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Other performance information

Housing Charter performance report 2020-21

Daniel Lowe - Executive Director of Housing and Technical Resources

As Executive Director of Housing and Technical Resources, I am pleased to present our annual performance report to you.  This report is particularly significant as it reflects our performance during what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years for all of us. 

We continually strive to ensure that tenants and other customers receive the best possible housing services and this has never been more important than over the course of the last 18 months.  In response to the challenges of Covid-19, Housing and Technical Resources employees adapted quickly and worked flexibly to ensure that we were able to continue to provide front line services, support and assistance to our customers, some of whom are the most vulnerable within our communities.

I am delighted that our annual performance report shows that not only have we been able to continue to effectively deliver essential services throughout the pandemic, we have maintained and in some instances improved on performance in relation to the already high-quality services that are delivered to and expected by customers across South Lanarkshire.  There are some areas where we know there is still room for improvement, and we are working to introduce improvements in these areas to ensure more effective service delivery.    

You can read further details on how we are performing across the wide range of services in the pages that follow, however I am particularly proud to highlight to you a number of key achievements during 2020/21, including

  • continued to allocate council housing to those who needed it most, such as homeless households and other priority groups
  • improved on the average time taken to relet a home to just under 21 days
  • continued to be one of the most affordable landlords in Scotland with the seventh lowest average weekly rent of £73.10
  • completed over 65,500 repairs during the year, with 97.7% completed on time
  • continued to make progress towards ensuring all council homes meet Scottish Housing Quality Standards and Energy Efficiency Standards for Social Housing 

Now, as we move forward, we continue to face challenges from the ongoing pandemic and also in relation to areas such as climate change and ensuring our homes are energy efficient and meet Scottish Government targets.  As we work towards delivering on these and other targets, we will strive to improve our performance in all service areas and deliver high-quality services that represent good value for money for all of our customers.

I hope that you find the annual performance report to be interesting and helpful.  Your valuable feedback helps us to understand your experience of our services and shows us where we can improve, and I would welcome any views or observations you may have on the report or on specific areas of our performance.

Please email us at StratSupAdm@southlanarkshire.gov.uk

South Lanarkshire is the fifth largest local authority area in Scotland with a population of 321,000 and around 147,000 households.  We are also the third largest council provider of rented housing in Scotland – managing almost 25,000 homes for tenants.  As the population continues to rise year on year, this places demands on housing services.

Our stock provides a balance of house types and sizes to meet the majority of requirements of our tenants alongside specialist housing provision, including amenity and sheltered housing, for older people and tenants with mobility issues.

  • 4 in a block                          4,546
  • Highrise                               1,345
  • Houses                              11,613
  • Tenement                            5,459
  • Other flats/maisonettes       2,049

Understanding the information and how we compare to others

This report is based on the Scottish Social Housing Charter. The Charter applies to all social housing landlords in Scotland. It provides a basis for the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) to assess and report on how well landlords are performing and identify areas that might require further regulatory involvement.

This report and information which is available through the SHR’s website www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk helps us to compare our performance with other landlords and enables you to see where we are performing well and where we need to improve.

We gather information about our tenants in order that we can get a better understanding of their needs.  We know that 5.8% of tenants consider themselves to have a disability.  This information helps to ensure that housing services are both accessible and delivered in a way that meets the needs of our customers.

Ethnicity White Mixed or multiple ethnic background Asian Black Other ethnic background Unknown Overall

Council households   %

17,732

73.7%

        22

       0.1%

   65

 0.3%

   58

 0.2%

       121

       0.5%

    6,072

    25.2%

 24,070

  100%

Age profile of tenants

  • 16-24 years                           3%
  • 25-44 years                          29%
  • 45-64 years                          38%
  • 65 years +                            27%
  • Not known                              3%

Every three years we carry out a customer satisfaction survey to obtain views on a wide range of our services.  The feedback we receive helps to ensure that we deliver services which are ‘fit for purpose’ and meet the needs and demands of our customers.  The last full satisfaction survey was carried out in 2018/19 when we contacted over 4,000 customers and received 1,600 responses.  Here are the key highlights from this survey:

Survey findings - satisfaction %
Performance measure 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Keeping people informed 92% 86% 92% Doing well
Quality of your home 86% 83% 87% Doing well
Overall satisfaction with housing service 90% 85% 89% Doing well
Opportunities to participate  91% 81% 87% Doing well

Your opportunity to tell us what you think about our services

Understanding what our tenants think about the broad range of services we provide is extremely important to us. If you are contacted about any services you have recently used, please take the time to tell us how we did.

All feedback is completely confidential and helps us to identify areas for improvement and development. 

We also carry out other routine customer satisfaction surveys throughout the year.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is an issue that can affect individuals and communities across the country. Working with our partners we aim to resolve ASB complaints quickly and effectively to minimise the impact ASB can have on communities. Last year 2,023 cases of ASB were reported to us and investigated which is a 34% increase.

Performance measure 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Number of cases reported in the last year which were resolved 1926 N/A N/A N/A
% of cases resolved on time 95% 86% 94% Doing well

Earlier this year, we worked with our partners to carry out a review of the Anti-social Behaviour Policy.  As part of this we asked customers for views on how the council and its partners support those affected by ASB and the type of enforcement actions that should be taken against those who cause it.

We also carry out other routine customer satisfaction surveys throughout the year.

Survey findings - satisfaction %
Performance measure 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Management of neighbourhoods 86% 84% 86% Doing well

Gypsy/traveller community 100% - All tenants in this category said they were satisfied with management of their site

Survey findings - satisfaction %

Performance measure 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?

Satisfied with the management of their site

100% 73% 76% Doing well

We continue to work closely with residents of the two Gypsy/Traveller sites to progress a range of improvement works through agreed site masterplans. This includes increasing pitch sizes to offer additional space and achieve health and safety requirements, as well as the installation of new heating systems in amenity buildings. In 2021/22 this work will continue, with Wi-Fi to be installed at both sites and a new community facility at Shawlands Crescent, Larkhall.  

Meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) and Energy Efficiency Standards for Social Housing (EESSH)

23,385 homes now meet all five elements that make up the SHQS and during the current year we will continue to invest in home improvements which will help us to meet this standard.

There are around 1,627 homes (6.5% of all homes) which don’t meet the SHQS. This is where tenants or owners have refused to allow work to be carried out.  In these circumstances, we will try to carry out the necessary works at an appropriate future date.  The table below shows we are making good progress year on year to meet the standard.

In addition, we are also working towards making sure that all council homes are energy efficient (EESSH) in line with Scottish Government targets and are performing well above the local authority and Scottish averages. 

From 2021/22, we will begin reporting against the second phase of EESSH. This will see the council required to achieve higher levels of energy efficiency standards within its existing and new properties, and work towards a new target by 2032.

Meeting both sets of standards isn’t the end of the work to improve our homes.  As a minimum, we aim to maintain SHQS and EESSH standards and our planned and responsive maintenance programmes ensure that we will do this.

Performance measure  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How did they do?
SHQS 92.5% 93.2% 93.5% 89.1% 91.0% Doing well
EESSH  91.1% 93.4% 93.9% 85.0% 90.9% Doing well

Gas safety is a top priority with over 21,000 gas safety checks completed last year.

Each year, we aim to achieve 100% gas safety checks.  During 2020/21, to ensure the safety of tenants and our employees, we had to work in accordance with Scottish Government’s COVID-19 guidance and our own safety guidelines.   As a result of restrictions, where we were unable to gain access, or where access was refused due to positive Covid cases or self-isolation, we suspended our normal process of gaining entry to meet our legislative obligations. However, this was in line with both the Housing Regulator and the Health and Safety Executive’s advice. This meant that we were unable to complete gas safety checks within normal timescales in 1,768 (8%) of our properties over the course of the year. The good news is that all of our servicing is now fully up to date and we are on track to meet our 100% target this year.

About our repairs service

You have told us that the repairs service is one of the most important services we provide. This section sets out the volume and type of repairs carried out each year and how we have been performing over the last three years.

Average time to complete emergency repairs – target 24 hours

Our repairs performance during 2020/21 reflects the impact that COVID-19 restrictions placed on our service.  At the start of the pandemic, we focused on providing emergency repairs to tenants, with all non-emergency repairs suspended.  As restrictions eased, we were able to restart our full repairs service. The information below shows an increase in our emergency repairs, whilst our non-emergency numbers reduced.  However, despite these challenges we have improved our average time to complete non-emergency repairs.

Emergency repairs
Performance measure  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Average time to complete emergency repairs – target 24 hours 3.4 hrs 3.7 hrs 3.4 hrs 4.8 hrs 4.2 hrs Doing well

A wide range of work is carried out on a non-emergency or routine basis and last year we completed over 18,600 repairs.

  • Repairs by appointment – 8,843
  • Routine repairs – 3,767
  • Planned maintenance – 4,499
  • Other works – 1,516
Non-emergency repairs
Performance measure  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Average number of days to complete non-emergency repairs - target time 30 days

14.3 

days

14.2

days

13.1

days

9.7 

days

6.7

days

Doing     OK

While our performance is lower than the LAA or SA, we are well within the 30 day target we agreed with tenants. We focus on completing our repairs ‘right first time’ reducing the need for follow up visits and further disruption to our tenants.

Repairs right first time

We know that when work is needed it is important to tenants that it’s carried out quickly and to a high standard. Last year we were able to plan a high proportion of our reactive repairs (17,420) resulting in 99.95% of these carried out ‘right first time’.

Performance measure  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Repairs completed right first time 46109 40410 17412 N/A N/A Doing    well
% completed right first time 99.87% 99.91% 99.95% 90.0% 91.5% Doing well

Repairs satisfaction

Of the 1,006 tenants who responded to our survey 90.1% said they were satisfied overall with the repairs service.  This compares well with the landlord average.

Performance measure  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
% satisfied overall with repairs service 92.0% 92.8% 90.1% 90.3% 90.1% Doing    well

We are committed to making it as simple as possible for customers to access our services.  Working in partnership with a number of housing associations, we operate HomeFinder, the South Lanarkshire Common Housing Register.  Before applying for housing, applicants must complete the HomeOptions self-assessment tool, on the council’s website.  The tool provides a range of information and advice to help applicants consider the housing options which best suit their circumstances.  Applicants can then complete an on-line HomeFinder housing application form, to apply for housing with any of the HomeFinder landlords.  

At the end of March 2021, there were 17,346 applicants on the housing register, wishing to be housed within South Lanarkshire. The housing needs of these applicants are assessed in line with the HomeFinder assessment of housing need and queued on the appropriate list.

There are just over 17,000 people on the housing register

  • Waiting List – 12,597
  • Transfer List – 3,450
  • Urgent Housing Need – 1,299

Homes let

Despite ongoing restrictions, we continued to let homes to those in most housing need, including homeless households and other priority groups.  An achievement recognised by the Scottish Government.

We let 1,687 homes last year. 1,544 of these homes were ‘general needs’, while the remaining 143 were sheltered and amenity homes.

Performance measure 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
Number of homes let 1,936 2,006 1,687 N/A N/A Doing well
Average number of days to let a home 22.0 days 21.7 days 20.9 days 65.9 days 56.3 days Doing    well
% of lets to homeless households 49.2% 51.4% 61.1% N/A N/A Doing well
% of new tenants who remained in their home for more than 12 months 89.4% 90.1% 91.9% 91.4% 92.4% Doing well

Last year we managed to let our homes more quickly than the majority of other landlords.

Rent Loss from empty homes

Even when we perform very well in turning around empty homes, there will always be an element of rent loss. At the end of March, we had 135 homes which were empty while we carried out essential repairs and found the next tenant.  The rent loss during the year for homes available to let was £395,304.

Performance measure  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
% of rent loss 0.5% 0.5% 0.4% 1.5% 1.4% Doing    well

Annette Finnan - Head of Housing Services “Despite restrictions I am pleased that we were able to continue to let homes safely and ensure that those in most housing need, who are often most vulnerable, were provided with a safe and secure home during particularly challenging times.  It is also satisfying to see that we have performed well against the local authority and Scottish averages in turning around our empty homes, minimising rent loss and sustaining tenancies.  This position reflects the commitment shown by our employees within Housing and Technical Resources.”

Getting good value from rents and service charges

We continue to be one of the most affordable landlords in Scotland with the seventh lowest average weekly rent. The rent a tenant is required to pay depends on the type and size of the home. The table below shows the average rental charge for a council home over the last three years and provides a comparison against the Scottish average last year.

Average rents
No of bedrooms No of properties SLC average 2018/19 SLC average 2019/20 SLC average 2020/21 Local Authority average Scottish average
Bedsit 99 £57.27 £59.62 £61.95 £61.96 £73.61
1 6,348 £60.58 £63.02 £65.52 £72.07 £79.48
2 12,510 £67.00 £69.71 £72.51 £78.07 £82.60
3 5,286 £75.42 £78.60 £81.79 £84.90 £89.81
4+ 769 £79.29 £82.70 £86.31 £93.03 £99.97

Rent increase

Every effort is made to keep rent increases to a minimum and to keep rents affordable, while at the same time ensuring a high standard of service delivery and investment. This allows us to continue to improve our homes and meet quality and energy efficiency standards and build new affordable homes.

As part of the annual rent setting process, we consult widely with tenants across all areas of South Lanarkshire to get their views on proposed rent levels. For 2021/22, tenants were supportive of a temporary move away from the existing approach of setting rents on a multi-year basis, to reflect the uncertainty of the impact of the ongoing pandemic. A one year rent increase of 2.2% was proposed and approved for 2021/22, and took into consideration the financial uncertainty facing many of our tenants.

Performance measure 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average
Rent increase 3.95% 3.95% 2.2% 1.5% 1.2%

The total amount of rental income (and service charges) we were due to collect during 2020/21 was £93,969,021 and we successfully collected 97.37% (£91,498,400).  This amount also includes income that was due in previous years.

Performance measure 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average How are we doing?
% of rent collected 98.96% 99.70% 97.37% 98.8% 99.1% Doing well

 

Performance measure 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Local Authority Average Scottish Average
Gross rent arrears £5,850,673 £6,343,399 £7,757,756 N/A N/A
% of rent arrears 6.8% 7.0% 8.3% 8.5% 6.1%

Annette Finnan - Head of Housing Services “Rental income contributes towards providing high quality and affordable homes so it is important that we continue to perform well in this area.  We do however understand the financial pressure that the pandemic has had on many of our tenants and will continue to provide help and support during these difficult times.  Any tenant experiencing financial difficulties can contact their local housing team for advice and assistance.

We work hard to ensure that our housing services provide good value for money. As part of our tenant survey, 89.4% of our tenants told us that they felt our services represented good value for money.

The information below provides a breakdown of the key areas of expenditure within the Housing Revenue Account (which is the total of the rent and other income received) during 2020/21 and how this was used for the benefit of our tenants.

How every £1 is spent

2020/21 - £100 m total spend 
Staffing and management costs 30p
Housing repairs including adaptations 30p 
Capital investment 18p
Debt repayment costs  16p
Grounds and garden maintenance 4p
Rent loss from empty properties 2p