ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

In May 2019, Town & Country Housing (TCH) joined the Peabody Group as a distinct operating subsidiary. This exciting collaboration presents a huge opportunity for TCH and brings together two strong organisations with ambition, great reputations and shared vision and values. TCH has retained its name and its local approach to services, whilst rebranding to show that it’s now part of the Peabody family.

The Annual Report for Tenants 2018-19 provides information about our performance.

Your Home

During 2018/19, Countrywise Repairs and Swale Heating carried out the following repairs and cost us...

0 Repairs carried out by Countrywise Repairs and Swale
0 Spent on responsive repairs and work to empty properties

Average money spent per home on
repairs and work to empty homes

Peer average 2017/18 £651.66

£694.30

2015/16

£663.46

2016/17

£654.07

2017/18

% of tenants satisfied with the repairs service

  • Satisfaction with repairs service
  • Peer Group Average 2016/17

% of repairs completed at first visit

  • Repairs completed at first visit
  • Peer Group Average 2017/18

Appointments kept as a % of appointments made

  • Appointments kept as a % of appointments made
  • Peer Group Average 2017/18

Improving your home

During 2018/19, we invested £11.1m in improving homes including new kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems and estates. We also met our target to spend at least 60% of our maintenance budgets on planned maintenance compared to responsive repairs.

In total 70.1% of maintenance budgets (£15.9m) were spent on planned maintenance.

£11.1m spent improving our homes
100% of our homes meet the Decent Homes Standard

Cost per home of major repairs and external decorating

Peer average 2017/18 £1227.60

£1,026.88

2015/16

£1,058.41

2016/17

£1,318.00

2017/18

Planned maintenance on your homes

Covering kitchens, bathrooms, installing new heating systems and external painting and decoration.

Various improvements have now been made by our external decorating contractor. These include employing a dedicated resident liaison officer to provide appropriate information to residents before work starts and to check for outstanding issues after work is completed.

Satisfaction with planned works

  • % of tenants satisfied with planned works
  • Target 90%

Keeping your home safe

100% of our homes have a valid gas safety certificate

Adapting our homes

During 2018/19, we undertook a range of adaptations to homes to allow elderly or disabled residents to remain in their home.

£153,000 minor adaptations such as fitting stair rails and lever taps
58 major adaptations such as installing level access showers or ramps costing £597,000 funded through Disabled Facilities Grants. TCH contributed £61,500

Improving energy efficiency

We measured the energy efficiency of homes using the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) in 2018/19

72.1

We measure the energy efficiency of homes using the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) and in 2018/19 our rating was 72.1. This increased by almost 5% when compared to 2016/17 due to planned maintenance works, including replacing 463 less energy efficient heating systems and completion of new build homes.

SAP Rating

  • Average SAP rating per property
  • Peer Group Average 2017/18
96 loft insulation improvements with partial grant funding132 cavity wall insulation installations, all grant funded
£79,920 carbon funding for the loft insulation improvements made£5,141 carbon funding for cavity wall insulation

Building New Homes

The total amount invested in building new homes in 2018-19 was £19.59m. This consisted of £2.085m in grant funding and £17.6m from Town & Country Housing

During 2018/19, we built 130 new homes against our target of 136

A total of 26 were affordable rent, 13 were social rent, 16 were intermediate rent, 40 were shared ownership homes and 35 were for private sale

The amount of public grant to help build these homes was £1,165,747, whilst Recycled Capital Grant Fund (an internal fund used to recycle grant receipts) contributed £920,000. We commenced work on 11 new schemes, starting work on building 280 new homes; this equated to a total of 113 affordable rent, 47 social rent, 10 intermediate rent, 81 shared ownership and 29 private sale homes.

1.40% New homes built as a% off all homes owned (peer average 2.20%)

Your tenancy

During 2018/19, we re-let 424 empty homes and the average re-let time for properties needing routine maintenance was 17 days. Reducing the time that homes are empty is important to us as it means families wait less time to be rehoused. This means we are also collecting more rent to invest in new homes and services.

Average 17 days to re-let empty properties

This is the same as the 2017/18 average of 17 days of our peers.

98.9%

of new tenants who responded to our survey were satisfied with the lettings process, against our 98% target

0.5%

In 2018/19 our rent loss due to voids was on target at 0.5%

£34.95

Our direct cost per home for allocations and lettings was below the average for our peers (£38.47)

Our annual cost per home for tenancy management was £54.04 and continues to well below the average peer cost of £80 for 2017/18



0

tenancy audits to check for illegal subletting or to identify support needs



0

audits required a further visit or support referral (one tenancy was surrendered as a result of investigations)

Your neighbourhood

Anti social behaviour

Our direct cost per home for dealing with anti social behaviour has increased from £28 per property in 2015/16 to £32 per property in 2016/17. The cost then increased again in 2017/18 to £33 per property.

£33.46

Annual direct cost per home for anti-social behaviour

550 new cases reported in 2017/18

The average number of days we took to investigate and deal with reports of anti social behaviour reduced from 39 days in 2017/18 to 33 days in 2018/19.

The top four types of anti social behaviour reported during the year were:

  • Noise
  • Verbal abuse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Substance related
We have carried out analysis of noise nuisance to identify patterns and continue to work closely with other agencies, such as the police and local authorities, to tackle anti-social behaviour. We are also investigating whether additional sound insulation may be needed in some homes.

Estate cleaning and gardening

We continue to use a photobook which contains photographs to show the standards our cleaning and gardening contractors have to achieve. The standards are graded excellent, good, needs improvement or poor and we inspect them to check them against the photobook standard

Estate inspections carried out in 2018/19

0

The Estate Inspection Photobook
91% of estates were graded excellent or good for cleaning services83% of estates were graded excellent or good for grounds maintenance services

£223.10

Annual direct cost per home for estate cleaning and gardening in 2017/18 (peer group average £178.21)

Engaging with Customers

0

Number of telephone calls received by the customer services centre in 2018/19

The number of calls received by our customer services centre reduced by over 4,000 when compared to 2017/18 and by 19,500 calls when compared to 2016/17

This is a result of automating our rent payment line and promoting the customer portal ‘My Home Online’.

78.3%

of calls were answered first time, which was below our target of 80% but average when compared to our peers.

0 communications from April 20187 to March 2019 using webchat. We will continue to promote web chat as a ‘real time’ way of communicating.

Call enquiries resolved first time

  • 78.3% of call enquiries resolved first time
  • Calls not resolved first time
0 tenant email addresses used for tenant communication, reducing the cost of printed material
0 videos making it easier for tenants to access information about their tenancy

Complaints

The number of formal complaints decreased from 138 in 2017/18 to 111 in 2018/19. The majority were about repairs and maintenance

The average time taken to close complaints reduced from 6 working days in 2017/18 to 4 working days in 2018/19.

Resident Involvement

We strive to enable residents to have real influence on services

In 2018-19, residents were actively involved in further developing the customer portal ‘My Home Online’ as part of the ongoing service redesign programme to provide easy-to-access digital services. Resident involvement also helped to reduce a long list of colour and component choices down to a more manageable menu which residents can choose from when their homes are undergoing future planned kitchen replacements.

The sheltered housing panel continues to meet quarterly to discuss relevant strategic issues including digital inclusion and local environmental improvements.

‘Skip and Swap’ estate improvement days took place on estates in Dover and Ramsgate, providing skips along with staff and contractor assistance to help residents with clearing rubbish and unwanted goods from their properties and communal areas. The events are also an opportunity to exchange or upcycle unwanted furniture. Further events are planned in North Kent during 2018-19.

Resident involvement doesn’t have to be about attending a meeting or event. Each time residents share feedback, this is used to review and shape future services. In other words, every time a resident responds a customer satisfaction survey, gives feedback or makes a complaint, their views are considered by the appropriate team to understand if we need to review or change a service element or extend positive practice. The fortnightly email newsletter available to all residents with an email address is also used to advertise consultation opportunities or seek feedback via short surveys.

£38.89 Cost per home

In 2019-20, residents will continue to be involved in the development of ‘My Home Online’ and in working with Countrywise Repairs Ltd, to help develop an enhanced online repairs appointment system. A strategy and policy review group is currently being developed to enable residents to comment on and influence the formulation of all TCH’s housing-related policies and strategic priorities.

In addition, an online estate survey has been developed so residents can comment and give feedback about grounds maintenance and cleaning services, via the TCH website. Other initiatives will include a consultation on customer service standards to ensure they meet customer priorities (given that much more contact is now made online), and that services retain a local focus.

Resident Scrutiny Panel

The resident scrutiny panel enables residents to directly influence services.

The resident scrutiny panel enables residents to directly influence services. The panel undertakes in-depth service reviews and makes recommendations for service improvement directly to TCH Board.

Since 2014, the panel has completed seven service reviews including customer services, responsive repairs & maintenance, the empty property standard, grounds maintenance, the money support service, responsive gas services and planned repairs & maintenance. As a result of the reviews, a total of 121 recommendations have been agreed by the Board and 113 have now been implemented, including all agreed recommendations from the first five reviews.

In 2018-19, the panel completed a review of the planned repairs & maintenance service and made ten service improvement recommendations to TCH Board. All recommendations were approved and focused on improving customer correspondence and information on the TCH website. The panel are currently reviewing leasehold services and expect to make their service improvement recommendations to TCH Board in late 2019.

7service reviews
121recommendations
113implemented

If you would like to suggest a service area for review or are interested in joining the Resident Scrutiny Panel, please email Sarah Holden, Resident Scrutiny Manager: sarah.holden@tch.org.uk or telephone 01892 501640.

Rent and service charges

In 2018/19, the amount of rent and service charges due was £52.2m (compared to £55.6m in 2017/18).

During 2017/18, we repaid part of our loans and renegotiated the interest rate on some of our remaining loans. Both of these actions lowered our interest costs compared to 2016/17.

How each £ was spent in 2018/19 (shown as pence)

  • Cleaning / gardening
  • Routine maintenance
  • Planned maintenance
  • Bad debts
  • Depreciation
  • Interest on loans
  • Re-investment (profit)
  • Management costs

How each £ was spent in 2017/18 and 2018/19

  • How your £ was spent in 2017/18 displayed in pence
  • How your £ was spent in 2018/19 displayed in pence

Rent and service charge collection

Annual direct cost per home for rent and service charge collection was £108.03 in 2017/18

100% rent collection achieved1.1% rent arrears as a % of rent due
672 residents received debt advice£69,637 amount of debt reduced from advice

% rent collected from tenants

  • % rent collected from current and former tenants (peer group average 99.9%)

Rent arrears as a %

  • Rent arrears as a % of rent due (peer group average 1.6%)

Community Investment

During 2018/19, the Community Investment Team focused on the delivery of learning, skills and employment initiatives for residents and the wider community.

During 2018-19, the Community Investment Team focused on the delivery of learning, skills & employment initiatives for residents and the wider community, with an emphasis on collaboration and partnership working to address employment barriers such as skill gaps, care responsibilities, ill health & disabilities. A total of £120,000 was invested to help residents secure employment, more sustainable employment and to promote tenancy sustainment. The investment generated by community investment ‘legacy’ projects totalled £2.1m and involved 81 volunteers.

Community investment ‘legacy’ projects are projects initiated by and then subsequently supported by the community investment team to ensure sustainability.

0

We spent £120,000 to help residents secure employment, to find more sustainable employment and to promote tenancy sustainment.

Outcomes achieved for our residents included the following:

39 securing employment
186 gaining a qualification
223 receiving digital training
46 volunteering in the community

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