Equality and Diversity
We value people’s differences and treat people equally. We will keep to the requirements of the 2010 Equality Act. There are a number of groups and individuals who are disadvantaged for many reasons. We will not put up with any form of discrimination from our staff, tenants or any other people either working with us or on our behalf.
Communication and information
We want to make sure that you can communicate with us easily.
- we offer translations and information on audio disc or in large print where needed.
- you can phone us or visit the office during opening hours.
- you can visit our website for answers to frequently asked questions.
- you can make an appointment with your dedicated officer (if your problem is more complicated).
- send regular newsletters, yearly performance reports and rent statements;
- offer consultations about changes to any existing policy which affect your home or tenancy agreement;
- send out forms or literature within five working days of you asking for them, if they are available; and
- respond to all tenants’ written queries in ‘plain English’ and within 10 working days.
For new tenants we will:
- prepare a tenant handbook containing important information about your home and tenancy agreement; and
- give you a support charter if you are a tenant of a supported scheme when you move in
Contact by phone, our staff will:
- arrange for a duty officer to respond to urgent calls each working day;
- give their name; be prompt, polite and helpful;
- listen and respond sensitively to your needs or direct you to the person who can help you; and
- respond to all their phone messages by the next working day unless they are ill or otherwise away from the office.
Office visits, our office will:
- clearly display opening times;
- be accessible to everyone, including those tenants with disabilities;
- be safe, clean and welcoming;
- deal with all callers within five minutes;
- provide a private meeting area for confidential interviews; and
- provide up-to-date service information.
Appointments and home visits
We will make sure that our staff and contractors:
- offer you a convenient appointment within five working days of you contacting our staff;
- carry Innisfree ID cards when visiting your home;
- tell you as soon as possible if we need to cancel an appointment and, where possible, rearrange that appointment;
- make appointments before visiting you unless the visit is urgent;
- leave a card when no-one is at home, providing clear contact information; and
- respect your home and follow our code of conduct. (You can ask us for a copy)
Out of hours, when the office is closed:
- an answerphone service will be available with detailed instructions for emergencies;
- we will respond to messages taken from the answerphone within one working day; and
- we will provide access to a dedicated emergency support service (not repairs) if you are a supported tenant.
Rent and service charges, we promise to:
- keep rent levels in line with the Government’s guidelines;
- provide advice and support with benefit claims to help you pay your rent;
- work with other agencies to make sure we provide extra support for vulnerable tenants;
- review service-charge costs each year to make sure we provide value for money; and
- provide a breakdown of our service charge if you ask.
Rehousing, as far as possible, we will:
- provide information about transfers and rehousing options for people applying for housing;
- work within the timescales set out in the allocations policy and procedure;
- be sensitive to the needs and circumstances of everyone applying;
- provide accompanied viewings;
- make sure that letting interviews give you full information about your responsibilities as a tenant, property information and our services;
- carry out settling-in visits within six weeks of the start of the tenancy;
- offer you a resettlement plan if you are moving from our supported housing to help you keep your tenancy; and
- tell you about our performance in newsletters and in reports every three months.
Repairs and maintenance, we will:
- meet our repair responsibilities outlined in our tenancy agreement, including carrying out a gas safety check every year;
- publicise and provide an out-of-hours service for emergencies;
- prioritise repairs and let you know the priority and times for completion;
- where appropriate, make sure we consult you before we start the work;
- give you a copy of the work order;
- give you a repair satisfaction form to fill in when the repair is finished and encourage you to fill it in to help improve our service;
- investigate if you are not satisfied with the repairs;
- inspect a sample of completed repairs to assess the standard of work;
- carry out a regular decoration programme in line with our stock condition survey; and
- pay reasonable moving costs and any statutory compensation if we need you to move out temporarily so we can carry out major repairs.
We will also:
- keep to the Government’s Decent Homes Standard;
- let all new properties in line with the Tenant Services Authority’s national standards;
- ask you for suggestions on how we can improve our repairs and maintenance programme;
- make sure contractors keep to our code of conduct; and
- take action to recover money from tenants who cause damage to their homes.
We will not put up with any form of antisocial behaviour. We will work with tenants and legal and partnership agencies to put a stop to antisocial behaviour.
If you are a victim of antisocial behaviour, we will:
- investigate all cases sensitively, fairly and within published timescales, as shown in our antisocial behaviour policy;
- provide support, carry out emergency repairs within 24 hours, remove graffiti within 48 hours and give advice and support on other security measures;
- encourage community development and resident involvement on our estates to help improve community links;
- where appropriate, offer mediation if both sides agree; and
- take legal action where necessary to deal with incidents, including eviction.
Tenant involvement and consultation
We will encourage and ask for your:
- feedback on the services we provide;
- representation on committees, the Scrutiny Panel and the board; and
- involvement in monitoring the services we provide.
- actively encourage you to comment and give us feedback on the way we deliver services;
- actively encourage any tenants wanting to form a tenants’ group or association by providing support and training;
- consult with tenants on policy and procedure reviews; and
- agree a tenant involvement plan with residents.
If we receive complaints, we will:
- make it easy for you to make a complaint;
- help anyone who requires assistance in making a complaint;
- treat you fairly and respectfully;
- listen and deal with your complaint in a prompt and courteous manner;
- keep you informed throughout the process of your complaint;
- take your complaint seriously and investigate it fully and impartially;
- apologise when we get things wrong; and
- put right any mistakes made and learn from them.
Confidentiality and privacy.
- in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act, we will keep your personal information confidential and you can ask us in writing to have copies of the information held on your personal file;
- any correspondence or interviews with us will only be seen by the necessary staff; and
- staff and contractors must keep to all our codes of conduct.
What you can do to help us meet these standards
Your tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract with us and sets out your responsibilities to us.
You must agree to:
- the property being your only or main home, and give us four weeks’ notice if you plan to leave your property;
- pay your rent on time and let us know if delays are unavoidable;
- make sure you have a clear rent account if you want to move;
- report repairs promptly and make sure that the decoration inside your home is maintained to a good standard;
- use the out-of-hours repair service only for genuine emergencies;
- carry out any repairs for which you are responsible;
- respect our staff and contractors and keep appointments (or let us know as soon as possible if you cannot keep an appointment);
- respect your neighbours and not cause a nuisance or harass anyone;
- allow contractors in to carry out yearly gas servicing and repairs;
- let the Housing Benefit department know about any change in your circumstances; and
- before you move, make sure that your home is in a good, clean condition.
Remember, if you fill in feedback forms and surveys, we can provide a better service for you.
We are committed to delivering high quality services to all our tenants. We set targets for our performance in most areas of our work. We publish a summary of our performance each year in our Newsletter
No-one is employed by Innisfree unless they have satisfied a rigorous approval process. They are expected to meet our standards of service and conduct at all times. Similar standards are required from our contractors and consultants. If you have a complaint about anyone providing services for Innisfree, please tell us.
If you are not happy with any of our decisions, you can make a complaint. Details of how to do this are set out in our leaflet ‘Complaints, Compliments and Suggestions? Make your voice heard’. Copies of our Complaints Policy are available from the office.