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INCONSISTENCIES LEAD TO ONE STAR FOR HOUSING ASSOCIATION

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The housing services provided by Rother Homes are 'fair' and promising to improve, according to an independent repo...
The housing services provided by Rother Homes are 'fair' and promising to improve, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

On a scale of zero to three stars the Audit Commission inspection team gave the East Sussex-based housing association one star because the overall service is reasonable but there are inconsistencies in specific areas that need to be addressed.

Hugh Boatswain, Audit Commission senior manager, said: 'The overall service provided to residents is reasonable but Rother has to ensure consistent standards across all services including repairs and maintenance, value for money considerations and customer focus in service delivery. These are issues the housing association should address:

The inspectors found:

* services that are targeted and prioritised according to need

* good collection and management of arrears

* proactivity in partnership-working to tackle anti social behaviour

But they also found:

* inconsistent customer focus

* a mixed responsive repairs service

* a lack of consistency over informal opportunities for tenant involvement

* improper measurements of service satisfaction from different sections of the community

To help the service improve, inspectors recommended that the association should:

* address inconsistencies in access arrangements and customer focus in services

* improve informal opportunities for involvement

* implement more effective performance monitoring arrangements

Rother Homes looks after 3,220 properties, 98 per cent of which are in Rother District. The area is largely rural and is characterised by its high population of older people. The association, a subsidiary of the Horizon Housing Group, is the result of a stock transfer from Rother DC. Rother employs 139 staff across all services.

Copies of the report are available from the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk

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