Conservative led Wiltshire Council has published details of the work carried out to support council house tenants through the past 12 months, including ensuring they have access to the financial support they're entitled to.
The Housing Board Annual Report covers October 2021 - November 2022 and highlights the biggest and most productive pieces of work during the period was the council's tenancy sustainment team supporting tenants through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis by assisting them to get access to more than £600,000 in new and backdated benefits, external grants and third-party debt cleared.
Other achievements over the last year include improving the energy efficiency of some projects through the Housing Energy Efficiency Programme (HEEP), following funding received from the Government's Green Homes Grant which is going towards works on 100 properties. This work has been received well by those who have benefited from it, particularly the fact that homes are being made more energy efficient amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. The council is currently focussing the project on those with the greatest potential increase in energy efficiency.
The annual report also confirmed details about the project to provide 1,000 new homes for Wiltshire Council and Magna Housing through a modern method of construction (MMC). Costs are being saved on the project due to the tender to find a construction being completed through the South West Procurement Alliance Framework. So far, planning has been achieved at three pilot sites in Rowde, Corsely and Durrington, and work is underway for the units to be completed in the factory. MMC is a more efficient and sustainable method of building properties.
The council is working closely with tenants and more people than ever are now registered using the council's digital service - around half of the 5,250 tenants in total - meaning people can provide and receive information on any matters related to their tenancy quickly and efficiently.
The council also carried out a customer satisfaction survey with tenants called the STAR survey. This is a national survey and the results have seen a downward trend among customer satisfaction right across the country, and this is the same for Wiltshire. It has showed Wiltshire Council has some areas to focus on to make improvements locally, including in the area of repairs and maintenance and keeping tenants informed. The council has an action plan in place to make improvements and has also recently started a monthly e-newsletter to keep residents up to date on a range of news and issues more frequently.
Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Conservative Cllr Phil Alford, said:
It's been another busy but productive year for our housing service. We're doing what we can to help our tenants through the cost-of-living crisis while ensuring they have safe comfortable homes to live in. There are plenty of positive aspects to our annual report but also some areas to work on too, and we have action plans in place to support with this.
Our Business Plan states that we want the people of Wiltshire to be empowered to live full, healthy and enriched lives and we'll continue to work closely with our tenants to help achieve this.
The annual report was presented to Wiltshire Council's Cabinet on 31 January and it, and a full meeting replay, can be found at Agenda for Cabinet on Tuesday 31 January 2023, 10.00am