Kingdom Housing / News Archive / Kingdom's Key Workers In Focus

Kingdom’s Key Workers In Focus

A message from Bill Banks, Kingdom Group Chief Executive.

 

 

Across the Kingdom Group staff are adjusting to new ways of working to ensure we deliver vital services to tenants and customers. I want to highlight the great work that different teams are doing in these challenging times.

Our repairs and maintenance team continue to carry out urgent and emergency repairs in our properties. Gas servicing is also continuing and our Customer Contact Team is still logging all routine repairs so we’re ready to complete those as soon as we’re allowed to. The health and wellbeing of our tenants and staff remains our priority so, as you’d expect, we’re following all public health guidance.

Kingdom is one of the first housing associations to implement the use of augmented reality technology which means we can talk tenants through some simple repairs or help them make the property safe until we can get there.

The team has also been carrying out essential planned maintenance, including annual emergency lighting tests in block stairwells and some electrical safety checks as well as completing the monthly stairwell fire safety inspections. In addition, stair cleaning is ongoing as we do all we can to keep tenants safe and well.

Remember, we’re here for you. If you need to report a repair, call us on 01592 630 922.

If you’re in one of our new build properties you can report defects using the same number, during office hours. Outwith office hours, please refer to the numbers provided in your ‘Guide to New Home’ that you received at allocation.

 

The Customer Accounts Team along with our Money Advice Officer have been working hard to provide specialist advice and support to our tenants affected by Covid-19. 

Many people are facing new and unexpected financial challenges at the moment and our team is available to offer as much help and support as needed. From basic money advice such as balancing your budget and paying your bills to signposting partners who can help with more specialist advice, we can help.

The team is working hard to stay up to date with all the legislative changes that are happening on an almost daily basis at the moment and are ready to share that information with you.

If you have any questions about money advice, from claiming benefits to accessing essential services, or if you would like to speak to our Customer Accounts Team, you can call: 01592 630922 (choose option 1)

 

Our Housing Team continues to deliver the levels of service our tenants have come to expect.

They continue with allocations to our homeless applicants and have been working with other agencies to ensure that they have the essentials to be able to move into the property, this has involved arranging carpets to be fitted, delivery of white goods and furniture. 

A recent example of how our brilliant Housing Team is pulling out all the stops is when,  recently,  we were contacted by an MP who told us of a young couple that couldn’t have their twin babies discharged from hospital due to their private rent property not being suitable.

The property from us had just become ready to let so we used electronic signature systems to arrange the paperwork through email, then one of our Housing team dropped the keys off to the young family. 

Having a suitable property to move into meant the twin babies were able to be discharged from hospital at a time when the NHS is under great pressure.

Remember, we’re here for you when you need us. If you’d like to find out more about the Housing Services available to you, visit this page.

 

Kingdom Support and Care is on the frontline and continues to provide support to vulnerable people across Fife and Falkirk. The team works tirelessly to ensure supported individuals remain safe at home and help them understand the current situation and the impact it has on society as a whole.

The whole team is working incredibly hard to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone they support and also of the vital support staff who are doing this valuable work. The management and business support function is also essential to the successful delivery of service during these unprecedented times.

Kingdom Support and Care is responding to requests to provide urgent support to new people and adapting support where individuals ask the team to do so, ensuring they have shopping, medication and other essential supplies.

Kingdom Support and Care and the Kingdom Group is here for you. If you’d like any help or advice, you’ll find all of the information you need, including contact details, here.

 

In these unprecedented times, people are having to adjust to a ‘new normal’ and many are facing economic uncertainty. Today I want to highlight the great and valuable work that the team at Kingdom Works is doing.

Kingdom Works is Kingdom Housing Association’s employability project which supports people from all over Fife into employment and training opportunities.

Particularly at this time when many people are facing uncertainty over their working future, the Kingdom Works team is working hard to deliver a range of support services specifically tailored to our client’s needs.

If you are unemployed or have recently been made redundant, Kingdom Works can help with access to vacancies, updating your CV and helping with application forms, provide access to money and benefits advice and can offer industry recognised training.

If you’d like to get in touch with the team at Kingdom Works to find out how they can help you, call them on 01592 631991 or email kingdomworks@kha.scot

 

Our Tenancy Support Service staff are working on the frontline, engaging with local services to help our most vulnerable tenants at this difficult time.

Whether it’s emotional or practical support, advice on money & benefits or help meeting energy costs, we are here to help.

This is a great example of the superb work our team does to help tenants:

“We were contacted by a concerned mother regarding her son who had recently become a tenant. The mum was worried as she was having to self isolate, and felt that without help her son would not be able to cope. He had moved into his new home but had no furniture, white goods, gas or electricity. We phoned the customer to establish what help he needed. We contacted Castle Furniture and despite the depot being closed,  they were able to deliver a cooker, fridge freezer and washing machine to the customer’s new address. We want to try and do everything we can to help customers make the best start to their new tenancies. We arranged a package of bedding, an inflatable mattress and kitchen items through Kingdom Housing Associations crisis fund. Our customer contact team then arranged for these to be delivered by Asda at a time to suit the customer.

We also got in touch with British Gas to get emergency credit added to the meters and our maintenance team got involved in getting the customers cooker working.

 Finally we arranged for an emergency food parcel from Cupar Foodbank to make sure that the customer had enough food for the next week.”

The Coronavirus Pandemic, whilst being a cause for great concern, has already highlighted the amazing partnership work that takes place in Fife. 

From Council, Health and Social Care Staff, to 3rd Sector and Voluntary Organisations; the rapid response to this Global crisis, on a local level, has been incredible.

Remember, we’re here for you. If you want to speak to us about Tenancy Support, call 01592 630922.

 

For the Care & Repair team it has been business as usual during the Covid-19 Pandemic. With full support from our funders Fife Council Housing Service also our partners in Health and Social Care, Care and Repair continue to deliver the major critical permanent disability adaptation service to those most in need. 

The service has continued to accept case referrals for client’s approved by Occupational Therapy Team Leaders. These clients have been categorised as the most vulnerable and most in need. Some of these adaptations, once completed, will facilitate quicker hospital discharges and some will prevent serious falls or accidents preventing hospital admissions. Other adaptations have been chosen as they will free up complex care packages and allow the support to be available to those who will be left requiring help due to the effect of the pandemic.

Care and Repair have worked in collaboration with our colleagues across professional boundaries to streamline and develop an arms-length process that will allow for the quick and effective delivery of adaptation, whilst meeting the legislative requirements of grant awards under the Housing (Scotland) Act.

The Care and Repair Framework Agreement contractors have enhanced their level of service provision. They have bulk bought critical stock so that they may continue to deliver the adaptations as most suppliers have now closed for business. Their cooperative effort and use of photographic evidence has removed the requirement for our Technical Team and Fife Council Occupational Therapy to visit the client’s homes. 

Fife Council Legal Services have agreed to accept digitally signed grant application forms for those client’s where quarantine prevents the physical exchange of documentation. While their Building Services Department have been accommodating photographic evidence of initial and completion inspections along with verbal confirmation from clients they are satisfied with the end results.

We are also working closely with Health and Social Service colleagues to bridge the communications gap brought about by required isolation for some of those patients who are in hospital recovering from Covid-19 symptoms and are awaiting their homes to be adapted before they can be discharged.

Care and Repair client’s feel comfortable and secure in the knowledge that everything is being done to ensure their homes are adapted to meet their requirements and that the service will be delivered in accordance with the very stringent Health and Safety Government Guidelines. 

If you’d like to find out more about the work being done by Care & Repair, there’s lots of information here.

 

Staff from across the whole organisation are stepping up during the Coronavirus outbreak to do what they do best – take care of our tenants. Today I would like to share with you some examples of how our keyworkers are making a real difference during lockdown.

Often working outside of their usual roles, staff have been making welfare calls to catch up with some of our most vulnerable and isolated tenants. A blether goes a long way in these unusual times!

We’ve launched a volunteering scheme called ‘Kingdom Contributes’ which gives our brilliant staff from across the Kingdom Group the freedom to lend a helping hand to those most in need in their communities.

Hats off to the maintenance and housing staff who have delivered shopping to vulnerable tenants, customer advisors who have arranged for prescription deliveries and members of the customer contact team who have been rewarded with plenty of laughs during the ‘catch up’ telephone calls and, in one case, was even treated to a 30 minute live piano performance!

One tenant told us “I can’t thank you enough for sorting out my grocery list. This Kingdom service is excellent. I promise to pay it forward for your kind actions once this is over. Thanks again, sending an e-hug”.

Remember, we’re here for you. If you’d like any help or advice, call us on 01592 630922

 

It will come as no surprise that our Health & Safety team has had a key role in responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Not only have they been working hard to help our frontline businesses source PPE and hand sanitiser but have also been advising departments across Kingdom on how to adapt work systems and practices during the outbreak and lockdown. In particular, significant work was undertaken with Asset Management to do risk assessments of the ongoing work we’re doing in tenants’ homes and common areas.

Very soon after lockdown started, the team identified that there was a need to support employees to make sure their work set-up at home was as safe as it could be so, with help from our Learning & Development Officer, arranged a series of video conferences for employees to get their working environment properly set up and, where needed, get appropriate equipment ordered and delivered.

Dave Roy, our Health & Safety Officer, has also joined a new working group with Scotland’s Housing Network and HouseMark Scotland which has been set up to develop a set of performance indicators for the Scottish social housing sector looking specifically at tenant safety.

 

It will come as no surprise to learn that since lockdown started, the Kingdom Group has relied heavily on its digital infrastructure to ensure we’re able to deliver vital services to tenants and customers. That’s why today I want to tell you about the superb work being done by Kingdom’s Digital Team.

Those staff who are able to do so are working from home so Kingdom’s Digital Team has supplied and supported all of the hardware and software to allow day to day activities to continue uninterrupted. 

Innovative new software has been deployed to allow the team to troubleshoot issues remotely, recruitment across the Kingdom Group has continued with remote interviews which allow us to follow Government health guidelines and staff are all well trained in the use of online meetings and the use of Google’s extensive suite of collaborative tools.

No matter how long staff across the Kingdom Group have to work from home, I’m confident that, thanks to the forward-thinking approach of our excellent Digital Team, all of our staff will be able to deliver the services our tenants and customers expect.

 

The Chief Executive’s Department is a small team providing organisational support and governance services.

Thanks to digital technology, it’s business as usual for the Organisational Support administrative team offering support to the Chief Executive and the Management Team, arranging virtual Board meetings as well as audit and financial compliance meetings, processing Community Initiative applications ensuring support for external groups and organisations most in need and ensuring physical mail is distributed electronically to allow business continuity.

The Communications and Media Officer continues to provide essential information to tenants through social media and website updates as well as distributing press releases and offering coronavirus guidance for staff, customers and key partners. Our internal audience is well served by a new intranet platform which has come into its own since lockdown with a threefold increase in user views.

Our Interim Head of Governance and Compliance Officer are working hard to ensure all updates from the Scottish Government and regulatory bodies are reviewed and good practice is implemented and Kingdom’s legal and regulatory requirements continue to be met. Staff training is also being delivered remotely on key compliance requirements and the importance of data protection while working remotely.

 

As part of the Kingdom Group’s essential support infrastructure the Finance Department have adapted to new ways of working, leveraging the latest cloud technology to ensure business continuity during lockdown. While electronic processes are more time consuming than traditional paper processes, remote working and adhering to the Government health recommendations are key.

Kingdom Housing Association has pledged to settle invoices as soon as they have been processed rather than waiting until the 30 day creditor payment period has elapsed. This unprecedented decision demonstrates the importance to Kingdom of our contractors and suppliers as well as our desire to support local employers and their employees, some of whom may be Kingdom tenants, by taking a small step to improve operating cash flow for those businesses.

Compliance with all statutory requirements is ongoing as is testing of a new P2P (Purchase To Pay) system with colleagues throughout our organisation.

Finally, the team is working hard as they prepare to welcome our new Director of Finance, Ken Tudhope, who will be joining us on 1st July.

 

Although work on our development sites has ceased at the moment, our Capital Investment Team continue to carry out work to tie up our 2019/ 20 programme and plan for this years programme.

Last year was one of our busiest years to date when we achieved 496 unit completions and received tender approval for site starts on a further 513 new homes. The total investment in new affordable homes for the year was £69m!

We have an ambitious development programme and it was planned that 20/21 would be another busy year in respect of new supply affordable housing. We have various projects on site and it is anticipated that building works on construction sites may be relaxed before some other sectors, therefore the team have been busy ensuring we are ready to recommence our development programme as soon as it is safe to do so. 

During the last quarter of 2019/20 the team received tender approvals from the Scottish Government for 15 projects across our areas of operation. These included approvals in Crail, Rattray, Alloa, Methil, Bonnybank, Auchterarder, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Sauchie, Rosyth, Tillicoultry and Cardenden 

In addition to the tender approvals received, site acquisition approvals were also obtained for future projects in Guardbridge, Leuchars and Torryburn. 

Given the scale of our programme the team have been busy working on the Strategic Housing Investment Plans, undertaking site appraisals and project assessments, we have been progressing site purchases, planning applications, draft contract documents and continued our collaborative relationships with our RSL, Local Authority and contractor partners.

The programme for the 20/21 programme is still subject to final agreement with the Scottish Government and due to the current situation various scenarios are being planned, however when the restrictions are lifted  the team will be well placed to restart the development of much needed affordable homes

The lockdown hasn’t prevented work being undertaken on planned innovation projects and proposals are continuing to be developed for projects such as a modular housing scheme, new supply homelessness projects, proposals for a dementia friendly project, options for a co-housing development and regeneration of a brown field project in Cupar.

More details on on current and planned development programme can be found here.

 

Bill Banks

Kingdom Group Chief Executive


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