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First six months in post for our Customer Panel Chair

Sarah Mason NEW 15.11

In October 2022 we recruited our Customer Panel Chair Sarah Mason and then together set up our new GSA Customer Panel.

The panel work in partnership with us to ensure resident-led scrutiny where the customer's voice is heard, used to influence, and drive performance and service improvements.

The customer panel also provide assurance that we conduct ourselves in an open, transparent, and accountable way.

We spoke with Sarah to find out how her first six months have been, and what the panel have already achieved in that short time.

How have your first six months as Customer Panel Chair been?
It’s been a great first six months but also challenging.

I’ve had to learn a lot and make a lot of connections. I’ve needed to understand how housing associations work and do a lot of training and compliance work. 

It’s been fantastic getting to know all the Customer Panel members and also meeting a lot of GreenSquareAccord colleagues. 

What have been your highlights?
My highlights have been getting to understand what is important to GreenSquareAccord customers and then being given the opportunity to make a difference and improve things for them.

What has been most challenging?
The most challenging has been working through negative comments and giving feedback.

It can be really difficult to get caught up in single issues or things which I think may be important, but it’s about listening to what the panel tell me are the most important things to all of our customers and then giving feedback to GreenSquareAccord about what our customers want to see improve.

What have the panel achieved since it formed?
Our panel represents 89,000 customers in 27,000 households.

In our first six months we have:

  • Had an input into our new Community Involvement and Empowerment Strategy
  • Given feedback on the rent increase briefing document for colleagues
  • Changed the damp and mould process following feedback to make it more customer friendly
  • Been involved in shaping the Vulnerable Customer Policy
  • Worked on the way GreenSquareAccord reports on its performance through their monthly infographic, making it clearer for customers to understand
  • Developed four working groups in GreenSquareAccord Localities who will work on the following over the course of the year:
    - Repairs and maintenance
    - Customer complaints and customer experience
    - Building safety: damp mould and condensation, and health and safety
    - Communication.

What will be the panels focus for this next year?
The panels priorities will be to continue to focus on the above. Asking questions and holding GreenSquareAccord to account, continuing to get involved in important messaging to customers and new policies.

The panels new working groups in our localities will reach out to our wider customer base through our new customer focus groups. They’ll look at some specific service areas across GreenSquareAccord, ensuring we make changes to the services that will benefit our customers.

I’ve really enjoyed my first six months in post and I’m excited about the great changes that our customer panel can help implement to improve customer experience at GreenSquareAccord.

Find out more about our customer panel on our website here.