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BEST VALUE - OFFICE HOURS OPENING AND BUSY PHONE LEAD TO FAIR RATING

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Kingston upon Hull City Council's housing customer service and Barrow in Furness BC's housing repairs service recei...
Kingston upon Hull City Council's housing customer service and Barrow in Furness BC's housing repairs service received a 'fair' rating from the Best Value Inspectorate.
Inspectors criticised Hull's opening hours and telephone service, while Barrow's inspection of repair work and the nature of its repairs were singled out for improvement.
The report said Hull's opening hours do not allow tenants access to services outside traditional office hours, meaning only emergency repairs can carried out at weekends and evenings. It pointed out that in a city where 32% of homes are council-owned - significantly above the national average - telephone access to the service is not good, with 'significant numbers of external telephone calls resulting in a 'busy' tone'.
But the service was redeemed by general satisfaction with the quality of service and the range of services offered at local housing offices.
The inspectors said Barrow's housing repairs received one star because too many of its repairs are emergency repairs, the quality control of standards through post inspection of repair work is haphazard and there needs to be better monitoring and analysis of repair trends. The service's number of repairs completed on time and emergency service were praised.
The Islington LBC's parks and open spaces were rated with two stars, with a 79% public satisfaction level, compared to a London-wide average of 64%.
Maintenance of grass, flower-beds, litter collection and staff's response to local concerns were found to be good. It was noted that the borough has the highest number of play areas per 1,000 children under 12 in London, though 95% do not meet national standards for the quality of play provision.
Ryedale DC's out of hours and emergency service for elderly and disabled people was rated as good, with a 92% satisfaction rating among residents of a local housing association using the service. But a more proactive marketing and pricing policy is needed, said the report.
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