Issuu on Google+

TENANTS REPORT

How we performed in 2012


2


Welcome

5

Having your say and getting involved

6

Repairing and maintaining your home

8

Quality homes for you

10

Your home, your choice

12

Where you live

14

Paying your rent

16

Spending your money wisely

17

Our plans for improved services

18

Your Viewpoint

19

How did we do? (SSHA)

20

How did we do? (MMHA)

22

3


s

Shropshire Housing Is the parent company for Shropshire Housing Group. It provides central services for the Group. Shropshire Housing is also part of the SUSTAIN Consortium which provides housing support for residents in Shropshire and specialist support for young people and those fleeing domestic abuse.

Meres and Mosses Housing Association has around 2300 homes in the North Shropshire area. It has now completed a substantial improvement programme to bring all homes to the Decent Homes Standard and has commenced its own new build programme.

4

South Shropshire Housing Association has over 2000 homes across South Shropshire and Herefordshire. Its homes also meet the Decent Homes Standard. Since its formation in 1990, SSHA has built over 400 new homes throughout South Shropshire.

Total Response Ltd provides repairs and maintenance and other property services to all properties owned by Shropshire Housing Group. It also provides these services to other Housing Associations and the private sector.


Welcome This year’s annual report includes a progress report on how we are improving our services to tenants, including our performance in the different areas of our work. We know there are some areas that work has not been completed, and we are working hard to improve this. We will continue to work with our tenants to provide a high standard of customer service, and include services that you would expect from us. For more information on our services, go to our website, www.shropshirehousing.org.uk, email SHGenquiries@shropshirehousing.org.uk or call customer services on 0300 303 1190.

5


t enan The T ent and m e v nt l invo owerme emp andard st

Having your say and getting involved Finding the best way to get your views heard Involvement and empowerment

We are committed to working with residents to improve neighbourhoods and to provide choices in the services we offer.

In 2011-12 we continued to offer you a wide range of opportunities to get involved. We held our fun day in August at which we consulted you about the tenants newsletter, tenants scrutiny and affordable rent tenancies. We have held focus groups on communal services standards, the decorating policy and the empty homes lettable standard. Around 207 people were involved by different methods, including going to feedback days and proof reading documents at home. We now have a commitment to feedback outcomes to those involved within 2 weeks of the session.

6

We train tenants to be empty property inspectors. The inspectors look around empty homes to make sure they come up to our empty property standard. We consult tenants in many different ways, this includes via text message, email and through the website’s online forms. Residents at the Ludlow Foyer have weekly meetings and this year have had an input into the refurbishment of the kitchen area. We will shortly be sending out our STAR satisfaction survey for tenants to fill in and send back to us. This will help us identify which services we need to improve, and which tenants think we do well.


Understanding and responding to the diverse needs of our tenants Since the start of our tenant census in 2011 we have updated our records on over 2643 tenants. This has helped us to identify tenants who may need more support, those who may need adaptations to their homes and those who might be affected by Government changes in benefits. Our older residents views were sought about changes to how support is provided across the county following changes in Council funding.

Comments and complaints We want you to continue to comment on our services. We listen to all compliments, suggestions and complaints. During 2011-12 we received 104 complaints. 34.5% of those complaints were upheld or partly upheld. We have changed the way we do some things as a result. This includes sharing complaints with staff through team meetings and workshops. We also introduced online complaints reporting on our website in 2011-12.

We launched the Homelife scheme to enable more tenants to stay independent for longer. Services including helping with household chores and bill payments.

Customer service and choice In 2011-12 we launched our new look website which will include our tenants being able to view their rent accounts online. We hope to expand these interactive services later this year. We produced a new tenants handbook providing clear and up to date information. We consulted residents in blocks of flats about shared areas, work has now started to improve some of these. 7


The e Hom rd da Stan

Repairing and maintaining your home Providing a reliable and responsive repairs service REPAIRS

We believe we provide a cost effective service that keeps homes well maintained and safe. We asked you what kind of service you want and how we could improve our existing service. Where we can, we are making these changes.

We introduced appointments for repairs in April 2012 to make the service more convenient for you. Early results show that we are keeping around 99% of the appointments made. A texting service to remind tenants of their appointments will be set up shortly. Where we are unable to text tenants, we will phone them and remind them of their appointment. We launched a handyperson service in the North of the County in December 2012. If the scheme is successful in the North of the county, we will consider introducing it in the South. We always try to make just one visit and complete repairs at that visit.

8

It is not always possible when we need to order parts which we don’t normally hold. We publicise information about performance each year in our annual report (see pages 20 – 23). You can also see information about performance on our website.

Regular Servicing We continue to complete annual servicing for gas, solid fuel and oil central heating systems, to keep homes safe and systems working efficiently. The servicing includes checks for carbon monoxide, and in early 2012 we introduced 6 monthly chimney sweeping as part of the service.


We have schedules in place for items that need regular servicing, this includes emergency lighting, fire equipment, door entry systems, lifts and CCTV installations. These arrangements are independently audited to check their quality and effectiveness. Total Response are now accredited to the Contractors Health & Safety (CHAS) and Worksafe schemes. This highlights Total Response’s commitment to health and safety in the workplace.

Repairing Empty Homes All empty homes that are ready to let are inspected and, if necessary, repaired to meet our tenant approved standard. Last year we relet around 290 homes. Tenants carry out inspections on a sample of vacant properties. They use our agreed standard and check that this has been achieved - tenants have inspected 37 properties at MMHA and 25 properties at SSHA in 2011-12. 100% came up to the agreed standard.

9


The e Hom rd da n a t S

Quality homes for you Providing homes you can be proud of We are proud of the homes we provide and want you to be happy with your home too. Our new homes are built to a high standard and we invest in both new and older homes to improve their energy efficiency.

10

Home Improvements In 2011-12 we fitted 87 bathrooms, 36 kitchens, 154 external doors, and 110 properties had loft insulation. By the end of 2011 99.7% of our properties met the Decent Homes Standard (excludes homes where tenants have refused improvements). We consulted tenants about a new Shropshire Housing Group Standard for our homes, and we are currently doing some background work on how we could implement the new standard. We always consult tenants affected by improvement work to their homes. In 2011-12 we held consultation days in Craven Arms, Ludlow, Burford and Church Stretton

about external wall insulation, kitchens, bathrooms, external doors and central heating. We spent ÂŁ5.9m on improvements in 2011-12.

New homes Tenants have asked us to increase the amount of storage space in our new homes and so we have revised our designs to include more storage space. We completed 45 new homes in 2011-12, including Ashbrook Park, Church Stretton and Claverley. We are currently building more homes at Minsterley and Essex Road, Church Stretton.


We have planning permission for more homes in Market Drayton and Shrewsbury.

Adapting homes

By incorporating high insulation standards and energy efficiency measures in our new homes, we are trying to make them as affordable as possible to live in.

Last year we spent £239,103 on major adaptations and £70,701 on minor adaptations to help support our tenants to remain living independently in their homes. Our staff attend and chair the Countywide adaptations forum. This group monitors progress with a joint plan to improve services to residents across Shropshire.

We continue to involve local communities in our plans for new developments. We held 2 events in the Spring to promote how we can work with parish councils and others to provide affordable homes in rural areas.

We now have clear servicing arrangements for stairlifts. Last year we also agreed arrangements which enable us to remove and recycle stairlifts, which helps to save money and ensure people who need them get stair lifts promptly.

We are also currently working with a number of parishes/village communities in a bid to develop more homes in rural locations. We involve the local community in identifying local need, selecting the site on which to build, the design of new houses and the allocation of the new homes when they are built.

Homes advertised on Shropshire HomePoint have clear labels to show that they include adaptations.

8 of the homes at Ley Gardens and 2 of those built at Claverley were sold on a shared ownership basis.

better energy efficiency This year we have continued to invest in renewable energy projects to help protect the environment and reduce tenant’s bills. We have fitted 15 ground source heat pumps and 3 properties also had photo-voltaic panels fitted. We are currently working with tenants to monitor their usage and see what affect the new systems are having on their bills.

We were successful in securing £2,586,742 in grant funding for new homes in 2011 and we have also been looking at alternative ways to pay for new homes. Ludlow Foyer residents were involved in some consultation about future housing needs and aspirations of young people.

11


The ncy Tena ard d Stan

Your home, your choice Making the right moves finding and moving home

We want you to make the right choice when deciding where to live. Once in your home we want you to be an active part of your community and be proud of your home and where you live.

12

We offer those looking for housing, or to move, an easy way to find a home through the Choice – Based Letting system, Shropshire HomePoint, which is run in partnership with Shropshire Council and other housing providers. The time taken to process HomePoint applications has reduced from 6-8 weeks in 2011 to around 15 working days at the beginning of 2012. In 2011/12 1039 people were housed through Shropshire HomePoint, 336 were on a priority banding, 339 on a gold banding, 313 on a silver banding and 51 on a bronze banding.

The total number of applicants on the housing register at 31/03/12 was 7499, 216 are on a priority banding, 933 in gold banding, 3850 in silver banding, and 2500 in bronze banding. We provide information in the Shropshire HomePoint newsletters on how many applicants have been housed by area, priority banding and property type. Shropshire Housing Group are members of HomeSwapper, a system to help people to move from one area to another, sometimes to a smaller home. There were 145 of our tenants registered with Homeswapper, and 20 have already swapped.


For more information on Shropshire HomePoint, go to www.shropshirehomepoint.co.uk We also have a ‘downsizing’ scheme which provides help to tenants to move to a smaller or more manageable home. We have helped two tenants to move through this scheme in 2011-12. Following consultation with users of the Shropshire HomePoint system in 2011-12 we have improved the information on available properties, for example we have changed the layout of the property list.

Your Tenancy During 2011-12 and early 2012-13 we will have written to all those tenants we believe will be affected by the Government’s Welfare Benefit reforms, which includes changes to housing and other benefits. We are doing this to help tenants through the changes and help them get any support and advice they need from the right sources. Our programme of tenancy visits has been very successful in identifying over 80 tenants who need extra support. In 2011-12 we made around 1000 of these visits.

13


The oods rh hbou unities g i e N m m o and Cstandard

Where you live Creating safer, cleaner and greener neighbourhoods We want you to be proud of where you live. We will work with you and other agencies to make sure that neighbourhoods and shared community spaces are well maintained, clean and safe.

14

We asked you what kind of service you wanted and how we could improve our existing service. Where we can we are making those changes. As well as continuing with the best of what we already do, this is the service we offer you.

Neighbourhoods Our estate walkabouts now cover most areas that we have homes in. Other agencies, including the police and Shropshire Council are also invited to the walkabouts to give tenants a chance to talk to them about issues too.

For example, residents at Manor Place, Higher Heath were consulted about what to do with a garage site and asked for it to be demolished. Dates and times of our estate walkabouts are publicised on our website. The action we take afterwards is publicised in the local community using posters. We have been working with the Council and other organisations on place based initiatives in both Ludlow and Market Drayton. This has included providing access services such as advice on tenancy issues and help from other agencies to find work, all being provided from the same office.


Anti-social behaviour We know that you want us to deal quickly and effectively with antisocial behaviour. We use a variety of ways to deal with anti-social behaviour, including working with the police and other agencies. Staff are trained and have regular legal surgeries to discuss complex cases. In 2011-12: • we took 492 reports of anti-social behaviour, with noise nuisance being the main issue (189 cases) • we bought noise monitoring equipment to help us to respond more effectively to reports of noise nuisance • we continued to contribute £5,000 to the running costs of the county-wide anti-social behaviour team Two of our staff have successfully completed training to become mediators, however their skills have not yet been needed. Following survey results, which showed that some people were unhappy with how we responded to reports of ASB, we held a focus group to find out more. As a result we now keep people better informed about what we are doing, and new procedures have built in timescales to keep witnesses informed of progress of cases.

15


The s Rent rd a d n a t s

Paying your rent Ensuring we can provide the services you want Our rents are set in line with government guidelines. We provide help and support to those who find it hard to pay their rent and offer several different payment methods.

We are aiming to significantly reduce our rent arrears, and work with tenants to reduce their arrears by affordable payment agreements. We have improved our response to tenants who are in arrears by enhancing our IT systems. A new dedicated rents team has also been set up. We have introduced additional ways to pay rent, including a smartphone app and payments by text. We have invested in a special project officer to identify and support the tenants who are going to be affected by the welfare reforms.

16

Service Charges We know that we need to improve the way that we provide information on our service charges. Staff are working on the changes needed to make this happen.


alue The v oney m r o f ard stand

Spending your money wisely Ensuring we can provide the services you want Shropshire Housing Group recognises the importance of giving value for money. You have told us that you want to see services that are effective, meet your needs and are of good quality. We are working hard to improve the efficiency of our services.

Value for Money examples Buying materials through the Central Housing Investment Consortium has helped us to save £145,000. Inhouse training for staff to undertake surveys for, and issue Energy Performance Certificates, rather than buying in this service, saving £20,000. Savings made from changing fuel suppliers was £16,500. Resident census and other items sent out with rent statements saved £3,240 on postage.

Bidding together as SUSTAIN consortium enabled shared costs and helped us to win the contract. TRL made a small profit which can now be invested back into the service. TRL operatives were trained as locksmiths, this saved £500. Our Value for Money Working Group has agreed that efficiency savings we make this year will be invested in building a new home. An apprenticeship scheme will be set up to help young people get the practical skills needed in housebuilding.

17


The and e nanc r lity e Gov ial viabi c n d a r n a i F stand

Our plans for improved services In this update you can see what Shropshire Housing Group offers you planned service Improvements COMING SOON...

Tenants have told us that they don’t want major changes to our services or for them to be significantly different in different towns and villages; they wanted us keep to a high standard of service and to work on making some services more efficient.

18

Staff from across the Group will be working hard to make the changes you wanted to see and to improve our services. As part of this work we will be listening to you about what you want.

THERE WILL BE: The third building project in the north of the county, with 21 homes being built in Market Drayton. They are due to be completed in the summer of 2013. A texting service will be started, with a wide range of uses, from repairs appointment reminders, to letting you know when our events are taking place.

WE WILL: Recruit more apprentices across the Group to ensure we are contributing to the next generation of the workforce. Be rolling out county wide anti-social behaviour training, ensuring the same service is received by all residents in Shropshire. Offer Live4Less training to all tenants. Develop a handbook for shared owners/leaseholders. Consult with tenants to ensure service charge statements are clear and easy to understand.


Your Viewpoint Get involved and have your say

There are many ways to get involved with Shropshire Housing Group and help make decisions on the services we provide to you.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact our resident involvement officers, Mike Cotton and Sheila Standley on 0300 303 1190 or email yourviewpoint@shropshirehousing.org.uk 19


How did we do? PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Current tenants owing

Former tenants owing

As a percentage of rent income due

As a percentage of rent income due

31.03.11

3.50%

£301,251.85

31.03.12

3.15%

£281,053.79

31.03.11

2.32%

£217,338.00

Number of tenants in arrears

31.03.11

673

20

31.03.12

657

31.03.12

1.80%

£160,831.69


During this time the property has repairs completed, is cleaned and advertised on Shropshire Homepoint. A sample of these repairs are inspected by one of our tenant inspectors.

Gas Servicing

Relet Times

Properties with a current safety certificate

31.03.11

99.9%

31.03.12

99.6%

2010/2011

23.9 days

2011/2012

32.4 days

Repairs completed in target time Over ÂŁ843,000 was spent on responsive repairs in 2011/2012

Emergency

2 hours to make safe 24 hours to complete

Urgent 3 days Emergency

98.5%

Urgent

94.9%

Non urgent

93.7%

Non-urgent 21 days

21


How did we do? PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Current tenants owing

Former tenants owing

As a percentage of rent income due

As a percentage of rent income due

31.03.11

2.72%

£216,500.00

31.03.12

3.14%

£264,841.55

31.03.11

1.86%

£171,008.00

Number of tenants in arrears

31.03.11

734

22

31.03.12

630

31.03.12

1.36%

£114,923.78


During this time the property has repairs completed, is cleaned and advertised on Shropshire Homepoint. A sample of these repairs are inspected by one of our tenant inspectors.

Gas Servicing

Relet Times

Properties with a current safety certificate

31.03.11

99.9%

31.03.12

99.6%

2010/2011

23.9 days

2011/2012

25.3 days

Repairs completed in target time Over ÂŁ733,000 was spent on responsive repairs in 2011/2012.

Emergency

2 hours to make safe 24 hours to complete

Urgent 3 days Emergency

97.8%

Urgent

92.9%

Non urgent

93.1%

Non-urgent 21 days

23


It’s never too late to get involved! Interested? Getting involved doesn’t have to mean committing yourself to attending lots of long meetings – you can get involved in other ways. If you want to know more about having your say then contact our Resident Involvement Team on 0300 303 1190.

Equal Opportunities statement We recognise the damage that disadvantage and discrimination can cause. We are committed to equal opportunities and will take positive steps to ensure that you will not be treated less favourably than anyone else in your dealings with us because of race, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or age.

TRANSLATION AVAILABLE

Traduction disponible

Cyfieithu sydd ar gael

Tłumaczenie dostępne

перевод доступный

Access for all This document is also available in:

Large Print

Audio CD

Braille

Other Languages

Traduzione disponibile


Tenants Annual Report 2012