Sentinel launches new HomeTeam maintenance service
Published by Karen Connell for Sentinel Housing Association Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
Sentinel Housing Association is proud to announce the launch of its new in-house maintenance service – Sentinel HomeTeam.
Based at offices in Basingstoke the new £5m business officially launched on Monday 3 September. The 40 strong work force, including three new Apprenticeship positions, will look after the maintenance of its 8,400 affordable homes across north Hampshire.
Sentinel Housing Association’s Customer Services Director, Val Bagnall explains, “Providing our customers with a top class maintenance service is all part of our mission of being a great landlord. The new HomeTeam service will offer our customers a range of service improvements, whilst generating significant financial savings that will be reinvested in future service development and delivery of more affordable homes for the area.
"We’re also delighted to be able to offer job security to existing local contractor staff, as well as creating 10 new jobs in a challenging economic climate for construction workers. The interest in the new job positions was tremendous and we are working with our other contractor partners to facilitate a further six Apprenticeship opportunities.”
Carpenter Danny Graves said: “I’m completely looking forward to starting with Sentinel HomeTeam and taking on a new challenge. So far every one I’ve met has been really friendly, helpful and supportive. We’ve already had some training and I get the impression there’s loads of support for staff here. It’s good to know that Sentinel staff are valued and appreciated. I’ve been a Carpenter for 25 years and recently it’s been a tough time in the industry I’m looking forward to some job security and the possibility of career development.”
Plumber Rob Dolton added: “I’ve been heavily involved with the transfer across to HomeTeam as a staff rep. We’ve had several meetings with Sentinel where we’ve been able to ask questions and raise any concerns we had about moving to the new service. We even had some input on the type of uniform we’ll be wearing. I’m excited and a little apprehensive as change is always a bit disconcerting. I’ve been a plumber for 12 years so I’ve got plenty of experience and I really feel we’ll be treated well.”
A key focus of the development of the service over the past year has been ensuring that the service effectively responds to customer needs. To assist getting this part of the business right, Sentinel set up a customer focus group to establish service priorities and to proof ideas for their new service.
Sentinel customer Kay Armour explains her involvement: ''Having been involved with the Sentinel HomeTeam focus group, I am delighted with the progress of the venture, to see it come from an idea with input from customers, to a fully operational business is really great.”
Materials will be supplied by Buildbase and Project Manager Vicky Middleton said: “Buildbase are delighted to be working with the newly formed Sentinel Home Team, as the materials supply chain partner of choice. Buildbase are committed to working with the Sentinel Home Team, and the local community, assisting with training for operatives and tenants, providing work placements, supporting local nominated charities and supporting local young apprentices.”
Sentinel prides itself on its high standards of customer service, and in March this year were once again accredited with the Customer Service Excellence Standard, one of only a small number of organisations nationally who met and exceeded all aspects of the standard. All the new HomeTeam staff have been put through Sentinel’s customer service training programme, and a future programme of service training is planned for staff, with input from customers.
Sentinel HomeTeam will carry out around 500 repairs a week and state of the art IT systems will help minimise journey times and cut the carbon footprint of the HomeTeam vans.
Partner organisations of Sentinel offered their messages of support:
Lotus Landscapes - "Lotus Landscapes would like to wish Sentinel Housing Association every success in the launch of their Maintenance Service HomeTeam initiative. As a valued partner of Sentinel, Lotus Landscapes will provide support wherever possible to ensure that Sentinel Housing Association achieves its aims and objectives."
Central Heating Services - "On behalf of the senior management team and all the staff at Central Heating Services Ltd we would like to take this opportunity to wish Sentinel HomeTeam every success in your new venture."
Bowater Projects - "Bowater Projects are proud to supply Sentinel and wish them every success with their new HomeTeam service."
ServiceMaster Clean - "As a contract partner of Sentinel Housing Association , ServiceMaster Clean wish Sentinel all the very best in the launch of their HomeTeam Maintenance Service."
A&E Builders - "A&E Builders Ltd would like to send their best wishes to the new Sentinel HomeTeam."