Housing annual report
2021 to 2022
This report is supplementary to the annual report information sent to all Ashfield District Council tenants, in the format of a magazine during September 2022, a copy of which can be found in the related documents section of this page.
2021 to 2022 continued to be a challenging year for the Housing service, as we caught up on the work that had been put on hold during the Covid-19 Pandemic, as well as working on some exciting new projects.
During the 2021 to 2022 financial year we continued our new homes development programme, by building an ambitious number of new properties on existing council land, along with purchasing a number of other new build and pre-built properties across the district. These properties have subsequently been let to tenants via the social housing waiting list.
We have also introduced more digital technology into our services, in order to provide 24 hour a day access to your information and service requests through the Tenant Portal.
We are pleased to report that our performance and delivery as a team has remained strong when compared to others.
We have continued to support tenants who are experiencing difficulties with finding their finances stretched, due to the current financial situation. We have assisted a number of tenants with support to help manage their budgets and maximise their income, as well as accessing charity grants and the household support fund.
We continue to work to improve the thermal efficiency of our homes and commenced work to install over £10 million worth of external wall insulation and solar panels over the next few years, to reduce household bills and carbon emissions.
We would like to thank you all our tenants for being patient with us over the last few years whilst our services have been restricted during the pandemic, either through things we were required to stop providing or could only deliver in fewer numbers, due to staffing resource or supply of materials. Also, a very big thank you to tenants for allowing us into their homes during difficult times to ensure we could still carry out import health and safety checks such as gas servicing and smoke alarm testing.
Through the year 2021 to 2022 we:
- Continued to adapt and change service delivery to a more agile model across all aspects of the Housing Service to meet the needs of tenants and employees
- Implemented and progressed an action plan to deliver against the Social Housing White Paper
- Continued delivery of new properties (we have added a total of 71 additional units to the social housing stock (52 purchases and 19 new build) to work towards the target of building 100 new homes over a 5-year period
- Developed our Pre-Tenancy Support Service
- Installed Communal Heating to a number of courts across the district
- Undertook works to some existing housing stock to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the energy consumption of the tenant
We already have plans in place to:
- Review our Tenancy Agreement, introducing a new version that is up to date and meets operational/legal requirements, protecting both tenants and the Council as landlord
- Undertake works to install Carbon Monoxide monitors in all tenants’ homes
- Review our Tenants Handbook
- Recruit to and implement a tenant scrutiny panel
- Deliver against the action plan to meet the requirements set out in the Social Housing White Paper and continue to monitor the key risks and regulatory standards
- Undertake a pilot survey against the tenant perception element of the Tenant Satisfaction Measures
- Produce and commence implementation of a Housing Strategy
- Continue to increase the housing stock including new-build developments in Sutton and Kirkby
- Continue to bid for Government funding to assist with improve the energy efficiency of the Council’s Housing stock and the wider district, where possible. Including the spending of over £10 million of existing funding already secured to improve the energy efficiency rating of your homes.
- Update the Corporate Complaints and Compliments Policy, to comply with the new Housing Ombudsman Complaints Handling Code and publish a self-assessment to demonstrate compliance.
Our Lettings Service is responsible for the allocation of our Housing stock. We have 6635 properties and have 4100 people on our waiting list. As less than 500 properties become available to let each year demand is high and supply is low. Vacant properties are advertised on a weekly basis for applicants to express an interest in. The shortlisted applicants for each property are prioritised in order of their priority banding. We do this through our online choice based lettings scheme called Homefinder, available at:
- website: www.amhomefinder.co.uk
During 2020/21 the service was both affected by fewer properties becoming available as people were unable to move, whilst Government guidance meant we were unable to let properties for a number of months. The team did however focus on achieving the Government’s ‘everyone in’ initiative which set us the challenge of accommodating all homeless people during the height of the pandemic. We also took the opportunity to enable some of our tenants to ‘downsize’ from family sized accommodation in to smaller and more manageable bungalows.
Properties let in 2021 to 2022
476 properties were let in 2021/22 at an average of 29.76 days for standard voids.
Of the properties let to the waiting list:
- 185 applicants were in Band 1 ‘emergency’ need
- 139 in Band 2 ‘urgent’ need
- 60 in Band 3 ‘low’ need
- 6 in Band 4 ‘demoted’ applicants
- 56 in Band 5 ‘no’ housing need.
The 476 properties let to applicants from the waiting list included:
- 207 flats
- 137 bungalows
- 115 houses
- 16 studio flats
- 1 maisonette
In 2021/22, 43 tenants moved home by way of mutual exchange.
Tenants can register and search for a suitable exchange by visiting www.homeswapper.co.uk
A total of 71 new additions to the housing stock - 19 new build properties and 52 acquisitions.
The projection is that by the end of 2022/23 the figures will be 122 (61 new build an 61 acquisitions).
Rent is our main source of income. If we don’t collect rent, we have less money to spend on the upkeep, management and repair of our properties.
Despite the impact of Universal Credit/financial climate, presenting many challenges to tenants, in particular with fluctuations to people’s financial circumstances and the challenges the Council faced in collecting rent, we have improved rent collection levels in 2021 to 2022. We met the internal target set and performed at a top quartile level against other similar organisations as bench marked by Housemark.
The increasing numbers of tenants believed to be claiming Universal Credit continues to impact on the collection levels. Current tenant rent arrears apportioned to tenants believed to be claiming Universal Credit accounted for 77% of the overall current tenant rent arrears at the end of the financial year. However, only 34% of tenants were believed to be claiming Universal Credit.
|Percentage of rent collected||Performance||Target|
|Percentage of rent collected as a percentage of rent due (excluding arrears brought forward)||99.85%||99%|
|Percentage of rent collected from total rent due||98.22%||97%|
Current tenant arrears
|Year||Performance||Target||Housemark Quartile Position|
|2021 - 2022||1.4%||1.6%||Top quartile performance in this area (based on the annual Housemark pulse report) for Local Authorities and Arms Length Management Organsiations with less than 10,000 stock was 1.75%|
|2022 - 2021||1.59%||1.6%||This places us in top quartile against a peer median of 2.28%.|
Our target for current tenant rent arrears as a proportion of the rent roll for 2022 to 2023 is 1.6%.
In 2021 to 2022:
- 265 Notice of Seeking Possession were issued to tenants due to rent arrears and tenancy issues.
- 25 tenants were evicted for non-payment of rent. This included a backlog of cases that were delayed due to the suspension of evictions in the 2020 to 2021 financial year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021 to 2022, the Housing Service has worked to deliver outcomes for our customers with:
- Over £129,000 has been accessed in backdated welfare benefits, housing and council tax benefits and grants/white goods from charitable trusts for tenants.
- 144 Council Tenants were supported to access the Household Support Fund.
- 614 Council Tenants were assisted with Welfare and Money Management Advice.
- 212 Council Tenants were provided with Tenancy Support of which:
- 50 were prevented from further action being taken against their tenancy.
- 99 were assisted with support to connect essential utilities e.g. gas/electric.
- 71 elderly or vulnerable tenants were supported to remain living independently in their own home e.g. prevented from being rehoused into care homes or supported accommodation.
- 7 families were supported throughout the year to prevent the children going into care and to access additional support for the children.
- 69 tenants were identified as being in fuel poverty and were supported to obtain grants and other support from utility companies.
- 100% of tenants remained in their tenancy after 6 months, following the completion of the support package provided by the Tenancy Sustainment Officers.
Our services are all about tenants and we would like you to have your input in to our policies and procedures. Getting involved in our resident groups is both rewarding, and you can actually see how your views and suggestions shape our service.
During 2021 to 2022:
- Launched the Customer Opinion Influencing Network (COIN)
- We held Tenant Gateway Meetings with our involved tenants.
- Undertook 42 Estate Evaluations inviting tenants, elected members and partner agencies including the Police to attend
Housing repairs and maintenance
Property repairs is our busiest service, we appreciate that having something go wrong or break in your home can be frustrating and so we aim to offer a service which is both easy to get through to and prompt in attending to the property at your convenience.
During 2021 to 2022 our Repairs Service performed as follows:
- 36,079 repairs completed
- Including 5206 emergency repairs
Responsive repairs only
- 29,402 repairs completed
- Including 5206 emergency repairs
Average time taken to complete responsive repairs
- 6.53 calendar days per property
Repairs completed on time
- Repairs completed on time – 95.58% (All Repairs)
- Repairs completed on time – 97.66% (Responsive only)
Repairs Call Handling Centre
- Total calls received – 41,557
- Total calls answered – 39,986
- 96.22% calls answered
- Average call ring time 46 seconds
A range of planned works was completed in 2021 to 2022, which made improvements to our homes and surrounding areas including, but not limited to, boiler replacements, pre-painting & painting works, window replacement, external doors, roof coverings, fencing, pathways, aids and adaptations, and general site maintenance works.
- 46 stage one complaints received.
- Only 4 stage one complaints escalated to stage two of the process – which equates to less than 9%
- No complaints were escalated to Housing Ombudsman by tenants
- Average time to respond to complaints was 7.82 days
- 92% of all complaints received were responded to within the target timescale
- Works commenced to review policies and procedures to comply with the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code. Works have been finalised and a self-assessment undertaken, which demonstrates that the authority is compliant with the required elements of the Code. The full self-assessment can be found on the housing complaints page of our website and has been reported to elected members.
Learning from feedback
18 learning outcomes identified from complaints received in 2021 to 2022, 89% of which were successfully implemented within the financial year - examples include:
- Instructed front line officers on new processes or procedures, or provided refresher sessions on existing processes/procedures, in a number of areas
- Implemented amendments to our IT systems, following the identification of an incorrect postcode being assigned to an individual property record
- Implementation of a care home procedure for officers to follow when a tenant moves in to permanent residential care
- Amended repairs text messaging templates to make these clearer for tenants expecting a repairs operative attending their property
- Updated procedures/information around transfer inspections for tenants on the social housing waiting list
- Improved processes around the handling of incoming mail to the Housing and Asset Team.
Last year, the rent you paid funded…
- £7.8 million of repairs and home improvements.
- Over £420,000 of adaptations to make homes easier and safer for people to live in.
- £1.1 million investment in acquiring new homes.
Finances cost breakdown per £1 spent in 2021 to 2022 graphic shows:
- Service and support costs - £0.07
- Repairs - £0.29
- New homes - £0.14
- Loan interest - £0.15
- Major improvements - £0.19
- Management costs - £0.16