Agenda item

Climate Change in Housing and Digital Innovation


The Service Manager (Housing Operations)updated the Committee of the action plan in regards to Climate Change in Housing Operations and updated on some digital innovation projects that are being progressed.


The Compliance and Project Manager presented the Committee with the portfolio system at the previous Housing Committee on 6 September, which clearly outlined the significant work and funding which would be required to achieve the net zero target by 2030.


Over the last two months, the Service Manager (Housing Operations) have been developing an action plan for all the services within their area of responsibility to capture a number short, medium and long term measures to assist with improving the energy efficiency of council-owned homes as well as reducing carbon emissions within the Borough.


Staff within the Housing Operations Team have had the opportunity to contribute thoughts and ideas around possible actions as well as research into the current thinking and best practice within the industry. The action plan can be found at appendix 2 and will be a working document that will develop as time goes on, capturing new ways of working.


Some of the actions identified in the short term are already in progress:-


·         The Resident Engagement Strategy in relation to energy improvement works had been drafted. 

·         Applied for Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 and in January 2022 the Council will find out if they have been successful.  

·         Received funding for LAD 2, Social Housing funding and are working with a consultant to create an asset management strategy consisting of a grading module system.


As part of the action plan, digital innovation projects have been trialled and developed across the service:-


·         Localz – expansion of current repairs appointment system. In the next few months, tenants will be able to receive live alerts from engineers undertaking jobs, they can track when the engineer is on their way, how far away they are and be able to send messages back to the engineers where there will be two-way communication. This will benefit the locals, it will enhance the customer experience for those that wish to use the digital platform, it will also help to reduce the no access rate, ensure that customers are in when their appointment is due, reduce wasted appointments and reduced travel time.

·         Door data system – new fire doors will be installed with a unique door data tag which will feed into a National Fire Door compliance software. The data tag will be scanned each time it is inspected and will automatically update the system. The system will also store components used to anyone doorset making recall for future maintenance quick and efficient and ensure the correct materials are used and sourced for remedial works.

·         EmRed– trialling two sheltered schemes and two residential blocks, EmRed will be fitted to the emergency lighting. This will mean that the emergency lights can be tested remotely and any results, faults or preventative maintenance will be sent direct to the Council.

·         MultiDOT– installed into 10 properties. It is a time monitoring system for humidity conditions to determine whether the property is at risk of damp or mould. This will help to inform preventative maintenance and customer education. The MultiDOT will also detect if someone is not using their heating or the heating may not be working which will allow the Council to be proactive by contacting the tenant to identify any issues and will also assist with identifying fuel poverty.

·         Digital Noticeboard – which we have in a sheltered scheme and in one of the new builds, it makes communicating with tenants faster, easier and more inclusive. It can display important information such as maintenance schedules or repair notices, as well as general announcements. The digital noticeboard is an efficient way to keep tenants informed it reduces site visits, reduces paper notice waste. It also has a unique survey feature which allows for a question to be posed to tenants who can then vote by placing their key fob on to the reader. A video of the digital noticeboard was shown to the Committee.   


Following questions and comments from Members, the Service Manager (Housing Operations) explained that:


·         Following a question, regarding the costs of becoming carbon zero by 2027/287 were, the Service Manager (Housing Operations) explained that there were no exact costs to date but at the last Committee during a presentation it was discussed that approximately £16m would be required to get the rating the Council required. It would be difficult to forecast as these climate change in housing costs were increasing significantly.

·         Regarding fire evacuations, could the digital noticeboard give instructions on how to evacuate the building? The Chair explained that new tenants are given the evacuation procedures and full instructions when they move in and in this particular building, the procedures are located on the back of their front door.

·         Using the functionality of the digital noticeboard is an easy way of keeping tenants informed without the officers having to go round to the property. Feedback, and if necessary, officer visits to follow up on the survey responses that the tenants have previously given.

·         Number 5 of the Action List (appendix 2) – create a resident engagement strategy in relation to energy improvement works is this going out to consultation and will this reported back to the Committee. The Service Manager (Housing Operations) explained that the Council could engage at an early stage and complete the works tailored to the property.  

·         An update on the resident engagement strategy specific to energy will come back to this Committee and Members and Officers are encouraged to get involved.


The Chair thanked the Service Manager (Housing Operations) and the teamfor their hard work that had gone into making this report.


Resolved that the Committee noted the contents of the report and action plan.


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