[To review and comment on the performance and key areas for improvement]
Mila Simpson, Service Lead, Housing Strategy presented the report on an evaluation of the performance of Wolverhampton Homes (WH) and the Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs) in managing and maintaining council house dwellings during quarter one of 2018/2019 (April to June 2018) together with a comparison for the same quarter during 2017/2018.
Members of the Panel congratulated the team for the revised the user-friendly monitoring report.
Councillor Peter Bilson referred to the audit of the Managing Agents systems that had commenced and would continue during 2018/2019. The reports from the audit reviews would provide valuable information on areas of focus to improve service delivery. He also reported that the evaluation report showed that performance of Wolverhampton Homes and the TMOs was generally healthy and there was a positive outlook.
Referring to the rent collection arrears indicator, Councillor Lynne Moran asked about the shape of the number for tenants falling into rent arrears as a result of Universal Credit. Shaun Aldis, Chief Executive Wolverhampton Homes informed the Panel that they still faced significant challenge across the city and he felt that arrears would rise. He had asked his team to look at the trajectory within the city of tenants who were in arrears before they went on to Universal Credit. His team would use innovation and nudge techniques to recover the arrears. The Chief Executive, WH also reported that whilst the monitoring information was for the first quarter, the Service was on top of rent arrears and the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit. He informed the Panel that there had always been a correlation between rent arrears and evictions. When rent arrears were high evictions were also high. The current position was that evictions were relatively low but rent arrears were increasing. Extra resources had been put into the front of house service to give tenants support in this area. He also reported that an issue the Service had was it did not know when a tenant goes on to Universal Credit
The Chair asked whether the Council was aware of when people went onto Universal Credit. The Strategic Director for People reported that information was available within the Revenue and Benefits Team. The Chair suggested that the Council look into communicating that information to Wolverhampton Homes as soon as possible without breaching any data protection rules.
Councillor Peter Bilson added that it was not just people on housing benefits who are affected by Universal Credit and that the process of Universal Credit was wrong.
Councillor Lynne Moran also asked for further details regarding Wolverhampton Homes performance against the customer care indicator and issues not being resolved to customers satisfaction. The Chief Executive, WH acknowledged that performance on the percentage of customers answered within 80 seconds was off target. Action was being taken to improve performance. The Service was also encouraging its clients to use digital contact services. He undertook to provide information regarding the current recorded levels of customer satisfaction on the service.
That the performance of the housing management agents for quarter one 2018-2019 be noted.