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PREFERRED PARTNERS - HOUSING PARTNERSHIP SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT

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PREFERRED PARTNERS - HOUSING PARTNERSHIP SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT Powered By Docstoc
					PREFERRED PARTNERS - HOUSING PARTNERSHIP SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT

INTRODUCTION

This agreement is between Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (the Council) and the
housing associations (the partners) listed below. The agreement is not legally binding. It
represents a voluntary agreement of the signatories to deliver an affordable housing
programme for the Borough and demonstrates a clear statement of intent to be responsible,
responsive and committed to the aims of the agreement.

The parties to the agreement are:

 Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
 [Pref Partners TBC]

STATEMENT OF INTENT

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and its chosen housing partners seek to provide
decent homes for the residents of the Borough. Through this service level agreement the
parties commit to working together to deliver accessible, affordable and sustainable housing
which meets the needs of the Borough community. These needs and the Council’s primary
drivers for housing are defined in the Housing Strategy and supporting policy documentation as
listed below:

    Vulnerable Persons Protocol
    Community Safety Strategy
    Homelessness Strategy
    Council Plan
    Empty Homes Strategy
    Respect
    Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy
    Local Area Agreement
    Local Development Framework
    iN Business for Neighbourhoods
    Housing and Domestic Violence Protocol

DURATION AND REVIEW OF THE AGREEMENT

The agreement will last from 1 September 2007 until 30 August 2011, or until such shorter time
as may be determined by the Council in consultation with the partners. Changes in legislation,
resources or the operating environment which might affect the continued viability of the
agreement will be taken into account.

In the event of non compliance with the agreement, for example not meeting required standards
of performance, the Council may seek to substitute one or more of the housing associations or
dissolve the partnership. Any change to the partnership would be notified to the Housing
Corporation (or successor body) and subject to Cabinet approval.

The members of the Partnership will meet at least quarterly to review progress and consider
any difficulties in implementing the Agreement.




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OBJECTIVES OF THIS AGREEMENT

In being party to this agreement, the relevant organisations actively seek to:

      Maximise the provision of affordable housing through the development and delivery of a
       shared housing strategy (and other relevant strategies such as the Homelessness
       Strategy)
      Identify the housing needs of the area through undertaking regular housing market
       assessments and providing the necessary resources to do this
      Work with the Government Office (GOSE), Regional Housing Board and the Housing
       Corporation (or successor body) (Communities England) to meet identified housing
       needs prioritised within the Regional Housing Statement and the Housing Corporation
       (or successor body)’s National and Regional Investment Strategies
      Help vulnerable households, prevent homelessness and keep households out of bed
       and breakfast and reduce the use of temporary accommodation
      Explore new and cost effective construction methods and progress schemes and
       initiatives that conserve energy, tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon footprints
      Share best practice and expertise amongst the partnership
      Introduce a sub-regional Choice Based Lettings scheme by 2010

ROLES OF THE PARTNERS

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council will:

      Act as the lead agency in identifying local housing needs and developing overall housing
       strategies
      Provide information to partners on the type of new housing which is required on
       individual PPG3 sites including size, tenure and client group
      Where appropriate work with neighbouring Local Authorities on sub-regional
       agendas/issues and housing development schemes
      Use its planning powers to ensure that the opportunities for affordable housing are
       maximised and that the housing policies of the Local Development Framework are
       implemented
      Promote, support and encourage developers to work exclusively with members of the
       preferred partnership
      Ensure an integrated and co-ordinated approach by Council Officers and Councillors is
       taken in relation to affordable housing schemes and planning policy
      Work with GOSE and the Housing Corporation (or successor body) to maximise funding
       for new affordable housing in the District
      Co-ordinate press and PR opportunities to promote the work of the partnership
      set up quarterly partnership meetings and be responsible for chairing these meetings,
       agenda setting and distribution of minutes
      Seek to agree openly with the partners the best use of the funding and other resources
       available from the local authority (which may include land), Housing Corporation (or
       successor body), private developers and other bodies to meet these objectives
      Develop a choice based system of allocations by 2010
      Efficiently administer its core functions including Housing Benefit, Housing Register and
       Planning responsibilities




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Each Housing Association will:

Develop and manage              Ensure that residents live in homes that are well
good quality homes               maintained and in a lettable condition (see BDBC
that meet local                  definition of lettable standards)
needs:                          Ensure that maintenance is carried out effectively and
                                 responsively and in ways that reflect residents’
                                 preferences
                                Demonstrate a commitment to sustainable development
                                 and ensure that the letting and management of housing
                                 contributes effectively to the promotion of social
                                 inclusion and balanced and sustainable local
                                 communities
                                Consider the need for wheelchair standard homes on
                                 new developments and agree the provision with Council
                                 officers
                                Assist the Council to address problems of overcrowding
                                 by providing family homes on each development unless
                                 agreed otherwise with the housing team
                                Undertake customer satisfaction surveys on all new
                                 developments, 12 months after completion and ensure
                                 that future design briefs reflect resident design
                                 feedback. This information should be submitted to the
                                 authority for presentation to Housing Partnership Board
                                Contribute financial resources to housing needs
                                 assessments and other joint projects undertaken by the
                                 partnership to maximise new affordable housing
                                Provide monthly development performance information
                                 to the Housing Strategy & Enabling Team in a timely
                                 manner
                                Agree with the Council the most affordable form of
                                 tenure for low cost home ownership schemes, and
                                 explore alternative provision for intermediate market
                                 rents, on a site by site basis
                                Advise the Housing Strategy & Enabling Team of
                                 changes in housing stock and trends in available
                                 lettings and allocations

Provide good-quality            Avoid the use of Ground 8, Housing Act 1988 and be
housing services,                members of the Vulnerable Persons Protocol
and assist the                  Provide monthly performance information in relation to
Council to meet its              the Vulnerable Persons Protocol to the Housing
duties to homeless               Strategy & Enabling Team in a timely manner
and vulnerable                  Liaise closely with the Housing Needs Team on
people:                          nominations and evictions, advising in writing as a
                                 matter of urgency if any nominations through the
                                 Housing Register are to be refused, outlining the
                                 reasons why
                                Fully engage with the Council on Choice Based lettings
                                Provide aids and adaptations where supported by the
                                 Social Services Department to their existing stock in the
                                 borough where the cost is below £1000 and consider all
                                 options open to residents before applying for costly
                                 Disabled Facilities Grants (above £10,000) – the
                                 Council will give advice

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                          Work in partnership with the Housing Occupational
                           Therapist to relet vacant adapted properties to
                           someone who could best make use of the adaptation,
                           whilst seeking to maintain void relet rates
                          Demonstrate active compliance with the housing
                           regulatory code


Achieve and               Set rents in accordance with the rent restructuring
maintain rent levels       formula
and home ownership        Strive to achieve comparable rent levels and service
options that are           charges where housing associations are working on the
affordable to              same development
households on low
incomes:

Promote resident          Be accountable to residents
involvement:              Consult with residents and keep them informed in an
                           open and timely manner
                          Demonstrate that residents are represented on the
                           housing association’s Board and are able to contribute
                           to decision making


Deliver Best Value:       Make the best use of public subsidy required for
                           developing affordable housing by optimising private
                           finance and other funding sources
                          Forward fund or buy land at risk on PPG3 sites to
                           commence development activities. Any such scheme
                           will be considered as a priority for future NAHP funding
                          Use reasonable efforts to recycle any receipts
                           generated from owners purchasing additional shares or
                           residents exercising their right to acquire to provide
                           additional affordable housing in the borough



Demonstrate their         Adopt policies concerning equality and diversity,
commitment to equal        including policies on racial or sexual harassment,
opportunity:               domestic violence or unfair treatment of any groups or
                           persons.
                          Monitor lettings and ensure they are proportionate to
                           BME housing need or census data
                          Ensure that staff appointments and membership of
                           tenants’ associations is proportionate to the ethnic mix
                           of the area.
                          Ensure that BME tenant satisfaction is at least as high
                           as for non-BME tenants.




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MONITORING THE AGREEMENT & ADDRESSING POOR PERFORMANCE

The Local Authority will monitor the performance of the preferred partners against this
Agreement
The preferred partner housing associations will co-operate fully with this process. They will
provide the information required by the local authority to enable it to make an informed
judgement of their performance in the development and management of their accommodation
Housing associations will be invited to regularly provide feedback and review the performance
of the Council in terms of progressing this agreement and joint working arrangements. The
Councils performance will be reviewed annually by the members of the partnership.
The Local Authority will carry out an annual review of performance based on a range of
indicators including:
            i)     Housing Corporation (or successor body)’s key performance indicators –
                   traffic lights/ inspection/ regulatory code
            ii)    starts/completions of new homes achieved against targets agreed
            iii)   draw down of grant against agreed programme for Local Authority and
                   Housing Corporation (or successor body) funding

All members of the partnership will bring to the attention of the Council any areas of poor
performance as soon as they become aware of it
If there is evidence that a housing association is not performing to a standard consistent with
the status of a preferred partner, the Council will bring this promptly to the attention of the
housing association and actively seek agreement to a positive resolution of the matter
Failing resolution, it will be open to the local authority to suspend or if necessary exclude a
housing association from participation as a preferred partner in this Agreement. The action
taken by the Council would be separate from any action taken by the Housing Corporation (or
successor body) as part of its regulatory role
A Housing Association can terminate its responsibilities within the partnership by providing the
Council with a minimum of three months notice in writing. As part of the termination of this
agreement, the association will be expected to cease any further applications for grant funded
activities within the borough and actively explore possibilities for stock rationalisation with
current members of the partnership.




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