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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 4th September, 2013

 

Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing

 

Welsh Housing Quality Standards (WHQS) Improvement Works

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Scrutiny Members on performance management information relating to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) improvement works.

Recommendations

1.             That Members note the current performance and the improving delivery times and customer satisfaction.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure Members are furnished with necessary performance information pertaining to WHQS (attached as Appendix A) to allow them to monitor the performance of the programme.

Background

2.             The Welsh Housing Quality Standard Improvement Programme has been operational since September 2012.  Members of the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee felt, due to the reputational and financial risk of such a high profile contract, that regular performance reports should be submitted to the Committee. On the 13th of March 2013, a report on the operational performance of the programme was presented by the Interim Operational Manager for Asset Management.  During that meeting the Members voiced their concerns with the current performance of the contractors delivering the work particularly in terms of time taken. In a response to this the five contractors appointed to carry out the improvements, and officers from Housing and Property Services (managing agents for the contract), were invited to the Committee held in April to give Members the opportunity to question contractor representatives and officers directly on their performance. Members raised particular concerns regarding the overall time taken to complete properties and the poor levels of customer care tenants were experiencing in a large number of geographical areas, as a consequence of poor communication and site management. Contractors at that time, particularly those that had been underperforming, gave a commitment to ensure performance was improved. Members asked at that time that quarterly reports be presented to allow for more effective scrutiny. 

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             From the table attached at Appendix A it is evident that operational performance is improving in both terms of delivery times and customer satisfaction. It is pleasing to note that the Vale’s in house contractor, Building Services, is currently the top performing contractor  in terms of delivery times for WHQS and void properties and  in terms of general customer satisfaction. Officers from Property Services continue to have regular meetings with all contractors at both an operational and senior management level and complaints monitoring is being undertaken on a regular basis. The Tenant Liaison team continue to support tenants through the upheaval of works and ensure that tenants are informed at an early stage of the complex nature of the work being undertaken. Officers from both Housing and Building Services and Property Services continue to work together to seek appropriate forms of respite for those tenants that are unable to live in their home whilst the works are being undertaken

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

4.             There is no resource requirements associated with this report however reviewing our approach to the Housing Improvement Programme may result in resource implications

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

5.             There are no implications

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

6.             There are no Legal Implications at this time

Crime and Disorder Implications

7.             Long term empty properties can have an adverse impact on the perception of residents living on our estates and can lead to increased levels of vandalism and crime.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

8.             Improving our approach to housing refurbishment will benefit all parts of the community for which we serve

Corporate/Service Objectives

9.             To manage the Council’s workforce, money, information and assets efficiently, effectively and securely

10.        Satisfying WHQS will improve the housing stock therefore contributing to the health, wellbeing and safety of tenants and other residents.

Policy Framework and Budget

11.        This report is within the policy framework and budget..

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

12.        The report presents Vale wide information so no ward member consultation is required

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Hayley Selway - Head of Housing and Building Services

 

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager – Property Services

Operational Manager – Legal Services

Accountant – Housing and Building Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing