Members considered a briefing paper introduced by Sharon Wheeler – Regional Housing Manager South, which provided a performance and development update on YHG business areas identified in the legacy agreement and related to business activity between April 2020 and March 2021. Aaron Hamersley – Head of Housing Management, Dave Lovatt – Compliance and Facilities Manager and Paula Marshall Director of Housing and Customer Service was also present at the meeting, along with two customer representatives; Cheryl Ballan and Andrea Hampton. Apologies were received from George Wallace.
Topics covered within the report included:
- Your Housing Group Response to Covid 19
- Housing Management
- Neighbourhood inspection and Customer Engagement Events
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Asset improvement
- Digital Engagement
- Community Regeneration
YHG were in the process of a review and restructure of its housing management customer operation model. This would introduce an enhanced regional approach to tenancy and housing management, tenancy enforcement and allocations to provide a more collaborative approach, enabling colleagues to improve their relationship with customers and better understand the needs of local neighbourhoods. Members were pleased to learn about the reintroduction of the Customer Engagement events and the new regional customer operating model.
The Panel was advised that Dave Lovatt would provide the performance update to members in the future as Sharon Wheeler had been appointed to a new safeguarding and tenancy support role within the organisation. The new team would assist customers that required more intensive dedicated support to enable them to sustain their tenancies. The Chair requested for an update on this to be included in the next regular performance report and Sharon was thanked for the support she had provided to members over the years.
Members commented and raised the following points:-
Cars parked dangerously on Mill Street/Hamil Drive, Leek – Planning permission was being sought to change the layout of the frontage of
Mill Street to allow a one-way, short stay parking facility which would encourage more commercial customers and deter residential customers car parking throughout the day.
YHG asset map – It wasn’t possible for this to be provided as the document would be too large, complicated and ever changing. A schedule of ground maintenance had been previously circulated to members and if there were any areas of concern these should be reported for investigation on a case by case basis.
Number of newly built properties and an update on Lightwood in Cheadle – The Development Team would provide the number of units built and an update on the Lightwood site after the meeting.
Housing repairs and renewals – In response to a query in relation to repairs, Officers explained that there had been a reduced service between Jan to March due to the pandemic. However, the General Repairs service had now resumed and was up to date. Paula Marshall suggested that an officer from the Asset Management and Repairs Team could attend a future meeting to provide a more detailed update on repairs and renewals. Customer satisfaction for the in-house repairs service had increased from 67 % to 88%, as at the end of March this year. One of the customer representatives also gave assurance that customers had noted an improved level of customer satisfaction.
Daisy Haye – Councillor Atkins was very concerned about a number of major outstanding maintenance issues at this relatively new site and the affect this had on the residents. Service charge fees had increased, the shared ownership scheme for the flats was complicated and communication with the residents was poor. YHG was hugely disappointed that a new building required such a large amount of repair which included major works to the roof. The Council had been involved with the mixed tenure scheme offered at Daisy Haye and the scheme was standard practice for such properties. There were a number of vacant flats to enable residents to temporarily reside in whilst their bathrooms and kitchens were upgraded.
A date for the completion of works and an update on the garden area would be provided after the meeting. Once restrictions were lifted, a meeting for residents would be arranged which Leek Councillors wished to be involved with.
A member of the Panel suggested that regular surgeries should be arranged as part of the neighbourhood inspections and highlighted the importance of the organisation’s responsibility to mitigate climate change by ensuring homes were future proofed or retro-fitted. YHG had an Environmental Strategy and would attend a meeting of the Climate Change Working Group to present its plans to address climate change or include details at the next regular performance update.
The Chair thanked the Officers and Customer Representatives their attendance.
DECIDED: That the update be noted.