Gillian Spriggs
Posted on: June 22nd 2022   •    Posted in: General News

A day in the life of a Visiting Officer.

Gillian Spriggs is one of our visiting officers here Havebury and here she tells us more about what a typical day can look like for her.

The past few years have been very strange for me as a visiting officer. It is so lovely to be back visiting tenants as it’s always been my favourite part of the job.

My role is very much a mixture of proactive and reactive, I use my calendar to ensure I know what weekly fixtures I have as part of my role. For example, time on the duty phone, taking calls from residents and anti-social behaviour (ASB) case monitoring.

No two days are the same, but here is an example of what my day can look like. First, I visit two properties in Haverhill with the police. The police often get calls regarding ASB – this usually results in a joint visit.

ASB ranges from minor to major, for example, drugs and addiction issues. This joint agency partnership is very effective, and tenants seem to respond well to this approach. The first case I go to is an ongoing neighbour dispute.

Like many ASB cases, they can start with something relatively minor but then can escalate. The key for me is to listen, empathise, find out what the problem is and then work with the tenants to find an appropriate solution.

In this case, we visited both parties and explained what we (the police and us as a landlord) can and can’t do and what we need both parties to do to achieve a resolution. I think it will take more visits to reach a good conclusion, but that is what we are here for.

My next stop in Haverhill is a tenant who has raised concerns for another tenant’s wellbeing. We established the tenant in question was in an abusive relationship which has now ended. She was getting support from social services, domestic abuse services and her family. We arranged a further visit as a welfare check, and she seemed pleased with our help.

My next visit was to a tenant whose garden had become extremely overgrown and untidy, which was not helped by lockdown restrictions. To my delight, the garden had been cleared massively and whilst it wasn’t completely finished, I felt the tenant had worked hard to achieve it.

My final visit in Haverhill was to a suspected abandoned property. These get reported to us quite frequently and it is our job to confirm that it has been abandoned. We visit on several occasions to check gas and electric readings, speak to the neighbours, and check the bins. This is primarily when we cannot reach the tenant by phone or e-mail. On this occasion it appears that the property is abandoned but I will contact the tenant once more before serving a ‘Notice to Quit’.

From Haverhill, I drive to Bury to do another joint visit with the police. I had already served an ASB contract on this tenant and completed an ASB survey with the police. On this occasion, the police were serving a Community Protection Warning letter. The tenant responded well and there has now been a noticeable improvement in their behaviour.

On returning home I needed to record my visits on our system and decide on next steps. I then complete some call back requests. These can be for all sorts of reasons, but one sticks in my mind as it was a ‘good news’ call. It was to a support worker regarding a tenant with severe mental health issues. Through joint visits to the tenant, we were able to bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion and close it– a great outcome.

I always check my calendar so that I know what is in store for the next day and read my emails and TEAMS messages for any updates. All in all, a good day with mostly positive outcomes – they are my favourite kinds of days!

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