Bentilee Community has 920 flats, transferred from the local authority in 1998, and 10 houses on the Bentilee Estate in Stoke on Trent.
- Bentilee Community does the grounds maintenance of all its flats. This results in generally well kept and tidy gardens and contributes to a good external appearance.
- The lettings service includes a pre-registration interview, collection of references, accompanied viewings and post letting visits. The work of tenancy Support Officers in this process is resulting in more sustainable tenancies.
- Bentilee Community has delivered a successful joint funded burglary reduction initiative for the Bentilee Estate as a whole. In its first year the estate's Community Warden Scheme, managed by Bentilee Housing, is showing promise.
To help Bentilee Community in its work to improve its services the inspection team made recommendations in the following areas:
- Procedures for dealing with anti-social behaviour and the way Bentilee Community targets its performance when delivering services to black and ethnic minorities need enhancing.
- Bentilee Community can improve its control and monitoring of performance in its repairs and its lettings services.
- It should give its tenants and other stakeholders a greater role in influencing service delivery.
- Bentilee Community should further address and promote diversity in its service delivery.
- Bentilee Community is raising standards in service delivery. Inspectors saw continuous improvement being driven by an annual programme of reviews and a service that was targeted and monitored. They saw many examples of changes to service delivery as a result of these approaches.
Philip Mills, principal inspector said: 'In an area of so cial deprivation and with a stock profile that leads to a relatively high turnover of tenants, Bentilee Community is committed to improving the lives of its tenants and, in its work in the wider community, all the residents of the Bentilee Estate. Since the transfer of the flats in 1998 it has refurbished 90% of them and improved service delivery to the satisfaction of its tenants.'
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The Audit Commission is an independent body responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively, to achieve high-quality local and national services for the public. Our work covers local government, housing, health and criminal justice services. We have taken on inspection of housing associations since April 1 2003.
As an independent watchdog, we provide important information on the quality of public services. As a driving force for improvement in those services, we provide practical recommendations and spread best practice. As an independent auditor, we monitor spending to ensure public services are good value for money.