Agenda item

Estate Services Improvement Action Plan

(All wards)

 

Report authorised by: Bayo Dosunmu: Strategic Director for Resident Services

 

Contact for enquiries: Linda Elliott, Head of Estate Services, 020 7926 1878,lelliott@lambeth.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

During the discussion of this item the guillotine fell at 9.00 pm.

 

RESOLVED: That the meeting continue for a further period of up to 30 minutes.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, Councillor Maria Kay; Neil Euesden, Director for Housing; and Chris Flynn, Assistant Director for Home Ownership and Rents, introduced the report.

 

The Sub-Committee next heard from Councillor Adrian Garden, on behalf of Antony Wynn – Chair of the Lambeth Homeowners Association, who stated:

·           The report detailed that resident engagement was not applicable, although paragraph 2.8 recorded strong and constructive resident engagement.

·           Significant issues remained over resident communications; particularly on overcharging for day-to-day services, adequately monitoring contractors, and responding to homeowner queries.  It was suspected that poor communications between Housing and Finance were at fault, and improvement was requested.

 

The Sub-Committee next heard from Councillor Jackie Meldrum, who stated:

·           It was difficult to report communal repairs, as the telephone number provided by the website in turn instructed you to call another number which had unacceptably long wait times.

·           Improving the service design would mean that even people passing by could report repairs.

·           She requested that communal repairs be put online and that officers be mindful that residents could be effective in monitoring repairs

 

In response to the above and Member’s questions, the Cabinet Member and officers stated the following:

·           FAQs and KPIs information being hosted on the Portal had been suggested by leaseholder groups and demonstrated constructive resident engagement.

·           The Portal was going live at the end of April with the ability to raise communal repairs to be implemented in early May (in addition to property repairs).

·           Officers were currently reviewing a better call experience with Capita and expected the call centre waiting times to decrease over the coming months.

·           60% of tenants and 33% of leaseholders were online, but the online Portal was an alternative option to report repairs alongside the current telephony option and was expected to help a significant number of leaseholders and reduce telephony demands.

·           The Portal required persons to register with personal details, however there was currently no provision for councillors to use it to report communal repairs, although this would be explored.

·           The Portal would not actively reduce the numbers of repairs that existed.

·           Homeowner invoices were cleansed before being uploaded to the Portal and would enable residents to review breakdowns of financial years’ invoices.

·           There had been significant resident engagement over last 19 months developing the Portal and Lambeth was continually evolving the Portal to improve functionality based on feedback.

·           3,000 leaseholders had signed-up to date, although there was much more in terms of engagement to do, particularly with homeowners.

·           380 freeholders had currently signed up to the Portal and the system included freeholder service charges. However, private tenants’ access to leaseholder information remained an issue and needed further review.

·         Lambeth was reviewing a new call centre provider and contract, with increased demands over winter meaning that the 30 staff stipulated in the current contract was not enough to handle call volumes.  It was recognised that present waiting times had improved, and whilst further improvement was expected, call waiting times had been too long.

 

RESOLVED:

1.         To provide Sub-Committee Members with a demonstration of Portal and FAQs.

2.         To review allowing councillors to access the repairs portal and how to enable private tenants to raise communal repairs.

3.         To provide further detail on plans to increase registration of leaseholders, freeholders, and tenants.

4.         To provide case studies of what leaseholders can and cannot do, including the short videos, on the Portal.

5.         To correct the telephone number on the website.

6.         To provide the Sub-Committee with details on the interim call centre solution prior to the new contract and provide key performance indicators that will be monitored.

7.         To provide the Sub-Committee with lessons learnt from the terminated call centre contract.

8.         To provide further information to the Sub-Committee on the analysis and consideration of providing a future in-house solution for the asset partner including maintaining knowledge of stock (knowledge management).

 

 

Supporting documents: