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Updates on our merger proposal

When talks began between Solon South West and United Communities about coming together, we promised our residents that service improvements and investments would follow if a merger goes ahead.

We are delighted to say that, after a full consultation with our residents, both organisations' boards have agreed to enter into a strategic alliance.

This is an important step before working towards a full merger. The strategic alliance commenced on 1 October 2020 and the full merger is expected to be completed by spring 2021. Our boards have appointed Anna Klimczak as joint Chief Executive and James Taylor as joint Chair for United Communities and Solon to lead both organisations going forward and into the merger.

Under the ambitious plans to ensure diversity and inclusion, residents will be able to monitor the new organisation's performance and determine the future through a new Resident Panel.

We have now also recruited two new Board members, one of which is a resident. Read more about who they are and what they can bring to the table here.

How have we involved residents?

From the start, both organisations pledged to put residents at the heart of the merger process to ensure that their voices were heard. Residents' opinions were key to this decision. This is why we embarked on a consultation that gave everyone a chance to have their say.

We received more than 160 responses during the consultation. The majority were in favour of the proposed merger, often citing the numerous benefits that come through when resources are brought together to provide excellent customer service.

Some residents understandably raised concerns and we have provided personal feedback in each case and explained the steps we will take to seek to address them.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback. You can download a full copy of the report from the panel on the right.

How will the merger benefit our residents?

By combining our resources through merger, we will be able to offer:

  • An accessible and modern customer office.

  • Fast, high quality and consistent customer service focused on a personal approach.

  • A self-service portal on a new website enabling you to contact us at any time and request things to be done.

  • Faster and more effective response to anti-social behaviour.

  • An annual home safety MOT.

  • An ongoing annual programme of improvements to the quality of communal areas in flats.

  • A major overhaul of how you report repairs and track their progress and give feedback when the work is done.

  • (For shared owners) the option of paying us to do your repairs rather than having to find your own contractors.

  • An annual programme of improvements to the energy efficiency of the homes we manage.

  • Genuine resident involvement in the running of the new association.

  • A proposed five-year programme of £10 million spend on home improvements plus around 500 newly built homes.

What have we achieved so far?

Working together, we are already working to deliver these improvements for our residents:

Improved customer service via a dedicated Customer Service Team (CST). We are running a pilot CST to test the phone services, ways of working and training of staff so we are ready to go live in spring 2021. Once it is up and running, our CST will draw on 'best practice' from both organisations and offer a personal, tailored service for your individual needs.

Individual support to help residents manage their tenancy and wellbeing, including finances, welfare benefits, employment and mental health via highly trained specialist staff in United Communities' Tenancy Impact Team. More information on what support services they offer and how to get in touch, click here

More information

For further information, please download our merger leaflet and Customer Service Proposal by clicking on the links in the right panel above.

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