbestos, electrical safety and legionella management. They report findings and results of follow up to the Residents Participation Forum and Democratic Body.
A Residents Fire Safety Committee is an informal group open to both tenants and residents of our properties in Caedraw to openly discuss fire safety concerns and issues, freely exchange information of incidents and initiatives around the borough and to generally improve fire safety awareness throughout our community. This forum has primarily focused on St Tydfils Court and the Caedraw Blocks to date, but is open to all - including both private residents as well as our tenants. A partnered approach with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service provides an open and balanced means of consultation.
Openness and transparency We are open, transparent, and share lots of information openly with our members, our communities and our key stakeholders. Our Board and Democratic Body meetings are open, and observers are welcome to attend. Copies of agendas and minutes are on our website. We communicate with people in a variety of ways and provide regular updates on news and events. We have active social media pages and encourage a two-way conversation.
We were the first organisation in Wales and one of the few in the UK to send every tenant our fire risk assessment of the blocks of flats where they live. We also published every fire risk assessment on-line.
Wherever possible, we look to offer members opportunities to enhance their skills by providing opportunities for them to undertake training free of charge. Over the year members have undertaken 174 hours of free training, including H&S, ICT, Governance and Scrutiny. This is an area that we are keen to develop, and will be offering lots more opportunities in 2018/19.
Membership Benefits We have secured lots of benefits for our members through our exclusive membership benefits scheme. We have continued to work with a variety of local businesses to offer discounts and incentives, and with additional 3 businesses have been added this year – we have something to suit everyone! We are currently engaging with 28 organisations across the Borough – everything from hairdressing, to cafes, to garages and children’s play centres.
Following the Democratic Body shortlisting the 3 charities to go forward for the 2017/18 Members’ Charity of the Year vote, members chose to support ‘Merthyr and the Valleys Mind’.
The Members’ Charity isn’t just to raise money but also to raise awareness of the cause and how people can benefit from their help. Throughout the year we held various fundraising opportunities for members to get involved in, including
• Members’ Walk up Penyfan – the highest peak in South Wales.
• Launched the Mindful Members book swap in office reception where members could donate/swap and buy books for a small donation
• We had tombola table at our Annual Members Meeting with items that were donated by employees.
• Organised a coffee morning where employees were able to purchase cakes to support World Mental Health day in October.
• Organised swop shops in all six of our community living complexes where residents could donate unwanted clothes, shoes, bags etc. The collected items were then distributed around different complexes where residents were able to purchase the items. • Merthyr and the Valleys Mind held an open day in Merthyr College to mark World Mental Health Day and we supported them by having a stall at the event where we were able to promote services of our own. • Halloween, Christmas and Easter raffles. • Held a quiz in November and entry money for the quiz was donated to the charity.
In total we raised £1929.30!
This is being used to fund their ‘Talk to Me’ service of free counselling sessions for those who need to speak with a qualified counsellor quickly. At a cost of £35 per session and a maximum of 8 sessions per person (which equates to £280 per person) our help has meant MATV Mind are able to offer this service free of charge to up to 8 people.
Merthyr and the Valleys Mind were extremely grateful to MVH for the support saying “Through the support of MVH we have been able to raise the profile of our organisation and have been able to promote our services and projects’.
Last year they introduced a number of changes to the process to maximise the benefit the funding could offer, they also creating an online application form which provides a faster method of submitting an application. The panel want to encourage more and more people to take part in activities and introduced a smaller grant for groups of volunteers who are not part of a formal group to apply; we awarded our first grant of this kind to Cyfarthfa Community you can read more about this group below.
Last year we awarded over £30,000 and were thrilled to see the range of ideas being put forward by applicants. The panel is spreading the word far and wide and last year promoted the grant scheme through our social media pages. The Engagement and Ownership Team are able to offer support and advice to applicants, if you wish to know more please contact Amelia or Claire on 01685 727751.
Grant cases studies
Cyfarthfa Community Group – Are a group of volunteers who work together to improve the appearance of their neighbourhood. They applied for a grant so they could purchase equipment needed to undertake regular litter picks. The group receives lots of positive feedback from the community on the impact they have made and continue to go from strength to strength.
Bridging the Gap Youth – Are an afterschool youth club for young people aged 8+ and is fully inclusive of young people with additional or specific needs. They received a grant to provide a healthy eating project with the young people, and also to purchase musical and sensory equipment. Feedback from the young people and their families has been fantastic and the project has exceeded the expectations of those involved.
Soar – held a Welsh Festival in July 2017 to raise awareness and use of the Welsh language. The festival saw a mix of stall, workshops and fun activities to give people a taste of Welsh Culture. The festival received sponsorship from MVH and it was great to see over 1000 people attending and coming together to celebrate Welsh language and culture.