Agenda item


The Director of Housing submits a report setting out the new vision and priorities for the tenancy management service including details of the support provided to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness.


Members of the Commission will be asked to note the vision and priorities for the service and to provide any comments as feedback.


18.40 The Chair agreed to a short adjournment.

18.50 Meeting resumed.


The Director of Housing submitted a report setting out the new vision and priorities for the Tenancy Management service including details of the support provided to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness.


The Head of Service, Tenancy Management introduced the report and gave an overview of recent developments, this included insight into the number of welfare visits undertaken, and highlighted the support provided to tenants to help sustain their tenancies and prevent homelessness.


Members noted that the profile of estates had changed significantly and the number of tenants with complex needs and chaotic lifestyles had risen. The “Everyone In” initiative had helped house people who had mental health issues or alcohol/drug dependency requiring additional support in their accommodation to manage those issues.


Along with the vision to be “a customer focused landlord service that enables tenants to live well and have successful tenancies” six key priorities had been developed (set out at paragraph 1.5 of report). These were based upon feedback from tenants as well as information gathered from other services and best practice identified elsewhere.


Members were informed about the support provided by the Supporting Tenants and Residents (STAR) service, this included details of new eligibility criteria introduced in May 2021 and how STAR had developed its service around Trauma Informed Practice which was a strength based approach that valued the capacity, skills, knowledge, connections and potential of individuals and communities.


Attention was drawn to the partnership working being carried out as well as data within the report which included information about referrals and information detailing the vulnerabilities of tenants being supported.


The Chair thanked officers for the report and commented upon recent national publicity about homes that were not fit to live in due to condensation and mould, and the death of a child had highlighted the issue.


Officers responded that there were still problems in council housing such as condensation or other defects and as soon as an issue was reported arrangements were made for an inspection to be carried out to identify the source of the issue and offer advice to tenants. Cases were prioritised based on condition and vulnerability of the household and sometimes alternative housing was offered whilst works were carried out.


The Director of Housing confirmed that a specialist group had been brought together to tackle mould/damp issues and all homes reporting that issue in the last 2 years had been reassessed. There had also been increased activity and investment such as in humidity devices to identify problems, referrals to technical teams, and assessment of tenants who say damp/mould was their reason for wanting to be re-housed.


The Chair commented that priority 3 online services reflected a lot of issues for people, and it was queried where the balance of the issue lay. Officers confirmed that they were trying to introduce online services and there was a need to champion those services assisting people with less IT ability to use them the first time and showing where they can get further help and support e.g., at libraries. It was recognised there may always be a group that could not access services online and so the service would still want to provide local housing officers that people could contact directly.


The Chair commented that fire safety remained a critical issue and enquired whether there was any progress in the government adopting recommendations from the Grenfell Fire Enquiry. The Director of Housing replied that fire safety was paramount in all housing stock and this council had always taken it seriously to the extent where millions of pounds had been invested to ensure compliance and there was close work with the fire service. Housing services always undertook the works recommended or required, including recent installation of sprinkler systems in all tower blocks to add an additional degree of protection.


Members noted that in terms of a key recommendation around Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP’s) for disabled and vulnerable tenants who need assistance to evacuate, this was something Leicester had in place for a number of years although the government had not yet adopted that.


The Commission congratulated the staff member who received the Turning Point Inspiring Leicester award.


Members raised concerns about the number of people experiencing difficulties calling to request repairs especially the elderly and people with English as a second language. The Director of Housing advised that he was not aware of any specific delays to calls coming through and there was an intention to encourage more reporting online, so the channel shift would free up the customer service centre to be able to answer more important calls. There were still some priority emergency calls that went through customer call centre but in relation to the online system, thousands of reports had been logged and had gone very smoothly and Members were invited to provide more detail of any specific delays outside the meeting.


There was a brief discussion about family and community support services, and it was noted that where cases were identified of people struggling financially they were referred for STAR support,  who could assist with budgeting advice and help claiming benefits.


Members were advised that in terms of next steps the team would be developing an action plan to include timelines for implementing all elements of the tenancy management offer however some aspects would occur sooner i.e., the ASB team would be set up around April 2023, so there was work to do on connecting timelines and tying in funding streams.


In relation to help and support available within libraries it was noted that housing officers shared a joint reception area so people should be able to go into their nearest library and get initial advice as well as sign posting and support to access online services.


The Chair asked officers to provide a future report providing details of the setting up of a customer care system (para 4.4 of report) and how well that system had been received and how well targets and objectives were being met.



1.    That the contents of the report be noted,

2.    That a future report providing details of the setting up of a customer care system be brought to a future meeting as requested above.

Supporting documents: