/ Home / Your Council / News / News Releases / 2012 / February
Chairman welcomes positive inspection of Highland housing service (10/02/12)
An inspection of housing services provided by The Highland Council has recognised the Council’s strengths in delivering its housing services.
The Scottish Housing Regulator published the findings of an inspection made in October 2011 during which the inspection team:
- spoke to tenants, staff and councillors;
- asked other organisations what they thought;
- visited homes and local areas and observed services being delivered;
- examined key policies and publications.
The Inspection found that the Council has:
- a good approach to managing rent arrears,
- a good approach to letting its houses;
- a good range of information for people applying for housing ;
- a good approach to tenancies and neighbourhood management;
- a positive approach to tenant participation;
- effective working partnerships with other agencies in dealing with antisocial behaviour and responds quickly to complaints;
- a sound regime for maintaining its housing estates in a good condition; and,
- clear plans to achieve compliance with the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.
The inspection also highlighted some areas where we could improve our services, in particular:
- carrying out more tenant satisfaction surveys and consulting tenants on investment priorities;
- although the inspection found that all allocations were made appropriately in terms of policy it was recommended that we should strengthen the guidance we give staff on allocations;
- reducing rent loss due to empty properties;
- monitoring the quality of completed repairs and measuring contractors’ performance;
Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee said: “I’d like to thank the tenants and staff who participated in this important inspection and the inspection team itself for the work they have done with us. We are pleased that the inspection report acknowledges the many strengths we have and our commitment to providing the best possible landlord services.
The inspection also highlighted some areas for improvement, many of which we already have active plans to address. “
The full inspection report and a draft Improvement Plan will be considered by the Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee on 7 March. The report can be viewed on either the Council or Scottish Housing Regulator Website.
The Council’s Housing and Property Service has a stock of 13,000 council houses.
It is currently spending £15,385,000 each year on improving the condition of council houses so that they meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. The Council aims to have every house meeting the standard by 2015.
The Council is also spending £7.8 million in 2012-13 on building council houses. Already 100 have or are in the process of being built and the Council aims to complete the construction of 750 houses over the next five years.
The Service was highly commended at the Housing and Social Work Committee for achieving efficiency savings which enabled the Council to contain the council house rent increase for the second year in succession to a rate well below inflation ie the increase in 2012-13 is 1.9%.