Agenda item

Agenda item

Social Housing White Paper Readiness and Tenant Satisfaction Survey Response

Further to its previous discussions of the Social Housing White Paper and the Tenant Satisfaction Survey, attached is a report on the progress made towards being ready for the Social Housing White Paper and an update on the progress being made to actions following the Tenant Satisfaction Survey.

Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager, will be available to present the report.

The Panel is asked to consider the report and raise any issues for possible recommendations to make to Cabinet when the write up of its findings on Tenant Engagement is completed.



Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager, presented to the Panel the report on the progress of the Council regarding the progress of its response to the Tenant Satisfaction Survey and readiness for the Social Housing White Paper. 

Actions to improve the repairs service were on track. An SMS reminder and notification system was expected to go live in July, and a live dashboard to track underperformance in different areas had been designed and scoped, with an expected go-live of November. Dynamic Resource Scheduling was being used for half of operatives, with full take up expected by July. Just in time delivery was now in place through a contract with Grafton. A solution to enable follow-up visits to be booked whilst the operative was on-site was also being used by half of operatives with full take-up expected by July. The reporting, viewing and tracking portal for tenant repairs was slightly delayed because of changes made in the background by Microsoft, with expectation it would be running by October. Much progress had been made on damp and mould re-inspection visits, with all cases within the last two years checked on and prioritisation of cases occurring when reported. EDI and customer care training had been planned and was being rolled out to all staff. ODS had appointed a project manager to develop a Customer Service Strategy.

Following this, members asked about the certainty of estimated time frames, particularly in relation to QL-related issues. The time frames provided were felt to be robust, but the work was reliant on a small number of individuals within the Council, making unexpected work for them more likely to cause delays. The Council’s awareness of mould and ventilation issues for highly efficient houses was queried. It was confirmed that this issue formed part of the consideration of which interventions to use for the Council’s retrofitting programme.

To address feedback by tenants that the quality of the home was a concern for a number the Council was undertaking a long-term £51m improvement programme. A stock condition survey would be undertaken to identify works required, with the contractor being appointed by April 2022. The Great Estates work, with a budget of £1.1m would also continue.

Interest was expressed by Councillors in being able to contribute ideas to the Great Estates programme, but many felt they were being held back by a lack of knowledge how the programme worked. It was AGREED that this topic would be referred to Democratic Services to be added to the list of topics for all-member briefings post-election. The briefing would be based on the recent report submitted to the Leaders meeting on the process for Great Estates sign-off.

With a view to readiness for the implementation of the Social Housing white paper the Council was in the process of recruiting an engagement team to deliver the engagement plan. The recruitment was expected to be complete by June, subject to budget sign-off. Better data capture and a customer portal to enable better digital access were expected to launched in June, with completion by 2024. Engagement plans would also include leaseholders as well as tenants.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) had been an area of divergence between the Council and a number of tenants, with difference of opinion over whether responsive measures should be preventative or punitive. To address this, an engagement process was underway for completion in July and greater information was to be available at the same time online about the support the Council could provide. The new ASB policy was already in place.

Finally, the integration of the Housing, Communities and Community Safety functions would increase cross-working and improve outcomes. To date, pilots had been completed. In addition to this, extra front-line staff would be recruited (subject to budget approval) in April. An external review of how the Council delivers its services to tenants was imminently to have instructions issued, with the report expected by the end of May.

Concern was expressed at the low level of satisfaction shown by leaseholders and the possible reasons explored. One cause was the different nature of the relationship, with many leaseholders did not live in the property itself but rented it out so they tended to see the Council as a source of bills rather than providing enrichment to the community. An area of improvement identified, however, was providing more information. A number of leaseholder ambassadors had been working with the Council to develop a leaseholder handbook, with information relevant to the specific needs and interests of leaseholders.

Another area of concern was over whether the action plan’s response to the dissatisfaction amongst younger people over the quality of their homes, solely investing in digitalisation, was sufficient. Officers were keen to capture feedback from younger tenants soon after moving in on their experience relative to their expectations. It was expected, however, that the overall increase in engagement would also provide a strong steer as to necessary future avenues of work. The Panel suggested the recruitment of younger tenant ambassadors. As part of that, it would be useful to know the age breakdown of those responding to the tenant satisfaction survey who were willing to be contacted.

The capability to use the survey data to understand views by residents on different estates was questioned. Ward-level responses could be tracked, but it was not possible to be more granular. This was an area identified by officers for follow-up in order to identify priority issues for each ward.

Councillor difficulties with tracking progress on case work were commented on. It was explained that all member enquiries to ODS should go via the Contact Centre, which would enable the issues to be logged. This would then provide a facility for councillors to track case work updates.

The report was NOTED.

Councillor Diko Walcott left the meeting at the conclusion of this item.


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