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Audit Commission Inspectorate ...
Audit Commission Inspectorate

Dover DC

Dover DC's housing management services have been slammed as poor with little prospect of improvement.

An Audit Commission inspection gave the service a no-star rating because it found that financial planning was weak.

The commission concluded it was not clear to some tenants what rent they should pay and that the council's rent collection rate had dropped substantially over the last 18 months. Evidence of miscalculation of costs charged to the housing revenue account was found.

Key weaknesses included inadequate work to identify resources needed to provide a decent standard of council housing and that, at the start of the year, the housing revenue account was in deficit. One main strength was that housing staff are customer focused.

'Dover have addressed the immediate issue regarding the balance of the housing revenue account, but there is clearly much more to be done to provide tenants with a better service,' said chief inspector of housing Roy Irwin.

The council called the report 'very disappointing' and said it will take all necessary measures to improve its service.

Dover DC

Dover DC's construction and maintenance services are fair but have poor prospects for improvement, the Audit Commission has said.

An inspection team gave the service a one star rating because its performance management was weak and was not operating as a fully integrated unit.

The inspection criticised the construction and maintenance service's failure to develop the council's asset management plan further in the light of an estimated£8.2m backlog of repairs on non-housing stock and a funding shortfall of£18.7m for repairs and improvements to housing stock.

Key strengths identified in the report were that users of the service are generally satisfied with its quality and accessibility and that the service performance for housing repairs completed within government time limits is among the best of councils nationwide.

Richmond upon Thames LBC

The Audit Commission has described the financial support service provided by the Richmond upon Thames LBC as excellent

and having promising prospects for improvement.

The service was given three stars because of a high level of customer satisfaction and for its speed and quality.

The inspection praised the service for being responsive to the needs of claimants and users, being provided at a low cost to residents and for being within the top 25% of outer London councils.

'Richmond currently provides an excellent service that meets the needs of its residents,' the commission's chief inspector of housing Roy Irwin said.

'The service works well with other partners both within the council and external to it. Collection of local taxes is also among the best performers.'

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