2017/18 saw the first full operating year of the Housing Department as a fully-fledged department within the Council after the change over from Ashfield Homes.
The change has allowed us to utilise and share experience within the Council as well as work more closely on big issues affecting the district and in a more efficient manner.
The annual benchmarking of performance we undertake against all other social housing providers, whether that be other Councils, Housing Associations or Arm’s Length Organisations show that the quality and effectiveness of services continues to improve and in many cases be amongst the top level of any housing provider in the country.
Whilst this report features results of the last financial year just gone, perhaps what is also of interest is the future. We already have plans in place to build more family properties for rent starting with nine units in Hucknall which were let out this summer. We are also upgrading our IT systems which will allow our officers to be able to perform their roles out on the estates and in your homes rather than having to start and finish at the office each day. Linked to this is a new way of scheduling repairs which will allow you as residents to choose your own appointment slot and help bundle repairs together to make more effective use of each visit.
We will also be launching our improved tenant’s portal which will enable you view your rent account, repairs history, raise repairs, report ASB, pay your rent and email us direct 24/7 via the internet.
Finally during the course of this year we will be extending our resident involvement opportunities building on those groups we already have and trying to reach out to more tenants; this will be a great opportunity to get involved in shaping the future direction and polices within Housing, so we look forward to hearing from you.
Not only do we try to offer the best possible service to our customers, we also get regional and national recognition for some of the work we do. Through the year 2017/18 we received particular recognition for the then newly built Darlison Court in Hucknall as well for the work we do in proving the energy efficiency in our properties such as the fitting of external wall insulation to properties in the lower Coxmoor area of Kirkby, new gas infrastructure and gas central heating to our last ‘off gas’ area at Meden Bank, Stanton Hill, and renewal technology installations such as solar panels to Courts and Biomass (wood pellets) communal central heating installations to Sherwood Court and Titchfield Court.
Awards and Nominations included
- LABC Regional award Winner and national Finalist for best inclusive building (Darlison Court)
- National Finalist Energy Efficiency Awards for ‘Landlord of the Year 2018’
- Inside Housing Awards for best older persons scheme (Darlison Court)
- Efficiency East Midlands award for best partnership with J.Tomlinson (Collaborative Working)
- Shortlisted at the TPAS Central Awards Ceremony 2018 for ‘Team of the Year’ and ‘Excellence in Contractor Engagement’, both in relation to J Tomlinson’s partnerships with Ashfield District Council and Midland Heart.
- Made in the Midlands 2018 ‘Pride Award for one of J Tomlinson’s apprentices, working in collaboration with Ashfield District Council.
Our Lettings service is responsible for the allocation of our Housing stock. We have around 6,800 properties and have nearly 4,000 people on our waiting list. As less than 500 properties become available to let each year applicants need to be selected in bands which prioritise their need for housing. We do this through our on line Choice Based Lettings system available at www.amhomefinder.co.uk
Properties let in 2017/18
471 properties were let I 2017/18. Of these 177 applicants were in band 1 ‘emergency’ need and 103 in band 2 ‘urgent’ need.
The 471 properties included 110 bungalows, 109 houses and 252 flats.
In 2017/18 28 tenants moved home by way of mutual exchange.
- During the year, two council properties were put forward to be used as temporary accommodation for local residents who were ready for discharge from hospital but who could not return home as their property was not suitable for their needs.
- A new pre-tenancy procedure has been introduced to ensure we understand and meet the needs of our new tenants.
- Over 70% of new tenants made a rent in advance payment, so ensuring they started their new tenancy in credit.
- Plans were agreed to purchase 9 new properties on the former Rolls Royce site development in Hucknall that will be let to applicants on the Housing Register.
Rent is our only income. If we don’t collect rent, we have less money to spend on the upkeep of our properties as well as the wider tenancy management services we provide such as Tenancy Sustainment and Money Advice.
Everyone needs a place to live and so we place great emphasis of keeping people in their homes, our teams can help with referrals to other support agencies as well as apply for grants and benefits to help with household and day to day expenses. We automatically offer this support if you run in to problems with your rent, but why not speak to us if you feel you may be about to run in to difficulties.
The percentage of rent collected is a key performance indicator for the Income Recovery Team.
The percentage of rent collected
Our target for 2018/19 is 99%
- 415 Notice of Seeking Possession were issued to tenants due to rent arrears and Anti-social Behaviour
- 37 households were evicted for non-payment of rent
- 359 tenants were supported by the Money Management Advisor
- Over £272,043 was accessed in backdated benefits, additional benefits and charitable donations.
- 225 tenants were supported by the Tenancy Sustainment Officers
- Of these 225 tenants, 83 tenants were prevented from being evicted due to the support provided to them by the Tenancy Sustainment Officer.
- Over £117,742.13 was accessed in charitable donations/grants to assist tenants to sustain their tenancy.
- 24 elderly or vulnerable tenants were prevented from being rehoused into care homes or supported accommodation by liaising with support agencies and signposting tenants for support so they could remain in their own home.
Tenancy and Estate Management:
Did you know we undertake regular inspections of our estates? – these are publicised on our website, with other services, Council Departments, and Councillors invited.
- During 2017/18, we undertook 100% of our planned estate inspections across the district. These are carried out to ensure the estates which have Council owned stock are maintained to a high standard.
Our services are all about tenants and we would like you to have an input in to our policies and procedures. Getting involved in our resident groups is both rewarding and you can actually see how your views and suggestions shape our service.
- We actively supported six community groups
- Officers attended over 45 community groups/tenants and residents meetings in the District
- We held 6 Tenant Gateway Meetings. Tenant representatives scrutinised our performance, reviewed our website and were involved in reviewing service provision and policies
- Our Tenant Scrutiny Panel met with our Cabinet to scrutinise an area of service
- We also support the Ashfield Forum which is run by local residents for local residents. They get regular speakers in from Council Departments and the Police and get ask those challenging questions which matter to residents.
- Moving forward we are carrying out a review of Tenant Involvement to encourage greater tenant involvement
- 19 formal complaints received
- Average days to respond to a complaint: 7.21
Technical Services Section
Property repairs is our busiest service, we appreciate that having something go wrong or break in your home can be frustrating and so we aim to offer a service which is both easy to get through to and prompt in attending to the property at your convenience.
- 28,432 repairs completed
- Including 5,267 emergency repairs
Repairs completed on time
Repairs completed on time - 97.60%
Repairs Call Handling Centre
- Total calls received – 40,514
- Total calls answered – 39,190
- 73% calls answered
- Average call ring time 25.75 seconds
You said we did…..
The Tenant’s Gateway:-
- Recommended changes to the Tenancy Services Section of the website and these were introduced
- Were consulted on the proposed changes to the Lettings Policy and comments were considered, which mean the changes were not introduced
- Reviewed the rent arrears letters and recommended changes which were introduced
- Following feedback from tenants about the number of letters they received about Health and Safety checks, these have now been reduced.
- In response to concerns from tenants regarding increasing fuel prices, we continue to target the replacement of inefficient central heating systems, and improving thermal efficiency through various insulation related projects