Strategies and policies

Image: Strategy and plans
When you want to delve a bit deeper into how we do things and our plans for the future this is the place to look.

A range of strategies and policies can be found listed below:



 

Compensation Policy

This policy outlines when you can claim compensation and how we’ll compensate you.

Read our Compensation Policy [PDF 301KB].

Complaints Resolution Policy


This policy explains how you can make a complaint and the complaints process we'll follow.

Please view the "Tell us" webpage for further information on how to make a comment, complaint or compliment.

Alternatively please click here to read our Complaints Resolution Policy [PDF 143 KB].


 

Data Protection Policy


Our Data Protection Policy outlines how we’ll:
  • Comply with the Data Protection Act 1998
  • Ensure all staff involved in processing personal information understand their responsibilities
  • Provide staff with adequate information and training to fulfil their responsibilities
  • Deal with a subject access request
  • Report a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998
  • Assure all people we hold data about, we’ll process and store their personal information in accordance with the Act.
For more information please read our Privacy notice webpage or click here to view a PDF version of our Data Protection Policy (PDF, 449 KB)
 

Domestic Abuse Policy


This policy explains our approach to domestic abuse. It includes what we'll do:
  • When you report domestic abuse to us
  • To help protect you if you are suffering from domestic abuse.

You can find out more about about our approach to domestic abuse here.

Alternatively please click here to read our Domestic Abuse Policy [PDF 263kb].
 

Housing Options & Lettings Policy


Our Housing Options Policy outlines the range of housing options we offer and who can access them. It helps us make sure we allocate our homes in a fair, transparent and efficient way.

Read our Housing Options Policy [PDF 288KB].

Probity Policy


Our Probity Policy outlines the standards of conduct for staff to deliver a quality service to our residents and community.

Read our Probity Policy here (PDF, 274KB)

 

Safeguarding Policy

We take all concerns and allegations of abuse, neglect and harm seriously and respond appropriately. Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility and doing nothing is not an option.

Our Safeguarding policies outline our commitment to Safeguarding in line with the Care Act 2014

Our Safeguarding Adults Policy relates to all household members in Optivo homes and all Optivo staff, Board members, volunteers, agents and contractors and their supply chains.

Our Safeguarding Children Policy relates to all children living in Optivo homes, as well as children that are non-residents but come into contact with services provided by Optivo.

For more information, please read our Safeguarding policies below To find out more, visit our Safeguarding page.

Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2020


We are hugely excited at Optivo to be working together with our residents to make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.

Read our Strategic Plan for 2017-20 for full details

Service Charge Dispute Resolution Policy


When calculating service charges we always try to make sure we:
  • Calculate them correctly and fairly
  • Follow the legal consultation requirements (these only apply to variable service charge payers).
Our Service Charge Dispute Resolution Policy outlines what action you can take if you feel we have not done this, and what we’ll do to resolve your dispute.

Read our Service Charge Dispute Resolution Policy.

Whistle Blowing Policy and Guidance


We're committed to the highest standards of conduct, quality, probity, openness and accountability and expect the same commitment from employees and consultants and contractors.

Read our Whistle Blowing Policy (320KB) and the Whistle Blowing Guidance (204KB).

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Statement

At Optivo we value, celebrate and embrace Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Our Board drives our approach and commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We believe our differences make us stronger and more effective in meeting our business objectives.

Respect is one of our organisational values and is reflected in everything we do.

Read our EDI Statement.


 

Supplier Code of Conduct and Expected Behaviours Code

We believe in offering excellent customer service to our residents and expect the same commitment from employees, consultants and contractors.

Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Expected Behaviours Code makes it clear what we expect from those we work with.

Empty Homes Standard

Our promise to you is your new home will be clean, safe, secure and in good repair. 
 
This document lays out the minimum standards you can expect when you move into your new home. What exactly do we mean by Clean, Safe and Secure?  And what does “Good repair” mean? It’s all explained in our Empty Homes Standard.

For more information, read our Empty Homes Standard policy.

Anti-Fraud & Money Laundering Policies


Optivo is committed to the highest ethical standards and good governance and adopts a zero tolerance to fraud, bribery and corruption.

The policy documents below outline our commitment to this:

Mobility Vehicle Policy

For many people, mobility vehicles are integral to addressing mobility needs. For local journeys, they’re a practical alternative to a car and this is a prime reason for their increasing ownership and use.

Our Policy balances residents’ needs and aspirations to own mobility vehicles with health and safety concerns for other residents, staff and visitors.

This Policy outlines the rules for Class 2 and Class 3 mobility vehicles in our homes. This includes powered wheelchairs, buggies and scooters

Resident Governance Policies and Terms of Reference

Provision of Goods and Services

This Agreement sets out the terms and conditions as well as the subject to which the Supplier agrees to provide the Goods/ Services and/ or Services (as applicable) to Optivo on a non-exclusive basis.

For more information, read our Standard Contract Terms and Conditions (124KB, PDF).

Tenure Policy

Our Tenure Policy relates to our rented homes, with the exception of Keyworker Accommodation, Student Accommodation, and Care Homes. The policy includes:
  • The types of occupation or tenancy agreement we use
  • Sustaining tenancies, supporting vulnerable tenants and preventing unnecessary eviction
  • Assignment, succession, joint tenancy, mutual exchange
  • Tenancy fraud.
Read our Tenure policy (PDF, 404KB) for more details.

Anti-Social Behaviour Policy

This policy applies to all residents, colleagues and contractors. It outlines how we deal with ASB including hate incidents or crimes.

For more information, please read our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy

Arrears and Sundry Debt Policy

This policy advises how we'll prevent and reduce arrears and other debts. This policy covers:
  • What happens if you get in arrears or owe us money
  • Our approach to collecting rental income
  • Other consequences of being in arrears and in debt to us
  • What we do if your tenancy ends and you owe us money.
For more information, please read our Arrears and Sundry Debt Policy.

Rent Setting Policy

This Policy describes the methodologies for changing annual rents and for setting new rents.

Read our Rent Setting Policy (PDF, 359KB).

Replacement Homes Policy

This policy outlines our approach when we ask you to move from your home, either on a temporary or permanent basis.

For more information, please read our Replacement Homes Policy.

Chargeable Repairs Policy

Our Chargeable Repairs policy sets out our approach to charging residents for repairs and related costs they're responsible for. This policy covers:
  • When we'll charge for repairs
  • How we'll charge for repairs
  • What happens if residents don't pay recharges
  • What residents can do it they're not happy with a charge.
Read our Chargeable Repairs policy for more information.

Heating & Hot Water policy

Our Heating & Hot Water Policy outlines how and when we'll service heating and hot water systems. It aims to ensure all our heating and hot water systems are regularly serviced and operate safely.

Read our Heating & Hot Water policy for more information.

Responsive Repairs Policy

At Optivo, we want you to be happy in your home and with the services we provide. We offer a range of services, one of the most important being our day-to-day repairs service. A reliable repairs service keeps you safe, secure and warm as well as protecting your home for future generations.

Read our Responsive Repairs Policy for more information.

Pets Policy

Our Pets Policy outlines our approach to dealing with pets in residents' homes. 

This policy applies to residents living in general needs, retirement, shared ownership or leasehold properties.

Read our Pets Policy for more information.

Access Policy

This Policy outlines our approach in a situation where we would need to obtain access to your home (including gardens and other outside areas). It covers:
  • When we may need to access your home
  • Responsibilities
  • What we’ll do if you do not allow us access.
For more information, please read our Access Policy.

Recoverable Service Charge Policy

This Policy gives an overview of our approach to the recovery of cost for services we may provide for residents.

For more information, read our Recoverable Service Charge Policy.

Value For Money Strategy

Value for money is at the heart of achieving our strategic goals, and spending money wisely is part of our actions and decisions.

For more information read our Value For Money Strategy.

Abandoned Homes Policy

We must make the best use of our homes. This means recovering and letting abandoned homes quickly.

Our Policy covers the definition of an abandoned home as well as the action we will take when a home is abandoned.

For more information, please read our Abandoned Homes Policy.

Asset Management Strategy

Effective asset management underpins so much of what we do and is essential to achieving our Strategic Plan objectives here at Optivo.

The three strategic asset management objectives underpinning this strategy are:
  • Making the best use of our assets
  • Keeping our residents safe with easy access to our social impact initiatives
  • Providing Sector Leading Services
For more information, please read our Asset Management Strategy.

Home Ownership Policy


Our Home Ownership Policy aims to set out the general parameters for how Optivo will interpret all its policies when applying them to home owners who receive some form of service from us.

Read our Home Ownership Policy (PDF, 304KB)

Lease extension policy

Our Lease Extension Policy outlines our approach to extending leases outside any statutory entitlement, including when we’ll use our discretion to extend leases for shared owners.

Full leaseholders (these are leaseholders who own 100% of the equity in the property leased to them) have a statutory right to extend their lease if they meet the relevant requirements.

They can choose to follow this Policy to ask us to extend their lease (and agree a valuation), or pursue the statutory route. If they choose to use the statutory route, the statutory process will be followed outside of this Policy. There is no statutory entitlement to extend a shared ownership lease.

Gifts & Hospitality Policy

Optivo must comply with section 122 of Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 and charitable law, including that which relates to probity matters.

The principle of integrity requires that employees and governance members should not place themselves under any obligation which might influence, or be perceived to influence, the conduct of their duties.  The Code requires that there are clear rules and procedures in relation to the receipt of gifts, hospitality and other probity matters.

For more information, please read our Gifts & Hospitality Policy.

Shared Ownership Resales Policy

Our Policy sets out our approach to shared ownership resales.

A resale is where a shared owner wants to sell their shared ownership interest in a property. This is sometimes known as “assignment” of the lease.

Read our Shared Ownership Resales Policy (PDF, 84KB).

 

Voluntary Right to Buy Policy - Midlands VRTB Pilot

We're taking part in the Government’s Right to Buy (RTB) pilot in the Midlands. This will allow some housing association tenants to buy the home that they rent from us at a discounted rate.

Our Policy outlines our approach to the Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) scheme, including:
  • Who has the right to buy their home
  • Which homes are excluded from the VRTB scheme
  • What we’ll do if your property is not eligible
  • The application fee we’ll charge
  • How we’ll value your home
  • How the discount is calculated
  • Your responsibilities once you’ve bought your home.
Our VRTB policy (PDF, 190KB) provides full details. Additional information about the Midlands pilot can be found here.

Resident Involvement Strategy 2018 - 2021

Residents are at the heart of Optivo and are encouraged through many ways to become involved to help improve services.

We are proud of our Resident Involvement Strategy, which has been been created through joint consultation between involved residents and members of staff.

By working together as one team, we believe this strategy will give residents a big voice within Optivo.

For more information, read our Resident Involvement Strategy.

Social Impact Statement 2018/20

We're aiming to step up and generate outstanding Social Impact. We're working hard to fulfil merger promises to support Optivo residents and communities.

To give immediate focus we’re adopting a guiding Social Impact Statement seting the direction for work over the next nine months.

For more information, read our Social Impact Statement 2018/20.

Winter Gritting Policy

We have a duty of care to anyone who uses our land and to ensure the health and safety of employees, so far as is reasonably practicable. This Policy outlines how we’ll meet these legal duties by:
  • Identifying and controlling risks to staff, residents, and visitors in adverse winter weather
  • Outlining how we’ll maintain safe access to premises for staff and residents during winter
  • Clarifying the areas where we’ll clear snow and spread grit.
For more information, read our Winter Gritting Policy (199 KB)

Health and Safety Strategy 2018-2021

We're committed to continuous improvement of our health and safety management, providing a safe and healthy environment for our people and our residents, and recognising the impact our work may have on others.

This Strategy provides the roadmap to ensure our approach to Health & Safety Management reflects our broad risk profile and the diversity of our residents.

For more information, read our Health and Safety Strategy 2018-2021
 

Window Restrictor Policy

This policy outlines our approach to managing window restrictors as a way of preventing falls from height.

It applies to all homes and communal areas owned and managed by Optivo. This includes: 
  • General needs houses and flats/maisonettes
  • Housing for older people, extra care and care homes
  • Supported housing
  • Student accommodation
  • Keyworker accommodation.
It also extends to our offices.

For more information, please read our Window Restrictor Policy [164 KB]

CCTV Policy

This Policy outlines our approach to the use of overt (cameras can be seen) and covert (cameras are hidden) closed circuit television (CCTV). It covers CCTV installed:
  • By residents
  • In new developments (secure by design)
  • In existing developments (linked to anti-social behaviour or crime)
  • In our offices
  • By a third party (commercial and agency managed).
For more information, read our CCTV Policy [168 KB]

Energy and Environment Strategy

Optivo has a strong track record of delivering ground-breaking sustainability programmes. We’ve improved the energy efficiency of thousands of our homes, introduced innovative solutions and achieved significant cost savings.

This strategy describes the opportunity for residents, staff and suppliers to have a sustainable environment in which to live, work and thrive.

For more information, please read our Energy and Environment Strategy here.

Community Volunteering Policy

We recognise the benefits of volunteering, both to the volunteer and our business. Volunteers extend the services and range of activities we provide, and enhance the services Optivo offers to its customers.

This Policy sets out:
  • The definition and role of community volunteers
  • The relationship between volunteers and Optivo
  • How we’ll recruit and support volunteers
  • The implications for insurance and health & safety
  • Our approach to volunteers working for multiple agencies.
For more information please read our Community Volunteering Policy.

Tenant Gifting Policy

In this Policy, ‘gifting’ is when we give an item to a tenant free of charge and they agree to take responsibility for the item. This Policy outlines our approach to gifting, including:
  • When we may gift
  • Our gifting conditions
  • Our gifting standard
  • Tenants gifting to each other.
For more information, read our Tenant Gifting Policy.

Home Improvements policy

We want you to enjoy living in your home and to make it your own.

When you want to make improvements to your home, it’s important you check whether you need permission before you make the improvements.

This policy outlines:
  • Your responsibilities
  • What we define as a home improvement
  • The information you need to provide to us
  • When we may charge you before giving permission
  • Why we may refuse permission.
For more information, please read our Home Improvements policy.

Garage & Parking Bay Policy

This Policy outlines our approach to letting and managing garages and parking bays owned or managed by Optivo.

Neighbourhood and Estates Statement

Our Neighbourhood and Estates Statement highlights our commitment to Making Places. This means:
  • Our estates are welcoming - clean, green and safe
  • Communities are successful and enabled to thrive.
For more information, read our Neighbourhoods and Estates Statement.