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Venue: Ground Floor Conference Room - The Deane House. View directions
Contact: Clare Rendell
Apologies were received from Mr A Akhigbemen, Mrs J Hegarty and Councillor B Bowrah.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Tenant Services Management Board held on 29 October 2018 were signed and taken as read.
Declaration of Interests.
To receive declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or personal or prejudicial interests, in accordance with the Code of Conduct, in relation to items on the agenda. Such interests need to be declared even if they have already been recorded in the Register of Interests. The personal interests of Councillors who are County Councillors or Town or Parish Councillors will automatically be recorded in the minutes.
Public Question Time.
No questions were received for Public Question Time.
Introduction to the Head of Communication and Engagement (verbal update).
Head of Communications and Engagement Robert Hillier sent his apologies for this meeting.
Void Report (verbal update).
The Housing Services Lead presented the detailed Void Report
Reported that Taunton Deane Borough Council had 8,500 rented properties, on average there were 450 voids per year. Vacant void properties would need to be brought back into a lettable condition. The work required would be completed as efficiently as possible, our performance on this was then assessed to how we compare with others.
The Void Budget set for 18/19, was £668,000 the budge was allocated from April 2018 to the end of 2019. A forecast of an overspend against this budget was not a significant amount in case of the overall spend as we had an income of £26 million so it was not a significant amount.
The overall rent model would assume a rent loss of 2% due to voids. Total voids for 17/18, are 464 which is in line with what we normally see. From April this year we have had a total of 279 voids.
Targets were reported on a quarterly basis. The main performance indicator in calendar days is how long has it taken to get a property ready for reoccupation. Our target is 26 days, which is significantly less than 5 or 6 years ago when it was in the high 40’s.
Reported that Property Services had been piloting a new process where on minor works a multi traded Officer would be given permission to assess the void property, order their own supplies for the works and get on with the repairs. Which meant that void properties could be turned around at a much quicker pace which was way in advance of anything that we had completed before. The pilot would be ongoing to look at the results.
Stated that in North Taunton a consultation process with the tenants/homeowners had been taken place. Within the 279 properties this included 32 voids which were currently vacant in Dorchester Road, Rochester Road, Wells Close, Dover Road and Oxford Place. The project team took a decision to not let properties once they became vacant, these properties would then be used to decant tenants. Once the project has been passed by the Planning Committee the decant would be done in phases, this would include 213 properties. Tenants had stated that they did not want to be scattered across Taunton so tenants in phase 1 would be offered these properties.
There were currently 4 vacant Woolaway properties available in Oake. Refurbished to a whole property had never been completed on a Woolaway property as a whole house, extensive works had been completed on the properties but in terms of a complete refurbishment as oppose to a demolition and then rebuilding. The development team would like to see what this would look like. The next steps would be to go out to contractors who would put in a schedule of works. The findings from that work would then inform the North Taunton Woolaway Regeneration Project Team. On completion these properties would be used to decant some of the tenants ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Repairs Report (verbal update).
The Repairs and Logistics Manager reported that she had been managing the repairs team since January 2018. Detailed that she had been looking into the performance of the team and their working practices as some of the team were not working as they should be. This was put down to a lack of training within the team to use the systems properly. This had now been addressed and was now looking at the call centre side of the operation. The Call Centre took between 1,000-1,500 calls a month plus 500 emails requesting additional work which was quite hefty work for 3 part time members of staff.
In the summer work progressed on integrating the staff at the DLO with staff at the call centre, this added resilience to the team and cut down on the waiting time for tenants. The positive outcome of this was that the call centre abandon rate had been reduced from 48% to 5%. The number of calendar days from tenants ringing up to report a problem to the completion of a job had also come down to 5.7 days. The team were also working on a same day service which enabled tenants to have their jobs completed on the day that they rung in. The service seemed to be working well with the tenants in Sheltered Accommodation who were at home a lot more.
The only obstacles found were that some tenants still needed to plan in visits and did not want jobs planned in on the day they rung in.
The next process was to educate tenants on how to book online for their repairs. The benefits of this were that you were not waiting in a call queue and once you had reported your fault an operative would call you to make an appointment. A session that we had been trialling over the last month was closing the repairs line for 1 hour at lunch time and the last half an hour at the end of the working day just to try and help tenants to go in the direction of reporting on line which is available 24/7. Emergency calls would still be answered. This had increased the online service by 40% which was really positive. Having fed this back we were going to increase the closing of the repairs line for a little bit longer, not only does this help the team but helps give the tenants the support that they needed. We had also been given training to the Estates Officers to help report faults when they do their visits, this would open up different avenues for people to report faults/repairs. Online reporting is the way forward.
Comments made during the discussion included:-
· What about the options for people that did not have good internet connections or go online? We live in a rural area, does this not have an impact on your same day? service?
Yes there was an impact there and what we were trying to do is manage ... view the full minutes text for item 7.