Councillor McKenzie updates on the improvements being made to the Council's housing service
Delivering a high quality repairs service for our more than 30,000 tenants and leaseholders is not just an ambition - it's a commitment.
We may not be fully there yet, but there is a lot of hard work being put in by everyone across our Housing Services to continually improve not just the service we provide but also the experience those living in our homes have when dealing with us.
There is no denying there is still work to do to ensure we totally meet the standards our tenants and leaseholders want and expect, and that we set for ourselves. However, regardless of the challenges we still need to overcome we can take heart in the foundations we have laid down over the last year.
Issues with damp and mould and dealing with complex repairs cases are faced by every single housing provider across the country - but they are among the areas we have been continuing to focus on.
Between April 2022 and March 2023 we carried out more than 90,000 repairs on our homes - 33% more than during the previous year. Since this January we have carried out more than 56,000 repairs on our homes - in August alone it was 7,125.
During the year we have also:
- sped up the inspection of reports of damp and mould. In August this was just over five working days of being reported compared to more than 38 working days in February 2023.
- enhanced our response rate to reports of leaks - with reports now being visited within 1.5 days
- launched a new online tool for people to be able to report non-emergency repairs to the inside of their home 24 hours a day 365 days a year
- carried out preventative surveys on estates and blocks potentially at risk of damp and mould to to prioritise our work to help prevent the issue
- set up a new repairs resolution scheme designed to prevent cases where things may have gone wrong being stuck in lengthy legal disputes
- sped up the time it takes to get empty council homes ready to be able to be used again by other people on our waiting lists. In August it took an average of just under 88 days between one household moving out to another moving into a home compared to more than 95 days the previous month. Although we have not yet hit our target of 65 days, we are confident that we will and this performance is the best recorded since September 2021.
- brought in 17 new people - including plumbers, carpenters and electricians - to expand our repairs team to 159 posts - and we are planning to increase this to 170 to continue improving the service.
While we are making progress, we know that the coming months will bring their own challenges and we are preparing to ensure we are winter ready.
November to March is a key time for issues of damp and mould to start which is why our work now to identify blocks more at risk from developing the issue and taking steps to help prevent it is so important.
We are also reminding residents of the simple steps they can take to help us prevent damp and mould taking a foothold by keeping their home clear of moisture, well ventilated and warm.
Ahead of the cold weather setting in, people should also check that their boilers and heating are working so any issues can be fixed as soon as possible. If you have any issues with a boiler call the repairs contact centre on 020 8356 3691.
From 1 November the Council will seek to repair any council tenants' faulty heating within 24 hours where possible - but it is always good to check before this date so we can ensure you can stay warm during the winter.
If anyone detects a leak, I would urge them to contact the repairs centre on 0208 356 3691 as soon as possible so a visit can be scheduled. If the call is outside of normal office hours it will be dealt with in the same way by the Council’s emergency repairs team.
We have never lost sight of our commitment to enhancing the service and the steps we are taking show that we are on the right path to delivering on that promise.