Andrew McNeil, Assistant Director Housing Investment & Strategy:
a) explained that over the last 12 years the Council had been working with the Lincoln Tenants Panel to improve external scrutiny and to meet the standards implemented by the Tenant Services Authority.
b) highlighted that in total there were 21 measures and of those, against agreed targets, 10 were on or exceeding targets for the year (year-end), 10 had not met the normal targets set. Of the 10 measures that did not meet target, 3 of these were within 5% tolerance of their respective targets (Amber rating), One measure didn’t have a target (Complaints replied to in line with corporate policy).
c) referred to Appendix A of the report and advised how it attempted to simplify the overall analysis by listing performance on a service functional basis (rents, repairs etc) and then showing the source of the indicator (reason)
d) provided the committee with some key figures in relation to performance targets which were as follows:
- rent collection was ahead of the 96.5% target and Tenancy Services continued to prioritise the collection of rent to maintain the income stream. The financial pressures tenants were facing were increasingly apparent, and the new Sustainment Team were working with tenants who were struggling financially
- arrears as a % of the debit was currently ahead of the target of 4.45%. Housing Officers and the Sustainment Team were working hard to collect the rent and work with tenants to prioritise sustaining tenancies and to control the number of evictions
- the average re-let time for all dwellings (excluding major works) was slightly ahead of the high target of 34 with 37.26 days being achieved at the end of Quarter 1; significant changes were being made to all aspects of the voids process
- including major works, there had been an improvement in performance compared to last quarter from 59.88 days to 50.71 days which demonstrated a positive trend.
e) welcomed members questions and comments.
Members discussed the report in full and presented officers with a range of questions, the following clarity was provided:
Members suggested it would be beneficial for the Lincoln Tenants Panel (LTP) minutes be presented at future Housing Sub Committee meetings. This would give members an insight into the discussions that took place at LTP meetings and give the opportunity to ask questions.
Jo Crookes, Customer Services Manager provided members with an update on the current call time performance figures, she explained:
· The current call waiting time was at an all-time high, mainly down to a reduction in staffing of the team from 25 to 20. There had also been a huge turnover in staff recently resulting in a lot of well experienced staff leaving.
· There were currently 2.5 vacant posts which were proving difficult to fill. Of the 3 part time jobs that were currently being advertised, only 6 applications had been received and only 2 of the 3 people selected for interview had attended.
· More calls had been received in general due to the backlog from Covid-19 and the nature of the calls meant that it was taking longer to address the reason for the calls.
· The Council were administering the Council Tax Energy rebates and as a result of that, the volume of calls had increased and over the past 4 weeks an extra calls 5,905 were received.
· There were still a lot of customers with low level digital skills which meant that they would call about an issue rather than use the online platform.
· A customer satisfaction survey had been carried out and of the 160 people that took part, 54 customers were being put through to an advisor within the appropriate time.
· There had been issues with the old Contact Centre software which led to calls not being transferred to staff using Microsoft Teams.
· The council was in the process of securing a new phone system
· Discussions were taking place with HR regarding the period of notice given to people leaving their jobs. It was also being considered whether staff that had attained a new job internally could stay in their current role to train the new member of staff before moving on. This would allow the Customer Services team to be well staffed and equipped to continue providing an efficient service.
1) Mick Barber, Chair of Lincoln Tenants Panel, to provide the Democratic Services Team with a copy of the LTP minutes prior to all future Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee meetings.
2) The content of the report be noted.