Members considered a briefing paper introduced by Dave Lovatt - Regional Housing Manager, which provided a performance and development update on YHG business areas identified in the legacy agreement and related to business activity between August 2022 and December 2022. Aaron Hamersley – Head of Housing , Paula Marshall Director of Housing and Customer Service and Adrian Mostyn – Head of Repairs and Maintenance were present at the meeting. A customer representative was also present - Andrea Hampton.
The Panel was reminded that members had been invited to a meeting with YHG due to take place on 21 Feb 2023 at Daisy Haye in Leek. During the meeting any specific concerns could be discussed and members could hear about current work/projects being carried out by YHG. A view would then be taken as to how regularly this meeting would be held in the future. The venue for the meetings would rotate between the towns and there were plans to reintroduce surgeries for customers to attend.
Topics covered within the report included:
- Your Housing Group Response to Covid 19
- Housing Management
- YHG Key Contact Details
- Neighbourhood inspection and Customer Engagement Events
- Damp and Mould
- Tenancy Support and Money Advice Support
- Disabled Grant Facilities Update
- Energy Efficiency Update
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Digital Engagement
- Community Regeneration
The Panel had the opportunity to ask questions and comment as follows:-
Members were pleased that officers were present in person and some very good work had been carried out by the organisation in the area.
Mill Street Shops – Despite being given assurance that the works to this area would be completed by July 2022, various issues were still outstanding. There had been delays with planning consent for dropped kerbs and a further update would be provided after the meeting.
Void Properties and Repairs - The number of days properties were empty was unsatisfactory and response to repairs took too long . Some members were disappointed with the 89% customer satisfaction rate for housing repairs. A decision had been made to redeploy staff from the Void Team to the Repairs Team due to an increased demand for repairs following the Covid lockdown period. Staff had now returned to their usual duties but the organisation was now experiencing difficulties around recruitment and retention of staff which was a national issue for social landlords. Members were assured a plan was in place to catch up with void properties and improve housing repairs.
New Housing – There was disappointment in relation to the number of new houses built, there had been issues commencing new housing schemes but a meeting was planned with senior officers to explore opportunities for new housing in the area.
A written response would be provided for the number of properties retrofitted and upgraded to meet minimum energy performance standards
Priority neighbourhood work at Belle Vue, Leek – The local councillor was pleased to have joined the team here and suggested that tenants could be more actively involved. Improved customer engagement included flyers being issued to residents, YHG officers were more regularly on-site and an event was planned once the works had been completed.
Tenancy arrears due to cost of living – A small increase in arrears had been noted which was monitored closely.
Uplands, Biddulph – YHG advised that the Grounds Maintenance Team would be engaged here during Spring/Summer.
YHG Key Contact Details – The list would be updated to include contact telephone numbers.
Emergency repairs for elderly and vulnerable tenants – A councillor had previously been advised the response time was 4 hours for these tenants and had not received a written response to a particular case he was involved with. Another member of the Panel had been re-assured by the response received to emergency repairs at properties within her area. Written clarification (copied to the Leader & Chair) of the response time would be supplied after the meeting.
Compensation for temporary use fan heaters - It was confirmed that this was contained within the compensation policy procedure and where such heaters had been supplied, this would be highlighted to residents.
Slater Street and Edge View Court, Biddulph – This area was the responsibility of YHG and it was confirmed that this area would be maintained.
Work Clubs – A client had received excellent service and this would be fed back to the team.
A request was made for the derelict garages and broken zipwire in Cheadle to be investigated .
Discussion also took place around the frequency of scrutiny and whether YHG was sufficiently scrutinised, management of anti-social behaviour, apprenticeship schemes and installation of solar panels.
The Leader of the Council thanked the YHG Officers for attending the meeting. As part of YHG’s ongoing commitment to improve the service in the area, more regular meetings were planned to take place at each of the towns.
1) That the performance update be received and comments noted.
2) Updates/responses to be provided after the meeting in relation to:-
· Mill Street Shops
· Emergency repairs response times
· Number of properties retrofitted and upgraded to meet minimum energy performance standards
3) For telephone numbers to be incorporated into the Key Contact List.