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The latest edition of In South Cambs November 2022:

Previous editions

 

Annual Report to Tenants and Leaseholders

Every year we publish an Annual Report for Tenants and Leaseholders.

These reports outline how we have been performing and the projects that we have been working on throughout the financial year.

Find out what we have been doing in 2021 to 2022:

Welcome to this year's annual report. As we have emerged from the pandemic, we have been looking at improvements to our housing services.

2021 to 2022 saw us tender for a new repairs contract, which involved tenants in the process. A lot of work has gone into the new contract with Mears to make sure the service is customer-focused. We hope tenants will see the benefits of this new contract over the coming months as we introduce new ways to report and make changes to repairs.

Our tenant satisfaction survey has provided us with valuable feedback from a large number of our tenants. We will be taking this on board, and using it to develop an improvement plan, with involvement from our tenant representatives on our Housing Engagement Board and Housing Performance Panel.

Our Asset Management Strategy, published this year, sets out how we will be investing in homes to make them fit for the future.  This includes working on improving energy efficiency in our homes with sustainable energy measures such as planning improvements to ensure all homes meet modern standards.

We are proud of the work that staff across the housing service have put in to continue improving our services. We hope you enjoy reading more about it in this report.

~ Peter Campbell, Head of Housing and Cllr John Batchelor, Lead Cabinet Member for Housing.

A breakdown of how we spend a weekly rent of £107.35

Repairs and maintenance £49.24

Loan interest payment £26.50

New builds £15.84

General Management £11.11

Other £1.97

Sheltered Housing £1.26

Resident Involvement 76p

Outdoor 67p

Our performance

In 2021 to 2022 our rent arrears

Our average weekly social rent is £107, last year it was £105.

Our average weekly affordable rent is £145, last year it was £148.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with the value for money provided by your rent.  73% were satisfied, 15% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 12% were dissatisfied.

Our new repairs contract

Following a rigorous selection process, that our tenant representatives were involved in, Mears were successfully awarded our new repairs and maintenance contract. The new contract arrangements look and feel very different and are designed to focus on providing a great customer experience. Our shared ambition is to provide you with a high performing repairs service.  We have designed a whole new look for the repairs service that we hope you will like. On a day-to-day basis, there are new ways of reporting your repairs as well as changes to how you can check on the progress of your repair, including automated text confirmations and updates, as well as access to a live tracking system.

Our performance

In 2021 to 2022 the percent of repairs appointments we kept was 95%, last year it was 96%, and our target is 95%.

The percent of emergency repairs attended to in 24 hours was 97%, last year it was 97%, and our target is 98%.

The percent of repairs fixed first time was 92%, last year it was not reported, and our target is 85%.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with the way South Cambs deals with repairs. 68% were satisfied, 13% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 19% were dissatisfied.

Resident Involvement

Tenants were involved in the procurement process of renewing our repairs contract. They are also involved in the process of initiating the new contract and will be involved in reviewing their performance into the future.

Want to get involved? Email us at: resident.involvement@scambs.gov.uk

Our ambition is to be the leading green district within the country and this very much links with our vision to provide good quality, sustainable homes for our tenants. This is reflected in 2 of the 4 corporate priorities: building homes that are truly affordable to live in, and being green to our core.

We will be approaching this work in a three stage project:

Stage one - Reducing energy demand in dwellings by improving the level of insulation, including external walls (even those with insulated cavities of a certain age) and ground floors.

Stage two - Install alternative heating systems. The options are either air source or ground source heat pumps, both will require individual building appraisals to determine technical suitability.

Stage three - Eliminate residual carbon in order to become net zero. The Council has already installed solar panels to over 40% of its houses and bungalows. We are looking at additional renewable generation measures, such as solar panels to those dwellings currently without.

Our performance

In 2021 to 2022 we carried out 70 window replacements, last year we carried out 183.

We carried out 197 boiler replacements, last year we carried out 224.

We installed 141 heat pumps, last year we installed 71.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with the overall quality of your home.  77% were satisfied, 9% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 14% were dissatisfied.

Throughout the year we carry out two kinds of works: cyclical and reactive. Cyclical maintenance is planned and performed regularly, whilst reactive maintenance is carried out when it is reported to us. At every estate each year we carry out 12 grass cuts per year, 4 rough cuts per year, 1 weed spray per year and 1 hedge trim.

Reactive work can include trees that need work or are dangerous, overgrown hedges that are blocking a path, ditch clearing and other work that may need attention.

You can report a landscaping issue online or call us on 01954 713 000.

Everyone plays a part in making your neighbourhood a nice place to live. You can look out for your neighbours by:

Keeping areas tidy - Make sure you pick up any litter or dog fouling and, if there isn't a bin close by, take it home with you.

Parking considerately - Parking can be a contentious issue and can cause friction between neighbours. When you, or visitors to your home, park, consider whether you are potentially blocking access to grounds maintenance teams or any neighbours, especially those with mobility issues.

Keeping your garden and boundary hedges in good condition - You hold responsibility for your own garden, including cutting the grass and maintenance of any trees or bushes. Consider whether your hedge may be blocking access to the path, specifically for those using mobility scooters or prams.

Tree planting - If you are considering planting a tree, think about how big it will grow and whether you are able to maintain its growth, as you will be responsible for its ongoing maintenance.

If you have a tree that you think is dangerous or causing damage, however, do let us know.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with grounds maintenance in your area.  71% were satisfied, 16% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 13% were dissatisfied.

Resident Involvement

Tenant inspectors (along with our Housing officer) carry out Estate inspections between April and October.  These visits pick up any issues that need attention, such as overhanging hedges, fly-tipping or abandoned vehicles.

Want to get involved? Email us at resident.involvement@scambs.gov.uk

A tenant representative’s role is very important. They are the voice of our tenant community.  Their role is to work with the head of housing and councillors to prioritise budgets, work, resources and policies to deliver a service that focuses on tenants needs.  They are also an advocate for tenants and can bring issues to our attention on your behalf.

The Housing Engagement Board (HEB) has two representatives elected for each housing area:

In the north they are Dave Kelleway, who you can email at dave.scdc.tenant.rep@gmail.com, and Margaret Wilson, who you can email at repwilson37@gmail.com

In the west they are Les Rolfe, who you can email at les.rolfe@hotmail.co.uk and Peter Tye, who you can email at petertye88@outlook.com

In the east there is Jim Watson, who you can email at jimwatson54@outlook.com and currently there is a vacancy.

The Housing Performance Panel (HPP) are involved in reviewing, assessing, and challenging our performance, as well as our contractor’s performance. The panel identifies areas where performance could be improved and suggests ways where we can do this. Meetings for both groups are held quarterly and you can find the minutes on our website.

Some of the things your tenant representatives have been involved with are:

Recruitment of key roles - Tenant Representatives have been involved in the recruitment process for our Service Manager for Housing Assets and are involved in the process of recruiting a new Resident Involvement Team Leader.

Attend conferences and training - Tenant Representatives were invited to attend a TPAS conference. TPAS are a not-for-profit organisation that champions tenant involvement and empowerment. They have attended training on budgeting, as well as on reviewing policies.

Review policies and strategies - Key policies and strategies are taken to the Housing Engagement Board to be reviewed and scrutinised by our Tenant Representatives. Previously, our Asset Management Strategy, our Tenancy Policy and our Small Land Sales Policy have been taken to the board for review.

Procurement of contracts - Tenant Representatives have been involved in reviewing tenders for our repairs contract and will be getting involved in procuring the contract for our stock condition survey.

Estate Inspections - Tenant Inspectors have been trained and are involved in inspections of our estates, alongside Housing Officers, to report any issues that need attention such as landscaping, fly-tipping, or abandoned vehicles. The visits take place between April and October. Tenants have the opportunity to report issues through an online form on our website before the inspection takes place. The calendar of inspections and comment forms can be found on our website.

Tenant Satisfaction Survey - All tenants were asked to take part in a survey asking how satisfied they were with our services.  Tenant representatives were involved in reviewing the results and looking at our improvement plan for changes that need to be made in areas of low satisfaction. As part of new tenant measures, we will be conducting regular satisfaction surveys to help us track whether improvements we make are raising satisfaction.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with the opportunities to make their views known. 60% were satisfied, 29% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 11% were dissatisfied.

As a result of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in the length of time it has taken us to re-let a home when someone has moved.  We are starting to see some significant improvements with our turn-around times of empty homes after implementing staff increases, and additional contractors to assist when extensive work is needed.

If you are thinking of moving out of your Council home, you can arrange a visit from your Housing Officer. They can let you know what work is needed to be done before you hand it back to us. Anything that is requested, but isn’t done, may result in an invoice being sent to you for the costs incurred in us having to complete the work.

To avoid any recharges when you leave your home, and help us re-let it quicker, we ask that you:

  • Clear all rubbish from inside and outside the home, including sheds and lofts.
  • Fill any holes in the walls from pictures or shelves etc.
  • Any sheds, greenhouses or outhouses that you have put up yourself should be removed (unless it is agreed that it can be left).
  • The decoration should be in a good condition, with no damage or discolouration from smoking etc.

To contact your Housing Officer to request a visit call 01954 713 000 or email duty.housing@scambs.gov.uk

Our performance

The number of council homes that were let in 2021 to 2022 was 523, last year it was 356.

The percent of tenants satisfied with the condition of their new home was 93%, last year it was not reported, and our target is 85%.

The average number of days to re-let a home was 41 days, last year it was 52 days, and out target is 17 days.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with the overall service we provided. 80% were satisfied, 11% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 9% were dissatisfied.

Resident Involvement

Tenants are involved in a focus group that looks at the way we re-let our Council homes and how we can make improvements, including ways to make the process more sustainable by recycling or re-using items left behind.

Want to get involved? Email us at resident.involvement@scambs.gov.uk

Our Housing Enforcement team deal with reports of anti-social behaviour or any safeguarding concerns.  They work with partner agencies and other council departments, such as environmental health, police neighbourhood teams, social services, and more. 

We have a new role in the Housing Enforcement team of a Housing Mental Health Worker who supports vulnerable residents and ensures that safeguarding is at the forefront of all case work.

During the pandemic and following on from that time, there has been a rise in both anti-social behaviour and safeguarding issues being reported, not just locally but across the country. 334 cases were opened in 2021 to 2022 for both anti-social behaviour and safeguarding.  The previous year we reported 232 and the year before was 191. This shows a steady increase in demand for the service.

Everyone should be able to enjoy living in their homes comfortably. If your neighbour is noisy or stops you feeling comfortable, try to discuss it with them if you can.

Only talk to your neighbour if you feel safe and comfortable.

Step 1 - It’s quicker to talk face-to-face but you can write, text or call if that’s easier, or you can take someone with you for support.

Step 2 - Tell your neighbour how their behaviour is affecting you and what would help. Listen to your neighbour and see if you can reach a compromise together.

Step 3 - Consider whether they might be dealing with issues that are contributing to the noise and be sensitive to their circumstances.

Step 4 - If that doesn’t work, you can report the issue to us and we will work to try and resolve the issue between you, before taking further action.

To report an issue contact us on 01954 713 000 or report an issue online.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a range of unacceptable behaviours, from everyday incidents such as noise nuisance to serious criminal acts. It can be any aggressive or intimidating behaviour that has a negative effect on another person's quality of life - in or around their home.

Safeguarding is for people who, because of issues such as dementia, learning disability, mental ill-health or substance abuse, have care and support needs that may make them more vulnerable to abuse or neglect.  If you have a safeguarding concern you can report it on our website or call us on 01954 713 000.

If you feel that someone is at immediate risk of harm or neglect then please contact the police on 999.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked the extent to which the following are a problem in the neighbourhood:  

Car parking - 45% not a problem, 32% a minor problem, and 23% a major problem.

Dog fouling - 54% not a problem, 32% a minor problem, and 13% a major problem.

Noisy neighbours - 76% not a problem, 18% a minor problem, and 6% a major problem.

Drug use or dealing - 82% not a problem, 14% a minor problem, and 5% a major problem.

We have reviewed how our housing service handles complaints, in response to the Housing Ombudsman's Complaint Handling Code and have been working hard to make improvements to our complaints process.

We have had the introduction of a new complaints portal that means both residents and ourselves can track the progress of any complaints we receive.

Whilst we try our best to deliver first-class customer service at all times, we recognise that sometimes we may not perform as well as we could.

If this is the case, please let us know so we can put it right and learn from our mistakes.

You should complain if you are unhappy:

  • about how your enquiry was dealt with
  • with how an officer has treated you
  • with our standard of service

Please include as much detail as you feel is necessary and complete our online complaints form or you can:

Our performance

In 2021 to 2022 we received 145 complaints about our housing service, last year we received 100.

The percent of complaints dealt with within the timescale was 84%, last year it was 81%, and our target is 80%.

The number of compliments received was 89, last year it was 80.

Tenant satisfaction survey results

Our tenant satisfaction survey asked if tenants were satisfied with the way that we deal with complaints.  55% were satisfied, 29% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 16% were dissatisfied.

Compliments

While we are always happy to hear about how we can improve, we also love to hear when we have done well and made a difference. Below are some of the compliments we have received about members of staff:

“I genuinely thank you more than you could know for the opportunity you have created for me and my kids. It is thoroughly appreciated.”

“I feel so grateful that you have worked so hard on my behalf and have managed to achieve such a life changing result in such a short amount of time.”

“I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to yourself because none of this would be happening if it wasn’t for your brilliant work, understanding and kindness.”

We are continuing our commitment to building new, energy efficient, council homes. This means building well insulated homes with measures such as solar panels and air source heat pumps, where possible. 

We have also been working on future-proofing homes by installing either external electrical sockets, or ensuring parking bays have underground cabling to be able to install EV charging points, when needed.

You can find out more about our new builds on our website.

Our performance

In 2021 to 2022 we provided 72 new rented homes, last year we provided 47.

We provided 17 new shared ownership homes, last year we provided 24.

Previous annual reports