Date Published: 04 March 2021
North Kesteven District Council remains among the best in the country when it comes to providing council housing, according to a new report from industry monitor Housemark.
The annual audit of the Council’s service to tenants found that NKDC offered some of the best value for money and property quality, and among the highest levels of tenant satisfaction, in 2019-20 compared to similar providers.
Particularly noted was the high level of tenant satisfaction, with the Council scoring better than average across the board, and a full 5% ahead of the average for satisfaction with maintenance, satisfaction that service charges offer value for money, and satisfaction that tenants’ views are listened to and acted upon.
Compared to the other organisations, North Kesteven District Council spends 8% more than average on planned maintenance and refurbishment. This reflects a proactive approach to maintenance, leading to 25% lower-than-average repair costs and a better experience for tenants. 99.5% of repairs were found to be completed at the first visit, with NKDC ranking in the top three for this score.
The Council spent £3.8m in 2019-20 on refurbishments and energy saving measures, including fitting 70 new kitchens and 114 heating systems and replacement boilers; 580 properties had some kind of refurbishment completed during the year.
In terms of value for money, NKDC spends 39.4% below average on overhead costs per property, and has a low management cost per property, at a third below average. NKDC scored among the best in these measures, indicating that the service offers excellent value for money to its tenants and residents.
Councillor Ian Carrington, Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “Providing a fantastic service to those who need our support in finding a home is one of our core priorities. To have our commitment and efforts recognised by the respected Housemark scheme is a real reflection of our respectful relationship with our tenants.
“We’re one of the few councils investing heavily in new housing, building 300 new homes in the past decade. Over the next decade we aim to invest over £64m in 500 more homes and £42m on improvements to the existing stock. We are passionate about providing great value homes for our communities, with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, which in turn supports our aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
“One of the things I’m particularly proud of is the way our teams and contractors have handled the pandemic. We’ve worked incredibly hard to catch up on maintenance in between lockdowns. These figures also confirm that our Council has been doing better than the majority of others within our peer group at minimising empty properties. We’ve bucked the national trend in not needing to remove people from their homes. Part of the success we’ve had is the appointment of six Tenancy Sustainment Officers who work directly with tenants to help them through any problems and avoid evictions due to rent arrears.”
The report also highlighted some areas that the Council aims to further improve on, such as Community Investment, which includes supporting tenants with education and training, supporting tenants into employment and providing money advice.
Cllr Carrington continued: “We haven’t collected enough data in these areas, but we believe we’re doing more than the figures reveal. For example our Domestic Energy Officer has worked with over 300 tenants and helped them save over £27,000. We always take an active approach to getting feedback from our tenants. Over the past year we carried out our own research into tenants’ views and the responses will directly influence our plans going forward.”
Housemark is an independent industry-recognised scheme to monitor the performance of social housing providers. The figures reported to NKDC reflect the Council’s performance against other landlords with a portfolio of 2,500 to 5,000 properties. This selection of 69 other providers includes organisations across the UK.