Annual Housing report

The full Housing Services report and the Housing Ombudsman Self-Assessment Form for RBK Housing Landlord Services can be downloaded from the website. 

Kingston Council Housing Services end of year performance report 1 April 2021 - 31 March 2022 

Welcome and introduction from Cllr Emily Davey - Portfolio Holder for Housing 

Welcome to our second annual review and report to Housing Residents, where we are able to set out our performance over the last year from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. 

We are very pleased that post-pandemic we have been able to resume face to face services with residents and we have redesigned the housing management service to better serve our community. 

We know that circumstances are still difficult for residents and the current cost of living issues have been exerting additional financial pressures, so we are especially thankful to our residents to be able to report rent arrears of just 2.4% for the year - an historical low. At the same time we have increased overall customer satisfaction on repairs to 88% up from 84% last year March of 2021. 

We know there is more to do, for example in optimising re-letting of vacated properties and managing the transition needed with the regeneration of the Cambridge Road Estate, but we remain committed to providing excellent service and affordable, sustainable homes in the right places to meet the needs of our communities into the future. 

Best regards 
Councillor Emily Davey.

Alarm Response Service Report - Housing for Older People 

The Alarm Response Service answers when an older person activates their pull cord to request assistance. Historically, this service has been operated by Milton Keynes Council to a high level. However, to ensure value for money, we are putting this out to tender. We wanted to encourage residents to have a real stake and greater influence in the future of the services they receive. So, in March 2022 we held drop-in sessions for our residents living in sheltered accommodation to discuss the renewal of the Alarm Response contract, working with us to draw up the specification and give their input to the design of the service. The feedback received will help improve service provision in the future. 

Lesley Turnbull is one of the residents taking part and told us : ‘’I was very happy to take part in the process of drawing up the specification for the Alarm Response contract. The drop-in sessions to which all residents were invited were also appreciated. I felt part of the process instead of it being dictated to me’’ 

Paula Wray 
Lead Officer - Housing for Older People

* If you are interested in joining the older people’s group, to discuss and monitor service delivery please contact us on involvedinhousing@kingston.gov.uk 

Rent collection 

Total arrears for the year 2.4%
Target 2.4%

Arrears for the year were just 2.4% of the total rent charged throughout the year. This is a record-low figure for the borough and we thank our residents for helping us achieve this. 

Financial Inclusion Team (FIT) 

The Council offers help with rent and benefits through our Financial Inclusion and Welfare Reform Teams. You can contact FIT on 020 8547 5591 or email: financialinclusion@kingston.gov.uk

The Financial Inclusion Team generated £388,834 total income for the period April 2021 - March 2022 

Details

  • £68,645 Housing support fund applications completed 
  • £122,508 Income maximisation successful benefit applications 
  • £197,681 Housing Benefit and Universal Credit housing element successful applications 

Lettings and Housing Register 

Total number of social housing lettings 207
Live applications on the Housing Register 3711

The number of all social housing lettings in 2021/22 was 207 (140 Council and 67 Registered Provider). Of these 142 were in general purpose accommodation and 65 sheltered housing for elderly.

As at 31 March 2022 there were 3711 live applications on the Housing Register.

Re-letting properties

The average number of days it has taken to re-let homes up to 31 March 2022 

General needs: 51 days to let - target 23 days

Homes for older people: 144 days to let - target 28 days

The Council has undertaken a full review of the suitability of existing sheltered housing and has further plans to address the issue of time taken to re-let properties.

Empty Homes

We are working hard to get vacant properties back into use. The numbers for empty homes does include those properties vacated as part of the Cambridge Road Estate regeneration and these are shown as non-lettable. 

Empty available for letting / not available for letting 

  • 0 - 6 weeks    11 available for letting / 11 not available for letting 
  • 6 weeks to 6 months   23 available for letting / 27 not available for letting 
  • Over 6 months   36 available for letting / 122not available for letting 

Total homes empty and available for letting 70
Total homes empty and not available for letting 160

TOTAL homes empty 230

Right to Buy Applications 2021-22 

The Council received 71 applications last year, the highest number we’ve received since 2016-17. During the same period there were 19 Completions on Right to Buy.

Losing your home (Eviction)

Total number of evictions: 10

We have carried out 7 evictions for rent arrears, 2 for anti-social behaviour and 1 for property abandonment. 

It is the council’s focus to deal with anti-social behaviour quickly and effectively. Eviction is a last resort as we try to resolve cases through other measures such as Community Protection Warnings and ASB.

Resident Engagement

Alpha Road fly tipping clearance day

Many residents share our concerns about fly-tipping and some have taken the lead to work with us on new initiatives to tackle the problem. 

On Saturday 26 February 2022, Alpha Road Estate Residents’ Association held its’ first Bulk Clearance Day. Our Estates Services Team placed its tipper truck in two locations, allowing residents to bring bulky items for disposal/recycling. Residents’ Association member Mary Parmar said: ‘We were very pleased with the positive feedback from both residents and local councillors and we hope that we can arrange this again.’ The council will be looking to carry out similar events for other estates in the future.

Customer satisfaction with responsive repairs 

Kingston received 79 formal complaints in the last 12 months. The volume of complaints regarding repairs remains small compared to the total number of repairs ordered.

Customers satisfied with repairs 88% (Target 87%)

From 1 July 2021 Axis took over the call centre for repairs. This has reduced the call answer times for residents, enabling Axis to follow up on and focus on urgent repairs.

Complaints Analysis 

Stage 1 Complaints 

  • Block estate or communal repairs : 6 
  • General service issues or complex complaints  :7 
  • Managing Anti-Social Behaviour :3 
  • Repairs and servicing of your home : 28 
  • Staff attitude, conduct or behaviour:9 
  • Wish to move home:2 
  • Formal complaints:79 

Stage 2 Complaints 

  • Block estate or communal repairs:3 
  • General service issues or complex complaints: 6 
  • Repairs and servicing of your home: 9 
  • Staff attitude, conduct or behaviour: 3 
  • Other complaints:3

The council had one stage 3 complaint to the Ombudsman and a determination was made against the council. As a result, we have carried out a number of measures to improve our handling of Anti-Social Behaviour complaints and these include: 

  • Implementing ASB (ECINS) monitoring system in all cases 
  • 3-monthly reviews on all open ASB cases 
  • Training for all Housing Officers on ASB cases 
  • Review of template letters used in ASB cases 
  • Staff training on hate crime and managing cases of harassment

*We ask tenants to please respond to the council customer satisfaction text messages for repair jobs, as it is important for us to monitor and improve the repairs service.

Business Assurance and Compliance 

Business assurance is designed to detail what legislation we must adhere to. This includes guidance and processes to ensure we meet these requirements as a landlord. 

Inspections completed

  • Health & Safety inspections - 100% (carrying out Housing health and safety checks)
  • Gas Safety - 99.95% (properties with a valid gas certificate)
  • Electricity Safety - 93.92% (carrying out Housing Electrical inspections)
  • Fire Safety Inspection 100% (properties with a valid fire risk assessment)

*We ask tenants to please allow access to your property for inspections to take place.

Other areas of compliance 100% complete: 

  • Fire Safety Equipment Servicing 
  • Emergency lighting programme 
  • Lightning Conductor Testing 
  • PAT tests 
  • Lift servicing 
  • Asbestos surveys and management programme 
  • Water Monitoring

Home improvements and adaptations 

Homes benefitting from improvements

  • 406 new energy efficient boilers installed 
  • 49 window replacement programme which is still ongoing 
  • 33 new modern roofs with improved insulation 
  • 28 new kitchens installed
  • 18 new bathrooms installed 

Adaptations 

There were a total of 64 home adaptations completed for council housing using the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) funding in 2021-22 and 5 communal part installations.

Where every £1 of rent is spent 

Below is a breakdown of how housing revenues were spent

  • Contributions to future major stock repairs and maintenance - 29p
  • Housing Staff - 15p
  • Repairs & Maintenance  -17p
  • Debt Charges - 13p
  • Corporate Services (central recharges) -11p
  • Premises - 4p
  • Legal & Professional Fees - 3p
  • Miscellaneous eg transport/insurance - 3p
  • Grounds maintenance - 2p
  • Bad Debts - 2p
  • Office costs/Banking/Telephones/IT - 1p

Resident engagement 

Kingston council is committed to working with residents to improve service delivery, so give us your feedback or even better, get involved and tell us what you want. If you have feedback on housing services or want to find out more about our complaints process

Are you interested in joining one of our engagement groups? Please get in touch with the Communication and Engagement specialist lead, by emailing: involvedinhousing@kingston.gov.uk and ensure you write ‘engagement groups’ in the subject title. 

The groups are: 

  • The Repairs Group 
  • The ASB (Anti -social behaviour) Group 
  • The Housing for Older People Group. 
  • The Homeownership Group 
  • The Scrutiny Group 

Thanks for reading! 

For further details on housing visit our website

Kingston Council - Housing Services end of year performance report 1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021

Welcome and introduction from Cllr Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing

Welcome to our first online report to Housing Residents. This review sets out our performance over the last year, managing homes and delivering services during the pandemic and during a time when residents and contractors were coping with lockdown and living and working at home for most of the year.

We know how tough it has been for residents and I am proud that we kept essential services going during this challenging time. We are looking forward to this year and resuming services face to face, taking the best of what we learnt working digitally during COVID-19.

We know there is more to do to improve services, we, and the senior management team are committed to working with residents to bring about change and improvement.

Best regards

Councillor Emily Davey.

Welcome and introduction from David Miller Chair of KRISP (Kingston Residents Independent Scrutiny Panel)

Over the last year KRiSP panel members, who are volunteers, looked at the experience of leaseholders in applying to buy their home and the work of the Leaseholder Forum.

A report was presented to the Housing Board and the recommendations accepted for implementation. The group is looking for new volunteers to join the group and take part in the review of services. Interested? Please contact involvedinhousing@kingston.gov.uk or visit the webpages to find out more about the work we do.

Best regards

David Miller Chair of KRISP

Rent collection

Arrears balance as a percentage of the rent charged

  • End of year result 2.7%
  • Target 3.2%

Arrears all activities £778,140 (£27.5 million charged). The income team has worked with residents over this year to maintain rent payments and agree terms, when customers have fallen into debt due to furlough, losing a job or change of circumstances. The council offers help with rent and Benefits through the Financial Inclusion Team & Welfare Reform Team.

During the year the FIT team gained £120,000 in additional benefits for residents and £241,000 help towards rent. A fantastic result. If you are struggling with rent or other essential bills contact FIT on 020 8547 5591 or email financialinclusion@kingston.gov.uk.

Business Assurance and Compliance

  • RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences) notifiable accident: 0.
  • Properties with a valid gas certificate: 98.8%.
  • Properties with a valid fire risk assessment: 100%.

This year we know that some residents have been reluctant to let us in to carry out essential checks on the heating system or electrics in their home, due to COVID-19.

Our engineers always work safely, maintaining social distancing and taking care when working in your home. Please let us in when you are contacted about a safety check. Thank you.

Customer satisfaction with responsive repairs

  • Customers satisfied with repairs: 84%
  • Target: 87%
  • Kingston Council received 95 formal complaints about the housing service in the last year.
  • Complaints responded to in target time: 46%

The council had two complaints taken to the Independent Housing Ombudsman and we were found to have administered the complaint poorly.

Overall, the formal complaints received were about the following service areas:

  • Repairs and servicing of your home: 37
  • Block,estate or communal repairs: 16
  • Staff attitude, conduct or behaviour: 10
  • Wish to move home: 1
  • Managing Anti-Social Behaviour: 9
  • General service issues or complex complaints: 22

The volume of complaints received about repairs remains small compared to the number of repairs ordered.

From 1st July 2021 Axis have now taken on the reporting of repairs. This will help improve your experience so that when you call to report a repair the request will be scheduled, and you will be offered the next available appointment for the repair to be started.

If you are interested in working with us to monitor the performance of the repairs contract with Axis and be part of the Residents Repairs Panel contact us on involvedinhousing@kingston.gov.uk

Empty homes and lettings

  • The average number of days it has taken to re-let general needs homes: 46 days. Target: 23 days.
  • The average number of days it has taken to re-let homes for older people: 140 days. Target: 28 days.

We know that some of our housing for older people is hard to let. We have commissioned an independent review of retirement housing in 2021 focussing on housing schemes where there are bedsit flats and shared bathing facilities which is harder to let.

Properties empty for more than 100 days include 125 voids in total, including those on the Cambridge Road Estate.

Completing lettings safely during the pandemic was a challenge - to keep socially distanced and undertake a viewing or sign up of the tenancy.

Generally, the council had fewer homes available to let undertaking just 65 sign-ups for general needs homes.

Sadly, this means there are long waiting times for a move to suitable alternative accommodation.

In future years the council is building new homes for local people in the Borough.

The first start on site will be in Chessington, using spare housing land to build new homes for rent. If you are interested in moving home please think about a mutual exchange as another way to find your ideal property.

Losing your home (Evictions)

  • Number of evictions 0.
  • Number of Right to Buy completions 7.

Resident Engagement

Francis Moseley Awards were given to leaders in their local community, particularly those people helping with the response to the Coronavirus. Congratulations to Mary Parmar, for her work on the Alpha Road Estate in Surbiton.

Remarkable ambassadors for the Borough are Des Kay & Tariq Shabbeer for their work on the Save the World deliveries of excess supermarket food to donate to people in need, during lockdown.

Residents involved in contract monitoring and procurement include tenants and leaseholders who became involved in the dialogue with suppliers for grounds maintenance services earlier this year.

KRISP review of leasehold services identified many positives in the homeownership service and made recommendations to strengthen our way of including leaseholders in the delivery of services.

Where every £1 is spent

  • Contributions to future major stock repairs and maintenance: 30p
  • Housing staff: 16p
  • Repairs and maintenance: 16
  • Debt charges: 15p
  • Corporate services: 11p
  • Bad debts: 2p
  • Premises: 3p
  • Office costs, banking, telephones, IT: 1p
  • Legal and professional fees: 1p
  • Grounds maintenance: 2p
  • Miscellaneous, eg - transport/insurance: 3p

Our people - who’s who in Housing Services

Resident Services Officers are the main point of contact about your tenancy. We have a team of eight staff that manage over 4500 properties in Kingston.

Scheme Managers are the main point of contact for residents living in Sheltered Housing. We have a team of five staff that manage over 770 properties in Kingston.

Team Email: oandvpersonshousing@kingston.gov.uk

  • Chris Egan - Charles Lesser, Coxwold Path, Reynolds Avenue, Bidmead Court, School Lane.
  • Sarah O’Reilly - Charles Sumner, Percy Court, Mayford. Jayme Barnes - Edinburgh court, Edith Gardens, Alfriston, Vine Close, Hugh Herland.
  • Rebecca Johnston - Sobraon House, Dowler Court, Delft House, Lovekyn Close, Ayliffe Court.
  • Neuza Castro - Fountain Court, Gooding Close, Gilpin House, Merryweather Court, Rowan Close.

Home Ownership Team

  • Dennis Sullivan - Right To Buy Applications
  • Danny Massingham - Lease extensions, permissions
  • Sam Bennett - Consultation for major works and contracts

Financial Inclusion Team

If you are struggling with rent or other essential bills:

  • Lavinia Osbourne - Financial Inclusion Lead.

Team email: financialinclusion@kingston.gov.uk

Income and Collection Team

Main point of contact for enquiries regarding your rent account.

  • Michael Keen - Rent Arrears Recovery Lead
  • Richard Quirk - Rent Arrears Recovery Lead
  • Craig Venes - Rent Arrears Recovery Lead
  • Debbie St Pierre - Rent Arrears Recovery Lead (Temporary Accommodation)

Team email: incomerecovery_managers@kingston.gov.uk.

Thanks for reading!

Last Modified: 27/10/2022 11:26:50