Housing and Corporate Services Issue 10
Dear All Inside this issue: Merge Community Fun Day
CRC Energy Efficiency
Customer Excellence Awards
Purchase & Repair Scheme
Beyond The Lines
Hello again, firstly a big thank you to everyone who has contributed articles….it really is important that we let each other know what’s going on in the Division and the newsletter is an excellent way of doing this. Can you believe we are half way through the year already! At least we have been having some nice Summer weather recently…..I have been spotting all the red faces coming in following sun bathing in gardens and parks….not to mention a few panda eyes! In terms of work, I have recently completed our first quarterly report on our progress with Service Plan actions. This is considered by the Chief Executive’s Management Team so that we can monitor progress against the Council Plan. I am very pleased to see we have started the year well and I can see other projects are underway. A big thank you to everyone for all your hard work. Since the last newsletter we have continued our ability to retain and improve services and being recognised for this by external accreditors. A big well done to Legal Services for retaining their Lexcel accreditation and for ISO reaccreditations. I appreciate that these are particularly difficult times in terms of budget and work pressures, and uncertainty as the Council reviews its services. As you know, we have to ensure we can deliver services within budget, and we are facing challenging financial times ahead. Thank you to those of you who have provided me with ideas for savings, and if you do have ideas for better ways of us working please do let me know. Feel free to use our staff suggestion scheme or email me or any of the service managers. In the meantime, those of you that are planning summer holidays have a great time and relax, in readiness for a busy winter. I hope you find the articles in this edition of the newsletter interesting and keep them coming.
Deborah For information on our Performance Indicators please go to page 14 of the newsletter.
Welcome to: Medway Council Housing and Corporate Services would like to welcome the following new starters:
Hannah Langford—Senior Lawyer (Corporate Services)
Elaine Bell— Acting Senior Lawyer while Hannah is on employment break (Corporate Services)
Gail Prinslo-Strydom— Acting Senior Lawyer to cover Jan’s Maternity Leave (Corporate Servies)
Daune Ashdown— Has joined Service Improvement as Senior Admin Officer who will oversee Complaints and is also Deborah Upton’s Personal Assistant.
Frances Duffin— Fran is now back after her operation working part time as a Complaints Officer
Asha Saroy— Is back while on uni break to help Fran out with Complaints. Please make sure you give all your learning logs back to Asha!
Linda Jones— Started a new job within the Procurement team, all the best!
Nick Timson— Has joined Joseph’s Team and is working within Building and Design Salim Khan— Congratulations to Salim for getting the position of Housing Finance Team Leader, Well done
A sad farewell to:
“Did you know….Our recent Getting to know
• • • • • • •
you survey has had over 650 Medway residents who want to take a more active role in shaping the housing service”
Dominic Welch Mide Koleowo Theresa Clark Geoff Baker Dave Lee Jan Guyler — Is currently off on maternity leave Amy Roberts—Is leaving for a new job at Invicta Grammar School as an Art Technician Cassandra Reilly
A sad farewell to all that have left Housing and Corporate Services, you will all be sadly missed!
Good news from Estate Services: achievements which deserve a wider audience. Since the awards were launched, hundreds of nominations have been received. They range from people who have raised a fortune for charity to others who have been brave in an emergency. The Pride in Medway awards were set up to honour unsung heroes and as a showcase for
The nominees of The Pride in Medway 2010 gathered on February 5th to receive their certificate of recognition.
Among the nominees were Medway Councils Estate Services (nominated by Housemark) who received the award for their outstanding contribution to community involvement in Medway. This is a wonderful achievement for the Estate Services as there are only 12 Estate Officers over the 6 sites. Thank you for all your hard work.
Birthdays in July Mon
EVENTS • 21st July—Divisional Meeting of Housing & Corporate Services • 7th July Leaseholder Forum
• 19th July Repairs Focus Group
Birthdays in August
• 26th July Mystery Shopping at MHS
• 26th July Housing Matters
Editorial Board • 26th July Strengths &
Weaknesses Focus Group • 23rd August Summer Housing Matters Circulated
Message to Staff in Housing & Corporate Services Dear Colleagues I am conscious that you may be concerned about the decision taken by the Council this week to consult on making 50 staff redundant. You will recall from the Divisional Meeting that I advised you of the £6.1M in year cut the Council has received to its budgets from the Government, and the action taken yesterday was to address that shortfall. Cabinet has made the point that the following are the underlying principles that they will base their decision-making on:• • • • • •
Maintain services valued by our community Hence preserve front line services, services for the most vulnerable Where we can we will protect our staff Members will maintain linkage between government announcements on cuts, and service areas Encourage staff to come up with ideas Maintain/strengthen the importance of the VFM work being done across the council.
So I would encourage any of you to come forward if you have any good ideas about how we can make any more savings - we already have the work generated for our efficiency tracker for the staff conference, but you may have ideas about other services provided by the Council and I would be happy to take these forward. Otherwise I will keep you informed as soon as I have any further news. If you have any particular concerns or issues that you want to raise, then please do speak with either me or your service manager, or HR services. Regards Deborah
MeRGe Community Fun Day
“It was a lovely day
and everyone loved the circus skills, especially the children”
MeRGe (Medway Residents Group) hosted a Community Fun Day on 26th June at Twydall Church Hall with the help of Graham Baugh (Resident Involvement Officer) & Lorraine Demery (Housing Assistant) to involve the local community. The day was a triumph with both the good weather and Lorraine’s face painting skills, all residents of Medway
that attended were extremely happy with the entertainment and information on offer. MeRGe had organised information stalls from voluntary groups such as:
∗ Neighbourhood Watch ∗ Medway Carers ∗ Medway Asthma Self Help ∗ Fire Service Department Mears Contractors also attended and held a D.I.Y Workshop.
Throughout the day there was entertainment from Kent Circus School, Rangerettes Pompom Dancers and a group of Baton Twirlers. Mary Falkner a resident and Treasurer of MeRGe thought “It was a lovely day and everyone loved the circus skills, especially the children”. Mary highlighted that “there is a need for more support from the local community to make these events even more successful”.
Photographs of the day
“The day was a triumph with both good weather and Lorraine’s face painting skills”
The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme The Strategic Procurement and Energy Team, on behalf of Medway Council, is charged with the responsibility of reporting and delivering the Carbon Reduction Commitment Efficiency Scheme for the period 2010 – 2013. During this period, the team will be busy collating energy data relating to electricity, gas and oil usage in all corporate estates across Medway. The aim of this scheme is to provide Medway with a benchmark against which annual performance can be reviewed and improved The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) is a new mandatory emissions trading scheme for the UK. Administered by the Environment Agency on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, it will cover large businesses and public sector organizations, through a system of reporting and “A set payment based on the organization's share of the total emissions pot at the start of the scheme (i.e. in 2010/11).”
carbon reduction to ensure that the UK meets its emissions reduction targets.
corresponding number of future carbon emission allowances each year.
The introductory phase of the CRC will last for three years, starting from April 2010. Qualifying organizations will have to report their carbon emissions based upon historic energy consumption and thereafter purchase a
The CRC is intended to be ‘revenue neutral’ to the Exchequer. All money raised from the sale of allowances will be recycled back to the participants proportionately based upon their relative performance in the scheme.
How are organizations covered by the CRC? Organizations that had at least one half-hourly meter (HHM) settled on the half-hourly market and used more than 6,000 MWh of electricity through all half-hourly meters during the course
of 2008 automatically qualify for the Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme
through 25 HHM meters and was 17,465MWh, thus qualifying the Council for participation in the scheme.
Medway Council’s 2008 annual electricity consumption spanned
How does the scheme work? Participating organisations, including Medway Council will have to monitor their emissions and purchase allowances for each
tonne of CO2 they emit. As a consequence, reducing carbon emissions means that Medway Council will not only save money on its
energy bills, but will also need to purchase fewer allowances over the duration of the scheme. As a Council Medway can start saving energy now by switching off computers/monitors during lunchtimes and when in long meetings and by only printing when absolutely necessary.
Recycling payments – winners and losers The CRC is designed to be revenue neutral overall, with the money recycled back to the participants based on their relative emissions reduction efforts. In the first phase of the scheme, each year’s recycle payment will be calculated from two elements as follows:
• A set payment based on the organization's share of the total emissions pot at the start of the scheme (i.e. in 2010/11).
• An adjustment to this payment – either a bonus or penalty – based on the organization's position in the league table.
“Organizations at the top of the table that have achieved the best carbon emission reduction will get a
In the first year, organizations at the top of the league table, that have achieved the best carbon emission reduction, will get a bonus of up to 10% of their base recycling payment.
bonus of up to 10% of their best recycling payment.”
As an example, Medway Council in 2008 emitted 32,465 tonnes of CO2,
which means that as a Council, it will need to purchase 32,465 tonnes of carbon allowance at £12/tonnes, equating to £389,580. If Medway Council achieves its aim of becoming a top performer in the league table then it will gain a bonus of 10% which equates to £38,958 of money which can be recycled back, meaning that Medway will receive a return from the Exchequer of £448,538
On the other hand, organisations at the bottom of the table will be penalised by up to 10% of their base recycling payment and in the case of Medway, if it performs poorly in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, it be fined 10%; i.e. a sum of £38,958. This would mean that the Council
would only receive a recycled payment of £350,622 on its initial purchase of £389,580
∗ Every year the maximum bonuses and penalties will increase by 10%, until they reach 50% in year five. The performance league table will be published annually and the more successful an organization has been in reducing its emissions, the higher it will appear in the table and the greater its potential bonuses will be in respects of the recycled allowance payments it receives.
For more information on Carbon Reduction Commitment and ways to save energy email Gurpreet Anad at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can go to the official Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) website: ∗ http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/
Housing is going for excellence
Medway Council Housing services has submitted an application for the Customer Service Excellence standard (CSE). The award follows an in depth assessment of the way Housing work and the service it provides by the assessing body, Customer Service Excellence Assessment Services (CSEAS).
“CSE is the new government
CSE is the new government standard
award for excellence in customer service. It builds on the legacy of Charter Mark, and test in even greater depth the key areas of service that research has shown matter most to customers such as:
∗ Staff Professionalism and attitude
insight and understanding and measuring the customer experience. Marc Blowers, Head of Service Improvement and his team will be in charge of collating the correct documents and information for the self assessment so any questions or queries, please get in touch with him.
∗ Quality of the advice and information
∗ Keeping customers informed
∗ Dealing with problems and learning from mistakes. There is also a particular focus on developing customer
award standard awarded for
excellence in customer service”
3. Information and Access To reach the CSE standard, organisations are assessed against five criteria:
Range and quality of information, access and cooperative working with other providers, partners and communities
1. Customer Identification
Engagement & consultation, customer satisfaction and service improvement through consultation. 2. The Culture of the Organisation Leadership, policy and culture, staff professionalism and attitude, customer focussed, performance management and front line staff input to service development
Delivery standards, achieved delivery and outcomes, dealing effectively with problems, benchmarking and complaints handling 5. Standards for timeliness and quality Timely outcomes, achieved timely delivery, customer contact response, standards and customer service quality standards.
Inspection Focus TSA —Marc Blowers, Service Improvement
There has been much publicity in Housing press recently about whether the TSA our new regulator will be remaining following the new coalition governments appointment. Initially it was seen as almost definite that the regulator would be abolished. Last week this seemed to change.
A full summary of their assessment is as follows ⇒ Access and customer care - Strengths and weaknesses are in balance ⇒ Diversity Strengths outweigh weaknesses ⇒ Responsive Repairs Strengths outweigh weaknesses ⇒ Empty Property Repairs Strengths outweigh weaknesses ⇒ Gas Servicing Strengths considerably outweigh weaknesses ⇒ Value for Money Weaknesses outweigh strengths
Places for People Housing organization were subject to a SNI around their repairs service specifically a summary of findings is as follows ⇒ Access and customer care Strengths and weaknesses in balance ⇒ Diversity Strengths significantly We are making good progress now on outweigh weaknesses making improvements across housing ⇒ Responsive Repairs Strengths and and this will continue with or without the weaknesses in balance TSA in place. ⇒ Resident Involvement Strengths In this newsletter we look at a couple of outweigh weaknesses recent short notice inspections. ⇒ Gas Servicing Strengths outweigh weaknesses Irwell Valley Housing have been the ⇒ Value for money Strengths outweigh subject of an SNI on gas servicing, weakness responsive repairs and empty homes (voids) and VFM specifically. The inspectors identified that there were more strengths than weaknesses in terms of gas servicing but work to do on VFM. We have recently had a directive from the Chief Executive of the TSA that for now, it is business as normal and our duty to provide our first annual report by 1st October and short notice inspections will remain.
“We are making good progress now on making improvements across housing and this will continue with or without the TSA in place.”
All reports are available on the Audit Commission website which also has details of good practice. Please use it as a tool to learn from when developing procedures and policies across the service.
Housing Strategy Purchase and Repair Scheme 2009/10
â€œDepending on the availability of funding, we hope to bring at least another 20 empty properties back into useâ€?
The Housing Strategy & Development Team together with partners West Kent Housing Association, mhs homes and the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) brought 20 empty properties back into use under our Purchase and Repair Scheme (2009/10). A total funding of ÂŁ1.2 million was secured from the HCA for the project. These properties were allocated to tenants; some of whom had been on the waiting list for 3 years. Empty properties bring about dereliction, vandalism, litter, and in extreme cases, arson. They reduce market values in neighbouring properties and the wider area and this sometimes encourages homeowners to move away from the area before their equity is eroded and by so doing contributing to the decline of the area Empty properties can also have wider multiplier effects such
A previously empty property brought back into use by West Kent Housing Association.
as impacts on local businesses through reduced demand for their goods and services and, in areas of low demand, knock on effects on the viability of public services such as schools and transport services. Whilst individual properties may not manifest all of these characteristics, if a small group or cluster of properties become empty in an area, they can quickly begin to establish a culture of under-investment and start a spiral of decline. It is vital for local authorities to enable or enforce the reuse of empty properties for
the important reason that whilst these properties lie empty, there is always a pressing need for residential accommodation. Depending on the availability of funding from the Homes & Communities Agency in 2010/11, we hope to bring at least another 20 empty properties back into use.
Housing Solutions Beyond the lines by Mo Hussien
â€œRaising awareness of the services and service providers that are available to the homeless and vulnerableâ€?
A one-day event to raise awareness of the services and service providers that are available to the homeless and vulnerable. This project is also working alongside the launch of the 'Lines Directory' which will list all of the Service Providers and what service they provide along with it. We are in the process of organising a newsletter to go out to everyone listed who's involved and a plan of the day.
What we need now is a 'logo' to go with our name! We are running a competition for a service user to come up with the best idea? There will be a panel of judges, I have asked for someone from UCA College to be on the judging panel. We have 2 volunteer workers helping on this project, Kevin George and Peter Barnes, who are doing a fantastic job, we are still currently in the process of visiting Service Providers to get them on board. The theme of the day is looking like starting at 9.30am with speakers to open the event, workshops on Health, Education/Employment, Support and Advice, providers will link up and
run these workshops in the morning and the afternoon as required. Finishing around 4.00pm. Lunch will be provided. In the main hall we are hoping for at least 40 exhibition stalls from every provider involved in the event. There will be raffle prizes, we also have a couple of tickets donated by Gillingham Football Club and we are also organising goodie bags for all service users to take away. We are hoping this will be an information gathering, working in partnership day that everyone will gain something from. Volunteers welcome, any offer of help or assistance would be gratefully received.
Building and Design / Capital Works The Old Vicarage Completion of the Old Vicarage children's centre (a spend to save project) providing additional accommodation for children with severe behavioural problems. Build cost was approximately £300k but will potentially saved the Council £500k annually as these children will not have to attend private/external children's homes.
“Medway Park has been completely rebranded and successfully
Black Lion officially Medway Park
hosted the Modern
Has now been completed and rebranded to Medway Park and successfully hosted the Modern Pentathlon. In
2012 this new facility will host the International Para Olympics and is a designated training facility for 2012
A big thank you to Dean Parker, B&DS Capital Projects Team, who has successfully delivered the construction works to provide Medway with this state of the art sports facility.
Corporate Services RETAINED ISO ACCREDITATION! Well done to all the sectors in Corporate Services that managed to work hard and retain ISO Accreditation. The following departments to receive the accreditation where:
∗ Legal ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗
Land Charges Licensing Asset Management Procurement
ISO Accreditation is a laborious task of collating an appropriate document
system. With a new set of eight core quality management principles, to not only receive this but to retain it is an amazing achievement. The 8 principles: 1. Improved consistency with traceability 2. Enhanced customer focus 3. Focused leadership 4. The involvement of people 5. A system approach to management 6. Continual improvement 7. A factual approach to decision making 8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
Congratulations to Corporate Services and to everyone who was involved.
Legal Services: Lexcel Accreditation “Angela Drum, Head of Legal would like to personally thank all of you for your hard work in obtaining Lexcel Accreditation”
Along with the good news of retaining ISO, Legal Services have also again Lexcel Accredited. In the Law Society's own words...
"The Lexcel practice management standard is only awarded to solicitors who meet the highest management and customer care standards." To achieve this award it required significant work across the whole department and Angela Drum, Head of Legal Services would like to
personally thank all of you for your hard work. A special recognition also goes out to Alison Poulson for her challenging task of bearing the in-depth questioning by auditors. Well done all.
Performance Matters Performance management and service improvement in Housing Services really matter to Medway Council. Housing Services aims to reach the top performance levels of other similar-sized housing organisations. It also has servicefocused aims within its Service Improvement Plans.
“Housing Services aims to reach the top performance levels of other similar sized housing organisations”
Housing Services aims to: • enable vulnerable people to live independent lives; • maximise the supply of suitable and affordable housing and to meet housing needs; • develop sustainable communities and promote neighbourhood renewal; • improve the quality and energy efficiency of housing; • promote better and fairer access to housing services.
Links of Interest ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒
Housing & Corporate Divisional Meetings Staff Conference Slides 2010 Lunch & Learns 2010 Customer Satisfaction Survey Booklet Performance Matters June 2010 Housing Key Policies and Strategies Corporate Services Information Online Customer Surveys Library of Housing Leaflets
Interested in sending us a story? Housing and Corporate Services are always looking for new information going on within the division to promote. If you have a story, article, project or interested in having photography into the newsletter please submit your work to email@example.com
Deborah Upton Assistant Director Housing and Corporate Services Medway Council Gun Wharf Dock Road Chatham Kent ME4 4TR Telephone: 01634 333600