26 March 2024

Building Safety Resident Engagement Strategy

Building Safety Resident Engagement Strategy

Our draft Building Safety Resident Engagement Strategy is below. This sets out what we do to ensure that people who live in high-rise buildings are aware of the measures we put in place to keep them safe from fire and other structural incidents and how we ensure residents are able to ask questions, raise concerns and be included in decision-making about their building.  

If you live in a high-rise block of flats managed by Your Homes Newcastle we have sent you a copy of this strategy in the post.  You can give us your views on this draft by completing our short survey at https://forms.office.com/e/9u2CQ2xc7E before Friday 19th April 2024.  

If you have any questions, need help to complete the survey or would like to request another copy of the survey for yourself or someone else that lives with you, please email buildingsafety@yhn.org.uk or call 0191 278 8600.

High rise buildings

YHN manages 39 high-rise buildings in the city of Newcastle which are 18 metres/7 floors or above. Our Building Safety Resident Engagement Strategy sets out the insight and engagement methods we use to ensure that residents and users of these buildings are aware of building safety principles, have a voice and are included in decision-making about their building.  

At the heart of our strategy is understanding who our customers are, making it easier for people to talk to us and ensuring our resident engagement activities are tailored to meet the specific needs of the residents of each block.

Our aims

All of our engagement and communication activities are designed to:

  • Educate residents about their and our roles and responsibilities around building safety.
  • Provide accessible sources of information about building safety in a range of formats and using a range of channels to suit different customer needs so all customers are included in processes and kept up to date with changes.
  • Provide opportunities for customers to have meaningful conversations with YHN about building safety.
  • Invite customers to have their voices heard. 

The information we provide to residents

Our key messages

We want to make sure residents are aware of our key messages around building safety so that they feel included in our work and decision-making and have all the information they need to live safely in their homes.  Our key messages are:

  • The housing stock YHN manages is safe and well-maintained.
  • YHN values the voices and experiences of residents and acts on the feedback they give us.
  • YHN takes steps to make it easy for residents to give us their views.
  • YHN provides clear, honest and accessible information so residents can easily access and understand the protections in place in their building. 
  • Residents play a role in safety and YHN provides information and support to help residents do this.

Topics of information

We share our key messages by regularly providing information that informs people about:

  • the safety measures in place in the building
  • what to do if there is an emergency
  • what residents need to know about specific safety features including fire doors and smoke alarms
  • how and when residents should isolate their gas or electrical supply
  • how to report a repair or problem with a safety feature
  • the safe use, storage and charging of mobility scooters and e-bikes/e-scooters within the building
  • our overall building safety resident engagement strategy and each building’s individual strategy and how to access these
  • how they can contact us to ask questions, raise concerns or make a complaint
  • how to contact the Building Safety Regulator for independent advice.  

The channels we use

We use a range of channels and engagement methods to ensure residents receive information from us in a format that suits their needs and preferences and provide regular opportunities for residents to raise questions or concerns with us, always using the customer and demographic insight we have to tailor our activities.  

At the centre of our resident engagement strategy is our A4 safety card that is bespoke for each building and contains information about the safety features of that building, the emergency evacuation procedure and information about how residents can contact us with queries.  However, this is supported by many different channels including:

  • text message
  • email
  • online via our website and social media
  • hand-delivered newsletters, leaflets and flyers
  • posters and large format signage
  • digital noticeboards 
  • door knocking
  • tenants’ meetings 
  • planned engagement sessions and presentations
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • meetings of our high-rise residents’ building safety customer group.

Building safety engagement sessions

Face to face engagement is one of main engagement methods which we deliver through our programme of building safety engagement sessions where our Building Safety and Customer Insight and Engagement teams visit each block to knock on doors to provide a safety card and have discussions with residents.  The safety card provides important information while also acting as a prompt for our discussions where we offer residents an overall view of the safety card and the main features of their home to check these are functioning correctly with any issues identified or raised by the customer reported to the correct departments for follow up work. Residents who do not answer have a card posted through their door. 

Contact details for the Building Safety team are also provided should a resident wish to consult with the team for further clarity if they were not available at the time of the engagement session.

Any new residents receive a safety card from the relevant Housing Officer upon signing for their new tenancy with key information on how to stay safe in the building also communicated to the resident by the Housing Officer.

Alternative languages and formats

We know that all of our customers have different communication needs and preferences, and we want to make sure all residents are able to understand the information we give them and can communicate with us fully.  We use the information we hold about our customers to identify which customers require additional support and actively promote the translation and interpreting services available to our customers. We can provide materials in alternative languages, braille, audio, and easy read versions and arrange British Sign Language interpreters where needed. We also have animations located on our website which share our key messages in clear, accessible language with subtitles.  These are also available in seven alternative languages with an invitation to request any other language that is required and can be presented to residents on mobile devices where needed.

What we ask residents about

We send out regular surveys and questionnaires asking for feedback on the buildings and their safety features to ensure our residents have a voice to raise any concerns they have. Any feedback received is reviewed and acted upon accordingly with any changes that are implemented as a result fed back to residents.   We also carry out surveys and consultations to involve residents in how improvement works to their building will be carried out so that residents have a role in decision-making for their building.

To develop our understanding of who lives in our buildings we also carry out regular engagement to ensure we have an up-to-date picture of any specific needs that may impact on a resident’s ability to live safely in their building.  We use our engagement sessions to ask residents about their ability to self-evacuate in the event of an emergency and also carry out planned Person-Centred Fire Risk Assessment (PCFRA) campaigns to keep our data up to date and ensure relevant information is shared with our local fire and rescue service and referrals made to our Housing Needs and Assessment team for rehousing advice where appropriate. 

How we collect and use opinions

After an engagement activity, we record the information we receive so we can see the overall percentage of residents who have engaged and any specific needs which require further action are passed to relevant departments to resolve.  We also provide feedback so residents can see how we have used the information they gave us. Formats for this include verbally in a meeting, by letter, poster, social media or news article.

Any building safety-related complaints we receive are also specifically flagged on our system and forwarded to the Building Safety team for investigation and to action as needed. These are monitored in line with building safety requirements and our complaints processes.

Any personal information we receive from customers when carrying our resident engagement activities is collected and stored in line with the General Data Protection Regulation.  There is more information about how we do this on our website at www.yhn.org.uk/privacy-notice

How we measure and review participation

We keep a record of all communications and engagement activities and feedback received in the individual building safety resident engagement plan we maintain for each block to enable ongoing review and evaluation.  

We also use our engagement data to inform our Building Safety Engagement Rates and Revisit Frequency Assessment where we commit to carrying out a formal engagement visit to each of the buildings within 6 - 18 months depending on the level of previous engagement, the needs of the residents who currently live there and the known number of fire incidents over the past 12 months.  This is in addition to sharing regular information using our usual communication channels and any ad hoc engagement that may be needed in response to other factors (such as a fire in the building or customer complaint or feedback).

Further information

All residents who live in one of our high-rise buildings will be provided with a copy of this strategy and given the opportunity to provide feedback about it.  For more information about building safety at YHN or this strategy, visit Multi-storey building safety | Your Homes Newcastle (yhn.org.uk)or contact us by emailing buildingsafety@yhn.org.uk or calling 0191 278 8600.

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