Monday 20 May 2024
13 C
Nottingham

Work needed to improve Nottingham council housing, says review

“Considerable work” is needed to bring Nottingham’s council housing up to a good standard, according to a new report.

A review of Nottingham City Council’s housing stock has been conducted, which shows around 53 per cent of homes have a “medium to high confidence rating”.

However a council report, which will be discussed at a Housing and City Development Scrutiny Committee on April 15, says this “still leaves considerable work to be undertaken”.

Documents published ahead of the meeting say the review will inform an action plan.

The news comes after it emerged the council unlawfully diverted millions of pounds in council rent payers’ money to the authority’s general fund for other services, when it should have been ringfenced for council housing improvements.

- Advertisement -

Money from what is known as the Housing Revenue Account is typically spent on areas such as repairs and maintenance, and opposition councillors said tenants had lost out as a result.

The issue was uncovered in 2021 by then-corporate director of finance Clive Heaphy, who said the cost to put the things right was in the region of £51m.

Documents now say different areas of the council’s housing stock and actions needed to improve them have been given a ‘RAG’ (red, amber, green).

Red is when an action is at risk due to timescales, costs and other hurdles, whereas green means the action is on track and achievable.

Documents show 14 actions needed in health and safety are in the red, while 11 actions needed in repairs, maintenance and planned improvements are also in the red.

In total, 13 actions are in the green, 108 are in yellow, and 109 are in the red.

Documents say: “Many of the outstanding actions are relatively quick and simple to resolve, such as reviewing existing policies to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

“However, there are some more significant tasks being addressed, including a 100 per cent stock condition survey, establishment of the Housing Action Board to better engage with residents and an independent review of the council’s compliance systems to confirm that it is keeping homes safe.”

The report comes as the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH), the independent body responsible for setting standards, has revised and published its new consumer standards, which all social housing providers will be required to adhere to from April 2024.

These will help form a new regulatory regime established under the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023.

After the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the Government published its Social Housing Green Paper ‘New Deal for Social Housing’ and the Social Housing White Paper.

In this was a focus on safety and ensuring greater transparency for residents, enabling them to have a voice in how their homes are managed.

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act, which was put in place last year, will bring forward a stronger and more proactive regulatory regime to improve standards in the sector and hold landlords to account for the service they provide to their tenants.

This in turn has given the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) enhanced powers to issue unlimited fines and order improvement plans.

According to council documents, the RSH now has a full year of inspections planned.

Documents highlight that it expects “only a few” housing services to achieve the best rating.

If a service gets the lowest two ratings, the RSH will work with the provider to make sure critical changes are made.

•  Nottinghamshire house closed down because of ASB and drug activity

•  18-metre whale to appear in Nottinghamshire town centre

Follow The Wire on TikTok, Facebook, X, Instagram. Send your story to newsdesk@westbridgfordwire.com or via WhatsApp on 0115 772 0418

Categories:
 

Latest