Customer Engagement Week: Scrutiny

Onward Customer Engagement Event

Customer views are important to us, and the feedback they provide helps us focus on the things that matter most. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that customer engagement remains a priority and we will continue to embrace new ways of working so we can keep tenants engaged no matter what.

In a series of blogs throughout Customer Engagement Week, we look at the various ways we engage with customers and how they influence change at Onward.

Regional Scrutiny Boards (RSBs)

In the second of our blog series, we look at the great work done by our Regional Scrutiny Boards (RSBs) which comprise a range of tenants from our three regions, namely: Lancashire; Merseyside; and Greater Manchester & Cheshire.

The RSBs meet with Onward colleagues every three months to review how our services are performing and to identify where improvements can be made.

RSB members compare our performance against targets and review customer feedback.

Where the results and feedback highlight areas for concern, the RSBs carry out an investigation which typically lasts for six months. The findings of their investigations and their recommendations for change are formally presented to Onward’s Finance and Performance Committee. In this way, the committee and RSBs are able to hold us accountable for performance improvement.


How have the RSBs influenced change?

Between October 2019 and April 2020, the GM & Cheshire RSB investigated how we could improve the annual gas servicing process for customers.

The board made several recommendations which the organisation will adopt moving forward:

  • Ensure that operatives attempt to contact customers if they are unable to access a property for an appointment
  • Share necessary customer information with operatives to improve service provision, particularly to vulnerable customers
  • Emphasise the importance of the gas servicing process with new customers
  • Speed up the installation of carbon monoxide detectors across all Onward properties
  • Record gas servicing complaints consistently to enable better analysis of data and trends

Meanwhile, the Lancashire RSB investigated how we could improve the process of requesting adaptations.

The board made several recommendations:

  • Make the process of applying for adaptations clearer on the Onward website
  • Provide links to relevant local authority Disabled Facilities Grants information
  • Channel enquiries about adaptations directly to relevant departments, rather than via the Customer Contact Centre

And finally, between October 2019 and April 2020, the Merseyside RSB investigated how we could improve our communication with customers about planned maintenance.

The board recommended that we:

  • Consult customers on Onward’s investment strategy and investment priorities
  • Be clear as to why homes are included or excluded from planned investment programmes
  • Involve customers in decision making about planned maintenance programmes
  • Provide more information about investment programmes on the Onward website and in print
  • Improve communication with customers about maintenance works being carried out to their home, e.g kitchen replacements, particularly if plans change

For information on the ways we engage with customers, contact or call us on 0300 555 0600.

Stay tuned throughout Customer Engagement Week to discover more about our engagement opportunities and how we use feedback to make change.