Agenda item

Matters arising from the Policy Development and Performance Monitoring Panels

Minutes:

Final Report of the Re-Letting of Void Properties Task Group 

 

Consideration was given to the final report of the Re-Letting of Void Properties Task Group containing recommendations which had been approved by the Performance Monitoring Panel.

 

The Chairman of the Task Group, Councillor G R Aley presented the report containing the Task Group’s recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

The work undertaken by the Task Group was welcomed.  Some improvements to the re-letting of void properties had already been seen although further improvements were required.  Changes to the way in which voids were dealt with would be incorporated within the Place Review – this, and the Task Group’s findings were mutually supportive pieces of work, and the Task Group’s recommendations would be taken forward and fed into the service review.

 

It was stated that the loss of revenue due to properties being unlet for 20-30 days and longer would be incorporated into targets set as part of the Place Review.  Members were also advised that hard to let properties would be part of the review of the Council’s housing stock, and information from this would be incorporated into the report (requested as a recommendation of the Task Group) due to be considered by the Performance Monitoring Panel in November.

 

DECISION:

 

That the following recommendations of the Task Group be approved, and be taken forward and fed into the Place Review:

 

a)    That the voids process is amalgamated into one voids team and the process along with a number of actions within this are refined and/or removed.  This is for all properties within the housing stock (sheltered or general needs housing).  This may rely upon digital applications, key safes at properties to allow quicker access once vacated and automated communications with customers;

 

b)    That the management of tenancies is overhauled to ensure property standards are maintained and/or recharges for repairs are appropriately received.  This includes procedures used at the commencement of any new tenancy to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of tenancy management and to ensure everyone, including the tenant, is aware of their duties and responsibilities during their tenancy.  This includes a need for clear communication of procedures to be followed during and at the end of the tenancies, such as the handing in of notice and the timescales/method to be followed for the return of keys.  This way of working will ensure swift timescales at the start of the process and support subsequent actions in the process to meet turnaround times;

 

c)    That the marketing of properties is undertaken, with new methods actively sought.  In the first instance it is recommended that the Council website and Facebook page is utilised to market properties, especially those where interest has been lacking.  Other techniques such as choice based lettings should be investigated further and where appropriate put into action;

 

d)    That the current contracts are reviewed, that directly impact the voids timeline, potentially seeking to bring back in-house some services such as Energy Performance Certificate assessing;

 

e)    That the current allocations policy is reviewed for effectiveness alongside a strategic property review for hard to let properties within the housing stock;

 

f)     That the Housing Allocations policy is reviewed to ensure that waiting lists are appropriate for the housing need of South Holland;

 

g)    That the voids process provides high quality properties within a consistent turn around that meets the needs of our tenants;  and

 

h)   That these recommendations are allocated to an identified officer to ensure their action and that an update is received by the Performance Monitoring Panel on actions against these at the 7 November 2017 meeting.

 

(Other options considered:

·         To not approve the Task Group’s Final Report and/or suggest that some or all of the recommendations be amended; or

·         Do nothing

 

Reasons for Recommendation:

·         The review was conducted as a result of worsening performance data, and the recommendations outlined in the Task Group’s report would ensure that the voids process was efficiently and effectively managed, and provided high quality houses to meet the needs of tenants.)

Supporting documents: