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North Kesteven DC's care of housing stock services are fair with promising prospects for improvement, according to ...
North Kesteven DC's care of housing stock services are fair with promising prospects for improvement, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

The housing inspection team gave the service one star because tenants satisfaction is good and there is a good ratio of planned to responsive repairs.

Martin Palmer, lead housing inspector, said:

'The inspection team found that the services had some strengths such as tenant satisfaction with the overall housing service provided, a good ratio of expenditure on planned and responsive works, and low repair costs indicating good value for money. However improvements are needed in re-let times, some responsive repair timescales and landscape maintenance services.

'The greatest level of improvement is needed in the grants service for private sector repairs. The council needs to undertake a house condition survey and then develop a coherent strategy for private sector housing which will reduce the level of unfit houses and provide better value for money.'

The inspection report highlights some strengths:

The council's performance in completing urgent repairs within time limits is good.

Low repair costs per dwelling show that the council is providing good value for money.

The council has shown that it is committed to providing competitive services, whether that involves outsourcing or retention in-house.

However, inspectors also found weaknesses:

Tenants have to wait a long time for some repairs to be carried out.

Performance on empty properties is poor, owing in part to the quality of administration services.

The council does not run an efficient and effective post-inspection service and there is inconsistent performance on appointments.

Grants for private sector housing are not well targeted for reducing levels of unfitness.

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

Ensure tenants are consulted on changes of policy and procedure for empty properties.

Review repairs categories to avoid duplication and tenant confusion and ensure that all repairs are undertaken within a reasonable time.

Review grants expenditure for private sector repairs with the aim of reducing levels of unfitness in the district.

The care of housing stock review covered responsive repairs, works to empty council properties, capital improvements, planned maintenance and landscape care for the council's housing stock, together with the grants service for private sector housing repairs

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