Item 4.3.3
                          Appendix 1




 West North West homes Leeds

Environmental Estate Management
        ...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                   Appendix 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

West North Wes...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                  Appendix 1
working with residents and organis...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                     Appendix 1
BACKGROUND

This strategy has b...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                   Appendix 1


CURRENT SERVICE PROVISION

West...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                     Appendix 1
are identified and referrals ma...
Item 4.3.3
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Building Cleaning

Cleaning S...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                      Appendix 1
CUSTOMER DEMAND

Our customers...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                     Appendix 1
This is also reflected in the p...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                   Appendix 1
STRATEGIC AIMS

1.    Develop a p...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                     Appendix 1
This structure compliments the ...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                 Appendix 1


Several new services have been id...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                     Appendix 1
The review will develop options...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                   Appendix 1
operational level. We will theref...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                    Appendix 1
Support Team and Neighbourhood M...
Item 4.3.3
                                                                 Appendix 1




MONITORING AND REVIEW

Monitori...
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Item 4.3.3 Environmental Estate Management Strategy.doc

  1. 1. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 West North West homes Leeds Environmental Estate Management Strategy 2008 - 10 1 of 16
  2. 2. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY West North West homes Leeds (WNWhL) manages over 21,000 properties across a large geographical area to the North and West of Leeds with a diversity of communities, cultures and environmental conditions. This strategy has been developed to highlight the main environmental issues facing the whole district and to help identify the actions that West North West homes might take to help address some of the wider issues affecting it, thereby improving the standard of our estate environment. This forms one of our existing strategic business objectives: To set clear and ambitious targets to improve the customers perception of the area they live in through environmental service improvements and targeted investment. To measure perception through the eyes of the customer, including through tenant inspections, estate walkabouts, involvement with local associations and in partnership with local groups and bodies. “Putting Customers First” is WNWhL’s Mission Statement and we will work to this principle to ensure that services are developed through comprehensive consultation with customers and stakeholders. We will also ensure that we follow our Organisation’s Values: • Putting the Customer First • Integrity • To be excellent • Get it Right first time • Learning organisation • Embrace Equality and Diversity • To be innovative • Socially responsible and accountable This Strategy also links to other organisational strategies and action plans including: • Customer Involvement Strategy • Value for Money Strategy • Every Child Matters Action Plan • Vulnerability Housing Strategy • Equality and Diversity Strategy • Communication and Marketing Strategy • Leeds City Council Graffiti Strategy • Community Safety Strategy • Access to Services Strategy We recognise that WNWhL cannot tackle all the environmental challenges facing the area on its own. Achieving the aims of the strategy will involve working in close partnership with other agencies, voluntary organisations and all sectors of the community. The strategy therefore seeks to encourage 2 of 16
  3. 3. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 working with residents and organisations to develop greater environmental awareness, partnerships and participation. The aims of the strategy are: • Develop a performance management framework that pro-actively manages estate issues • Involve our customers in the design and implementing of service changes and improvements • Develop innovative new services to customers that offer value for money . • Improve the provision of environmental services by working in partnership with the council, and other organisations. • Contribute to environmental improvements and the reduction of anti- social behaviour in order to create safe, attractive places to live in. • Ensure that effective mechanisms are in place to support those tenants who are vulnerable, elderly or disabled in the environmental maintenance of their tenancy 3 of 16
  4. 4. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 BACKGROUND This strategy has been developed following the merger of the two former ALMO’s, Leeds North West Homes and Leeds West Homes into West North West homes Leeds in April 2007. The merger of the two organisations has resulted in the restructuring of staff teams and a reappraisal of policies and procedures. Both former organisations had a strong focus on environmental issues and the merger has afforded an opportunity to build on best practice elements to organise and deliver services more efficiently and effectively for the benefit of our customers. The successful implementation of the Environmental and Estate Management Strategy will facilitate this process by introducing processes that will improve the environmental management of the West North West homes area in consultation with residents and partner organisations. Current issues The judgement arising from the HQN mock inspection in October 2007 showed Estate Management as a fair, one star service and a more recent provisional judgement by the ALMO’s critical friend in June 2008 assessed Estate Management as a fair, one star service with promising prospects for improvement. The report from The Housing Quality Network identified the need for several improvements to our services, in order to achieve: • Internal and external communal areas maintained to a safe standard and with a cared for and attractive appearance. • Clear and well publicised service standards. • Regular, systematic and effective recorded estate inspections with evidence of monitoring follow up actions, including resident involvements. • Estate services costs fully understood and demonstrating value for money. • Effective performance management of all activities including quality and outcome measures. • Partnership working to deliver services (including private sector partners). 4 of 16
  5. 5. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 CURRENT SERVICE PROVISION West North West homes manages a large and diverse area which extends from the inner city areas of Little London and Armley which are close to Leeds City Centre out to Pudsey and Otley which border the neighbouring authorities of Bradford and Harrogate. Estate Management includes the range of services relating to the management of housing estates, including all communal housing land, garage sites and also residential gardens. Referrals received in the Environmental Services Team for the three month period from mid February 2008 to mid May 2008 are varied as shown below: Void Area Panel General Fly tipping Graffiti Total Gardens North West Inner 201 98 35 22 356 North West Outer 101 22 4 7 134 West Inner 170 51 14 26 261 West Outer 145 47 31 6 229 Total 617 218 84 61 980 West North West homes are responsible for managing all housing estates and services are delivered through both the ALMO’s Environmental Services Team and eight locally based Neighbourhood Housing Management offices. These services include: Estate Walkabouts and Inspections Regular estate inspections and walkabouts are undertaken by staff and local housing offices to identify issues. We include our customers and partners e.g. Neighbourhood Wardens in this process to ensure that the estates are regularly monitored in consultation with residents and issues of public concern highlighted. These walkabouts will be advertised in a variety of ways including the website, to maximise the opportunity for customer involvement. Communal areas includes garages and parking Monitoring of these issues is undertaken by housing office staff, Neighbourhood Wardens and estate caretaking teams. Appropriate actions 5 of 16
  6. 6. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 are identified and referrals may be sent to other teams within the organisation including Environmental Services Team, Tenant Enforcement Team, Repairs and Maintenance Team and Neighbourhood Planning Team. Fly Tipping, Litter and Graffiti These issues can substantially detract from the appearance of estates and graffiti in particular can have a negative effect on the overall visual environment thereby contributing to the fear of crime for residents and visitors. New legislation such as the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 have provided new powers to address environmental crime. More detail can be found in our Environmental Estate Management Policy, Anti Social behaviour Policy and Community Safety Strategy. West North West homes Environmental Services Team undertakes the removal of fly tipping, litter and graffiti in-house. Grounds Maintenance Grounds Maintenance is presently delivered by Glendale Services through the city-wide Grounds Maintenance Contract which commenced in 2005/06 and is being re-tendered to commence from March 2010. The contract is administered by Leeds City Council (City Services) and monitoring is undertaken by West North West homes Leeds’ Environmental Services Team in consultation with our customers and a team of Tenant Inspectors. The contract is structured to provide differential frequencies of cutting to general estate grass (standard) and grass surrounding sheltered housing complexes (enhanced). Regular contract performance meetings are held which are attended by staff of Leeds City Council, the ALMO and the contractor to identify issues and suggest areas for improvement. Tree Management The West North West homes area includes a large population of trees that are located within the gardens of our properties, on communal land and in woodland areas, many of which are adjacent to our estates. These trees are a valuable visual contribution to our urban and rural landscapes and also provide a number of environmental benefits. The management of trees in the West North West homes area is administered by the Environmental Services Team in consultation with other organisational stakeholders including housing office staff, sheltered housing wardens and customers and issues are identified from estate inspections/walkabouts and customer enquiries. We review requirements for tree maintenance on an estate wide basis and promote the planting of trees where appropriate in consultation with residents and staff. 6 of 16
  7. 7. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 Building Cleaning Cleaning Services to West North West homes buildings are undertaken by both the in-house Multi-Storey Caretaking Team and also the Commercial Services Division of Leeds City Council. The number of buildings cleaned are as follows: Multi-Storey Blocks (includes 5 sheltered housing blocks) 47 Low Rise Sheltered Complexes 45 Maisonettes 36 Low Rise Blocks 292 Office Sites 7 Total Sites 427 The cleaning of the building includes communal areas, lifts, stairways including landings and refuse collection areas. The cleaning of these areas is presently under review There is regular on site contact between the ALMO’s caretaking staff and the cleaners employed by Commercial Services to maintain standards in Multi- Storey blocks and cleaners also work closely with wardens in sheltered complexes to ensure high levels of cleanliness. Site monitoring is undertaken by supervisory staff of Commercial Services and also West North West homes staff. Window Cleaning The cleaning of buildings also includes contracts in respect of window cleaning to the exterior of Multi-Storey blocks, Sheltered complexes and low rise properties. One contract applies specifically to the external cleaning of communal windows to multi-storey blocks with two contracts for the remaining low rise dwellings. Monitoring is undertaken by caretaking and supervisory staff of West North West homes who also administer payments. 7 of 16
  8. 8. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 CUSTOMER DEMAND Our customers tell us that the environment in which they live is important to them and this is reflected in the high number of enquiries we receive regarding our environmental services. Enquiries from customers relating to environmental issues vary considerably throughout the year and closely reflect the growing season, particularly in terms of those enquiries regarding grass cutting and other horticultural services. Between January and March 2007, we received 387 environmental and estate management queries through Contact Leeds whereas from July to September 2007, this rose to 1342. Enquiries were made regarding communal area cleaning, fencing, fly tipping, garden, grass cutting and permissions. Of these queries, around 50% were made regarding garden services and around 25% regarding communal area cleaning. We also received a significant number of queries regarding grass cutting services. Customer Satisfaction In terms of customer satisfaction and priorities, we regularly analyse satisfaction with a range of services, including Environmental works. In December 2007, WNWhL carried out a comprehensive Status survey of tenants. The results show that around 19% of tenants are either dissatisfied or neither satisfied or dissatisfied with their neighbourhood. When this is broken down, key issues that tenants identified as problems were: • Vandalism over 50% • Graffiti over 50% • Litter and rubbish over 60% Prior to the most recent Status survey, the two former organisations also analysed satisfaction with environmental services through comprehensive surveys carried out in 2006, and found similar results in terms of overall satisfaction levels. In Leeds West homes, a more detailed survey of tenant satisfaction identified that 39% of tenants felt the area they lived in was of a poor condition, rising to 65% in the Bramley ward. The key issues identified, reflected those from the most recent Status survey: • Litter and rubbish • Vandalism • Graffiti 8 of 16
  9. 9. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 This is also reflected in the priorities we have identified through consultation with a customer sounding board in developing our new Estate Management Service Standards. These focus on ensuring the effective maintenance of the areas in which our residents live, such as good quality grounds maintenance and grass cutting, building cleanliness, removal of graffiti and dealing with fly tipping. 9 of 16
  10. 10. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 STRATEGIC AIMS 1. Develop a performance management framework that pro-actively manages estate issues In response to feedback from our customers and analysis of our performance, West North West homes Leeds is developing a Corporate Performance Management Framework which combines local and corporate indicators that will allow for consistent and effective reporting. Performance Indicators have been identified for Environmental Estate Management, based on our service standards. These cover a range of issues, including the speed with which we deliver a service, the number of estate inspections and walkabouts we carry out each year and customer satisfaction with the services we provide. We will use these indicators to share performance data with our staff and customers and to identify areas for improvement in our service. Our approach will be open and transparent. We will do this by continuing to involve customers in monitoring our performance, through our Service Improvement Groups, Customer Sounding Boards and regular publicity. West North West homes will continue to develop close working between the Environmental teams, housing offices and customers to ensure the estate management issues can be identified quickly and appropriate responsive action taken with agreed timescales. Our approach will be outlined in relevant policies. We will use our performance management information to analyse patterns of demand for environmental services so that we can deploy resources effectively and efficiently to reflect seasonal fluctuations and other changes. This will allow us to develop a more planned approach to work which uses resources more effectively and better meets customers’ expectations. 2. Involve our customers in the design and implementing of service changes and improvements During 2008, we have developed a comprehensive approach to service development and service improvement which is based on customer feedback and consultation. Within Environmental Services, a Service Improvement Group (SIG) made up of staff and customers has led this process, with a Customer Sounding Board also created to allow regular dialogue with our customers to shape service improvements. We have also developed customer satisfaction surveys which will further enhance the range of information available to inform service delivery. 10 of 16
  11. 11. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 This structure compliments the existing Customer Involvement and Governance arrangements, such as tenants and Residents Associations, Area Panels and Board and Sub Committees. The feedback that West North West homes has received from customers through these channels has identified several areas for service improvement. These are identified in our Service Improvement Plan. Some of the key actions that are being undertaken as service improvement priorities are: • Estate Inspections/Walkabouts – we have developed a system of regular estate inspections and walkabouts incorporating effective monitoring and resident involvement, including staff training regarding service standards and operational procedures. • Customer Satisfaction – we will develop our approach to the monitoring of customer satisfaction in respect of estate services and incorporating residents views in service development plans. • Value for Money – we will develop a system for measuring and recording value for money in all estate services, including a review of SLAs and Contracts and incorporating resident involvement. • Caretaking and Cleaning – we are developing options for the future delivery of the Multi-Storey Caretaking and Building Cleaning service. • Grounds Maintenance – we are reviewing our grounds maintenance contract to improve the standard of grass cutting and examine options for delivering a “Parks Standard” specification. • Weed Spraying – we will identify additional areas for weed spraying (non contract) and undertake treatment. These issues are covered by our new suite of service standards, which we have also developed with our customers and will continue to review on a quarterly basis. In response to customer feedback we are also working with Neighbourhood Offices and Contact Leeds to improve the way we deal with customer queries and ensure that accurate and clear advice is provided at the point of contact. 3.0 Develop innovative new services to customers that offer value for money . The merger of the former ALMO’s has provided an opportunity to review the innovative approaches that have existed in the previous organisations provide a platform for the development of new services across the ALMO that will enable us to continually improve our services and increase levels of customer satisfaction. 11 of 16
  12. 12. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 Several new services have been identified through our SIG process and are being developed, including: • Graffiti Removal All graffiti work will be undertaken in-house to improve responsiveness and value for money and avoid using contractors. • Multi-Storey Chute Unblocking This work has also been undertaken through a combination of in-house teams and contractors. Developments are being made within the Multi-Storey Caretaking Team to provide a mobile resource across the ALMO to enable blocked chutes to be cleared in-house. This will improve our responsiveness to blockages to minimise inconvenience to residents and will also provide financial benefits through reduced contractor costs. • Multi-Storey Paladin Bin Cleaning Maintaining clean and tidy Multi-Storey blocks is essential and the environmental conditions in blocks can be adversely affected if chutes and rubbish bins are not kept in a clean condition. West North West homes have developed a twice yearly schedule for the cleaning of all paladin bins in our multi-storey blocks. We also propose to regularly review the arrangement with our contractor to ensure that we continue to receive value for money in this area of service. • Review of existing cleaning and caretaking Through our service reviews and customer feedback, we have identified inconsistencies in the way multi storey and other block of flats are cleaned and in the way caretaking services are managed. As a result we are currently reviewing all existing cleaning and caretaking arrangements to ensure we provide a consistently high standard of service to our customers which is delivered efficiently and effectively. The outcome of this review is due to be reported to our Board by August 2008 and will be based on consultation with staff, customers and an assessment of value for money. • Review of existing Grounds Maintenance contract arrangements We are also reviewing the way in which we deliver our grounds maintenance services in conjunction with our partners within Leeds City Council. A thorough appraisal of contract options is being carried out, including risk assessments and customer satisfaction information and consultation. 12 of 16
  13. 13. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 The review will develop options for future contracts and we will ensure that this delivers improved performance so that our estates are visibly more attractive and accessible to all our customers. The new contract period is due to start in 2010 and we are preparing for this process by testing new equipment and specifications in order to inform our approach. A more planned approach to service delivery, based on an analysis of customer demand and workloads will also allow us to improve our efficiency and the value we deliver to the community 4. Improve the provision of environmental services by working in partnership with the council and other organisations. The area in which we work is extensive and in order to effectively manage our environment, it is crucial that we work effectively with a range of organisations and partners. We currently work in partnership with a range of organisations in order to deliver our day to day services, including grounds maintenance, building cleaning, van hire, equipment hire, tree maintenance, and tipping. We will continue to review these arrangements to ensure value for money and effective service delivery and will also develop our key strategic links to improve our services through closer working: We will also work with Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency to identify properties and areas at risk of flooding and take steps to reduce the risks to our customers and properties. Groundwork Partnership We have set up a partnership with Groundwork Leeds to build on existing links and develop community engagement and capacity building. The project aims to develop friendly neighbourhoods and a comprehensive training programme through Groundwork Leeds Environmental Response Team. West North West homes has contributed £44k over two years which when supplemented by funding from Groundwork Leeds and Access to Employment will aim to provide funding in the region £369k for environmental improvements. Leeds City Council (LCC) We work closely with a range of departments within LCC, including City Services, Highways and Parks and Countryside. We are reviewing some of the relationships as part of the review of Grounds Maintenance contracts but there is a requirement to further improve our communication in order to deliver effective results at a strategic and 13 of 16
  14. 14. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 operational level. We will therefore review all of our communication and monitoring arrangements and develop a strategic approach to these relationships. 5. Contribute to environmental improvements and the reduction of anti-social behaviour in order to create safe, attractive places to live in. Estate Management can impact upon customer’s quiet enjoyment of their home or the environment in which they live. West North West homes Leeds are responsible for managing these estates and dealing with a range of issues that affect the quality of live of our residents: • Fly tipping, litter and graffiti • Grounds Maintenance issues • Tree Management • Communal areas including garages and parking • Estate Walkabouts and Inspections Our aim is to deal with breaches of tenancy relating to Environmental and Estate Management issues in a way which improves environmental conditions for customers, and creates “ cleaner , greener ” and safer communities. Our objectives are to: • Establish a high profile estate management service to our customers delivering excellence that provides clean, safe and enjoyable place to live. • Develop a systematic approach to management of our properties, estates and neighbourhoods through estate walkabouts and inspections. • Manage the environment around our properties and common areas effectively providing clean, safe and well lit internal and external spaces where possible. • Ensure all residents are aware of their respective responsibilities in terms of their own surrounding environment. • Work with internal and external partners to improve our approach to dealing with breaches of tenancy 6. Ensure that effective mechanisms are in place to support those tenants who are in the environmental maintenance of their tenancy Our services are currently provided through our Management Fee and therefore at no extra charge to our customers. However, good practice amongst many ALMOs and local authorities has seen the development of a range of services that address extra requirements of some customers, especially those who are vulnerable, elderly or disabled. We will therefore work with our customers to continue to explore options for new services that address specific needs. We will work with our Tenancy 14 of 16
  15. 15. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 Support Team and Neighbourhood Management team to identify further service improvements that address key issues affecting our customers. Garden Maintenance Scheme We have identified that many residents are unable to maintain their gardens, which then become untidy and more unmanageable. West North West homes is presently only able to provide limited support to the most vulnerable tenants and discussions in our Service Improvement Group have identified the need to develop a garden maintenance scheme that can offer regular assistance to those most in need. It is likely that such a scheme would incur a service charge, however it is possible that these costs could be paid through housing benefit. 15 of 16
  16. 16. Item 4.3.3 Appendix 1 MONITORING AND REVIEW Monitoring The monitoring of this strategy is vital to ensure that actions have been undertaken effectively and outcomes properly evaluated. There are a number of measures by which the success of West North West homes Environmental Estate Management Service may be judged and these will include:- • Performance management framework that measures our performance against agreed service standards and local performance indicators, including formal performance reporting through our Governance structures. • Assessments of customer satisfaction through comprehensive surveys of customers. • Consultation with customers and stakeholders through Area Panels, Sounding Boards, Service Improvement Groups, meetings of resident groups and individual comments. • The appearance of our estates • The financial efficiencies arising from the strategy and the contribution made to West North West homes overall Value for Money Strategy. • Implementation of the accompanying Service Improvement Plan Review This Strategy will be reviewed annually along with the Environmental Estate Management Policy, in consultation with customers and other partners. 16 of 16

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