Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) 10th October, 2012
Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing
Welsh Housing Quality Standard Action Plan (Version 16) Housing Revenue Account Asset Management Strategy
Purpose of the Report
1. To inform Members of the updated Action Plan in relation to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).
1. That the report be noted.
2. That the report and any comments from this Committee be forwarded to Cabinet.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To inform Members of the updated Action Plan for the Council to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard and maintain it.
2. To inform Cabinet.
2. The updated Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) Action Plan is attached at Appendix A and is based on the Housing Asset Management Strategy.
3. The WHQS Action Plan identifies the improvement outputs, resources, priority and progress required and each action is rated on progress with symbols denoting whether they are on target, some concerns or serious concerns that they will be achieved. The Action Plan is the main WHQS project monitoring document and is largely self explanatory
4. Substantial change is underway to deliver a planned approach within the context of a sound Housing Asset Management Strategy and this change is reflected in the Action Plan.
5. The latest Housing Business Plan was approved by Cabinet on 16th November 2011 for submission to the Welsh Government.
6. The Business Plan is modelled on the Council delivering a significant improvement Programme and meeting the requirements of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by April 2017.
7. This level of investment where necessary will provide internal improvements which will provide tenants with modern facilities such as a good standard of kitchens and bathrooms; modern heating systems; up to date wiring along with ensuring that the external structures are in a good condition and wind and waterproof.
8. There is £50,000 per annum with a total of £250,000 for estate Improvements such as community safety initiatives such as lighting, fencing or landscaping.
9. The first annual return was submitted to WG on the Council meeting the Welsh Housing Quality Standard and is attached at Appendix B and C.
10. This is the first return calculated using the housing asset management database and demonstrates the need for significant investment with 2% of our stock currently meeting the standard.
Relevant Issues and Options
11. The Council is embarking on one of its most ambitious refurbishment projects, where council homes in the Vale will be brought up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) in accordance with Welsh Government requirements.
12. Kitchens, bathrooms, rewiring, heating systems, windows, doors and roofs will be renewed over a four-and-a-half year period commencing on the 3rd September 2012.
13. Four external contractors have been appointed to work in partnership with the Council after an extensive procurement exercise and all have considerable experience in delivering this type of work.
14. The Council’s own building services department will be undertaking some of the refurbishment works and this is mainly in sheltered housing accommodation across the Vale.
15. The Council and external contractors commenced work on this project on 3rd September, 2012.
16. The Council is mindful that there will be disruption to tenants during these works and tenant liaison officers have been appointed for each contract area to look after the welfare of tenants and their families during the works.
17. All contractors will be monitored on a continual basis and their performance reported to the council and a Tenants Quality and Design Forum.
18. A significant level of high cost repairs have been encountered in the programme mobilisation pilot project. High cost repairs such as damp proof course, front wall re-building and underpinning will be undertaken. These works are not directly funded from the planned programme and the responsive repair budget is likely to be fully committed.
19. High cost repairs have been an issue which has in the worst cases delayed high cost voids due to lack of funding. Therefore costs will be carefully managed to ensure contingency funding is sufficient.
20. However, some of the council housing stock may not be sustainable and cannot be improved to a reasonable standard within the finances available to the Council and decisions will need to be made as to the best way forward for these homes. To progress this work a `Hard to Treat` officer group has been set up and a separate report will be produced outlining progress.
21. Over the last three years there have been significant improvements to the Adaptations Service for tenants with a disability and funding of £2m for housing adaptation improvements. Changes to the service such as the greater use of call off contracts and staff training in a wider skill set have dramatically reduced the time taken to deliver adaptations works.
22. This investment has enabled over 1250 adaptations to be undertaken in this period assisting people to stay in there homes longer, which better suit there needs and improve there quality of life. However this service faces significant challenges and a separate report will be produced outlining progress made to date and the best approach in the future.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
23. All housing Investment must be within the financial constraints of the Housing Business Plan.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
24. Carbon Reduction and energy improvement of the housing stock is a Primary element of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS). All stock should be improved to a SAP (2005) score of 65 or more to meet the standard.
25. Sustainability testing is an integral element of the Asset Management Strategy and is undertaken prior to major planned investment.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
Crime and Disorder Implications
27. Achieving the Welsh Housing Quality Standard could help address Crime and disorder issues and components will be designed to meet Secure by Design Standards wherever practical.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
28. WHQS and the Asset management strategy will incorporate improvements to equal opportunities.
29. Satisfying WHQS can improve the housing stock therefore contributing to the health, wellbeing and safety of tenants and other residents.
Policy Framework and Budget
30. This report is within the policy framework and budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
31. No individual Ward Members have been consulted as the issues in this report are Vale wide.
32. Progress update on the Housing Improvement Programme - Cabinet Meeting 23rd July 2012 link enclosed:-
The Housing Business Plan 2011 – Cabinet Meeting 16th November 2011 link enclosed
Rob Lucas - Asset Manager Tel. No. 01446 709151
Mike Ingram - Operational Manager Housing
Jane Wade - Operational Manager Property Services
Steven Morris - Head of Building and Vehicle Services
Simon Davies - Project Manager
Miles Punter Director of Visible Services and Housing