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Excellence in customer service recognised

Published: Thur, 22 Jan 2015
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Paddy Rooney-White
Paddy Rooney White
A member of our team in Newry has been short-listed for the ‘Excellence in Customer Service’ category at the Chartered Institute of Housing-NI’s annual awards.
Paddy Rooney-White is the area’s Sustaining Tenancies officer who supports those experiencing difficulties in keeping their tenancies. After the need was recognised, we launched a Sustaining Tenancies initiative pilot in Newry and Paddy was charged with its design and implementation.
The development of Supporting Tenancies meant changing the approach to signing someone up to their tenancy so housing officers can, more readily, identify tenants who may need support to maintain their tenancy. The project has involved creating a support network of organisations to which tenants can be referred or which they can contact for appropriate help. This approach, support and referral has made the difference to keeping the roof over some tenant heads.
The pilot scheme Paddy ran in the Newry area proved highly successful and the follow-on evaluation showed tenants did not get into debt as advice was given at an early stage, very few tenancies ended with a termination and almost half of all new tenants received some form of appropriate support. As a result of this success, the scheme was rolled out throughout our South Region and the new approach has been implemented across the rest of Northern Ireland.
One of the people Paddy has helped through the Supporting Tenancies project was delighted with the support she received and commented:
“Paddy’s been terrific helping me to get furniture from a variety of places.She also took the time to speak to our local St Vincent de Paul and they gave me a cooker and some oil to get me started. I’m now very settled in my home, it’s nicely decorated and I am in a much better place.”
Paddy’s manager who nominated her, Loma Wilson, said:
“Paddy took the Sustaining Tenancies initiative from inception through to standard practice within the Housing Executive. Her commitment and determination to promote the service along with many personal interventions has made a significant difference to many living in the Newry area and now across Northern Ireland. I am delighted she’s been recognised through short-listing for the CIH-NI Awards 2015.”
Paddy said she was ‘just pleased to be nominated for the award in the first place’ in recognition of the initiative and her role in it. She described making the short-list as ‘the icing on the cake’.