Mears Group PLC
Designing and delivering new customer engagement mechanisms for Mears Group PLC
The client and background
Mears is one of the UK’s leading housing and care providers to both the public and private sector, with over 12,000 employees. They wanted to review their current approach to engaging customers in their business and develop new more effective ways to listen and respond.
What we did and the impact
We worked with them to design a new approach to customer engagement reflecting customer need and their business priorities. We supported the development of three customer engagement mechanisms:
- An independently chaired and supported Customer Scrutiny Board reporting into their PLC board.
- A Customer Champions Forum focused on existing client tenant and customer activities and their own customer engagement teams.
- An online Customer Network engaging with hundreds of Mears customers.
CfGS provided invaluable support during the development phase and led the recruitment of customers representatives to the Board and Terrie Alafat CBE as Chair. The Board began meeting in February 2020 and is focused on a range of issues including customer communications and the Mears COVID-19 response.
We continue to work with Mears on the delivery of the Scrutiny Board and development of the Customer Champions Forum. A model approach for public and private sector providers.
The Independent Scrutiny Board has published its first annual report on the performance of housing provider Mears – you can read the report here.
Responding to the report Alan Long, Executive Director of Mears said:
“Mears welcomes the insight, challenge and support from the Scrutiny Board and assurance provided by the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny.
This year has presented significant challenges to Mears as we have worked hard to keep our customers and employees safe, whilst protecting the most vulnerable and delivering vital services. Our commitment to being open to scrutiny during this time has not waivered, in fact we were more committed than ever to operating in a way that was open, transparent and welcomed the challenge of our customer Scrutiny Board.
In its first year, the Scrutiny Board is already seen as a valuable asset to the business and we will actively adopt the recommendations contained in this report. To provide the best service we can we need to design our services with the support of those who receive them. We also need to understand where we are getting things wrong – it is only by doing this that we can create services which are designed for and by residents.”