Nine out of ten service users would recommend their landlord to friends and relatives, according to a BMG Research user satisfaction survey. The survey – conducted for the Mercian Housing Association (MHA) aimed to provide informed, considered and statistically valid feedback on levels of satisfaction amongst tenants and to asses provision of services in the run up to Audit Commission inspection.
A cross-section of the association’s various tenants (general tenant, general needs tenant, sheltered tenants and leaseholders) was interviewed to enable an understanding of the different service users’ priorities.
Mercian Housing Association is a leading social housing provider in the West Midlands and surrounding areas. Established in 1964, the association now owns around 3,500 homes and provides a service to approximately 10,000 people. For over a year now BMG Research has worked alongside MHA to deliver a quantifiable consultation process – a process begun with the tenant satisfaction survey.
An ambitious and forward thinking registered social landlord, MHA emphasises its commitment to community and regeneration in the areas it serves.
The association manages a variety of housing, including:
• rented and leasehold accommodation;
• low cost home ownership; and
• supported housing
MHA has an innovative approach to tenant involvement – in particular it’s 400 strong Shareholder Board. It also invites tenants to examine and audit the services of their association, has a ‘tenant inspectors’ scheme and hosts open forums every six weeks for tenants and leaseholders.
The forum has had a significant impact in affecting delivery of services including a new bank account for tenants, a community fund to boost tenant-led projects and new repair timescales. The most recent Audit Commission inspection gave particular praise to the MHA for it’s commitment to involving tenants and seeking new ways of encouraging wider participation.
The initial survey, conducted by BMG Research, was an all-resident customer satisfaction survey, broadly using the STATUS - standardised tenant satisfaction questionnaire. This method allows a performance comparison with other housing associations who use the same methodology in their consultations.
Data were gathered on area of residence, tenancy status, gender, age, ethnicity, activity and status, length of tenancy with MHA, satisfaction with the overall service provided, satisfaction with the way in which repairs are dealt with and specifically whether the respondent had received completed repairs within the previous 12 months.
In addition to the standardised questionnaire several questions were added to address key areas of concern for the MHA. These questions were decided by a preliminary workshop, held jointly between Mercian tenants, leaseholders and BMG Research.
In the survey MHA earned a high approval rating from tenants - 84 per cent being either satisfied or very satisfied with their accommodation and 75 per cent having no intention of leaving their current abode.
The association also scored particularly highly in regards to communication with tenants – 90 per cent found contact with MHA to be a positive experience. Eight out of 10 feel that the MHA keeps them well informed and 85 per cent read Mercian News (the association’s newsletter).
The survey results gave the MHA detailed analysis of the factors which drive satisfaction and which areas they should target in their future planning.
Debbie Jinks of MHA says: ‘It’s been great working with BMG Research, the agency really does see itself as a partner rather than just a supplier. BMG Research has worked with us now on a number of projects and the quality of research has been consistently excellent.’