New reporting system for damp and mould cases

01 March 24

PCH Damp And Mould Social New System 240301 JM V1

Plymouth Community Homes has introduced a new triage reporting system to help prioritise its response to any reports of damp and mould in residents’ homes.

PCH, the largest social housing landlord in Plymouth with more than 16,000 homes across the area, continues to take damp and mould seriously and work to improve how the organisation responds to reports, so issues can be remedied as quickly and effectively as possible.

Last year, three new roles were created with a Damp and Disrepair Manager and two Damp and Disrepair Supervisors appointed to carry out damp and mould inspections, and ensure PCH provided the right response in a timely manner.

PCH is working to a 7-day response time for any report of damp and mould.

But with up to 60 reports a week being received mentioning issues with damp, mould or condensation, there are significant pressures for the team of three at PCH to carry out inspections within this timeframe.

Sometimes, reports of damp relate to a larger-scale repair being needed – for example to a roof or leaking pipe – so it is more effective for repair operatives to be booked in first, rather than a damp and mould inspection which would then require a second appointment for the repairs team to review. Equally sometimes cases need a priority response because of the severity of the issue, or because residents are especially vulnerable owing to their health, age or situation.

PCH has now put into place a new triage reporting system to help ensure it can meet its 7-day target and this involves assessing, and then prioritising reports, ensuring they are sent to the right teams to speed up any required repairs and works which need to be carried out residents’ homes.

Ian Howse, Head of Repairs at PCH, said: “We take damp and mould very seriously as it can have a hugely negative impact on people’s health, as well as making it unpleasant and uncomfortable living in your home, and we are doing everything we can to respond promptly and tackle issues when they are reported to us.

“We have a team of three carrying out inspections but a lot of reports flagging damp and mould actually need to go to the Repairs team for works to be booked in, so we’ve tried to make the reporting process more efficient to speed up the result for our residents.

“The new triage system is about aiming to increase what we know about a damp and mould case at the time the report is being made to us, so we’re able to prioritise the right response, and send out the right people, to get a better outcome more quickly for residents in our homes.

“We are also prioritising a response to our most vulnerable residents, with the triage system able to highlight those residents who have health issues or include either very young or very old people living in the property.”

The Contact Centre will manage the triage process when people call PCH about damp and mould, and the new resident portal MyPCH being developed this year will offer new functionality expected to be available later in 2024, which will enable residents to report both a repair or a case of damp and mould online, with their report triaged through an online booking form and sent to the right team.

Both the Contact Centre and MyPCH portal triage systems will assess the vulnerability of a tenant and check if residents have any medical conditions, if they have under 14s living in the property or if a resident is 65 or above, and if residents have existing skin problems, respiratory problems or a weakened immune system – all of which can create additional risks for those living in close proximity to mould.

There is information on our website about the new damp and mould reporting standards to help explain how PCH prioritises cases and responds in different time frames, from 24 hours for an urgent, category-one hazard to longer time frames for more routine repairs.

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