Introducing.. the Greater Manchester & Cheshire Regional Scrutiny Board

Onward is proud to be taking part in National #ScrutinyWeek 2020, between Monday 27th July and Friday 31st July.

#ScrutinyWeek offers us a chance to celebrate the impact of our scrutiny work and share stories, information, and updates from our Regional Scrutiny Boards (RSBs).

Onward has three RSBs which comprise a diverse range of tenants from all of our three regions, namely: Lancashire; Merseyside; and Greater Manchester & Cheshire. They meet with Onward colleagues every three months to review how our services are performing and identify where improvements can be made.

In the final blog of a series throughout the week, we meet members of the GM & Cheshire RSB and discover how they’ve been coping with coronavirus. We also take a look at how their recent work has made an impact on the organisation.

Meet a member..

Dave Ashworth, Bolton
“At the beginning of March, I thought there were going to be a lot of people hiding behind COVID and making excuses for not doing things. From my point of view though and in my experience, Onward hasn’t done that.  I have been kept well informed through meetings and other things.”

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the Customer Engagement team has been working hard to ensure that customers and RSB members like Dave have continued to be able to engage with Onward.

Dave retired from work 10 years ago and, since then, hasn’t had much cause to keep up on his digital skills. He has always preferred face-to-face communication when taking part in board meetings. However, he recognised that coronavirus would change things and that the RSB would need to find new ways of working.

Together with Suzanne, our Customer Engagement Specialist, the two tried and tested a number of communications options including phone calls and email via tablet and laptop. Eventually, for Dave, Microsoft Teams offered a solution.

Getting to grips with digital has enabled Dave to attend all RSB meetings, meet with other customers, receive updates from Onward and meet with the Repairs team to help formulate their next project.  On the support he received in developing his digital skills, Dave said: “It has helped me to keep in the loop and assured me that scrutiny has not been forgotten.”

Len & Audrey Roper, Cheadle
We first got involved in scrutiny at Onward when we took part in a feedback forum on a new Customer Charter. We both felt we could help bring about change and improve the relationship between tenants and Onward. We also have many years’ experience in the people’s industry and have done quite a lot of charity work.

Therefore, we decided to become part of the Onward family and become members of the GM & Cheshire RSB.

When the coronavirus outbreak began, we both felt that Onward might close down its involvement in a lot of areas but, to our delight, they have been very innovative in tackling and working through the problems that have been thrown up. Onward has helped us learn to use Microsoft Teams, made calls to tenants to ensure their safety and helped us understand Government legislation. 

In addition to this, the staff who mostly work from home have been very diligent in making sure that the organisation carries on as much as possible. We are looking forward to the day when we can meet up with Onward colleagues to further enhance customer relationships.

What has the GM & Cheshire RSB been up to?

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

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

  • 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

For more information on the RSBs recommendations, take a look at our latest scrutiny update available here.

If you would like to be considered for a role on one of our RSBs please contact the Customer Engagement team at

Alternatively, become a member of the Customer Engagement Community. As a member, you will be invited to give feedback and help shape the future of Onward. You will also be able to influence the priorities in your neighbourhood and access a range of training opportunities to help you develop new skills. And if that wasn’t enough, all members are entered into a monthly prize draw.

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