[To review and comment on the performance and key areas for improvement]
Melissa Green, Client Relationship Manager, Housing Managing Agents presented the report on the performance of Wolverhampton Homes and the Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs) in managing and maintaining council owned dwellings during 2018-2018. Overall Wolverhampton Homes and the TMO’s had performed well during the quarter, with only a few indicators being outside of target. The majority were either within target or within acceptable tolerance levels.
Anthony Walker, Homelessness Strategy and External Relationships Manager presented the section of the report on Wolverhampton Homes performance against the delivery of homelessness services on behalf of the Council. In response to matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting, he reported that there had been a slight increase in the take up of the Rent Bond Scheme, but there was still work to do to encourage private sector landlords to take on tenants even with a rent deposit guarantee in place. The Homelessness Strategy and External Relationships Manager also sought the views of the Panel on the performance monitoring information they wished to see in future reports.
Members of the Panel requested that the performance monitoring data be humanised to more easily understand and then focus on the provision of better services. They also requested information on numbers of families affected by the introduction of Universal Credit; the net costs to the Council of the Government’s roll out of Universal Credit; information on the Rent Bond and Rent with Confidence schemes; and benchmarking information against other social housing providers. The Homelessness Strategy and External Relationships Manager reported that in addition to Wolverhampton Homes tenants who were affected by Universal Credit, there were also people who could not gain access to private sector accommodation. The Housing Service was looking at a strategy to help address some of these issues.
Members of the Panel praised the work of Wolverhampton Homes, the TMOs and the Council’s housing services against the background of the roll out of Universal Credit. They also commended Wolverhampton Homes for undertaking fire safety checks to all of the properties they manage on behalf of the Council. This gave an assurance that tenants are safe in the homes City of Wolverhampton Council is responsible for. They also emphasized the need to wherever possible work with tenants to help them avoid getting into debt rather than taking legal action against tenants in arrears; and to continue to work with colleagues in the private rented housing sector to promote the Rent Bond Scheme. The Panel also welcomed the homelessness developments referred to in the report and noted new service proposals approved at Cabinet on 5 June 2019 to tackle homelessness, which included approval of resources and the use of an additional ten Council housing properties for temporary accommodation use
The Chair asked about the framework of prevention methods in place to tackle homelessness and the provision available to meet the needs of people leaving the judicial system. The Homelessness Strategy and External Relationships Manager explained that the framework was around the prevention of homelessness and a lot of investment had been made on preventative services. Comparisons could be undertaken on the number of preventative services available. Regarding the judicial system, discussions were taking place about other gateways/ pathways of supporting people leaving the prison system.
That the performance of the Housing Managing Agents for quarter four (January to March) 2019be noted.