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Working with residents to improve our repairs service


Paul Stannard recently joined us as our new head of resident experience to help us improve the service our residents receive when they have an issue with a repair.

Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase in complaints about our repairs service caused by covid-related staff shortages and contractor delays.

Here Paul, who previously spent over 5 years in our Home Ownership team, tells us what he’s doing to re-build the trust with residents, and why he finds his work so rewarding.

“A key part of my new role is focussed around ensuring our residents feel heard when they let us know about issues with repairs in their home. Often it isn’t that we’ve done something wrong, but that we need to do more to make them feel supported and informed about what we’re doing to fix things.

I always find that when you keep in regular communication about how you’re trying to resolve the issue, most people are understanding. It’s when they don’t get a response or don’t know what’s going on that they feel most frustrated.

It’s crucial that we acknowledge where things have gone wrong and make it clear what we’re doing to put things right. And we also need to make sure that we learn from it so that the same problems don’t happen again.

Another big goal for me is to ensure that we proactively engage with a wide range of our residents. We want them to speak with us and share their stories, both good and bad. We have a great group of involved residents who sit on our Estate Boards, but I’m really keen to hear from as many different people as possible.

Everyone should have a voice whatever their background is, and if they don’t it’s important that there’s someone who can be a voice for them. So I want to get out there to gain a really clear picture of what different residents think of the services Poplar HARCA provides.

Essentially, everybody wants the same thing. We all want to live in a home that’s warm, safe, and in an area that we can take pride in.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a child who wants to do your homework in a decent environment or a pensioner who just wants to feel comfortable walking to the shops. Our homes and the neighbourhoods we live in are a vital part of our lives.

I was born and raised in East London, and have always had an interest in my community. I previously spent over 25 years working in the private sector for a large bank, but in 2012 I decided I wanted a career change. I’m proud to be from this area and I wanted to do something more local. I initially worked in the leasehold team at Tower Hamlets Homes, then joined Poplar HARCA in 2016.

It was quite a change moving into the social sector, but I find it so much more rewarding. You feel like you’re making a difference to people’s lives. In the private sector I wasn’t able to see the personal impact of my work, whereas here I can see it every day.

I love working with colleagues who all have a shared understanding of why we do what we do. We’re a local organisation and we all have the same goal – which is to make things better for the people who live and work here.

There’ll always be ups and downs, but when you can see how the work you do makes a positive difference, not just on an individual but on the wider community, you can’t beat that.”