Agenda item

Housing Performance Q1

Report to follow.


F Williamson introduced the report detailing the housing performance and ran through the highlights. She stated that members will note that overall performance is positive for quarter 1 despite being heavily impacted by the pandemic and the teams have responded well to the restrictions of lockdown, however some data is not available for this quarter, due to the service not being available during pandemic, such as some planned internal work to kitchens and bathrooms.


Councillor Freedman referred to the backlog of work and the task and finish group that had been brought into look at it. He said he has had several complaints from residents when there requests haven’t received a response. He understood that works would be taking longer and work being prioritised, he asked if the team were looking at getting communication out to residents to acknowledge there is a delay in responses and planned works.


F Williamson said that they were aware of this and there has been an increase in complaints and some communication issues. A task and finish group was set up to agree what the priority cases are and to identify those cases that need urgent intervention and ensure communication goes out to other tenants awaiting repairs. She added that scripts are being amended to reflect the backlog to advise tenants of any delays and timescales for completion of the work.


Councillor Mahmood asked if we were addressing the mental health of our tenants and what support we provide.


F Williamson said the department have been working with a number of agencies to provide support and we also provide life lines to private sector.


L Warden said officers had made contact with all tenants in a high risk group such as those who were over 70 or who has a health condition at the start of lockdown in order to offer support and make referrals to external agencies such as those who required food parcels. Work has been carried out with Community Action Dacorum and Age UK who have set up friending services for those who were socially isolated. The Supported Housing Officers have carried out extra work and identified tenants in different categories for weekly phone calls and some were phoned 2-3 times a week to maintain contact. Since the start of August, the officers have begun doorstep visits which was important as there was an increase in alarm faults because they were not able to test them. 85% of tenants in supported housing have now received a face to face visit and officers have made 143 referrals in August alone. It has been great to shift some services online and the majority of tenants have appreciated this but it has also identified that some need face to face contact in order for the council to offer the right support.

Councillor Mahmood asked for clarification on the red indicators on the risk register and section 114 in relation to homelessness.


F Williamson explained that a section 114 is a notice that the council would serve in the event that we were facing bankruptcy as a council. This is a worst case scenario if we were to mismanage the financial expenditure and not recover any grants where applicable. In housing, this relates to an increase in the number of people presenting as homeless especially those requiring welfare support and again, we are able to apply for grant funding to cover some of those costs and this is an ongoing situation. In order to mitigate against risk, we are ensuring we make budget provisions and use our own stock wherever possible. In relation to compliance and the backlog to repairs and testing, this can create a risk to health and safety and there are mitigations in place to prioritise those and remain in contact with tenants and ensuring where necessary that we redeploy to ensure compliance remains a high priority. 


Councillor Adeleke referred to the repairs and backlog, and said that every tenant will suggest their repair is a priority and asked when the backlog will be completed. He asked a second question about support for rough sleepers at the height of the pandemic and asked if this support will end.

F Williamson said that the process to clear the backlog is a validation one, and contacting those awaiting repairs to see if they still need them. Concerned about those that weren’t classified as urgent but now could cause damage such as a slow leak and they are given priority in the first round of repairs. The team are looking at increasing the labour force to get them completed in the next month and this is subject to no local restrictions in terms of access. In respect to support for rough sleepers, everyone who was placed in temporary accommodation will receive a personalised housing plan and that is set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act. This may mean they are housed in council accommodation or duty discharged to the private rented sector. Ongoing support will be provided to these individuals and the Tenancy Sustainment Team have seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases they are working with. We do not anticipate demand going down and we need to make sure we are appropriately resourced within the team.



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