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The housing management service provided by Havering LBC is judged to be a fair service with promising prospects for...
The housing management service provided by Havering LBC is judged to be a fair service with promising prospects for improvement, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

Adrian Brown, lead housing inspector for the east London region, said:

'Overall, tenants are satisfied with the services they receive. Staff are welcoming and helpful and performance on rent collection is amongst the best for London councils. However, some services such as caretaking and grounds maintenance are variable. There is also a lack of consistency in the way people on the housing waiting and transfer list are dealt with.'

The inspectors have identified a number of key issues for the council:

. not all offices comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995

. a lack of clarity in response to domestic violence and racial harassment

. limited information in relation to advice on welfare benefits

. inconsistencies in the provision of caretaking and grounds maintenance

. a lack of a proactive approach for dealing with anti-social behaviour

. a lack of consistency in the treatment of waiting list and transfer list applicants for housing

. inconsistencies in visiting new tenants

. weaknesses in the tenant participation structures

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:

. improve the signage to all housing offices

. take steps to increase staff awareness of tackling racial harassment and domestic violence and become more proactive in dealing with both these areas and providing support to complainants

. ensure that the new grounds maintenance contract is based on outcomes and that tenants and leaseholders are involved in its production and award

. take action to move towards a consistent cleaning standard for all estates, taking into account budgetary pressures and tenant and leaseholder views

. ensure that all statutory timescales for the right to buy process are consistently met

. take action to improve the representativeness of tenants and residents involved in consultations with the housing service

. ensure that the tenant participation working party is open to the public and widely publicised

Copies of the report are available on the Audit Commission website at

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