ForHousing Improvement Cycles

Fixing the Unfixable – Damp and Disrepair

The Challenge

ForHousing, who own and manage over 24,000 high-quality homes across the North-West of England, had some reported cases of damp that needed urgently addressing.

There was an existing task force working on them, but with a risk of escalation, extra urgency and a renewed focus on delivery were needed.

The Response

Based on agile methodology principles but tailored to ForHousing’s needs, 4OC put in place a series of Improvement Cycles to bring about the changes required.

This approach allowed local, small-scale changes to be delivered quickly and effectively, improving services immediately, while also capturing longer term requirements pertinent to the wider Transformation Programme.

Over six weeks, through a planned series of sessions, workshops and research assignments, ForHousing were able to get a clear baseline view of the customer experience  baseline as well as sight of numerous improvement opportunities (both short term and longer term).

Improvement Cycles are designed in a way that makes them accessible to all staff, while maintaining the rigour and structure of more traditional project management methods.

This approach embeds change capability throughout the organisation, utilising the knowledge and insight of operational staff and empowering them to own, shape and drive change.


ForHousing worked intensely with 4OC over a 6 week period where we reviewed the current damp repairs processes and met with tenants and internal stakeholders to identify gaps in the service. Following this, a full suite of recommendations were developed and subsequently implemented. This has led to a more pro-active approach to damp management allowing ownership and empowering all staff  to deal with all damp-related enquiries. It has also created a tenant designed and led improved service for the future.

Lee Ferendenus

Strategic Lead for Maintenance, ForHousing

"... a tenant designed and led improved service for the future"

Outputs and Insights

The damp problems were (i) identified, (ii) prioritised and (iii) a plan for resolving them was put in place. The result was that issues were immediately contained, which limited both disrepair claims and reputational damage and put ForHousing back in control of a potentially spiralling situation.

Many improvements were made during the Improvement Cycle including:

  • Prioritisation of damp reports now based on a holistic view of the issue, the property history and customer circumstances
  • Neighbourhood Officer has single point of ownership linking existing support case with tracking of damp and disrepair issues
  • Damp Sensors fitted in 100 homes where damp had been reported to pilot a proactive approach to identifying reoccurring issues
  • Design and implementation of visible performance metrics on damp and disrepair
  • Customer updated at every stage of the process via web notifications – customers have visibility of where their case is
  • SLAs reduced to ensure all reports are inspected within 10 days, with work carried out and completed within 50 days
  • Customer now plays a role in deciding if repair can be deemed ‘complete’
  • Customer focussed training delivered for all involved staff, including contractors, encouraging them to look at the bigger picture when dealing with damp


The understanding, capability and confidence of the Improvement Cycle participants noticeably increased during the process, demonstrating that the approach is successful in building internal change capability.

All participants spoke positively about their experience, helping to create a positive story of change across the wider organisation.

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