• Review of service charge letters and statements - May 2018

    We've reviewed the letters and statements we send out to customers relating to service charges and we asked customers for their views on these before we start sending them out to all of our customers that pay service charges.

    We received a good response to the consultation and would like to thank everyone that completed a survey and provided their views.  Feedback was received from both our leasehold customers and our rental customers.

    Rental customers - 94% of respondents felt the letter was easy to understand

    24% of these felt addtional information should be included in the letter           

    82% of respondents felt the statement was easy to understand      

    18% of these felt addtional information should be included in the statement

    Leasehold customers - 100% of repsondents felt the letter was easy to understand               

    56% of these felt that addtional information should be included in the letter                           

    100% of repsondents felt the statement was easy to understand                               

    67% of these felt additional information should be included in the statement

    We received lots of ideas for improving the letters and statements.  These were collated and sent to the service charge team to consider.  The service charge manager would like to thank everyone that reviewed the documents and has said that in light of the comments made, the team have altered some of the wording, this includes – removing the term ‘simplified’, altering the ‘52 weeks’ referred to on the statements and reviewing the term ‘budgeted costs’.  The team have concluded that not all of the ideas suggested could be included in the letter but that they would provide more detailed information on the website which will be updated in due course.

  • Aids and Adaptations policy review - May 2018

    We gave customers the opportunity to review our new aids and adaptations policy before the policy is approved.

    We would like to thank everyone that provided feedback. 

    79% of respondents agreed with our approach to aids and adaptations.  21% partly agreed.  Following a review of the feedback, it's been agreed that we should improve our promotion of the aids and adaptations service and that we need to review our procedure regarding servicing and maintenance.     

    The policy will now be passed to our customer overview group for approval. 

  • Anti-social behaviour policy review - May 2018

    We gave customers the opportunity to review our anti social behaviour policy.

    We would like to thank everyone that completed a survey and provided feedback.

    60% of respondents agreed with our approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour and 32% partly agreed.

    The anti-social behaviour team have reviewed all of the feedback they received from customers. Lots of good points were made and they have used this feedback to make some changes to the policy wording.

    The team recognise that reporting anti-social behaviour can be very stressful and they will always do whatever they can to support people through the process, it’s a joint approach and working with customers is critical in helping to reach a resolution.

    The team are happy to accept reports of anti-social behaviour in a variety of formats and will continue to use technology to develop the service. They did receive a number of comments regarding how we respond to the issue of noise, life styles can be very different and subsequently each noise report is assessed on a case by case basis, the team have a detailed process for dealing with each situation. To assist with investigations of noise nuisance we now have access to a noise app to help people report issues.

    We were told that the policy was difficult to follow due to inconsistencies in the way we refer to people, i.e. complainant, victims, perpetrator and the way we describe staff as colleagues, employees etc. we have worked to improve the consistency of the wording.

    Every report of anti-social behaviour received is taken seriously, our approach is impact based and detailed procedures are followed to identify how a situation is responded to. Due to the complexity of our procedures, it’s not possible to include every detail describing how we manage, record and respond to incidents in the policy but we can reassure you that all reports of anti-social behaviour are recorded and retained for future information.

    The following has been added as a direct result of feedback from customers

    Aster will respond to reports from those affected by ASB irrespective of their tenure, where ASB is perpetrated by those who hold a tenancy, lease or license with Aster.

    The revised policy will now go through our approval process, once approved the policy will be displayed on our website.

  • Lettable service standard - April 2018

    Aster has reviewed its lettable service standard and we wanted customers views before the new standard is approved.

    We received a good response to the consultation and would like to thank everyone who completed a survey and provided us with feedback, whether good or bad.   The head of service lead for lettings has said that customer feedback has been welcomed and the lettable standard will be updated to reflect the points made.  Namely, redecoration requirements will be more flexible and agreed between the lettings officer and the voids surveyor.  Locks will be changed where a risk has been identified.  A fully functional electric shower will be retained in all properties and replaced in sheltered and extra care housing.  Heads of service are continuing to review the customer service standards prior to final approval.

  • Internal and External Decorations and Pre-Paint Repairs Contract - March 2018

    The current contract we have for internal and external decorations and pre-paint repairs ends on 31 March 2018.

    We are therefore taking this opportunity to ensure that we have the most appropriate contractor(s) providing the services required.

    The preferred contractor(s) will undertake planned painting and repairs to the communal areas where you live. This will be carried out on a cycle in line with your lease, usually every six years.  

    Residents affected should now have received a Stage 2 section 20 consultation letter to that affect.

    If you would like to submit a formal observation please email observations@aster.co.uk by 26 July 2017

    A list of FAQs can be found here.

    The proposal can be found here.

  • Review of Aster's customer service standards - January 2018

    Aster reviewed its estate and tenancy management, customer service and anti-social behaviour service standards.  We wanted customers views before these were approved .

    We also developed a new customer service pledge to replace the existing customer service standard.

    We received a really good response to the consultation and would like to thank everyone that completed a survey and provided us with feedback, whether good or bad.  All feedback received was sent to the heads of the relevant departments to review. 

    ASB Service standard - 84% of customers agreed with the standard.  Feedback received has not led to any specific changes to the standard.

    Estate and Tenancy Service standard - 64% of customers agreed with the standard.   Following comments received no fundamental changes will be made, but clarity will be made to those elements which apply to tenants, leaseholders and shared owners.

    Customer Service - 80% of customers agreed with the move from a set of service standards to a customer service pledge that is more transferable to other areas of the business. 

    Heads of service are continuing to review customer feedback relating to the new service standards prior to final approval.  The new standards will be published on our website once approved. 

       

  • External decorations - North Somerset, Bristol and Bath

    Thank you for your feedback. Cyclical maintenance works including pre-painting repairs on properties in North Somerset, Bristol and Bath is now underway.

    A list of FAQs can be found here.

  • My Account consultation - January 2018

    In January we consulted with frequent users of My Account, leaseholders, shared owners and PFI customers.  We did this to gain an understanding of what customers would like to get from the My Account on-line facility.

    The feedback received highlighted the main reasons for using the on-line facility, these are checking rent balances, making payments and updating personal details. 

    Suggestions for improvements were around the registration and log in process, being able to log and track repairs and the provision of more information regarding service charges and rent statements.  The feedback has been passed to the project groups that are working with our supplier in developing a new improved on-line service.  

  • Repairs and Maintenance Policy - October 2017

    Thanks for all your comments received on our Repairs and Maintenance Policy. 

    Your feedback has been shared with colleagues that approve the policy and used to make any necessary changes.

     

  • Safeguarding Policy - July 2017

    This consultation has now closed. 

    Thank you for all your comments received on our Safegaurding Adults and Children Policy.  Your feedback has been shared with colleagues that have approved the policy.

    At Aster we take safeguarding very seriously and ensure colleagues are fully aware of its importance and key principles.

  • East Dorset grounds maintenance contract - July 2017

    Thank you for your feedback. This consultation has now closed.

    Once we have reviewed the feedback received we will write again to those customers effected to advise of the outcome and next steps if any.

  • The future of the Aster Foundation - July 2017

    The Aster Foundation is our way of defining the additional work we do, outside of our core activity.

    The Aster Foundation has been operating for just over a year and has achieved some fantastic results. Under the Foundation we provide a range of things from match funding colleague fundraising activities to providing digital skills training for our customers.

    It is intended that the Aster Foundation will form a key element of our wider corporate social responsibility strategy in the future and will include those activities that support our work as an ethical landlord.

    But before we make any changes, we sought the thoughts of our customers using an online survey.



  • Lettings Policy - June 2017

    This consultation has now closed.

    You can view the policy here.

    Draft Lettings Policy

  • Tenancy Policy - May 2017

    Thanks for you feedback, this consultation is now closed

  • Major works, Kingsway Gardens, Andover - March 2017

    This section 20 consultation has now closed. Thank you for your feedback.

    Stepnells Ltd have been appointed as sole contractor for this project and will be undertaking essential remedial work on five blocks of flats (Atholl Court, Saxon Court, Stuart Court, Tudor Court and York Court) in Kingsway Gardens, Andover, starting in spring 2017.

    Please visit our dedicated webpage for further information or if you would like to contact the project team and have not been able to find the answer to your question on our website, please email kingswaygardens@aster.co.uk.

     

  • Grounds maintenance - March 2017

    We recently completed a tender for our grounds maintenance service in Devon and Cornwall and Dorset and Somerset. We want to ensure that we are providing customers with best value for money whilst retaining a good service for grounds maintenance services such as grass cutting, shrub border maintenance and hard surface maintenance.

    We have now finished stage two of the section 20 consultation and a summary of any observations received can be found here. After carefully reviewing each bid against the work required there will be no change to the current offering in Dorset and Somerset however Ground Control Ltd will be responsible for providing grounds maintenance services in Devon and Cornwall from April.

    Download the grounds maintenance service tender.

  • Domestic Abuse Guidance (Appendix ASB Policy) - June 2016

    Domestic abuse has far reaching impacts and Aster is committed to providing a victim centred, sensitive and confidential approach.

    We have consulted with the same group of customers as for the ASB policy, they have helped us to revise our domestic abuse guidance which has been incorporated into our internal ASB procedures.

  • Anti Social Behaviour Policy - June 2016

    The 1996 Housing Act definition of ASB is 'Engaging in or threatening to engage in conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to persons engaged in lawful activities'.

    Aster customers consider dealing effectively with ASB as of significant importance and we are committed to working to prevent and resolve reported cases.

    The policy outlines expectations of key principles when dealing with ASB in our communities.

    We have consulted with customers that have previously had this experience, they have helped us revise our current anti-social behaviour policy.

    You can view the new ASB policy by clicking here

    You can view the new ASB service standards by clicking here

  • Homefinder Somerset - May 2016

    Homefinder Somerset have made some proposed changes to their allocations policy and want to know what you think.

    This consultation has now closed.

    Click here to see the results of the consultation.

  • Mechanical and electrical repairs and maintenance

    The current contracts for mechanical and electrical repairs and maintenance (fire alarm systems, fire fighting equipment, sprinkler systems, emergency lighting, planned servicing and repairs to stair lifts and hoists, passenger lifts, CCTV, Communal TV systems and stored water testing) ended on 31 March 2018 and we needed to have new contracts in place from this date.

    We are took the opportunity to ensure that we have the most appropriate supplier(s) providing the services required.

    The appointed contractor(s) will undertake the programmed servicing and ad-hoc repairs of mechanical and electrical installations in all of our residential properties including communal areas where this equipment is currently installed or could be in the future.

    Those homes affected have been notified and residents.

    A list of FAQs can be found here.

    The service specification can be found here.

    The tender outcome proposal can be found here.

  • Heating and hot water repairs - September 2016

    Thank you for your feedback - this consultation is now closed. 

    We were concerned that our heating and hot water service did not give priority to our most vulnerable customers whose health and wellbeing could be severely affected by the loss of heating and hot water in their home. 

    Following a period of customer consultation we have made several positive changes to the way we prioritise our heating and hot water repair service.

    From 1 November we will no longer use priority codes to schedule repair work and will instead base our decision on the customer and their level of need. 

    If you have any questions please read our Questions and Answers.

  • Customer Service Standards - April 2016

    In 2014 the Customer Excellence Group created a set of Customer Service Standards using research from other housing associations and the commercial sector. 

    The group met again in January 2016 to review these standards and to see if they were still fit for purpose.

    Click here to see the agreed revised document.

  • Online Customer Portal - April 2016

    Our online customer account portal allows customers to access our services 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Once you register you can pay your rent, request a rent statement, report a repair, report an issue such as anti-social behaviour, apply for a garage, and lots more. 

    We want to make this service as good as we can and have been speaking to customers that have registered, to get their views.

    You told us that you would like to be able to request a new PIN directly from the log in page, this has now been added. Some customers also said they would like to be able to identify Housing Benefit payments on their accounts, these are now visible.

  • Repairs and Voids - February 2016

    We has been looking for customers interested in regular involvement with a new Repairs and Voids Group. 

    We will share and steer ideas for service changes and improvements, review repairs priorities, gather information on what customers think about the repairs service and review satisfaction data.

    A number of customers expressed their interest. The new group first met in February 2016 and will continue to meet on a quarterly basis.