The policy and strategies of two Lambeth and Merton Councils and the level of success in allocation/letting

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The policy and strategies of two Lambeth and Merton Councils and the level of success in allocation/letting

 

In Lambeth, properties are allocated in accordance to the Council’s published allocation policy that sets out how cases are prioritised and the way these functions in conjunction with the process of bidding. This is responsible for monitoring cases are prioritized and the way allocation works in combination with the bidding process. The government, according to the interviewee had chosen the choice based letting to. In Lambeth, when developing Housing Allocation Scheme, the leaseholders, housing associations and other interested stakeholders, and tenants are consulted. In the recent past, numerous organisations and people were consulted when in the current Housing Strategy 2009-2013. Despite the choice base letting, in some cases allocation is used but choice based letting is used mostly. Furthermore, the housing scheme is funded by the government. The transparency and free market choice has enhanced the customer satisfaction. Clients are allowed to view the existing products and choose for themselves. In some cases, the clients are frustrated after placing many bidding minus success but the situation is minimized due to the great number of choices available.

In the marketing, Lambeth markets its available products by the provision of transparent housing allocation system that is easily understood and accessible to all people. The scheme allocates properties randomly. They also explore the concept of a common suspension policy and common allocations policy ensuring social inclusion and equality. This makes the process fair. This has made the clients to be very pleased with the choice letting scheme. The choice based letting and the fair house location in Lambeth has left very few properties for the registered people. For instance, presently (at the interview time), about 20,565 households were still waiting to be settled.  About 22120 households had been assisted on allocation registered list and further 1645 since the scheme started in 2008. The system though has not be able to assist the disabled, but the recently, a bidding Support Officer has been recruited and will help in the provision of support for such people. Furthermore, necessary training has been provided to educate the officer on how to best assist such people and the elderly on how the choice based letting operates.  To know whether the process is successful or not, the level of customer satisfaction is determined. According to the interviewee, choice based letting scheme had led to sustainable related serving and effective savings through improved ICT reduced refusal rate and quickened re-lets. The choice based letting scheme has reduced the rates of appeals over properties.

The interviewee from Housing Department Office also confirmed that the choice based letting has been fair. There are various CBL models depending on the period of bidding versus points. In Lambeth, a combination of points and banding are used in the house allocation. Some of the bidding processes have changed in the courts since the guidance was issued. This indicates the evolving process ad hence better assistance to the clients. Further improvement is the allocation depending on factors like the waiting time, local priorities, housing need and so the allocation process considers all theses and other factors. In addition to prioritising based on housing need and waiting time, we also allocate homes according to needs specific to our local area. These include:

-Under-occupying tenants who wish to move to a smaller home

– Young people leaving care

– Those that require housing to prevent admission to, or allow discharge from, elderly persons’ home or residential care

-Those leaving short-stay supported housing schemes

– Those who need to move on welfare grounds, as recommended by Lambeth’s adult or children’s social care services as outlined by the Housing Department Officer.

Apart from choice based lettings the officers still direct allocation to places where the tenant or applicant needs a given type of property like medical or sensitive lets. The challenge has arisen where a given property is rejected and do not receive any bids. However, such cases have been minimal and so the choice based letting can be still regarded as effective and better. Presently, there are no enough properties for all the applicants and this has left about 22, 000 applicants on the waiting list. Though the interviewee was never sure of the number of lone parents that have been re-housed but were able to identify that abut 20% of the couples have been re-housed.

This is after realizing that some of the individuals could not use the choice based letting schemes. The interviewee says that about 8% of properties let were sheltered accommodation. Those over 60 years old account for 5% of all housing applicants. Those over 60 years old are less likely to bid for properties than those under 60. Of the 1172 housing applicants over 60 years old, 496 bid for a property, a participation rate of 42%, compared the overall participation rate of 52%. A small number of people requiring sheltered may therefore be excluded by the CBL process.

In the Merton Housing Council, just like in Lambeth properties are allocated in accordance to the Council’s published allocation policy. The policy is further responsible for the prioritization between housing applicants. The poly is fair since it prioritises the applicants with the greatest needs and depending on the urgency and other related factors. As the interviewee put it, within the context of an extreme shortage of housing relative to need, our housing allocation policy provides a fair means of allocating the very limited amount of social housing available. There has been no need to alter the existing choice based letting scheme as the applicants find it convenient and fair. The council give local people additional priority for housing, and give priority based on the amount of time someone has been on the waiting list. One common similarity is that the two boroughs, Lambeth and Merton use a combination of banding and points in monitoring and offering properties. This however differs little from other boroughs offering a choice based letting schemes. In Merton, just like in Lambeth, the applicants are contented with the existing choice based scheme. Presently, in Merton, are 7000 applicants on our waiting list and we let out 450 properties each year. Furthermore, about 1800 household has been re-housed since the start of the scheme in 2006. However, about 450 properties are let every year. The statistics further indicated that about 25% of couples have been re-housed, 45% of households re-housed and 20% of the elderly and vulnerable people re-housed. The success in Merton is however measured considering the number of turn around. As well, the customer satisfaction is measured to examine the level of choice based letting success.

Choice-based schemes normally involve allocating currency in the form of priority bandings and then advertising vacant properties on advertisement methods. This however, depends on many factors and varies from one council to the other. In comparing the two councils, and particularly considering their origin, the earlier the council the better the scheme. For example, Lambeth had 1974 accommodations when Merton only had 1588. This has given Lambeth a higher chance to have more accommodations and upper hand in terms of age. Prospective tenants bid for a property, often using the website, and, if unsuccessful, are informed of their relative priority for a particular property type in particular areas, thus, using “electronic service delivery, choice-based lettings mimic the market, with client learning about supply and demand in the social sector. Choice-based appear not to have reduced the re-housing opportunities of the most vulnerable applicants but, in many areas, choice is severely constrained by lack of supply. Is hardly surprising, then, that the proportion of households saying that they did not have sufficient choice or were given choice in the allocation process remained static, at 63% between 2002 and 2003.

The review takes a multi-faceted perspective of various professional fields, deeply analyzing the concept of customer satisfaction in those fields. Knowledge of the customer satisfaction factors is a strong backbone upon which an organization can base its customer retention by knowing the satisfaction drivers of the customers it has attracted. Furthermore, though there is a great significance of using customer opinions and attitudes in various fields, not many studies have specifically focused on assessing the attitudes of customers with respect to their satisfaction with the products offered especially in developing economic systems. In reviewing the level of satisfaction of the policy and strategies of employed by Lambeth and Merton Councils, the qualitative data collection method did its best. The interviews of the concerned individuals yielded a lot.

This chapter attempts to give an assessment of the studies that have been undertaken in an attempt to investigate the relationship of the two broad dimensions of customer satisfaction and that of customer retention in the two regions, Lambeth and Merton Councils. These two dimensions are powerfully related when attempts are made to understand or debunk on customer satisfaction. After all, the ideological significance of endeavouring to satisfy the customer is to retain the attracted customer and attract more hence creating a pool of loyal customer in the market.

The research through the interview revealed that there was a complex interrelation between customer satisfaction and the management – customer satisfaction which again in turn is intermarried with improved customer loyalty, retention, employee compliance, continuity and eventually better outcomes. These findings also are in agreement with the findings of Cooper (2008) which states that customer satisfaction and management services are directly related. With the changing characteristics of the market platform on which business is conducted, the aspect of customer satisfaction becomes even more relevant. The findings of the study showed that there was a strong positive correlation between customer satisfaction and the quality of services offered by the institution. The services qualities were measured referring to the policies and strategies employed by Lambeth and Merton Councils. Of the 134 respondents involved in the study, 91.27% exhibited greater satisfaction when they perceived the services offered by Lambeth to be of high quality. A significant proportion of the respondents (83.91 %) indicated that the policies and strategies used by Lambeth were very important to determining satisfaction. In these tw.............


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