annual report oct14

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Special Edition of the Housing Annual Report 2013 - 2014

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  • Written with tenants for tenants Edition 27 October 2014

    Housing Annual Report

    2013-2014 houseSpecial Edition

    O c t o b e r 2 0 1 4

    e d i t i o n 2 7

    A Summary of the Year

    Tenant Involvement and Customer Care

    Maintaining Your Home

    Tenancy Services

    Neighbourhood andCommunity Services

    Older Persons Housing

    Value for Money

    The Tenants View

    This Issue...

    Win aniPad mini see page 15

    H o u s i n g L i n e0 1 9 6 2 8 4 8 4 0 0

  • If you have any particular needswhich affect how you are able touse or be involved in our servicesor how you would like to receive

    information - for exampletranslation, interpreters, Braille,

    audio tape, large print, sign language - please contact theCustomer Service Centre either bytelephone: 01962 840 222 or by

    email: customerservice@winchester.gov.uk

    Winchester City Council, City Offices, Colebrook Street,Winchester, SO23 9LJ.telephone 01962 848 400 fax 01962 841 365email housing@winchester.gov.uk website www.winchester.gov.ukTelephone calls may be recorded.Printed on 75% recycled paper.

    TEXTPHONEThis facility is available for readerswho are deaf or hard of hearing.Please telephone 01962 878 982.

    thebigwordtelephone interpreting service

    The Council uses a 24-hourTelephone InterpretingService, which also provideswritten or recordedtranslations.

    If you, a relative or aneighbour would like to talkto the Council through aninterpreter, please contactyour Area Housing Manageron 01962 848 400.

    Dear Tenants

    on discOn the house is available

    in large print or on CD (audio). Pleasecall Tenant Involvement on Freephone 0800 716 987.

    p a g e 2 www.w i n c h e s t e r. g o v . u k

    Despite the current climateof public sector pressuresand cuts, the Council hascontinued to increaseinvestment in Housing and 2013/14 saw a number of really positiveimprovements to services.Many tenants felt the impact of welfare reform changes but I am really pleased to note thatthose affected have sought thehelp of Council staff and other agencies.New services, such as the WiseMove incentive scheme andMoney and Benefits advicehave helped tenants cope withthe changes. It is reallypositive to see that rentarrears actually reduced lastyear, when the national trendhas seen large increases.Programmes to repair andmaintain existing homes and tobuild new housing haveprogressed well. I would alsolike to thank all tenants forallowing access to your homesso we could complete ourStock Condition Survey. The information we havegathered is currently beingreviewed and will help makesure future repair programmesfocus on the most importantareas. In the last year, we have also concentrated onnew programmes to helpimprove the health andwellbeing of our residents.

    The Exercise Referral schemeand outdoor activities, such ashealth walks, outdoor gymsand sports events have seenmuch greater participation byCouncil tenants. Trainingprogrammes which helptenants with key skills, such aswriting CVs, interviews andgenerally preparing foremployment, have all provedreally popular.My predecessor, CouncillorTony Coates, was always sucha positive advocate forimproving Council housingservices and I intend tocontinue his good work. We desperately need moreaffordable housing. Whilst Iam keen to ensure that existingservices continue to improve, Ido intend to focus efforts onbuilding more homes andhelping those in housing needimprove their prospects ofsecuring a tenancy.

    Cllr Ian Tait Portfolio Holder for Housing Services

  • Annual Report 2013/2014

    Summary of the Year

    A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4 p a g e 3

    The Council is embarking on the biggest house buildingprogramme for decades and some delayed projects, suchas the Loft Conversion programme and the StanmoreEstate Improvement programme, will move towardscompletion. We will continue to offer advice on benefitchanges, including the introduction of Universal Credit

    and and helping tenants who want to downsize, throughthe Wise Move incentive scheme. We will continue our mission to involve tenants more,especially in the rural parts of the District and we are going digital with a self-service app for tenants to download onto their devices.

    Looking Ahead

    Bourne Close after

    Bourne Close before

    Party in the Park

    Building New Homes 13 brand new homes were built in the year as part of a plan to build at least 300new Council Homes by 2024. Repairs 12 million was spent on repairs orimprovements to your homes. This included 472upgraded central heating systems, 470 upgradedkitchens and 395 bathrooms also upgraded. Rent 99% of all rent was collected with a surprise drop in arrears to 0.9% from 1.2% last year.Tenant Involvement Welfare reform matters, such asthe benefits cap and benefit restructure on those with extrabedrooms, were the main themes again this year.Improving Estates The council spent 200,000 on a variety of improvements across our estates.

    Disabled Adaptations 522 adaptations were made to properties.

    Tenant Satisfaction Tenants are generally happy withthe service they receive from the Council. The surveycarried out in February 2013 had a response of 63% ofall tenants and of those that took part 88% were satisfiedwith the overall housing service.

    The Councils LocalStandards Our Offer to you

    The local standards agreed with you areset out in the Tenants Handbook. Theyare also summarised in a leaflet that isavailable on our website or at theCustomer Service Centre. To receive a free copy, please callFreephone 0800 716 987.

    The 4 national standards for social housing are: Tenant Involvement and Empowerment including customer service,

    choice and equality Home including quality of homes, repairs and maintenance Tenancy including allocations, mutual exchanges and tenure issues Neighbourhood and Community including managing local areas, joint

    working and addressing anti-social behaviour

    Once again, tenants have worked with us to ensure the report is readable and accurate. A formal response from those involved is included on page 14.

    This report sets out how your Housing Services have performed in the year 2013/2014against the national standards expected of all social landlords and also standards that theCouncil has agreed with you, the tenants.

  • p a g e 4 www.w i n c h e s t e r. g o v . u k

    Tenant Involvement & Customer Care

    Tenant Training

    We aim to provide tenants with accessible, relevant and timely information about ourservices, how we perform and how tenants can get involved with making our services better.

    Scrutiny Groups

    Tenants have continued to scrutinise the Councils Housing services. 4 Scrutiny Groups have met regularlywith officers to review and challenge services to tenants.

    Why not get involved and help improve services to tenants? If you would like more information, please contactthe Tenant Involvement team on Freephone 0800 716 987.

    Housing Management Scrutiny Group This grouphas focussed on how quickly we re-let emptyproperties and also how we have helped tenantsaffected by welfare changes.

    Repairs and Maintenance Scrutiny Group This grouphas monitored how effectively repairs are carried outand how the Councils Customer Service deals withenquiries from tenants. They have challenged theCouncil to improve the quality of the service it provides.

    Sheltered Housing Scrutiny Group This group isreviewing how older persons services arechanging and the impact of Hampshire CountyCouncils Supporting People funding cuts ontenants in sheltered housing.

    Landscape Scrutiny Group The Group continues towork with officers and has also met with Councillorsto find ways of improving the Grounds Maintenancecontract. We are all too aware that this remains acause for concern in many areas.

    We held a variety of Life Skills classes in February 2014 whichwere well attended and worthwhile to tenants taking part. The five classes which took place were: Cooking on a Budget Basic Computer Skills Employability for Job Hunters Confidence Building First Aid

    Because they went down so well, we plan more later this yearso watch this space!

    Meeting Tenants Diverse Needs The Council recognises the huge diversity of itstenants. Our officers are trained so they have theskills to adapt services to meet various needs.

    Training sessions have included Deaf Awareness,Dementia Awareness, Mental Health Awarenessand a briefing on Former Service Personnel.Housing officers are not specialists, but will havethe details of groups that can provide specialistsupport if needed.

    We are also improving how we work together withsupport groups such as the Drug and AlcoholRecovery Service at Georges in Winchester and theWinchester Young Carers project.

    Involvement and Empowerment

    The Council continues to support tenant involvement inmany ways, including supporting tenant groups,organising focus groups, estate walkabouts,street meetsand summer events.

    Tenant representatives make comment on every housingreport considered by Councillors.

    The Councils whole approach to promoting residentinvolvement has been formally reviewed by tenants.

  • Annu a l R e p o r t 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4 p a g e 5

    Complaints

    What you think of usGeneralTenantsResponse

    Older PersonsResponse

    OurNational Rank

    % of respondents veryor fairly satisfied withthe services/overallservice provided by us

    86% satisfied 94% satisfiedAboveAverage

    % of respondents veryor fairly satisfied thattheir views are beingtaken into account by