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Ealing Homes Governance and maintenance Draft findings November 2004. Debby Ounsted Paul Ferrari Housing Quality Network Services. Purpose of HQNS’s mock inspection. Reality check Identify strengths and weaknesses

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Ealing Homes Governance and maintenance Draft findings November 2004


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    1. Ealing HomesGovernance and maintenanceDraft findingsNovember 2004 Debby Ounsted Paul Ferrari Housing Quality Network Services

    2. Purpose of HQNS’s mock inspection • Reality check • Identify strengths and weaknesses • Focus on repairs and governance (ALMO) other service covered by previous mock inspection • Prepare for the real inspection

    3. Ground Rules • What we see is what you get – at the time of the inspection • Staff have been honest, there has been no varnish • We must be more rigorous than the real thing • We will offer praise where it is due, we will criticise where it is necessary • We must motivate you to improve • We must tell you what to prioritise in the time available • Up to date approach - KLOEs

    4. The questions asked Question 1 – How good is the service? • Diversity • Access • Value for money • Performance management Question 2 – What are the prospects for improvement? • What is the evidence of service improvement? • How good are the current improvement plans? • Will improvements be delivered? incorporates governance

    5. Scope of previous mock inspection • Customer Care & Complaints • Resident Involvement • Anti-social Behaviour & Nuisance • Tenancy and estate management • Equalities and diversity • Lettings and Allocations • Income collection • Leasehold services Covered approach to BVRs, improvement performance management and strategy

    6. Headline issues raised by previous mock inspection • Ground work has been done but you need to demonstrate improvements in the service • Consolidate and bed down the changes • Focus on improving estates, offices, access to services • Equality and diversity is a big issue for you • You cannot achieve this on your own. Involve and get the support of others – Corporate, residents (not just the involved) and other partners

    7. The Judgement Just Just

    8. Context

    9. What is the Audit Commission saying about efficiency? • New focus on efficiency at inspection (previously it was quality) • VFM is • The relationship between economy, efficiency and effectiveness • High when there is an optimum balance between all three: • Relatively low costs (economy) • High productivity (efficiency) • Successful outcomes (effectiveness) Source: A Modern Approach to Inspecting Services, AC 2004

    10. Is Ealing Homes board already considering VFM and efficiency? • Yes. Board aware. Looking to partnership with joint procurement with West London sub-region • Board would want where possible to see procurement savings being recycled back into housing • Maintenance partnership-Mears/Kiers being looked at with Council • Board has revised Human Resource provision and SLA being negotiated with Council • Legal services provision also being reviewed post BVR

    11. Focus group with residents on repairs

    12. Organisation • 1 evening focus group on repairs • A good mix of tenants involved and uninvolved • representation from BME communities • Most tenants had lived in their current accommodation for a relatively long period of time

    13. Overview on repairs • Views on the whole were rather negative • Some good news stories about particular members of staff or particularly good contractors • Greatest consensus around customer focus and customer care • Participants from Northolt and Ealing generally more critical of the service than others

    14. Reporting a repair • Relatively easy to report by telephone. Appreciated free-phone number, easy to get through before 9.30. Mondays and later one gets bus • People do not give names - luck of the draw whether you get someone helpful on the end on the line • Staff are not always seen as ‘customer focused’ • Possible to e-mail your repair request and one participant favoured this approach as it meant that you had a record for the future • Some residents preferred to report repairs in person at the office • Repair receipts are issued - give an approximate completion date and job number. They do not make an appointment at this stage • Perception that special needs and needs of elderly appear to be taken into account in determining priority

    15. Making an Appointment • Not given at the time of reporting a repair although it is possible to make an appointment with the contractor after a card has been left • Appointment slots - morning or afternoon and weekend and evening appointments are also possible • One participant felt that they were happy to come out during the weekend since they could charge premium rates others were very pleased that this flexibility was offered • One participant described hearing a card being quietly deposited through the letter -box and the contractor failing to knock. Some participants suspected that contractors were probably paid for no-access visits

    16. The process – responsive repairs • Surveyors - came in for particular criticism • “Some times you have to wait for a surveyor to visit first • They are supposed to come within 10 days but this does not happen” • Getting hold of a surveyor is a particular problem • Surveying staff seem to change - 7 different surveyors over one repair • Out of hours service - described as good • One participant felt some jobs don’t get treated as emergencies when they are • Participants believed pensioners given particularly prompt service

    17. The process – responsive repairs … (cont’d) Operatives - polite but not always skilled and professional • Failure to locate a stop-cock serving her property • Nailed a piece of rubber to the bottom of an ill- fitting door • New bathroom fitted but taps are still not working properly • Tiles “fitted the wrong way round” was another example • One operative asked the tenant for food and later left the job to pick a friend up from the airport, brought the friend back and then asked for food for the friend! Follow-up repairs • Highlighted as a particular matter of concern • Leak took one and a half years to remedy • Kitchen units that were badly fitted and did not match properly

    18. Gas service checks • Residents confirmed that they have an annual gas check • One resident said that this was the only repair she had had done, but that it was carried out regularly each year • There were no specific complaints about gas operatives

    19. Major repairs and improvements • Sometimes told repairs will be included in the programme but they are not given an indication of when that might be • On lady had ongoing problems with a boiler, she suspected the boiler had already cost as much to repair as it would do to replace. Informed that it was “in the pipeline” but there were not enough defective boilers in the area at the moment to justify a replacement programme • None of the participants including those involved in TRAs aware about what was included in the improvement programme • Mixed views about whether choice can be exercised in terms of fixtures and fittings. One participant had been consulted on a type of from door. Another had not been consulted about double glazed units. Windows were now impossible to clean from the inside

    20. Communal Repairs • Graffiti described as being regularly removed by the caretaker and through a steam cleaning service. Residents did not see this as a particular problem • Communal repairs including communal lighting is more of a problem • Lack of lighting posing a security risk was not attended to for 3 or 4 days. Two lights on an estate have not been working for over two years. There are no evening inspections of estate lighting according to participants • No receipts issued for communal repairs, even to the person who reports the work, so they are difficult to track • Regular estate inspections (quarterly) take place in some areas involving residents. Defects are recorded and some are dealt with

    21. Resident Feedback • Satisfaction slip that can be filled in but the job has to be completed before you can give that kind of feedback as you are signing to say the job has been done • Several residents had been contacted by telephone after a repair had been carried out to check that work had been done to their satisfaction • Several participants aware of an invitation to take part in tender evaluation panels. Training had been offered • Several also aware of mystery shopping and were keen to take part • Problem arises when you need to contact someone because a job has not been done, “you have to keep explaining the problem to different people, I explained the same problem to five different people on the same day”. “They should be able to look these things up on the computer”

    22. ContractManagement • General feeling - contracts are not adequately monitored and payments are often made to contractors when the work has either not been done or not done to a satisfactory standard • None of the residents had had any experience of post inspection of work even for larger jobs apart from improvement programme work. “They have a three year term and they think they can do what they like” • Residents have received a list of jobs and priorities this was set out in the local newsletter and has been provided as an A4 list

    23. Leaseholders • One of the leaseholders stated that leaseholders are not given receipts and only find out the cost of work 18 months later • Jobs sometimes seem very expensive

    24. Tenant priorities and final comments • Get better quality workers and make sure the quality of workmanship is properly checked • Stop using contractors and use people within the community. • Go back to direct employment • Service Team were not very good. “I caught one of them sleeping on the estate and they took two hour lunch breaks” • Named people in each team so that you know who you are dealing with • No continuity. Such a lot of time is spend dealing with different people 8 or 9 for one job. As contractors sub contract to someone else • No payments for leaving cards • Never had any really big problems, they service the gas boiler every year

    25. Tenant priorities and final comments … (cont’d) • Customer service course they are not customer focused enough • They are never available usually “on leave” I never seem to be able to go directly to the right person first time and staff change a lot • None of the surveyors seem to call back • Experience of the repairs service has been very good. I had a new bathroom fitted and the supervisor came and checked. They did a good job • People seem to be put on the telephones from their first day they should be trained properly. People don’t give their names • Get more surveyors and make sure that people can get hold of them

    26. Governance • Participants asked about governance, whether they had received information about how decisions are made • Several said there had been attempts to explain this over the last 2 months but only really the Association Chairs were getting to grips with it at this stage • Nobody was sure how new committee structure worked or what the committees were • Some were aware • Tenants would be represented on the Board and that training would be available • Councillors would no longer have the same role

    27. Mystery shopping

    28. Key findings • 25 calls and one email Promptness in replying • Average waiting time overall – 7 rings • Average waiting time for Repair link – 9 rings • Only half the calls to Repair link answered within 15 seconds • Average waiting time for area offices – 5 rings • Some problems • One call to the Western area office got no reply • In one instance the caller was cut off • Some difficulties in getting through to Repair Link • Out of hours calls to the area offices received no reply

    29. Key findings … (cont’d) Technical quality of responses • In most instances calls to Area Offices were referred to Repair link, knowledge of repairs was poor in the Area offices. Unable to provide even basic information on priorities • Appointments offered but lack of clarity about Saturday appointments • limited information provided on gas servicing – importance etc • Knowledge of right to repair non-existent • No special priorities for elderly – replacement of broken WC seat • Email response fast and informative and in line with the customers service standards

    30. Access to office • Westec office accessible for visitors • Modern, bright, stylish • Only easy to reach by car or tube • Poor access by foot • No clear Ealing Homes signage outside • No clear branding of Ealing Homes inside • If leaflets etc available, they are not on display • An alien environment for customers?

    31. Key findings Customer care • All calls to the area offices were answered politely, all saying Ealing Homes and giving their name • No name was given in any of the calls to Repair link • Attitude varies – some positive helpful others disinterested Overall rating of fair/poor • Western area Repair link the strongest, Eastern area office the weakest

    32. Maintenance

    33. Issues Covered • Background • Asset Management • Maintenance • Planned and Cyclical • Gas Servicing • Voids • Responsive Repairs • Repairs Reporting • Customer Satisfaction • Value for money • Summary

    34. Background

    35. Asset Management – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • Robust Asset Management and Procurement strategies with clear linkages to Corporate Plan and Business Plan • Detailed proposals for meeting the Decent Homes targets set by Government • Statistically significant and robust stock condition information which is used to inform stock investment priorities and is updated on a regular basis

    36. Procurement – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • An over-arching Procurement Strategy • Movement towards procurement based on Best Value and Egan Principles • Procurement approaches that encourage innovation and continuous improvement • Extensive use of Information technology to support and contribute to the delivery of greater procurement efficiencies

    37. Service Delivery – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • Financially resourced plans for regular regimes of planned and preventative maintenance that support service delivery objectives • An effective and flexible responsive repairs and void service • Clear service standards • Procedures which ensure tenants receive a consistent service

    38. Resident Involvement – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • Involvement of residents in: • Shaping the service • Agreeing priorities • Setting standards • Contractor/Consultant/supplier selection • Monitoring budgets and performance • Project/service reviews

    39. Customer Satisfaction – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • Valid methods of seeking, capturing and reviewing satisfaction information across all maintenance activities • Evidence of how feedback is being used to improve the service

    40. Continuous Improvement – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • Regular reviews of service delivery targets • Procurement arrangements that encourage the “ratcheting up” of contractor performance • Use of benchmarking to identify potential areas for improvement

    41. Headline Figures – What the Inspectors will be looking for: • Number of emergency repairs to represent the no more than 10% of the total responsive repairs carried out. Urgent repairs no more than 30% • Expenditure on responsive repairs to equate to no more than 40% of all revenue expenditure on repairs and planned maintenance • Timescales to meet the regulator’s requirements and to be calculated in calendar days where applicable: • Emergency Repairs – 1 day • Urgent – 7 days • Routine – 1 Calendar Month • Post inspections to be minimum of 10% • Pre inspections to be less than 10%

    42. Asset Management

    43. Business Plans and MaintenanceWhat are the Inspectors looking for? • Corporate Strategy and Business Plans • Asset management strategy linked to Business Plan • Maintenance strategy based on a recent condition survey that also meets requirements of Decent Homes Standards • Financially resourced short, medium and long term programmes of work developed in conjunction with tenants • Procurement strategy and movement towards Egan compliance • Mechanism for updating condition survey • All of these elements are in place

    44. Asset Management Strategy What will they expect to see? A formal and transparent process in place by which • stock is categorised in terms of condition and demand • and the aspirations of current and future tenants • stock in poor condition with low demand is identified and a formal option appraisal carried out for improvement/repair, remodelling, demolition or disposal • the evaluation process involves tenants throughout and is not based solely on financial modelling, but also takes tenants concerns and aspirations into account • The current approach to asset management needs to be further developed before it could be said to fully meet these criteria. The asset management strategy focuses strongly on the technical issues. Consideration of housing issues needs to be made more explicit

    45. Stock Condition Survey 2003 • 100% external stock condition survey and 17% internal survey • The updated survey is used to develop the works programmes and budgets in line with the business plan • The information collected is designed to enable an assessment to be made as regards meeting the current Decent Homes standard and includes the information for the new standard when it comes in • It also designed to enable the recalculation of the average SAP rating for the stock • Information stored on NBA database system • Challenge: What steps are Ealing taking to validate the survey findings?

    46. Condition Survey Results • Average SAP 58 • 36% dwellings below an “acceptable” SAP target • 3.1% (425) Unfit • 40% (5,598) Non-Decent • 46% potentially Non-Decent

    47. Condition Survey ResultsMaintenance Costs-First Pass • £340 M over 10 years, £600M over 30 years • 14% (£46M)= Backlog • 19% (£66M) = Improvements • 69% (£236M) =Element renewals within an aging stock • The above includes an estimated £167M to meet sustainable Decency Standards

    48. Decent Homes Strengths • The size of the problem is known, and the resources required have been identified • Five year programme to bring all properties up to decent homes standard by 2010 in place • Programme to be procured through use of partnering contracts • Programme being effectively monitored and tracked using a mix of in house project managers and external consultants • All indications are that the decent homes programme will hit the 2010 target and will be delivered in inside budget • Major risk here is achievement of two star rating--however fall back positions have been factored in to deal with this

    49. Procurement Strategy • Construction industry is overheating and suffering from skills shortages and building cost inflation is high • If the investment programme is to be met, Ealing Homes will be procuring professional and contract services worth £50 millions a year • The strategy it follows in procuring these services will have a significant impact on total cost of delivery, quality and timeliness • Inspectors will want to see that Ealing Homes has a strategy designed to take these factors into account and optimise procurement performance

    50. Procurement/Partnering • Ealing Homes has an agreed Procurement/Partnering Strategy in place • Is using external consultants to assist in developing partnering contracts and has already put a number of these in place • Tenant involvement in developing approach to partnering and in selection of partner contractors. • Open book approach with risk sharing • Development of supply chain partnering • Consideration being given to joint purchasing with other ALMOs to obtain benefits of scale