Agenda Item No. 11


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 3 December, 2014


Report of the Director for Visible Services and Housing


Update on Housing Improvement Programme


Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Scrutiny Members with performance information relating to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) improvement works in council housing in the Vale of Glamorgan.


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

Reason for the Recommendation

1.         To ensure Members are furnished with necessary performance information pertaining to WHQS (attached as Appendix A).


2.         The Welsh Housing Quality Standard Improvement Programme has been operational since September 2012. Members of this Committee requested that, due to the reputational and financial risk of such a high profile contract, regular performance reports be presented.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.         From the table attached as Appendix A, it is evident that, operational performance continues to improve, in the main, in both terms of delivery times and customer satisfaction. Officers from Property Services continue to have regular meetings with all contractors at both an operational and senior management level. 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 they are informed at an early stage of the complex nature of the work being undertaken.

4.         There are two areas where contractor performance has "dipped" i.e. Building Services voids (59%) and Lovell's WHQS works completed on time (59.2%).


5.         Lovell's performance for % WHQS properties completed on time has reduced to 59.2% for Quarter 2.  The main reason being the amount of additional works to some of the properties in their area e.g.:

(a)       Damp found in properties after commencement of works. 

(b)       Rooms being hacked off back to brickwork due to a lack of structural maintenance works. 

·         There were also concerns regarding additional labour brought onto site not up to an acceptable standard; staffing issues also resulted from leave during the summer period and the fact that a new site manager has been brought into deal with performance failings.  The availability of local labour continues to be an issue for Lovell's.

·         To improve on time, Lovell's have changed their programme to allow properties to be re-scheduled to suit the extension of time. 

·         No official complaints have been received by Lovell's or the Council during this time.


          Building Services

6.         Building Services performance for % of void properties completed to time equates to 59% for the last quarter.

7.         This has occurred due to the following:

·         Poor communication on the changes in 'second let' timescales have resulted in a lower than required level of performance.

·         There were also seasonal factors with a high number of staff taking annual leave during the summer months.  The transition to a shorter 15 day timescale for '2nd Lets' is now complete, and as of October 2014 the "return time" KPI stands at 100% and the quality score equates to 9.6.

8.         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)

9.         There are no resource requirements associated with this paper, however, reviewing our approach to the Housing Improvement Programme may result in resource implications.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      The efficient and effective delivery of housing improvements increases the quality of life for our tenants.  The improvements include various energy saving works which help to reduce domestic energy consumption, hence assisting in protecting the natural environment.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      There are no Legal Implications at this time.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      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)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      To manage the Council's workforce, money, information and assets efficiently, effectively and securely.

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

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Hayley Selway - Head of Housing and Building Services - Tel 02920 673117.

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager - Property Services

Operational Manager - Legal Services

Accountant - Housing and Building Services

Accountant - Visible Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing.