Agenda item

Void performance


The Housing Solutions Manager’s report provided the Board with an update on the performance of the key to key voids process and details of the plans for improved performance, recognising that current performance remained a concern.  The ‘key to key’ time covered the period from when a property became void until a new tenant moved in.  The report to the Board had been produced alongside an independent review into the voids process conducted by the consultants Echelon, which addressed findings through recommendations for improvements in the overall process.  The report also recommended changes to the void lettable standard to ensure it was modernised, fit for purpose and aligned to EDDC’s poverty agenda.


A number of contributing factors towards performance levels had been identified in the delivery of the overall void process:

·        Lack of resources, in particular staff shortages.

·        Effect of the Covid-19 pandemic – an increase in void turnover.

·        Brexit – impact around sourcing and delivery times for certain materials and components, compounded by the impact of the current economic climate which had led to significant increase in material and labour costs in the construction industry.

·        Issues in clearing debt meters.

·        Poor condition of voids on return.

·        More significant upgrades of properties being required due to the poor condition of some of the housing stock.

·        Additional factors creating additional time at the end of the process, such as notice periods and affordability issues.


The Echelon review identified areas where additional staff resources were required for two specific parts of the process:

1.     Pre-termination visits to be re-introduced and to be more rigid.

2.     Joint handovers of properties between the contractors, Property and Assets team and the Housing Allocations team.

It was noted that there was limited scope within the Housing Allocations team and it was recommended that an additional Housing Allocations Officer post was required.  The Echelon report also recommended that EDDC consider where overall responsibility of the keys to keys process sits and how we ensure the complete void process is managed. Further work is required to analyse the potential need for an additional post or whether this could be incorporated within the current resources available.


The current lettable standard was also reviewed and changes were made to ensure that it was modernised and remained fit for purpose.   Key changes were around issues of damp and mould and ensuring that work was undertaken alongside the poverty agenda. Officers proposed that through a dedicated hardship fund, vouchers be provided towards decorations and carpets for those incoming residents in real hardship to enable them to bring their property up to a decent habitable standard.


During discussions the Board raised concerns over the current voids performance and agreed the need for an additional post, which would increase resources and the capacity of the team. The Assistant Director outlined the current performance in this area as unacceptable and that this area remains an urgent priority for the service in order to see improved performance.



1.     that Cabinet note the contents of the report including contributing factors towards performance levels and details of the plan for improving performance.

2.     that Cabinet recommend the additional staff resource required to implement the suggested improvements, namely an additional Housing Allocations Officer.

3.     that Cabinet approve the changes to the voids lettable standard.


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