Our commitment to dealing with damp and mould
We take the condition of our homes very seriously and we are committed to making sure all our customers have a healthy and safe home, free from damp, mould and condensation, and crucially that you are listened to if you raise a concern with us.
Everyone at Salix Homes is deeply saddened by the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died as a result of prolonged exposure to damp and mouldy conditions in his Rochdale home.
We understand that some of our customers may have concerns about damp, mould and condensation in your own homes, and the affect it could be having on the health and wellbeing of you and your family.
We would like to reassure you that tackling cases of damp, mould and condensation in our properties is an absolute critical priority, and following the publication of the Housing Ombudsman’s Damp Mould and Condensation Spotlight report in October 2021, we had already started to review our approach and processes prior to the outcome of inquest into the tragic death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale.
You may be aware that in December 2022, housing providers were asked to submit data to the regulator of social housing on their current approach to damp, mould and condensation, and provide figures on the number of current damp, mould and condensation cases. We provided a snapshot of all cases live at the time and addressed each and every case as a matter of high priority. We also proactively encourage customers to report any issues to us so we can continue to address them as a priority.
We have adopted a proactive and robust approach to tackling damp, mould and condensation and have taken significant steps to increase resources and improve and strengthen our procedures.
Here’s some of the steps we have taken:
New ways of working
- We’ve introduced a new Damp and Mould Policy which sets out our commitment to triage, survey and carry out mould treatment within four weeks of it being reported.
- We’ve set up a dedicated damp and mould team within our Repairs Service, employing additional officers and resources.
- If you’ve had mould treatment in your home, we’ll follow up with you 12 weeks later to ensure the issue has been resolved.
- We’ve launched a new operating model for our organisation, introducing new housing officers who present greater visibility and a friendly and familiar face across our communities. They are more focused and responsible for looking after customers and homes in dedicated neighbourhoods.
- We report our monthly damp, mould and condensation case numbers to our Board and include these in our performance figures as part of our commitment to being open and transparent.
Mould and damp training
- All our frontline teams have undertaken dedicated training, which aims to increase our knowledge and awareness of damp, mould and condensation and how we deal with it.
- We’ll ask you if you have any concerns about damp, mould and condensation at every point of contact we have with you, whether it’s via our call centre, or during a routine repair, appointment or home visit.
- Following the tragic case of Awaab Ishak, our chief executive and Chair of our Board wrote a personal letter to all customers to acknowledge that you may have concerns about damp and mould and remind you about the ways to report it. You can read that letter here. As a result of this letter, we saw an increase in the number of reports of damp, mould and condensation and we would continue to encourage you to report any issues to us at the earliest opportunity.
- Salford is a diverse and multicultural city, and we are committed to ensuring our communications are inclusive and accessible, so we’ve reviewed all our customer communications for damp, mould and condensation in respect of tone, language and accessibility.
- We’ve created a new damp, mould and condensation leaflet and a dedicated section on our website which can be quickly and easily translated into more than 100 different languages, using our website’s Accessibility tool.
Quick and simple reporting
- We’ve made it really easy to report damp, mould and condensation. You can contact our call centre, email us, or report it online via the MySalix customer portal.
- You can also report any concerns you may have about damp, mould and condensation that might be affecting the homes of anyone else you know, like elderly or vulnerable neighbours.
- We’ve strengthened our relationships with partner agencies, such as the NHS, so they can easily report damp, mould and condensation directly to us if they have any concerns during visits to any of our customers’ homes.
Listening to customers
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we’re passionate about ensuring your voices are heard and providing opportunities for our residents to help shape and improve our services.
Our Customer Committee, which is made up of our tenants who monitor and review our services, is currently carrying out a review of our approach to repairs including our damp, mould and condensation processes, from start to finish. They will then present us with a report and recommendations for how we can improve further.
Looking ahead, we will continue to adopt a proactive approach to tackling damp, mould and condensation in our homes. We will regularly review and improve our processes to ensure a safe and healthy living environment for all our customers.
We’re committed to getting to know you and your homes better, so we can be confident we are meeting your needs with safer, cleaner, greener homes and neighbourhoods, and so we can improve your access to our services. As part of this process, we have sent out a getting to know you survey to all our customers to ensure we have accurate data, enabling us to provide better services for our customers. You can take a look at the survey here.
In addition, we are increasing the frequency of our stock condition survey programme across all our homes and implementing a structured programme of tenancy audits and reviewing our home quality standards, to ensure we have a data driven approach to the management of our homes.