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In the last edition we

reported on the recent

changes announced by the

government and what they

would mean for you and for

us as a landlord. The effect

of reducing your rent by

1% a year for the next four

years means that we will lose

£11m in our income over

that time.

Like many other social housing

landlords we have had to identify

efficiencies and have already

identified some of the non-staffing

related savings we can make to

minimise potential staff losses.

Unfortunately there will be a

need to make savings through

staff cuts across the group at all

levels. We have been consulting

with staff on our re-structure


Our priority is to safeguard

services for residents, so to

help save costs we are

looking at different ways of

doing things.

One of the non-staff related

savings identified was on printing

and postage costs. If we

communicate with you via our

website and other digital means

we can save approximately

£13,000 per edition of the echo


Therefore this is the last edition of

echo that we will be mailing to

over 16,000 households.

We will still, however, be printing

copies for residents of our sheltered

and specialist supported schemes.

If you are not a resident in one of

these schemes and you wish to

receive a printed copy of echo in the

post, please complete the freepost

card enclosed with your full details.

Changes to the way

we communicate

We will continue to write to you

directly about





etc., but like most

housing associations we are

moving increasingly towards

digital communications.

For example, we are currently

testing a new

text messaging

facility which will be rolled out to

residents shortly. Soon you

will be able to text us the word




and you will

automatically receive your rent

account balance. Or if you

want us to call you back, simply

text us the word



Once the system is launched

we will publish our new text

number on our website and

display it in our offices.

While texting will benefit many of

our customers, we understand

that it is not for everyone.

If it is not for you then all you

need to do is let us know and we

will make a note on your

account that you do not wish to

receive texts.

Thank you.

Chris Ashton

Executive Director (Housing)

The residents on our Scrutiny Panel

work hard to ensure that we

perform well against our targets.

They also provide insight to help us

improve services.

The panel recently commissioned a

team of resident Quality Standard

Inspectors to conduct a survey

about complaints. They carried out

phone interviews with residents

who have raised issues about our

services to determine how effectively

we dealt with their complaints.

Jane Churcher

, Chair of the

Communications Special Interest

Group, took part in the survey.

She said:

“I often say that being

an involved resident does make a

difference – and this is one of

those occasions.

“Thanks to the Quality Standard

Inspectors’ work, the Scrutiny Panel

now has a clearer picture about

how the complaints procedure can

be improved.

“I want to say thank you to each and

every person we contacted about

this. You have made a real difference

by taking the time to help with the


The Scrutiny Panel will now meet with

our senior management team to

discuss the responses and pinpoint

ways to improve our approach to