DGHP doubles housing officers in latest boost for tenants

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has introduced a new way of working which will further transform customer services for thousands of tenants across the region.

DGHP Housing Officer Lesley Henry and Housing Officer Victoria McDonald

The latest improvements see the number of housing officers at DGHP doubling to 53, with each officer now managing an average of 200 homes each - among the smallest patch sizes in the UK.

This will allow staff to build a much closer relationship with customers and provide tailored services in the local communities. Housing Officers in DGHP will also have much more influence than ever before to make decisions for customers at the first point of contact.

In addition, as part of improving services, DGHP customers now have access to the Customer Service Centre (CSC) 24 hours a day, seven days a week – meaning they can contact staff at a time convenient to them.

Calls to the CSC can be made via the freephone number 0800 011 3447 and customers can report repairs as well as make payments and check their rent accounts.

Alison Lamont, DGHP’s Head of Housing for the Stewartry and west, said: “The increase in Housing Officers marks a positive change in our customer focus. Although, due to the pandemic, our staff will only carry out essential visits for now, they will be having much more contact over the telephone and building stronger relationships with customers. More importantly, though, they will be able to get more done for customers.”

Martin Gill, Head of Housing with DGHP for central and east, added: “This new way of working is part of DGHP’s transformation programme, developed to empower staff to deliver truly customer focused, and personalised, services – as a direct result of joining Wheatley Group at the end of last year.”

Embracing the new way of working, and commitment to giving more choice to customers, one local Housing Officer, Lesley Henry, who covers an area of the Machars, said: “I am really excited about working in the local communities around the Machars. Having a much smaller patch allows me to be out and about in the area so much more and enables me to build closer, and more personalised relationships to really make a difference.”

Another Housing Officer, Victoria McDonald, who covers some areas of Dumfries, said: “The new smaller patches will mean that I can be more hands on and get to know everyone in my area better. I’m really looking forward to building good relationships with customers in my patch and being able to offer them help and assistance more quickly as well as responding to any issues more effectively.”

DGHP’s Managing Director, Matt Foreman, added: “When the partnership deal between DGHP and Wheatley Group was agreed last year, there was a commitment to not only offering job security to existing employees, but also a promise to create new jobs and training opportunities through investment across the region – this is an important step towards that and having more staff on the frontline will make that happen.

“All of our Housing Officers across the region are now in place and each and every one of them are passionate about helping others and making a difference to the lives of our customers and their communities.

“This will really help our customers across Dumfries and Galloway and all of our staff are really looking forward to getting to know their customers better and everyone will soon receive a flyer with details of who their local Housing Officer is and details on how to contact them.”

Natalya Macholla, Director of Customer Services, said: “It’s great news that, as a result of fulfilling one of our commitments, DGHP customers now have access to a 24/7 Customer Service Centre and we are already recruiting for more staff locally. We are looking forward to providing an excellent service to customers across DGHP, at a time that is convenient to them.”

Doubling the number of Housing Officers and providing 24/7 customer services are just some of the ways DGHP is improving their services since joining Wheatley Group. They have already started work on 1000 new affordable homes across the region, are carrying out additional investment works in customers’ homes and have recruited graduates from the area for the first time.

Pictured above (left to right) Housing Officers Victoria McDonald and Lesley Henry.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020