We are looking for people to join our customer board and help shape the way we work.
We want to put customers at the heart of everything we do and make sure that customer voices are heard when important decisions are being made about the services they receive from us.
For this reason, we are creating the Prima Customer Board. This group will have an extremely important role to play, acting as the voice of the customer and helping to direct and shape the Group’s future.
+ Why set up a customer board?
‘Putting customers and communities first’ is at the heart of Prima Group’s values, setting out our overall approach to our customers. A recent review of how Prima Group is governed has given us the opportunity to put the ‘tenant voice’ at the centre of our decision making and to ensure we meet our legal, regulatory and business objectives. The Customer Board will ensure we monitor our service standards and deliver on our commitments to all our customers.
The Grenfell fire tragedy in June 2017 and the publication of the Government’s Social Housing Green Paper in August 2018 have also led to a re-focussing of the ways in which social housing customers can truly influence the work of their landlord. The Green Paper puts the focus on landlords responsibility for ‘empowering residents and ensuring their voices are heard so that landlords are held to account’.
+ Will the Prima Customer Board be a ‘box ticking’ group?
No. Just like all housing associations, Prima has a Board which has ultimate responsibility for the governance of the organisation - we call this our ‘Common Board’. Its role is to ensure that the organisation meets its business, legal and regulatory objectives. The regulatory objectives for social housing include ensuring we meet ‘consumer standards’, these cover the day to day landlord services such as repairs, managing estates and communities, allocation of homes and collecting rent.
Our aim is that the Prima Customer Board will provide assurance to the Prima Common Board that we are delivering on our service commitments and meeting the aims of the ‘consumer standards’ and the performance standards set for us.
So, this group will not be ‘ticking boxes’ because the Customer Board will be a formal part of our governance arrangements and will have clear reporting links and communications to and from the Prima Common Board.
+ Who will benefit the most from the Customer Board - Prima or its customers?
Both Prima and our customers will benefit from the Customer Board because it will put the ‘tenant voice’ at the heart of how we are governed and will oversee our work. It will ensure we meet all our promises to all our customers and it will make sure the customer and the landlord work together on our shared values and objectives, so that we will:
Provide homes that meet our customers’ changing needs. Tailor our services to suit customers, supporting those who need a bit of extra help. Help our customers gain the skills and work opportunities they need, so they become self-reliant and financially included. Provide facilities and opportunities for the community to live and be healthy.
+ How much influence will the Prima Customer Board really have?
It will have substantial influence because it will have a formal reporting framework to and from the Prima Common Board (the legal decision-making body); and it will meet with and be supported by Prima’s Executive Director of Operations.
+ How is the Prima Customer Board different from tenant groups and forums?
The formality of the group makes it different; as does the fact that it will have delegated responsibilities from the Prima Common Board. The Terms of Reference for the Prima Customer Board has more detail about the specific responsibilities of the group.
+ Is this the same as scrutiny?
No. In depth scrutiny of our services by customers will continue as a separate activity. The findings of their scrutiny exercises would be reported to and monitored by the Customer Board to ensure that recommendations made are followed through to improve our services.
+ Can I still be involved in my local groups and activities if I become a member of the Prima Customer Board?
Yes. Local involvement and work in your community remains important and we would always encourage and support volunteering for your local community, where and when we can.
We appreciate that the time commitment for being a member of the Customer Board might not suit some of our customers, so we are developing other ways we can hear our ‘tenants voice’. Locally with your neighbours, and individually, we will continue to provide different ways for tenants to give us feedback, so we will continue to gather views and ideas from all our customers in ways that best that fit around your lifestyle.
We will be reviewing our overall approach to involving customers, with the help of TPAS, later this year to ensure that we are doing this in the best way we can, and our Customer Board will play a key role in this review.
If you have any questions then please fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Alternatively, if you require further independent advice about the Prima Customer Board, the Tpas Independent Tenant Advisor, Jackie Grannell, can be contacted on 0800 731 1619.