Consultation and engagement
As part of the planned merger between Hanover Housing Association and Anchor, we recently consulted with customers of both organisations.
More than 3,200 people served by both Hanover and Anchor gave their views.
These have been used to inform discussions about whether the merger should go ahead.
The formal consultation process on the merger has ended and we are very grateful to all those who responded. We will be working with the people we serve to create a Customer Promise informed by the main themes that people told us are important and that we should prioritise as a single organisation.
Below is a summary of what we did and the views we received.
Who we sought views from
We wanted to ensure that those served by Anchor and Hanover were informed about our proposals and able to express their views. Between late-May to mid-July 2018, we invited views from all those served by Anchor’s and Hanover’s housing services.
How we consulted
We provided a range of ways to find out more and contribute views. These varied slightly between the two organisations, and included:
- Printed letters and feedback forms
- Information and feedback forms on our websites
- Scheme/estate manager support
- A telephone response line and dedicated email for Hanover customers
- Briefing Anchor’s Customer Council and Hanover’s Communities Council
3,240 people gave feedback, representing approximately 7% of housing customers contacted.
What customers told us
The majority of those who responded identified both benefits and areas where they had concerns or sought reassurance.
The key benefits identified were:
- General efficiencies in pooling resources and finding economies of scale, as well as sharing knowledge and being able to buy better
- Repairs and maintenance may be done more efficiently and quickly
- There may be a greater range of services or care and more property options as life changes
- And, those responding said they hoped this can be done at no, or less cost to you.
The clear priority that people identified for a new organisation is that customers are put first. Respondents also told us that they would want to see improved or retained property standards with a priority placed on repairs and maintenance, providing more or better facilities and, in some cases, larger-scale modernisation.
Some people were clear that they dislike change and some did not see the need for the proposed merger. Many wanted assurance that costs would not rise or service levels fall, the latter either through becoming a larger, more impersonal organisation or by cut-backs in frontline staff.
Respondents wanted to be sure that they would not lose security of tenure, have changes made to their leases, or see changes to their care and support.
Many people also wanted reassurance that rents and service charges would not go up. While rents and service charges could rise as a result of cost inflation and the rent regime applied by government, we have committed that rents and service charges would not rise as a result of the proposed merger.
We can also confirm that, other than the change of landlord from either Hanover Housing Association or Anchor to “Anchor Hanover Group” (an enlarged organisation which includes both Hanover and Anchor), there would be no changes to the protections in tenancy agreements (security of tenure) or to the terms of leases or tenancies. The service Anchor’s care home residents receive would be unchanged and the proposed merger would not affect the care provider at Hanover estates.
Our aim is to maintain and improve the service we deliver as part of the proposed merger and to use the enlarged resources to improve our purchasing power. These objectives are in line with what customers have told us they want.