The Strategic Lead – Housing, Health and Environment presented the draft Service Plan for the Housing Service covering the period 2021-2022, for consideration by the Board.
The Service Plan was a working document produced annually by all EDDC services and set out the key achievements over the past year and the forthcoming issues to be faced by the service. It linked closely with the Council Plan and the aim of the process was to produce a work plan for the coming year with a realistic view of the challenges and risks ahead. Producing a Service Plan presented a good opportunity to look back and reflect and also the ability to forward plan. Performance should be monitored constantly against the ‘live’ document. The Service Plan was coordinated annually with budget planning.
This year the plan reflected some of the service interruptions due to the pandemic and the move of the Private Sector Housing team to the Environmental Health and Car Parks Service. The plan also considered service challenges and pressures over the next three years, including climate change implications, tenant safety measures, the implications of the Social Housing White Paper, and the ambitions to increase the supply of social housing.
A range of service improvements were identified through a number of SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound). The plan linked closely with the Housing Strategy and was designed to complement a number of other housing plans and policies as part of how the Council managed its own housing stock, managed homelessness, and the services it delivered. There was also a strong link with the Council’s Public Health Strategic Plan to ensure more people were helped to be and stay healthy, ensure self-care and community resilience and integrate and improve support for people in their own homes.
Headlines from the Housing Service Plan were:
· A focus on delivering our housing purpose(s).
· A commitment to tackle homelessness.
· Recognition of poverty as a significant factor in people’s lives.
· Revision of the HRA Business plan with updated stock condition data.
· A focus on new development opportunities with the need to review the current acquisition programme.
· Emphasis on the importance of compliance and keeping tenants safe in their homes.
· A focus on mental health and how we are addressing the challenges this is presenting us as a landlord.
· Embedding the Integrated Asset Management Contract.
· Mapping the future of Home Safeguard with a realistic view of risks ahead including digital switchover, refresh of the marketing strategy, relocating the service, review of the staffing rota.
· An emphasis on evidencing value for money with the need to scrutinise some areas to satisfy ourselves that we are achieving what matters most to the customer, in line with our systems thinking purpose.
· Acting on the climate change agenda and building towards are carbon neutral council.
The service planning day was a virtual event and involved input from senior managers, the Portfolio Holder and Chair of the Board, on the day to day challenges of the job, ideas for service improvement, and the needs of the customers. The Strategic Lead – Housing, Health and Environment acknowledged that ordinarily there would be greater tenant involvement in the service planning process, but due to service pressures and focussing on the pandemic the process had been curtailed. The Service Plan would be presented to the tenant groups over the next few months and cascade to housing staff through team meetings and service briefings. The Board’s input into the Service Plan was welcomed and gave tenants an additional opportunity to comment, before it was finalised and reported to Cabinet.
The Strategic Lead – Housing, Health and Environment commented that despite the pressures over the previous year the housing teams and contractors had responded incredibly well and were doing a fantastic job.
RECOMMENDED: that Cabinet approve the Housing Service Plan for 2021/22.