Warrington Housing Association has introduced a new role to the organisation – customer voice officer – and appointed this role to Bernie Hubble, a previous independent living co-ordinator.
While Bernie has worked for Warrington Housing Association for three and a half years, she has only recently started as the customer voice officer at the beginning of June and is already excited about the direction she wants to take this in.
Primarily the customer voice officer role came about after the publication of the social housing white paper which came about to shake up how social housing organisations operate.
Overall, there are seven themes in the social housing white paper, all linked by one common thread – that the safety, wellbeing, and opinions of social housing residents are paramount, and it’s down to landlords to demonstrate engagement and performance to their residents.
Bernie said: “I was already heavily involved in WHASP – Warrington Housing Association Scrutiny Panel – run by the residents, after being asked to manage this when I was an Independent Living co-ordinator.
“This was set up before the white paper and is our way of making sure the residents have a voice and can scrutinise the way the organisation runs things that affect them as residents.
“Essentially, WHASP is made up of our customers so our members are the ‘customer voice’ and look at areas such as customer service, repairs, new buildings and voids.
“Their findings help shape our delivery of our service which directly benefits the customers as a whole.
“It, therefore, felt like a natural progression for me to become the Customer Voice Officer and I was fortunate to be offered this.
“The role is essentially working across all the teams we have at WHA to ensure the customer’s voice is heard and are taken into consideration.
“I relish the opportunity I have been given to build on this and to getting out into the community to engage with our customers, something which I find especially rewarding.
“One of the first things I want to put into action and that is part of our Community Action Plan, is to start running roadshows where we can get out and about to meet our customers, learning about them and letting them know what we are about and how we can work together.”
Bernie is passionate about being a voice for the WHA customers, and adhering to the themes of the social housing white paper.
One of her key challenges going forward is to share her enthusiasm with the rest of the WHA teams so that it becomes the standard way of thinking and doing.
She continued: “Fortunately I work with some great people here at WHA and I am lucky that I already connect with many of the teams here through my job writing the quarterly newsletter and managing WHASP.
“So I’m really looking forward to connecting with my colleagues to discuss how much value there is in listening to what our customers have to say, and how we can all make a difference in thinking about the customer first, plus making sure that the white paper standards are incorporated into all that we do.
“The good thing about the past year due to COVID is that it has taught everyone to be more open-minded, in that we don’t always have to stick to the same way of doing things, and have learnt that we should embrace trying new ways sometimes as they could be an even better way if doing things. I’m sure that will be the case here.”
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