F Williamson noted 2 appendices, the Performance Report, and Housing Risk Register, and presented the report:
· Gas Servicing Compliance was at 100% at end of Q3.
· The number of emergency repairs increased substantially Q2-Q3, with only 2 failures to complete within the 4-hour target.
· The Income Team provided intensive support to tenants in Q3 and despite challenging external economic conditions, increased the amount of rent collected by 3.9%.
· The Tenancy Sustainment Team had a busy quarter. The team supported 2 families from the Afghan Locally Employed Persons Scheme who had been resettled very successfully.
· The number of cases of homelessness prevention increased with 44 successful preventions, an increase of 8 on the previous quarter.
· The team received central government funding of £125,000 to assist with preventing homelessness after the moratorium on evictions ended.
· The percentage of non-urgent repairs had declined alongside an increase of 69% from Q2-Q3 in number of repairs reported. There were increasing pressures regards labour and material, with subcontractors moving to contracts in London for higher rates of pay.
· The return rate of Tenancy Enforcement satisfaction surveys to understand ASB solutions was very low, skewing the outcome figures. Survey responses focused on the time to progress to a satisfactory outcome, especially if the expectation were to evict a tenant with limited evidence base to enforce or demote tenancy.
· There were still difficulties with key-to-key times, some in relation to Works, others due to a backlog of sheltered accommodation. There was an increase in demand for sheltered accommodation, an improvement on August last year where schemes were advertised. There were also higher levels of bidding on sheltered properties. There were still delays in getting properties let and a backlog.
· The Lifeline Call Service showed a decline in performance in Q3 with 90.1% of calls answered within 60 seconds. It was important to maintain a high level of service, key to older and vulnerable tenants. The contract comes to an end June 2022 so they must work with Tunstall to transition to another provider. In February, there was an increase in calls answered within 60 seconds to 97.8%, resulting from intensive work with Tunstall.
· Operational Risk Register had been updated showing key operational areas monitored.
Cllr Hollinghurst asked how to reassure residents whose complaints had been unlogged. Cllr Hollinghurst suggested they move the prioritisation of some calls directly to the Council as a number of residents were dissatisfied with Osborne’s decision that a particular repair was not a priority repair. FWilliamson noted that during the pandemic only urgent jobs were carried out, and Osborne had been asked to provide a full inventory of any cancelled jobs and a proposal of how to re-log the jobs, contact the tenants, and triage them. The 2 back-to-back storms had compounded the need. They tried to use the storm damage as a separate element of work so it did not impact the backlog of repairs in the system. Osborne were experiencing labour shortages. FWilliamson noted 2 officers were working with Osborne’s Scheduling Team to understand why some repairs took longer than the statutory repair timelines, mapping the backlog, and setting robust targets for Osborne. This would be discussed in more detail with the Total Asset Management Contract.
Cllr Adeleke noted item 4.7, thanking FWilliamson and the team of the employment of 2 additional officers to support tenants during this difficult time. Cllr Adeleke felt Osborne’s reputation was poor and suggested tenants would get more comfort if apology letters came from the Council instead. FWilliamson appreciated this concern and noted they were corresponding with Osborne on a number of performance issues, involving the Legal Team and the Corporate Housing Working Group to review specific issues. FWilliamson explained there was a need to continue to supply a repairs service. She felt they would be in a stronger position in several months’ time to send letters to residents in respect of measures that demonstrated Osborne had improved their service. FWilliamson noted the construction industry was experiencing challenges as a whole. It was imperative that residents were able to have repairs undertaken in a timely manner, and professionally. The Corporate Working Housing Group and Managing Director of Osborne were all involved.
Cllr Mahmood confirmed the shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry. Cllr Mahmood asserted the Council’s reputation was affected by Osborne’s underperformance, and suggested some of the sheltered properties could be converted to single person tenancies rather than leave them void whilst the demand had decreased. FWilliamson answered that the Transformation Board was looking at key-to-key performance. First stage workshops had been undertaken to map issues around capacity and number of voids in the system. The second stage of the workshop was about increasing capacity in certain areas, understanding the void profile. Regards re-designation, FWilliamson did not think this would address the current issues because it was across general need and sheltered. They had to increase the capacity in the Lettings Team to get the backlog re-met to bring them to a closer target. FWilliamson promised to provide an update once the workshop was concluded to address bottlenecks identified.
Cllr Hollinghurst noted Ernst & Young had been commissioned and asked if a manager in this Authority could have covered this. FWilliamson explained the purpose was to use an external organisation who would be able to provide an impartial view and expert oversight. Cllr Hollinghurst accepted the value of having an independent organisation and asked why they went with a group as expensive as Ernst & Young. FWilliamson explained she was not responsible for commissioning Ernst & Young as this was undertaken by Corporate. Cllr Hollinghurst asked this question be passed on. Cllr Imarni noted Ernst & Young were a longstanding partner of the Council so she did not find it unusual they were commissioned to undertake this work. Cllr Griffiths explained the work was done quickly due to the challenges with Osborne. Cllr Griffiths noted Ernst & Young were reputable with great expertise in this field. Her understanding was they were comparable in the marketplace with other organisations. Cllr Imarni impressed the partnership was longstanding and that consultants on the whole were not cheap. Cllr Friedman asked if they did market testing. Cllr Imarni expected they did in line with the protocol of the Council.