The coronavirus pandemic meant that 2020/21 was a challenging time for everyone. Throughout the year, we worked to deliver the services you rely on while keeping residents, communities and our employees safe.

80% overall satisfaction with our services

92% satisfaction with our 
customer service centre

78% of queries were 
resolved on the first call

28% of customers have an online account to manage their tenancy through our website

Maintaining vital services during the pandemic 

Like all businesses, we had to make significant and rapid changes to how we work in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Our top priority at all times is the safety and wellbeing of our customers, staff and communities.

Our frontline staff working in customers’ homes and neighbourhoods adhered to strict protocols, using personal protective equipment and new working practices to ensure that services were delivered safely. Our Customer Service team – as well as many of our other employees – had to quickly adapt to working from home, while still providing excellent services.

Throughout the year, we adapted our services in line with national restrictions and the government’s guidance on coronavirus. We maintained the most important services at all times, such as urgent and emergency repairs, and we reintroduced other services when the rules allowed us to. 

We offered essential support to people in our communities throughout the crisis, especially to our most vulnerable residents and those who had been affected by coronavirus in any way. Our Tenancy Support team continued to help those in need of extra financial assistance, by providing guidance, advice and information. 

We also set up a dedicated Welfare Fund for customers affected by the pandemic, made welfare calls to many of our customers to offer reassurance and worked with a range of organisations to provide support to our communities. 

You can find out more here.

Responding to your feedback

We log all feedback we receive as a compliment, a grumble or a complaint. 

In 2020/21 we received:

309 compliments

270 grumbles

291 complaints

90% of complaints were resolved at the first stage of our complaints process

Whether your feedback is good or bad, we want to hear it. We carry out surveys and collect your comments to help us see how we are performing, what we do well and where we could improve.

In 2020, we started collecting feedback through Feefo, an independent online review platform. This makes it easier for you to complete our surveys – we just send you the link to your survey and you can tell us what you think with just a few clicks. It also allows us to respond to you in real time and, by cutting out the need for paper-based surveys, it is helping us to be more environmentally friendly and avoid waste.

We now use Feefo for all our regular customer surveys. These include the survey you are asked to complete after you have a repair carried out on your home, as well as the feedback we gather on grounds maintenance, communal cleaning, external improvement works, and the welcome and induction process for new tenants. 

We also monitor our Customer Perception Score, which is based on the 5-star review within Feefo, where we ask: ‘Please tell us how you rate Watford Community Housing overall’. At the end of 2020/21, we achieved a rating of 4.2 out of 5. 

Three complaints were escalated to the Housing Ombudsman in 2020/21. Of these, one was ruled to fall outside their jurisdiction and two were classified as “Landlord has offered reasonable address – no maladministration”.

Data incident – March 2020

On Monday 23rd March 2020, an email which contained personal information about some of our customers was sent out in error. Throughout 2020/21 we carried out extensive work to support customers who were affected and prevent any such incident from happening in the future.

  • We set up free identity and credit monitoring services and wrote to everyone affected by the incident to offer these services.
  • We set up FAQs on our website to provide a range of information, advice and support for customers.
  • We carried out an internal investigation into the incident that included a review of our operating procedures.
  • All staff completed additional mandatory training.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) carried out a review of the incident. Following this, it issued some recommendations to us to prevent a similar incident happening again but did not consider that any regulatory action should be taken. We take our obligations towards data protection extremely seriously and we will continue to work in line with the ICO’s recommendations.