Perth & Kinross Council has welcomed the publication of the first ever Scottish Housing Charter (SHC) Annual Report which provides the Council and our tenants with a snapshot of how we are performing as a landlord across a number of different areas.
The report was compiled from information supplied to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) by the Council across a range of key indicators. Every social landlord in Scotland was required to supply this data to the SHR.
Perth & Kinross Council’s landlord report can be found at http://www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/find-and-compare-landlords/perth-kinross-council
As it is the first ever SHC annual report, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from its findings. The publication of the second report next year will give us meaningful data with which we can compare our performance during the previous 12 months.
The report highlights some very positive results for our tenants and for the Council and a landlord. It shows that Council rents across two, three, four and five-bedroomed properties are significantly lower than the national Scottish average.
It says that we re-let our houses over a quicker period, taking an average of 30.4 days to re-let homes, compared to the Scottish average of 35.7 days. This also has an impact on our rent collection, with only 0.7% of rent not collected due to empty properties, compared to 1.2% across Scotland.
The report also shows that the Council resolved cases of anti-social behaviour within agreed target times, at 97.7% compared to 75.9% across Scotland.
In relation to repairs, comparisons show that we completed 99.8% of reactive repairs ‘right first time’ compared to the Scottish average of 87.2%, and kept 97% of repairs appointments compared to the Scottish average of 92.9%.
The statement also says:
We will focus on and talk to tenants about some particular areas, including our time to complete emergency repairs, which was recorded as 19 hours compared to the Scottish average of 6.9 hours. It will be interesting to see how we compare in particular to rural landlords, covering a wider geographical area. Each landlord sets its own targets for repairs, and we have a target of 24 hours to attend to emergency repairs, so our performance is well within this.
Our average time to complete non-emergency repairs was 13.7 days compared to 8.2 across Scotland. This reflects the fact that we have focused on meeting our target for emergency repairs (within 24 hours) and urgent repairs target. We kept 97% of our appointments compared to 92.9% across Scotland.
Unlike many other landlords who do sample satisfaction surveys, we carry out a full tenant satisfaction survey every two years, the latest one in 2013 when 871 tenants (12%) responded. Other authorities have opted to undertake surveys using small samples of their tenants conducting face to face or telephone interviews. In the Regulator’s report it suggests that we need to do more with tenants to keep them informed (80.2% said the Council was good at this compared to 88.9% across Scotland) and enable them to participate in our decision-making processes.
We have already begun this work with our Service User Review and Evaluation (SURE) Team which is supported by an independent advisor to review housing services and make recommendations for the ways we can continue to improve services.
We are also about to launch a ‘Mystery Shopping’ initiative to provide information on the quality of everyday services so that we can improve the services we deliver and support staff through training, information and feedback. This is being run in conjunction with the Tenant Information Service (TIS) and a group of 12-20 residents will become Mystery Shoppers, recruited from a wide range of locations and people of different ages to make sure the team of Shoppers represents our wide customer base. Successful applicants will be trained in October 2014 and the Mystery Shopping exercises will take place in November.
Over the past few years we have been working with our tenants and others to make improvements. For example, through our programme of capital improvements and modernisation we have significantly improved the quality and appearance of housing stock. This means we are 84% compliant with the Scottish Housing Quality Standard for the area, similar to across Scotland (85%).
The SHC Annual Report gives an interesting start to this new process of measuring Registered Social Landlords of all sizes and types against each other. We are confident that the work already being undertaken will continue to challenge us to improve year-on-year in the ways that our tenants and other service users want us to.
We will provide all of our tenants with details of the SHC Charter Annual Report results before the end of October.