Housing officer numbers have doubled in Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has introduced a new way of working which will further transform customer services for thousands of tenants across the region.

Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 11:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 11:06 am
DGHP housing officers Lesley Henry (left) and Linda Morrison will each have smaller patches

The latest improvements see the number of housing officers at DGHP doubling to 53, with each officer now managing an average of 200 homes each – among the smallest patch sizes in the UK.

This will allow staff to build a much closer relationship with customers and provide tailored services in the local communities.

Housing officers in DGHP will also have much more influence than ever before to make decisions for customers at the first point of contact.

In addition, as part of improving services, DGHP customers now have access to the Customer Service Centre (CSC) 24 hours a day, seven days a week – meaning they can contact staff at a time convenient to them.

Calls to the CSC can be made via the Freephone number 0800 011 3447 and customers can report repairs as well as make payments and check their rent accounts.

Alison Lamont, DGHP’s Head of Housing for the Stewartry and west, said: “The increase in housing officers marks a positive change in our customer focus.

“Although, due to the pandemic, our staff will only carry out essential visits for now, they will be having much more contact over the telephone and building stronger relationships with customers. More importantly, though, they will be able to get more done for customers.”

Housing officers are embracing the new way of working and committed to giving more choice to customers.

Lesley Henry, who covers an area of the Machars, said: “I am really excited about working in the local communities around the Machars.

“Having a much smaller patch allows me to be out and about in the area so much more and enables me to build closer, and more personalised relationships to really make a difference.”

Linda Morrison, who is covering some of Stranraer, added: “I’m really looking forward to working in my patch and getting to know our customers.

The new smaller patch sizes mean I can really engage with the people I work with and I’m excited about helping to improve services and the communities in which they live.”

DGHP’s managing director, Matt Foreman, added: “When the partnership deal between DGHP and Wheatley Group was agreed last year, there was a commitment to not only offering job security to existing employees, but also a promise to create new jobsand training opportunities through investment across the region – this is an important step towards that and having more staff on the frontline will make that happen.

“All of our housing officers across the region are now in place and each and every one of them are passionate about helping others and making a difference to the lives of our customers and their communities.

“This will really help our customers across Dumfries and Galloway and all of our staff are really looking forward to getting to know their customers better and everyone will soon receive a flyer with details of who their local housing officer is and details on how to contact them.” 

Doubling the number of housing officers and providing 24/7 customer services are just some of the ways DGHP is improving their services since joining Wheatley Group.

It has already started work on 1000 new affordable homes across the region, is carrying out additional investment works in customers’ homes and recruited graduates from the area for the first time .

For more on the graduate programme see page 6.