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SELBY REPAIRS SERVICE RATED AS 'FAIR'

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Selby DC's repairs and maintenance service is rated as 'fair' by inspectors from independent watchdog the Audit Com...
Selby DC's repairs and maintenance service is rated as 'fair' by inspectors from independent watchdog the Audit Commission, in a report published today.

Housing inspectors awarded Selby one star out of a possible three, because of good customer involvement, high satisfaction rates with the service delivered, a well managed gas servicing programme and a responsive adaptations service.

However, there were some significant weaknesses including a relatively high proportion of repairs not completed within timescales and service costs have not been reviewed to identify potential savings. Also performance management is not as effective as it should be and the council has not considered whether the repairs service is delivering value for money.

A number of improvements have been implemented since the service was last inspected three years ago. Customer involvement has improved significantly, performance indicators in most areas show an improvement and strategic investment decisions are based on robust information. Prospects for future improvements are judged as 'promising'.

Audit Commission lead housing inspector Suki Jandu, said: 'Some elements of the service provided by Selby are good from a customer perspective and tenants have confirmed that they have seen improvements in the last couple of years. But there are still weaknesses in some areas. For example the repairs service is not performing as well as one would expect with many repairs completed outside of target times.

The council has yet to demonstrate it can address the problems experienced in the past with major improvement schemes, however, we think the service will continue to improve'

The report highlights a number of key strengths, including:

- Given the high percentage of elderly tenants in the area, waiting times have been reduced significantly and are prioritised to meet the needs of disabled residents.

- Gas appliances are serviced during the summer months on an annual basis to minimise disruption to customers.

- Roadshows and consultation events are held in rural locations to improve access to the service.

- A good range of good easy to read leaflets available for tenants including advice on how to accurately report a repair.

- Residents have been involved in designing improvements in their areas and the decisions regarding the allocation of budgets for environmental improvement schemes.

However, there are some issues which need to be addressed:

- Office opening times are traditional and the appointment system is not as flexible as it could be.

- The repairs service is not managed to ensure an appropriate response to emergencies and that all repairs are delivered cost-effectively.

- Performance management information is not shared effectively with staff to ensure that they are aware of how their actions are impacting on targets and service outcomes.

- Not making effective use of the data being collected toconfirm which sections of the community are able to access the service and are satisfied with the service provided.

- The council is spending a high percentage of its budget on responsive repairs as opposed to planned improvements.

- Not testing the responsive repairs service in order to demonstrate it is delivering value for money.

A copy of the report is available on the Audit Commission's website (www.audit-commission.gov.uk) or from Selby DC.

NOTES

Selby DC owns approximately 3325 rented homes. The council is responsible for all day to day housing management services including management of the housing capital programme, responsive repairs and empty property management, rent collection and arrears recovery, estate management and tenant participation. The revenue budget for the service is around£1.6m.

The housing Inspectorate was established to provide the public with an independent assessment of whether best value is being achieved by their local council. Inspection reports judge how well a housing service is currently serving local people, based on a star rating from 0-3 where 0 is poor and 3 excellent, and its prospects for improvement in the future.

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