Agenda item

Housing Repairs Topic Review (Part 2) Final Update

Minutes:

The Director (Environment & Operations) and Assistant Director (Operations) presented Members of the Overview Scrutiny Committee with the final update on what has been achieved in relation to the recommendations made by the Overview Scrutiny Committee following the Housing Repairs Topic Review (Part 2).

 

 

In February 2017 the Overview Scrutiny Committee selected Housing Repairs for

a further topic review (Part 2) which focused on:

 

·         A review of the total amount spent on repairs and maintenance and the capital improvement works to the council’s housing stock.

·         A review of the cyclical programmes that the council has in place with regards to roofs, kitchens, bathrooms, boilers etc, to establish whether the council is replacing these items more frequently than is necessary, or more frequently relative to others.

 

The Overview Scrutiny Committee made a number of recommendations for

Cabinet consideration:

 

1.    Continue to identify areas of repairs and maintenance work that can be carried out in house and increase staffing levels where appropriate to deliver this objective.

2.    Provide a further update of repairs and maintenance improvements to the Overview Scrutiny Committee within 12 months in response to the topic review recommendations

3.    Ensure regular liaison between the internal Repairs team and the Housing team to ensure that a good client/ contractor relationship is maintained and that information is shared and acted upon.

4.    Provide further training to Housing Officers to enable them to provide more comprehensive advice to tenant’s responsibilities and the council’s responsibilities in terms of repairs and maintenance issues.

5.    Review ‘repeat offenders’ who have the same or similar repair jobs carried out a number of times and work with housing management to address this issue and to recover repair costs from the tenant where appropriate.

 

 

Significant work has been undertaken over the last 24 months; new technology has been introduced alongside an innovative review of existing repairs processes, which challenged existing custom and practices. This enabled the service to achieve the recommendations of the Overview Scrutiny Review whilst giving clearer guidance to both the tenants and the council as a landlord.

 

These changes have not only improved the service for Gravesham tenants but have also achieved significant savings now and will continue to do so in the future. The service will continue to build on its successes to date as a result of the review and will feedback through the relevant committees.

 

The Assistant Director (Operations) highlighted the following to the Committee:

 

·         A saving of just over £1m was realised within Responsive Repairs in 2017/18.

·         Towards the end of 2018 an increase to the establishment of both the responsive repair and voids team commenced. Depending on the trade, it cost the Council anywhere between 19% and 36% less than what our current contractors would charge the council for providing the same resource.

·         It is estimated that by completing the kitchen and bathroom programme work in-house that it will save in the region of £760,000 per year, £23m over the 30 year HRA business plan.

·         The target to complete Emergency Repairs on time is 98%. GBC have consistently achieved 100% this financial year.

·         The ‘fixed first time rate’ has increased from 67% to a monthly average of

87%.

·         The target to complete a minor void property is 14 days and for major voids,

28 days. The average outturn for minor is 7.5 days and for major is 22 days.

·         Customer Service, which has been measured since July 2018 is at an average of 97%.

 

 

The Committee commended the Housing Repairs team on their fantastic achievements to date and requested that their thanks be passed on to the whole team.

 

The Committee Members, who visited the Housing Repairs Team on 7 February 2019, commented on how committed and enthusiastic the team are.

 

The Director (Environment & Operations) thanked the Committee for their kind words and extended the invitation to visit the Housing Repairs team to all Members.

 

The Director (Environment & Operations) and Assistant Director (Operations) fielded questions from the Committee and highlighted the following:

 

·         The Director (Environment & Operations) will provide the Committee with an executive summary of the positive statistics regarding the improvements within the Housing Repairs team.

·         The building blocks have been put in place so that the department is fully prepared for any Local Authority Trading Company aspirations.

·         The department is certainly willing to share what is has learnt from this project with both internal and external partners.

 

Resolved that Members of the Overview Scrutiny Committee noted the success of the review and the achievements made by the team.

 

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