Customer story: Abri, UK

'screenshot of 'Abri, UK
'screenshot of 'Abri, UK

Social housing for good

Abri is one of the largest social housing providers in the south of England. It’s comprised of what were previously two separate organisations, called Radian Housing and Yarlington Housing, both of whom now operate under the Abri banner.

They have some ambitious goals for the next several years, including one of 100% customer satisfaction. A core part of that goal includes principles of co-creation and community involvement. In other words, engaging with residents is pretty high up on their list of priorities.

A change in approach

Previously, residents were consulted using different methods like in-person focus groups. While these were useful to those who attended, the majority of attendees were older people and didn’t represent all of the thousands of social tenants across the group.

Abri knew the benefits of online engagement: back before the merger, Yarlington trialled engaging with residents on social media. Not only did they get a much higher number of participants than in the in-person focus groups, but the demographic spread was much broader.

So when it came to choosing an online consultation platform, Abri wanted something that would help them to uphold their principles of transparency and community, as well as enabling them to achieve the reach and impact they saw when interacting with tenants on social media.

They chose Citizen Space

Citizen Space was the right choice. It’s designed to make accountability the easy option, with features like simple feedback reporting and response publishing. Abri use the ‘We Asked, You Said, We Did’ feature, which provides snapshot summaries of what actions were taken on the back of resident submissions.

Citizen Space is also fully accessible, both in terms of the Web Accessibility Guidelines, and due to the fact it’s reactive - i.e. it works on devices of any size. It’s compatible with assistive technology, like screen readers, and users don’t need to register or create an account to take part. This means it’s easy to use for people with disabilities, as well as those who don’t have access to a computer or who aren’t digitally fluent.

Abri use their Citizen Space site to consult on things like changes to the repairs programme, but also things that affect their tenants in a more indirect way, such as proposed changes to planning legislation that will impact the number of social housing units that get built in England. Abri want to be a force for social good, not just a landlord, and consulting via Citizen Space has helped them move closer to that goal.

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