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									                                South Essex Homes Limited                                          Agenda
                                                                                                   Item No.
                              Report of Director of Business Development
                            Community Services Scrutiny Committee
                                                   10 June 2008

                                             Report prepared by: Sarah Lander
                                                    Tel: 01702 236126

                                          Achieving Service Excellence –
                                        Housing Improvement Plan Progress

                                                   A Public Agenda Item

1                  Purpose of Report

1.1                To update the Committee on developments contained within the Housing
                   Improvement Plan.

2                  Recommendations

2.1                It is recommended that the Committee note progress against the Improvement

3                  Background

3.1                Following the Audit Commission Inspection, the Improvement Plan was
                   developed to take into account the Commission’s recommendations and to reflect
                   the balanced scorecard approach being adopted by the company.

3.2                Moreover in response to Voluntary Improvement Work the opportunity was taken
                   to enhance the Improvement Plan to capture these subsequent
                   recommendations. The Improvement Plan details clearly and specifically our path
                   to achieving excellence in service delivery.

3.3                The Improvement Plan is monitored and updated regularly by officers responsible
                   for each activity at the monthly Improvement Plan Implementation Group (IPIG)
                   meeting. It has been updated to the end of April 2008 and is attached at Appendix

4.                 Updates and Actions Completed Since Last Report

4.1                The Commitee received a progress report on the Improvement Plan In April 2008.
                   In this current cycle a number of further deadlines have passed. Key actions
                   completed and updates since the last report are;

5.                          Improving progress on Equality and Diversity

5.1                At the time of the last Inspection in May 2007, Equality and Diversity was
                   recognised as an area where significant progress had been achieved however
                   further development was required. Voluntary Improvement Work undertaken by
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     Excellence – Housing Improvement Plan
                   the Audit Commission in November 2007, the findings of which were reported to
                   the South Essex Homes Board in April 2008, has reinforced the view that South
                   Essex Homes has moved forward substantially in this area.
                   Actions achieved include;

                            In April the Board agreed that South Essex Homes has achieved level 2 of
                             the Equality Standard for Local Government.
                            A comprehensive database of our resident profile has been established
                             that now informs strategies and frontline service.
                            Action Plans are SMART.
                            Increased focus on engaging with staff, Board Members and voluntary

5.2                    Achieving Effective Governance

5.3                The Housing Improvement Plan incorporates a number of actions to build upon
                   the organisation’s existing governance system. Activity continues apace in this
                   area with the appraisal process being developed to maximise use of the Board’s
                   skills and ensure continued development of both Board Members and the

6.                          Significantly Improve the Housing Income Management Service

6.1                Considerable work has been undertaken to ensure that residents are able to
                   access independent money advice should they get in to arrears. Training has
                   been undertaken by staff to enable them to provide appropriate guidance. In
                   addition to the original commitments under this action a protocol has been
                   developed which also captures a service level agreement with the local Citizen’s
                   Advice Bureau.

7.                          Further Develop Asset Management Strategy

7.1                Work has progressed in partnership with Ridge to ensure stock and
                   environmental data contains information relating to housing demand, accessibility
                   and desirability.

7.2                This enables informed decision making around the future use of the stock and
                   particularly the remodelling of sheltered housing.

8.                          Significantly Improve the Aids and Adaptation Service

8.1                South Essex Homes continues to work with Southend Borough Council to
                   improve what was a significant area of weakness at our previous inspection.

8.2                There are still several actions in development which are due by the end of May
                   2008 however achievements are substantial with work to address the backlog of
                   adaptation works having a real impact, service users now involved in the
                   development of a service standard and strengthening of the system of monitoring

9.                          Improving the Sheltered Housing Service
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     Excellence – Housing Improvement Plan
9.1             As reflected in the report to the South Essex Homes Board on 28th April
                considerable progress has been made in delivering against the objectives set out
                in the Voluntary Improvement Work. This should provide Southend Borough
                Council with a sound platform for the development of the older person’s
                accommodation strategy being considered by the Cabinet in June. Detailed
                progress and completions are shown in the Improvement Plan.

10.             Diversity and Equal Opportunities

10.1            All Equal Opportunities issues relating to the actions within the Improvement Plan
                form the subject of individual workstreams.

11.             Risk

11.1            The non-delivery of the Improvement Plan represents a key risk to the Company
                and has been factored into risk assessment and mapping.

12.             Financial Implications

12.1            There are no specific financial implications relating to this report.

13.             Resident Consultation

13.1            All Resident Consultation issues relating to the actions within the Improvement
                Plan form the subject of individual workstreams.

14              Background Papers

14.1            None

15              Appendices

15.1            Appendix 1 – Housing Improvement Plan

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  Excellence – Housing Improvement Plan

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