Implementing the Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs): Acuity Benchmarking

Understandably, the sector is preoccupied with the prospect of collecting a comprehensive suite of mandatory consumer metrics. As many of you will be wrestling with how you are going to collect the data and whether you should trial run them ahead of formal implementation, this blog sets out Acuity’s plans and seeks feedback about what you think we should be doing.

Trial running the TSMs

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) will issue a decision statement on the finalised TSMs in late summer (which probably means September). It’s unlikely that all of the TSMs that featured in the consultation will make the final cut; many of those that do make it are likely to have been tweaked into better shape by the consultation process.

Whatever those TSMs are, we will load them onto your data sheets around October so that benchmarking clubs or individual associations can trial run them, if they wish, and establish a baseline for 2022/23 ahead of formal implementation in April 2023 (for the year April 2023 – March 2024). Acuity will collect the trial TSM data as part of our annual data collection exercise in spring 2023 and issue a pilot TSM report in the summer alongside our existing club report.

Trial running will obviously help you iron out issues with definitions, establishing data collection systems and ensuring data quality (a RSH hot topic). These issues are worthy topics for your benchmarking meetings going forward.

As collection of the TSMs becomes obligatory, we shall continue to issue a timely TSM report in the summer well ahead of the RSH’s usual November/December timeframe for publishing such data (for larger associations).

The RSH is unlikely to require associations with less than 1000 stock to submit TSMs directly to them. But, bearing in mind the transparency and accountability called for in the Social Housing White Paper, the regulator will still expect smaller landlords to publish these metrics to their tenants annually.

Death by numbers (and platitudes)

We see our data usefully complementing the TSMs to provide a rounded and transparent picture of performance, but there’s a risk of data overload with the advent of the TSMs for the collector and reader.

So, we need to talk about your existing suite of metrics. When it comes to collecting benchmarking data, many of you will know I bang on about “less is more”, “is it used and useful?” and “just because you measure something doesn’t mean you need to compare it”. I trot these off when I try to persuade you to humanely destroy a sickly but familiar metric or when you are considering taking on new indicators following a particularly enthusiastic club discussion.

So, this is an opportunity to retire some of the tired, less useful or TSM-overlapping existing club metrics. It’s worth having a think about what these might be and having a discussion at the summer meetings. We have a few suggestions but, as always, will be guided by the clubs.

As noted elsewhere, it will be interesting to see where the TSMs leave the Sector Scorecard which already appears to be on life support. With the prospect of over 30 mandatory regulatory measures comprising TSMs and VFM metrics, the voluntary Scorecard might fizzle out by Bonfire Night.

We’re interested in what you think we should be doing, so we will be discussing this at the next round of club meetings. If you prefer  to know your thoughts separately please click here to contact us ….

About Steve Smedley

Steve is an Acuity associate and independent consultant. He is author of "Social Hearts and Business Heads" and his experience in Social Housing and enthusiasm for improving services has led him to become a leading thinker and practitioner in the sector.
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