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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 30/09/2003
Improvement Plan

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[month = by month end]

        TARGET 1: Strategy, Service Aims, Objectives and Standards That:
seek to raise the profile of the service
seek to prevent homelessness
are responsive to customers’ needs and expectations
reflect legal requirements and the intention to provide a good quality service
adhere to Equality of Opportunity and Human Rights principles
maximise Sustainable Development
help to reduce Crime & Disorder and fear of crime
are compatible with corporate objectives
Develop and publish homelessness strategy, documenting the future direction of the service and setting the timetable for regular reviewHousing Needs ManagerJuly 2003None
Increase emphasis on and resources allocated to homelessness prevention by:
increasing publicity of the housing advice service
arranging regular housing advice surgeries in conjunction with partner organisations e.g. CABx, in locality offices and other local venues around the Borough
reviewing staff roles and responsibilities and investigating the scope for reconfiguring the service
introducing formal liaison arrangements between the Homelessness Section and the Housing Advisory Officer whilst retaining the independence of the housing advice service
ensuring there adequate cover arrangements in place for the Housing Advisory Officer
Housing Needs Manager ongoing
June 2003

December 2003
May 2003

June 2003
There may be resource implications arising from a reconfiguration of the service and ensuring adequate cover arrangements
Not yet known
Develop strategy within rent restructuring process for reducing temporary accommodation rents that:
prioritises the reduction of rents for HRA purpose built temporary accommodation concentrating on the worst quality accommodation first
takes account of any Council tax included within rents
attempts to minimise the effect on the overall budget for rental income
[Common improvement with Rent Arrears Recovery review]
Head of Housing Services & Housing Needs ManagerMarch 2004Strategy will be developed so as to minimise effect on overall budgeted rental income
Develop service aims, objectives and standards that are compatible with corporate objectives and reflect stakeholders’ prioritiesHousing Needs ManagerJanuary 2004None
Develop targets and monitoring systems that will deliver the service to the agreed standards Housing Needs Manager“ ““ “
        TARGET 2: Adequate Supply Of Good Quality, Affordable Temporary And Permanent Accommodation
Re-designate ‘difficult to let’ dwellings currently designated as accommodation for the elderly where appropriateDirector of HousingMarch 2006None
Work with housing associations to secure further permanent and temporary affordable housing as resources permitHousing Enabling OfficerOngoingAchieving target will depend on resources being available
Review all Waverley owned temporary accommodation, agree minimum standard required and develop a refurbishment programme for accommodation to meet the required standard as resources permitHousing Needs ManagerMarch 2004“ “
Increase publicity for private landlords leasing and rent guarantee schemes including promoting the private landlords’ forum, involving other stakeholders as appropriate e.g. Environmental Health and Benefits staffHousing Advisory Officer and Housing Needs Support OfficerOngoingNone
Improve information provided to private owners leasing property to WBC, ensure properties leased to WBC are inspected regularly and returned to their owners at the end of the lease in a similar condition as they were in at the commencement of the leaseHomelessness ManagerDecember 2003“ “
Investigate possibility of developing an accredited private landlords’ scheme in partnership with the Environmental Health section and implement if appropriateHousing Needs Support Officer“ ““ “
Investigate possibility of introducing a ‘tenant finder’ scheme for private landlords and implement if appropriateHousing Advisory Officer“ “
Investigate possibility of introducing cash deposits as an alternative to the rent guarantee scheme and implement if appropriateHousing Advisory Officer“ ““ “
Monitor void turnaround times for temporary accommodation and investigate any delays in carrying out repairs or reletting propertiesHomelessness ManagerOctober 2003“ “
        TARGET 3: Improved Communication With Service Users
Produce in plain English:
information explaining the aims, objectives and standards of each service (homelessness and housing advice)
an information pack for homeless applicants
a handbook for residents of temporary accommodation
Housing Needs ManagerMarch 2004Additional costs can be met from within existing budgets
Update and/or produce new customer friendly advice leaflets and ensure they are made widely availableHousing Needs ManagerOctober 2003“ “
Review and amend as necessary standard letters to ensure they are easy to understand and include all essential information e.g. about statutory rights, details of independent advice providers etc.Homelessness ManagerMarch 2004None
Review and if feasible introduce systematic procedures to keep service users informed about progress with rehousingHomelessness ManagerMarch 2004None
        TARGET 4: Improved Customer Care And Participation Arrangements For Residents Of Temporary Accommodation
Streamline procedures for homelessness investigations with a view to ensuring determinations are made within 33 daysHomelessness ManagerJune 2003None
Recruit an additional hostel worker and increase visits to residents of temporary and Bed & Breakfast accommodation Housing Needs ManagerOctober 2003Provision for additional post already made within 2003/04 budget
Establish procedures to ensure repairs to temporary accommodation communal areas, facilities and appliances are dealt with promptly and that there are adequate monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure all repairs to temporary accommodation are carried out in accordance with the same standards as required for permanent accommodationHead of Housing Maintenance & Homelessness ManagerDecember 2003None
Introduce a programme of regular inspections of temporary and Bed and Breakfast accommodation with Environmental Health Officers and/or Repairs/Maintenance Inspectors as appropriate to ensure it meets all health, safety and fitness standardsHomelessness Manager, Head of Housing Maintenance & Environmental Health Manager“ ““ “
Develop formal and informal consultation arrangements with residents of temporary accommodation involving Tenants Panel members where appropriate to provide advice and support [common improvement with Tenancy Management & Tenant Involvement review]Homelessness & Housing Services ManagersOngoing“ “
Increase consultation with and involvement of service users in service developments including by regularly monitoring satisfaction levelsHomelessness Manager & Housing Advisory OfficerOngoing“ “
Include articles within Waverley Homes that are relevant to residents of temporary accommodationHousing Needs ManagerNovember 2003“ “
        TARGET 5: Improved Joint Working Arrangements With Other Agencies/Service Providers
Involve other agencies e.g. CABx, in service planning/developments and enter into formal referral arrangements where appropriateHousing Needs ManagerOngoingNone
Produce regular bulletins and/or hold briefings on service related issues for partner organisationsHousing Needs Manager“ ““ “
Work with partner organisations to develop a strategy for providing appropriate support services and facilities including for rough sleepersHousing Needs Manager“ ““ “
Formalise liaison arrangements between the Homelessness and Housing Advice service and other relevant services including the Mental Health Support workers and Domestic Violence Outreach worker, Benefits section etc

Housing Needs Manager & Benefits ManagerNovember 2003None
        TARGET 6: Improved Performance Management, Monitoring And Reporting For Key Aspects Of The Service
Review mechanisms to demonstrate that the service is provided in accordance with equality of opportunity principles and implement additional measures as appropriate for:
ensuring all activities are fully recorded and monitored including documenting reasons for allocation decisions
analysing homeless applicants’ ethnicity, gender and disability
analysing homelessness determinations by ethnicity, gender and disability
analysis of temporary accommodation allocations by ethnicity, gender and disability according to the quality of accommodation allocated
monitoring trends and reporting the results to Members in regular Equal Opportunities monitoring reports
Homelessness ManagerMarch 2004None
Introduce target times for activities and monitor performance against themHomelessness Manager“ ““ “
Set new local performance indicators to reflect the Government’s targets to:
ensure that reductions in rough sleeping are sustained at two-thirds below the level in 1998 or lower
reduce the number of cases of repeat homelessness
reduce the levels of homelessness against the main causes
reduce the inappropriate use of temporary accomodation
Housing Needs ManagerDecember 2003“ “
Investigate ways of improving the information recorded about the housing advice service including the local performance indicator to ensure it is relevant and meaningfulHousing Advisory Officer“ ““ “
Analyse and use housing advice and homelessness performance and statistical trends to develop the service Housing Needs ManagerMarch 2004“ “
Publicise performance and statistical trends to raise awareness of the issues facing the serviceHousing Needs Manager“ ““ “
Maximise use of IT e.g. to produce standard letters, performance data etc. for all elements of the homelessness and housing advice serviceHomelessness Manager & Housing Advisory OfficerOngoing“ “