The council manages around 5,600 properties across the borough and this report aims to let tenants and leaseholders know how we have performed in the financial year, from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

During 2020/21 the housing revenue account spent a total of £15.4 million in delivering services to you. In addition to this we spent £5.8 million on improving your properties, £3.07 million of which went on the Decent Homes programme which saw the installation of new kitchens, bathrooms, heating etc. We spent £2.8 million acquiring new properties.

We hope you have noticed the improvements and we will continue to improve your homes in coming years. We will always welcome your feedback to help us improve our services and so if there are any problems, please let us know. We hope you find the annual report of interest. There’s a lot going on and quite often tenants are involved.

Customer involvement

Customers are at the heart of everything we do and we try to ensure that there are opportunities to have your say and get involved in a way which suits you.

We have a dedicated customer engagement team to support you in customer involvement opportunities including the Charnwood Housing Residents’ Forum, Senior Citizens’ Forum, Leaseholders’ Forum, Housing Management Advisory Board, focus groups and a readers’ panel.

Unfortunately, owing to the restrictions during the pandemic, we were not able to continue with many of our engagement activities.

What we’ve done

  • Assisted in making welfare calls to our elderly and vulnerable customers during the lockdown
  • Acquired donated laptops to assist our CHRF members in holding virtual meetings

What we are going to do

  • Look at developing new methods of engagement, especially digital engagement
  • Recruit more members to our residents’ forum
  • Develop a new three-year customer engagement strategy, starting in 2022
  • Restart our existing engagement activities
  • Recruit more tenant inspectors to help us monitor the communal cleaning contract
  • Organise roadshows in different areas to and engage tenants in new ways
  • Develop a tenant training programme 

Property improvements

Investing in our council properties to make them decent places to live is a key priority. This team delivers planned improvements such as new kitchens, bathrooms, heating, doors and external work such as roofing , fascias and soffits  to name but a few.

What we’ve done

  • Roof replacements - 45 in total including roofs to homes, flat blocks and garages.
  • Fascias and soffits – 55 properties received new fascias and soffits
  • External & internal painting – 12 blocks received either external or internal decoration
  • Kitchens –10 kitchens have been fully replaced.
  • Bathrooms – including like-for-like level-access shower replacements – 24 elements have been fully replaced.

 What we are going to do

  • We will be starting the next capital improvement programme for 2021/2022 to ensure that our stock is compliant to the Decent Homes standard.

Repairs

Our busy repairs team continues to provide across-team working between void and responsive work streams.

What we’ve done

% Responsive repairs which are completed ‘right first time'

Target = 96.00%
Cumulative year to date = 99.97%

% Tenants satisfied with responsive repair

Target = 97.40%
Cumulative year to date = 97.78%

% Tenants satisfied with time taken to carry out responsive repair

Target = 97.60%
Cumulative year to date = 98.37%

% Emergency repairs completed within 24 hours

Target = 100%
Cumulative year to date = 99.94%

% Urgent repairs completed within 5 days

Target = 97.00%
Cumulative year to date = 96.87%

% Tenants satisfied that operative arrived on time

Target = 98.60%
Cumulative year to date = 98.52%

Average number of days taken to carry out re-let repairs standard voids

Target = 14
Cumulative year to date = 14.16

What we will continue to do

  • Put our customer at the heart at everything we do
  • Maintain an excellent service
  • Strive to deliver our key performance indicators within the target ranges

Gas service and maintenance

To keep our tenants safe and warm we work with our contractor, Sure Group, to ensure all gas appliances in our properties are working properly.

What we’ve done

  • We have completed landlord gas safety checks in 5,182 properties as part of a rolling programme to ensure our gas appliances are safe to use and well maintained.
  • We have completed 974 repairs with 92% within priority to maintain the gas central heating systems in our properties to expected standards.

What we’re going to do

  • We will continue to provide annual safety checks to ensure gas appliances in our properties are safe to use. We will also work with our contractor to ensure repairs are carried out in a timely fashion to provide the best possible service for our tenants
  • Boiler and central heating upgrades and replacements are planned for 125 properties in the remainder of 21/22

Tenancy and financial support

We offer advice and help to tenants to help them maximise their income.  We support vulnerable tenants to maintain their tenancies and to reduce the risk of eviction and homelessness.

What we’ve done

  • In total 851 tenants were helped by tenancy support and financial inclusion officers. Tenants were seen by both teams overall
  • 161 tenants were helped with housing benefit applications
  • 159 tenants were helped to claim discretionary housing payments
  • We helped 194 tenants to get help through charity applications
  • We have assisted 7 tenants who were having difficulties maintaining acceptable and safe home conditions
  • We have helped 81 tenants to claim and maintain universal credit claims
  • We have dealt with 43 safeguarding concerns about children and vulnerable adults
  • We support homeless households moving into Charnwood properties in temporary/emergency accommodation
  • Provided support, advice and assistance to tenants whose income and welfare has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

We will continue to

  • We will continue to support and advise tenants moving to universal credit to help them ensure that they pay their rent and there is no risk to their tenancies
  • We will continue to attend new tenant sign-ups in order to give advice and guidance on rent payment and universal credit applications
  • We will continue developing our tenancy sustainment strategy to support tenants through the managed migration onto universal credit to take account of the actual effect that this change is having on our rental income and the support needed for our tenants
  • We will assist in the procurement of a new gas and utility provider for empty properties to improve the service for vulnerable new tenants.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) services

What we've done

  • 1,070 ASB cases were recorded
  • We dealt with 97.64 % of cases using non-legal interventions (this relates to cases where we could progress the case);
  • We referred 7 cases to mediation
  • Devised a new process in conjunction with Environmental Health for the movement of cases between Landlord Services and Environmental Health to ensure the appropriate team is managing the case.
  • 86.36% of ASB complainants were satisfied with the way their case was dealt with which exceeds the target of 86%

What we’re going to do

  • Anti-social behaviour officers will attend the drop-in session attached to the estate walks
  • We will review the landlord services anti-social behaviour procedures
  • We will continue to work with partners to ensure that we use the most appropriate tools to deal with anti-social behaviour;
  • Investigate options for using a noise app.

Income management

The teams of income officers and financial inclusion officers give advice and support to maximise income for tenants, helping them to pay their rent and avoid accumulating arrears.

What we’ve done

  • The income management team collected 96.33% of the rent due from current tenants in 2020/21, including arrears brought forward. This exceeded our target of 95.31% by 1.02 percentage points
  • The total rent collected in 2020/21 for all tenancies was £20,913,794.67
  • We have continued to develop the excellent working relationships with our colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions (‘DWP’) to ensure we assist our tenants to claim universal credit
  • Following the introduction of any-day direct debits, there has been a net increase of 140 direct debits so 6.6% more tenants than the previous financial year have the flexibility to pay their rent either weekly on any day, fortnightly, 4 weekly or monthly
  • We have recently procured a new home contents insurance contract where the average reduction in premiums for tenants and leaseholders, equates to approximately 30%
  • We have supported tenants through the COVID-19 situation and been understanding of tenant’s circumstances and reviewed normal escalation procedures.

What we’re going to do

  • We will adapt our rent accounting computer system to improve our rent arrears escalation approach so more automation of the arrears recovery process to takes place to enable income officers to work more efficiently
  • We will look at alternative solutions to enable texting tenants regarding their rent accounts to enable wider and more immediate reach
  • We will continue to promote the any-day direct debit option to maximise income and assist tenants to make the payment on the day their income is received to reduce arrears
  • We are going to make available for tenants, a process to complete a direct debit for their rent via the council’s website

Tenancy and estate management

What we’ve done

  • We received 57 mutual exchange applications. Of these applications 34 tenants moved to new accommodation through a mutual exchange
  • We adapted the way in which we carried out new tenant visits during the coronavirus pandemic to a phone contact to ensure new tenants were still contacted
  • We continue to carry out communal area fire safety inspections, visiting every one of our 283 communal areas and 21 sheltered schemes every month
  • We monitored the performance of the new communal cleaning service to our general needs blocks of flats
  • We produced a revised tenancy policy, which is awaiting cabinet approval
  • We produced a pets policy, which is awaiting cabinet approval
  • We revised our secure and introductory tenancy agreement, which is awaiting cabinet approval

What we’re going to do

  • Subject to cabinet approval, consult tenants on that new agreement and aim to put the new tenancy agreement in place by early 2022;
  • Carry out four estate walks a year and feedback the outcomes from the walk to tenants who live on the route of the walk (provided that further coronavirus restrictions are not enforced,  preventing the walks taking place)
  • If the pets policy is approved review and amend the procedure guide used by tenancy and estate management officers regarding requests for permission for pets

Leaseholders

What we’ve done

  • We completed our creation of a section 20 consultation register (this relates to our legal obligations to consult leaseholders when we’re planning to spend over certain financial limits);
  • We created a five-year plan, to include planned maintenance
  • We continued to re-invest in leasehold property investment services
  • We carried out fire risk assessments to shops and blocks
  • We maintained the leasehold service throughout the pandemic and lockdown
  • We collected 97% of all leasehold service charges raised

What we’re going to do

  • We will continue to implement new communal door entry systems, replacement shed doors, roof replacements and emergency lighting installations
  • We will continue evolving our five-year plan
  • We will aim to reinstate the Leaseholders’ Forum and surgeries in person
  • We will attend conferences and training events to enable to keep ourselves updated with changes leasehold law and good practice
  • We will develop further electronic communication of certified summaries and estimates to leaseholders as a preferred channel of communication
  • We will offer leaseholders the option of having a new fire-compliant front door installed by us (chargeable) as part of our wider programme to replace tenants’ front doors where we have to.

Warden services and Lifeline

This team supports our elderly and vulnerable tenants and gives them and their families peace of mind through an on-call warden and emergency response service. 

What we’ve done

  • Total number of calls 67,739, 94.5% were answered within 30 seconds and 96.6% were answered within 60 seconds
  • 668 due to customer’s falling
  • 719 calls to the ambulance service
  • 170 medical emergencies
  • 143 medical requests
  • 303 calls to wish customer happy birthday
  • Out-of-hours wardens called out 102 times

During the lockdown we also made 4,516 welfare calls to our elderly and vulnerable tenants.

We have also introduced a self installation system for our private Lifeline customers.

What we’re going to do

  • We will work towards upgrading our alarm equipment in all of our courts to ensure it is ready for the digital transformation

Where we spent money

During 2020/21 the housing revenue account (‘HRA’) spent a total of £15.4 million in delivering our services to you. In addition to this we spent £5.8 million on improving your properties, £3.07 million of which went on the Decent Homes programme which saw the installation of new kitchens, bathrooms, heating etc.

Capital spend (improvements to properties e.g. new kitchens, fire safety measures, adaptations) totalled £8.2m.

  • £15.4 million HRA service costs are as follows:
  • Repairs and maintenance/ planned and day to day maintenance - £6,024k
  • Supervision and management - £5,856k
  • Rents, rates, taxes and other charges - £557k
  • Debt management costs/ Bad debts - £288k
  • Interest paid - £2,709k

Last updated: Thu 26th August, 2021 @ 11:28