Agenda item

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

To receive a presentation from Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) representatives.

Minutes:

The Township Committee received a presentation from the Director of Property Services, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), which detailed the current leadership structure of the organisation, its recovery plan and voluntary undertaking with the Regulator of Social Housing, and its plans for 2024.

 

Members were informed that an email address had been established that was dedicated to Members of Parliament and Councillor enquiries. The inbox was regularly monitored and RBH aimed to respond to enquiries within 24 hours from Monday to Friday.

 

The RBH Recovery Plan focused on five themes: Governance, Home, Tenant Involvement and Empowerment, Rebuilding Trust and Lessons Learnt. The Director of Property Services reported that 78% of the recovery plan had now been completed, for example through regular drop in sessions being arranged for customers (Rebuilding Trust), and through a range of recommendations that had been followed through (Lessons Learnt) such as the establishment of a damp and mould taskforce.

 

It was reported that 25% of RBH homes currently had evidence of damp and mould. The Committee were informed that additional funding had been secured by RBH to treat damp and mould issues in residential properties over the next few months. RBH would assess each home accordingly, ensuring that properties had appropriate ventilation to prevent further issues and addressing the root cause of damp and mould when repairs were completed.

 

Plans for 2024 also included the approval of a new Corporate Plan and Values, working efficiently with partners to deliver outcomes, engaging regularly with customers to understand their priorities, and delivering improvements to customer service such as through the Customer First programme.

 

Members sought an update on the regeneration plans for College Bank. The RBH representative informed the Committee that an update event for residents was last held in September 2023 and advised that a clear plan was in place to confirm the future of the homes at College Bank. If approved, the plan would avoid the demolition of any of the blocks and proposed the refurbishment of all seven blocks over a period of five years. A further event would be organised for residents once RBH had more information to share.

 

Concerns were raised by Members in relation to repairs not being dealt with in a timely manner. It was noted by the RBH representative that repairs would always take priority, however that winter saw the greatest rise in the number of issues in properties. The RBH representative accepted that residents waiting up to one week for a repair was unacceptable and noted that residents were encouraged to call the 24/7 phone line, email RBH officers, complete the online contact form, or use RBH’s emergency service where necessary.

 

Fly tipping being prevalent in some local areas was also raised as a concern as rodents were being attracted. Members were informed that tenancy management was an issue that required more resources, but that fly tipping would be noted as a point of concern.

Members also raised that it would be beneficial to allocate an RBH officer to each ward to enable regular contact with Ward Councillors in relation to concerns that had been reported.

Resolved:

1.    That the presentation be noted;

2.    That representatives of RBH attend a future meeting of Rochdale North Township Committee to provide an update that addresses the questions and comments raised by Committee Members.

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