On-line feedback showcases SYHA's commitment to transparency & customer voice

Update from South Yorkshire Housing Association

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I am a Programme Coordinator at South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) and have been implementing Care Opinion throughout our services over the last 2 years in order to gain insight into how our customers feel about the services they have received. We have been able to use Care Opinion to encourage our customers to tell us how we are doing with developing and delivering services, and whether those services are what people want and value – and where there might be room for improvement. Care Opinion has been a great tool for customers, SYHA front line staff and managers.

Key themes that have emerged from the feedback left on the Care Opinion:

SYHA understands that its customers are at the heart of everything it does. Offering services and support to a wide range of customers can be challenging. Some of the initial big wins for SYHA as a result of feedback received, and how stories have been received and utilised are.

  • The opportunity to name and praise SYHA staff members. They have been able to do this publicly on the CO site. This has enabled managers to give the praise to staff they deserve – in turn, increasing front line motivation.
  • SYHA schemes have found it valuable having so much feedback in one place when presenting to services.
  • Managers have been able to use feedback to promote services to customers (WW/BBO), referrers, employers, partners and commissioners.
  • SYHA has also been able to use feedback from customers to adapt services and improve customer experience. Here’s an example of where customer feedback enabled a ‘planned change’ in their Extra Care assisted living accommodation canteen.

Here are some notable quotes from postings:

It seemed unreal someone will help me search for a job. A job, which was not ordinary or randomly picked but it will be according to my skills, experience and personal needs. I was smiling at the end of our meeting and this filled my heart with hope”

(Feedback about Building Better Opportunities, SYHA)

No other service has helped me in the way that My Best Life has”

(Feedback about My Best Life, SYHA)

“This service has been incredible for me and my mental health I am now able to get about more where I wasn't even leaving the house at one point so I would keep this service as I feel a lot of people will benefit tremendously”

(Feedback about Connect 3, SYHA)

A year ago, I was in a mess. I had an aim to become a coach/speaker but un-diagnosed, untreated, serious, trauma related mental health issues meant that I was unable to move forward (a lifelong pattern) and was having a breakdown. My GP told me about the Working Win scheme, and what I heard was a breath of fresh air”.

(Feedback from Working Win, SYHA)

Customers have said that accessing the Care Opinion site has given them autonomy to name and praise SYHA staff and the services they have experience of. They have been able to use their voice and lived experience to directly feedback to SYHA in order to influence how services are further developed and/or adapted to work better, with almost immediate effect. They have appreciated the anonymity and freedom this has brought them. 

In turn this showcases both SYHA’s commitment to transparency and customer voice.  It’s a further example of how it uses strengths-based approaches to value the capacity, skills, knowledge, connections and potential in its customers and their communities. 

There have been some barriers to the integration of a new customer feedback mechanism into SYHA LiveWell. As part of a wider approach to capturing authentic customer voice, the Care Opinion platform has offered an alternative route for many customers. However, communicating this to both customers and rolling it out to all schemes within SYHA has been challenging for a single staff member as part of a wider role. One of the challenges has not only been generating feedback within each scheme, but also embedding and promoting the wider benefits of Care Opinion relating to some schemes – particularly around re-tendering.  Care Opinion report that this is a common challenge and it takes time in organisations to embed Care Opinion so that busy staff integrate it successfully into their day-to-day engagement with customers.  Our Implementation Plan going forward includes engaging with both managers and staff within services using Microsoft Teams. 

We have had a number of stories that have been shared via Care Opinion that include feedback about other services or organisations. It has been useful to see how services can work together making sure the care our customers receive is person-centred and going forward may help to help avoid people falling through the gaps in services. Here is a great example of one of the pieces of feedback where the author talks about how they now “love living in the community” and how they have been supported by the CERT team at Sheffield Health & Social Care Trust and feel “safe” after the support from their Key-worker at SYHA.  Care Opinion are also pleased because of the work with a range of other providers and stakeholders across Sheffield, and it helps with their approach to build a truly integrated feedback platform which supports people to tell stories about all their care, wherever provided.

Recent conversations with Care Opinion have been focused on tackling these challenges as part of an implementation plan going forward.  This includes more systematic approaches to generating feedback and also the use of Microsoft Teams for brief but important reviews with the different SYHA schemes. 

Response from Tracy Molloy, Engagement and Support Officer, Care Opinion on

Its been fantastic working with you Aletheia and we are looking forward to rolling Care Opinion out further into even more SYHAs services :-)

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