At Curo our mission is to provide great homes, support communities and improve lives. We take an approach we call SHAW which is to ensure homes are Safe, Healthy, Affordable and Warm with safety being our paramount concern.
In 2017 Curo resolved to further strengthen our programme of inspections of various safety critical components across our customers’ homes; inspections previously delivered by contractors. We created a new Home Safety Team to deliver comprehensive home safety checks in a single, customer-convenient visit.
We believe that our approach to the delivery of home safety checks in this way is innovative within our sector. We’re not aware of any other social landlord taking this single-visit/single-engineer approach.
Our Home Safety Team is now carrying out annual inspections and servicing of all safety-critical components within all of our residential stock. This means that each of our 11,666 residential dwellings will receive a home safety inspection every year. These single-visit inspections check not just gas appliances, but smoke detectors, thermostatic mixing valves and unvented hot water cylinders – all components which, if not regularly maintained, could pose a danger to customers.
Within the team’s first six months, 4,303 properties received this new inspection, including 536 homes without gas – properties that had not previously had the benefit of an annual safety inspection. These planned inspections have enabled us to quickly identify and repair any faults, with 397 repairs proactively identified and remedied as a result.
This high-performing team is giving us and our customers even greater assurance about the safety of their homes.
Curo’s Home Safety Team was formed in September 2017 from what was our Gas Safety Team. This award-winning team already had an excellent track record of successfully delivering statutory annual gas safety inspections to around 9,200 of our dwellings each year. It therefore made good sense to draw upon the skills, disciplines and processes already embedded within that team to deliver the additional checks we needed to complete in a single visit.
To develop this new team our 16 existing gas engineers undertook an extensive programme of retraining. An expansion of the team also created employment opportunities for four new gas and home safety engineers as well as one apprentice.
For these comprehensive, single-visit home safety checks to succeed, we needed support from teams spanning the entire organisation: Human Resources for contractual issues, ICT for the technical platform, communications support and, of course, the engineers themselves who met the project with genuine enthusiasm.
At Curo, how we do things is as important as what we do. It’s not just about the boilers we service, or how many hot water systems we check; it’s about the friendly discussions we have with our customers, how we explain the importance of checking alarms weekly and how we reassure people that we’re here to support them and their families.
One of the things the team is most proud of is the feedback we get from customers. We ask our customers how satisfied they are with the service they get through these new checks – and we were delighted to learn that for the first four months in a row the team has received a 100% approval rating. Every member of the Home Safety Team is incredibly proud of the work they do and it’s humbling to know that our customers value the work they do, and respect the efforts they make.