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HRA_business_plan_for_2005-08

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									Gravesham Borough Council

    HRA Business Plan

       2005 - 2008
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Contents



                                                                           Page No

           Forward                                                            6

           Executive summary                                                  7

1.         Introduction to Gravesham and the Housing Revenue Account          8
           (HRA) Business Plan
           Gravesham                                                          8
           Demography                                                         9
           Economy                                                            9
           Management Structure and Key Contacts                             10
           Political Structure                                               11
           Gravesham Key Facts and Figures                                   12
           The HRA Business Plan                                             12

2.         National and regional priorities                                  14
           Sustainable communities                                           14
           Strategic housing priorities in the South East                    14
           Sub regional priorities                                           16

3.         Our council housing                                               18
           Gravesham housing by tenure                                       18
           Profile of our stock by bedroom size                              18
           Profile of our stock by age                                       19
           Projected stock numbers                                           19

4.         How the council as a landlord is delivering the corporate         20
           agenda for Gravesham
           How our strategies and plans fit together                         20
           Local Strategic Partnership and Community Strategy priorities     21
           Corporate priorities                                              22
           Best Value Performance Plan 2006/07                               23
           Community Safety strategy 2005 – 2008                             24
           Capital Strategy and Asset Management Plan July 2003              25
           Housing Strategy 2005-2009                                        26

5.         The demand for council housing                                    27
           Housing Needs Survey                                              27
           Housing Register                                                  27
           Making the best use of our stock                                  27
           Voids turnover                                                    28
           Hard to let properties                                            28
           Sustainable estates                                               30




                                       Page 2 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

6.      Delivering Decent Homes                                     31
        Introduction                                                31
        Decent Homes Plus Standard                                  31
        Stock condition                                             31
        Energy efficiency                                           32
        How we keep our stock condition information up to date      32
        Asset Management Strategy                                   32
        Our plan to deliver Decent Homes                            32
        Not just about Decent Homes                                 33
        Christian Fields                                            33
        Our investment programme 2005/06 - 2006/07                  34
        Delivery and procurement of the programme                   34
        Involving tenants in repairs and maintenance                34

7.      Managing Gravesham’s homes                                  35
        Introduction                                                35
        Management structure                                        35
        Managing our homes                                          36
        Income management                                           36
        Tenant satisfaction                                         36
        Maintaining and repairing our homes                         37
        Managing voids and allocations                              37
        Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour                          38
        Racial harassment                                           39
        Mediation in North Kent (MINK)                              39
        Services for older people                                   40
        Supporting people                                           40
        Leaseholder management and community development            40
        Our performance                                             41
        Performance Indicators                                      42
        Comparing ourselves to others                               42
        Efficiency agenda                                           42

8.      Housing Stock Options Appraisal                             43
        Stock Options Appraisal                                     43
        Determining the investment need and resources               43
        Outcome                                                     44
        Potential capital receipt at transfer                       45

9.      Resources                                                   46
        Housing assets                                              46
        Resources available to invest in our homes                  46
        Sources of capital funding and assumptions for the future   46
        The Capital Programme                                       48
        The Housing Revenue Account                                 48
        Sustainability of the HRA                                   49
        Rent restructuring                                          50
        Housing subsidy                                             50




                                   Page 3 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

10.     Tenant involvement in the service                         52
        Introduction                                              52
        The Tenants‟ Forum                                        52
        Tenants‟ Compact                                          53
        Local compacts                                            53
        Involvement in the options appraisal process              54
        Involvement in the stock transfer ballot process          54
        Involvement in the development of the HRA Business Plan   54

11.     Our priorities, options and action plan                   58
        How we determined our priorities                          58
        Our priorities                                            58
        How we set our priorities                                 58
        Options to achieve our priorities                         59
        Action plan to deliver our priorities                     59
        Monitoring our performance against the action plan        60

Appendices
Appendix A     Key Gravesham Strategies and Policies              61
Appendix B     Housing Performance Indicators                     63
Appendix C     Major Repairs and Improvements Financing           65
Appendix D1    Housing Revenue Account – Operating Account        66
Appendix D2    Key Assumptions                                    68
Appendix E     Detailed Capital Programme – 2004/05 - 2006/07     70
Appendix F     Detailed HRA budget – 2005/06 - 2006/07            71
Appendix G     Tenant Involvement Structure                       73
Appendix H     HRA Business Plan 2006/07 – 2008/09                74
Appendix I     Key Milestones 2006/07                             86

Glossary of Terms                                                 90




                                  Page 4 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                           ABBREVIATIONS BREAKDOWN


1)    ALMO – Arm‟s Length Management Organisation

2)    BVPI – Best Value Performance Indicator

3)    CHR – Common Housing Register

4)    CPA – Comprehensive Performance Assessment

5)    CVS – Community Voluntary Service

6)    DHS – Decent Homes Standard

7)    GCHA – Gravesend Churches Housing Association

8)    HRA – Housing Revenue Account

9)    ITA – Independent Tenant Advisor

10)   LSVT – Large Scale Voluntary Transfer

11)   MINK – Mediation In North Kent

12)   MRA – Major Repairs Allowance

13)   ODPM – Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now DCLG – Department for
      Communities and Local Government)

14)   PFI – Private Finance Initiative

15)   PRC – Precast Reinforced Concrete

16)   RCCO – Revenue Contribution to Capital Outlay

17)   RSL – Registered Social Landlord

18)   RTB – Right to Buy

19)   SERHB – South East Regional Housing Board

20)   SHIP – Single Housing Investment Pot

21)   SIAG – Service Improvement Advisory Group

22)   SIP – Service Improvement Plan

23)   SLA – Service Level Agreement

24)   SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timetable


                                     Page 5 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Foreword

I am pleased to present the updated HRA Business Plan 2005-08 for the council‟s
Housing Service which identifies how the council will continue to manage, fund and
maintain the housing stock in future years.

The council has had many achievements since the last business plan was produced
including:

      The formation of a partnership agreement between the Housing Service and
       Gravesham Services to deliver a more effective and efficient responsive
       maintenance service. This partnership agreement aims to provide the best
       possible repairs service.

      The formation of a partnership agreement between the Housing Service and
       Apollo to deliver the capital works programme.

      The meeting of the government‟s target of 50% of properties reaching the decent
       homes target by 2006.

      The management of rent arrears and increased collection of arrears.

      The reduction of void timescales from 43.35 days in 2003/04 to an outturn of
       35.31 days in 2004/05 and 30.05 days in 2005/06.

      The review of Sheltered Housing and Caretaking services.

However, the council also has a number of challenges that it must meet in future years
and these include:

      To pursue the outcome of the council‟s stock options appraisal of Large Stock
       Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) subject to a ballot all tenants.

      To continue to meet the decent homes standard for all our homes by 2010, along
       with all environmental works.

      Continuing to work in partnership with other organisations to combat anti-social
       behaviour on estates. Our aim is to make all of our estates a pleasant place to
       live and where potential tenants want to live.

      Achieving upper quartile performance on key indicators including rents and voids.

I hope this plan will be found to be both exciting and forward thinking and supports the
council‟s commitment to delivering Excellent Housing as outlined in its Corporate Plan
2005-06, “Taking Pride in Gravesham – Moving Up a Gear”.



Cllr Ernest Brook
Lead Member for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal



                                      Page 6 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Executive summary

This year has been important both for the council and tenants as we carried out our
Stock Options Appraisal. We considered staying as we were, together with options to
increase our resources through setting up an Arm‟s Length Management Organisation,
entering into a Private Finance Initiative or stock transfer to a housing association. We
concluded that staying as we are or stock transfer were the only viable options and the
Stock Options Working Group made the recommendation to council that tenants be
balloted on stock transfer.

The HRA business plan has been developed since the decision was made to proceed to
a ballot of all tenants on stock transfer on 28 June 2005. As a result, the business plan
concentrates in detail on the period leading up to October 2006, after which, subject to a
successful ballot for stock transfer, the council will look to complete the transfer to the
new landlord. It will then be the responsibility of the new landlord to meet the Decent
Homes Standard by 2010 plus all the improvements detailed in the Offer Document, the
date of which will also be included in the offer document.

Although we expect the work to ballot, and if the ballot is successful, preparations for
stock transfer, to be intensive and time consuming, we still want to ensure that we
continue to provide high quality services to our tenants. With the limited resources
available to us, we want to continue with our investment programmes to work towards
meeting the Decent Homes Standard by 2010.

We have involved tenants in the development of our services, option appraisal and the
development of this business plan. Tenants are becoming more involved in shaping our
services and will have an important role to play in the lead into stock transfer.

As a result, we have determined that our priorities for this HRA business plan as:


 Priority 1 – To deliver an excellent housing service for all our customers

 Priority 2 – To meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010

 Priority 3 - To keep tenants at the heart of the service: setting standards,
 monitoring performance, suggesting improvements and participating in key
 decisions
 Priority 4 – To ballot our tenants on whether they want to transfer to a Registered
 Social Landlord




                                      Page 7 of 92
   HRA Business Plan – October 2005

1) Introduction to Gravesham and the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business
   Plan


   Gravesham

   Gravesham is situated on the south bank of the River Thames, some 32km (20 miles)
   east of London. It is part of the Kent Thameside (those parts of Gravesham and
   Dartford to the north of the A2) and is centrally located within the Government‟s Thames
   Gateway regeneration area. As such, it lies across strategic road and rail corridors to
   Europe, London and the Regions.

   Over the next decade or so, there will be a considerable amount of large-scale
   development taking place in the area. The challenge will be to accommodate significant
   levels of housing and employment development, alongside improvements in
   environmental quality.

   In terms of character, Gravesham has a wide diversity. The River Thames forms the
   northern boundary of the borough, Gravesend/Northfleet comprises the main urban
   area, including Gravesend Town Centre, which is an important shopping and service
   centre and there is an extensive rural area which lies to the south of the A2 and east of
   Gravesend. Much of this rural area is of high agricultural, landscape and/or nature
   conservation value. 78 per cent of the borough is within the Green Belt and 24 per cent
   is within the Kent Downs area of outstanding natural beauty. A number of villages are
   located within the rural area, some of which are of considerable historic and
   conservation interest.




                                         Page 8 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Demography

The 2001 census showed the population to be 95,717 that year. By 2006, it is expected
to rise to 97,982 and by 2011 to 100,385; an increase of 4,668 or 4.9 per cent. Within
the overall increase, all the age groups are expected to increase with the exception of
the 30 – 44 age group, which is expected to decline. However, the 65+ age group
projects the largest increase.


Population changes 2001 - 2011


                            2001          2006         2011             Change
                           Census                                     2001 - 2011

 0 – 19                      25,341        25,569      25,799          458       +1.8%
 20 – 29                     10,826        11,224      11,637          811       +7.4%
 30 – 44                     21,586        21,424      21,263         -323       -1.5%
 45 – 64                     23,313        23,861      24,422        1,109       +4.7%
 65+                         14,651        15,904      17,264        2,613      +17.8%
 Total                       95,717        97,982     100,385        4,668
 % Change                                     2.4         2.5                    +4.9%


We have a high Minority Ethnic (ME) population at 10.4 per cent of the total population,
with Indian Sikhs being the largest group at 6.7 per cent.

The changes in the above table will influence future housing requirements in
Gravesham. The increase in the 65+ population has implications for supported and
sheltered housing. The new jobs planned for the area will have an impact on the
younger population.


Economy

The South East England Development Agency published its Regional Economic
Strategy for South East England in 2002 to provide a co-ordinated approach to
economic development in the South East, a region that, although very successful, the
problems it now face are as a result of this success, i.e. transport congestion, skills
shortages and lack of affordable housing.

Dartford and Gravesham Local Strategic Partnership, covering both of these boroughs,
plus partner agencies, has developed an economic development strategy for the area.
Regeneration in the area is expected to produce 50,000 new jobs, 30,000 new homes
and nearly one million square metres of new commercial development by 2025. There
is the opportunity for new development to be sustainable, of a high quality, include
integrated transport systems and opportunities for lifelong learning. However, we are
determined that the new development and investment in the area must also benefit
existing communities.




                                      Page 9 of 92
  HRA Business Plan – October 2005

  Not all of the existing jobs in the area are highly paid and to access the owner occupier
  market, household average income would have to be in the region of £32,000 for a first
  time buyer.

  The new Channel Tunnel Rail Link will cut the journey times to central London to 17
  minutes. The development of the International and Domestic stations at Ebbsfleet will
  also provide significant commercial opportunities in the area.

  The Housing Strategy considers future housing markets, assessing how the need for
  affordable housing will be met, and, in an area of high house prices, ensures that key
  and other essential workers have access to affordable housing.

  For further information on the Kent Thameside economic development strategy contact
  Simon Hookway on 01474 337408 or e-mail economic.development@gravesham.gov.uk


  Management Structure – Housing Department

  The organisational chart shows senior officers within Gravesham‟s Housing Department.



                                      Andy Chequers
                                    Head of Housing Services




      Wale Adetoro                      Mandy Samrai                   Liz Crockford / Deborah
 Housing Operations Manager          Housing Policy & Projects                 Beadle
                                     Manager (up to Sept 2006)           Housing Strategy Manager



  Elaine Longworth                     Keith Morcombe                         Gavin Meeser
    Housing Manager                  Interim Housing Policy &              Housing Needs Manager
                                         Projects Manager


    Norman Parry                                                              Sue Coughlin
    Housing Manager                                                        Private Sector Renewal
                                                                                  Manager

    Christine Gray                                                              Viv James
Neighbourhood Development                                               Housing Development Manager
 Manager (up to Aug 2006)




                                        Page 10 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



Management Structure – Operational Services

Since 1 April 2005, Gravesham Council has had in place a partnering contract with
Gravesham Services to deliver its responsive and planned maintenance repair service.
This arrangement follows an Audit Commission inspection of the Repairs and
Maintenance Service.




                                   Cheryl Russell
                             Director (Operational Services)




                                     Colin Talboys
                                 Building Services Manager




    Alan Piper                       Bernard Allen                       Brian Hughes
  Contracts Manager                  Business Manager                 Improvements Manager,




Political Structure

The council is made up of 44 Councillors chaired by the mayor, Councillor Harry Smith
(2006/07). The Labour Group is the largest party with 23 Councillors. The Conservative
Group has 21 Councillors. No other political groups are represented on the council.

The six member Labour Cabinet is led by Councillor John Burden. Councillor Ernest
Brook is responsible for the Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal Portfolio.




                                    Page 11 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



Gravesham Key Facts and Figures


 The population in 2001 was 95,717 and is expected to rise to 100,385 by 2011

 There are 39,516 households in the Borough

 The number of people over 65 will rise from 14,651 (2001) to an estimated 17,264 by
 2011

 Average earnings in 2001 were £20,359 compared to £21,750 in the rest of the country
 and a regional average of £26,000

 Over 40 per cent of households are in receipt of an annual income of less than £10,000

 In 2000 (April to June), the average house price in Gravesham was £96,693. In 2005
 (January to March), the average house price in Gravesham was £176,851

 Since 2000, house prices have risen on average by 85 per cent

 There are 44 councillors, with the Labour party in control with 23 seats on the council

 The Local Plan identified the need for 4,600 new homes between 1991 and 2011

 The housing needs survey (2001) shows that there is a need for 409 new affordable
 homes each year

 14 Housing Associations in the area manage 886 properties

 At April 2005, the council owned 6,132 homes with an average weekly rent of £55.86
 per week (over 52 weeks)



The HRA Business Plan

As a stock holding authority, we have a statutory requirement under the Local
Government Act 2003 to produce an HRA business plan. The plan must be within the
context of wider housing and other corporate objectives and a sound financial analysis.
It would normally cover a period of 30 years allowing us, together with tenants and other
stakeholders, to determine priorities to ensure the long term viability of the stock.
However, now that we have taken the decision to proceed to a ballot of tenants for a
stock transfer, this business plan concentrates on the next three years. The business
plan is submitted to the Government Office of the South East and assessed against 10
„Fit for Purpose‟ criteria which are:

   1.      Strategic context
   2.      Effective consultation
   3.      Stock condition
   4.      Current performance


                                     Page 12 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

   5.      Resources
   6.      Priorities
   7.      Options
   8.      Action Plan
   9.      Progress to date
   10.     Accessibility

We have produced our HRA business plan with our stakeholders, mainly our tenants
and always welcome comments. If you have any comments on this document or would
like to be involved in the development of future HRA business plans please contact Keith
Morcombe, Interim Housing Policy and Projects Manager on 01474 337321 or e-mail
keith.morcombe@gravesham.gov.uk




                                    Page 13 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

2) The National and Regional Priorities


Sustainable Communities

“Sustainable Communities: building for the future”, published in February 2003, sets out
a comprehensive agenda for change building on previous policy statements. We are
responding to the challenges as a result of this document:

      Decent homes, decent places – the key strand of Government policy since
       2000 for local authority housing is the achievement of a decency standard for all
       social housing by 2010. This was re-emphasised in the Communities Plan and is
       the most significant for us as a landlord. This business plan addresses how this
       standard will be achieved and maintained.

      Low demand and abandonment – low demand is not a significant issue for
       Gravesham. We have identified small pockets of difficult to let properties which
       are now being dealt with. See section 5 for more information

      A step change in the housing supply – dealt with in the housing strategy

      Land, countryside and rural communities – dealt with in the housing strategy

      Sustainable growth - dealt with in the housing strategy

      Reforming delivery - dealt with in the housing strategy


Strategic Housing Priorities in the South East

The Government has created Regional Housing Boards to oversee the delivery of
Government Objectives in the regions. The South East Regional Housing Board
(SERHB) has developed strategic priorities for the South East Region which form the
basis of recommendations to Ministers on the allocation of the Single Housing
Investment Pot (SHIP) to local councils.

The former South East Regional Housing Board (SERHB) produced the South East
Regional Housing Strategy 2004 to 2006 to articulate the housing priorities for the
region. The two year period covered by this strategy includes the transitional phase
between the old arrangements for the local authority Housing Investment Programme
and the Housing Corporation Annual Development Plan to the allocation of resources
through the Single Housing Investment Pot based on regional priorities. The priorities
set in the strategy for 2006 onwards are:

      Building more affordable homes

      Bringing decent housing within the reach of people on lower incomes

      Improving the quality of new housing and of existing stock




                                     Page 14 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

House price inflation has been high which has made it difficult for businesses to recruit
and retain staff. There are skills shortages in the region and lack of choice, in terms of
location and quality of housing, for people to live. This problem is particularly acute in
the public sector where key workers such as teachers, nurses and police cannot afford
somewhere to live. This problem has meant that people are moving elsewhere.

The allocation for housing for 2004 to 2006 is £724 million with the SERHB allocating
£547 million of this to new affordable housing in line with their priorities. Funding is
expected to provide nearly 16,000 new homes.

Based on its research, SERHB developed its priorities based on information and
research on the region‟s housing markets and need. They are consistent with national
priorities. The table below details the themes in the strategy and shows how we are
responding as a landlord.



 South East Regional Key Themes           How Gravesham as a Landlord is responding


 Key Theme 1 – Overall Housing            We are taking steps to reduce our void times
 Supply – making sure there is            ensuring that tenants can move into a permanent
 enough housing so that everyone          home more quickly. The improvements we are
 has the opportunity to live in a         making improve the attractiveness of our stock.
 decent home.                             We have achieved the Government‟s target of
                                          ensuring 50% of our housing stock meets the
                                          Decent Homes target by 2006. We are also
                                          working in partnership with Moat Homes Limited to
                                          regenerate 178 council homes and increase
                                          housing on the Christian Fields Estate.


 Key Theme 2 – Affordability – high       Through the provision of council housing we are
 prices and the lack of affordable        providing people with an alternative to housing
 housing were two of the top three        associations and the private rented sector. Our
 concerns in the South East,              homes account for 17% of the total housing stock
 identified in a MORI poll for the        of the borough. A stock transfer will reduce the
 Regional Assembly.                       choice of type of landlord but homes will remain in
                                          the social sector.


 Key Theme 3 – Regeneration and           Our responsibilities as a landlord go further than
 Renewal – this should be designed        just the bricks and mortar. We are working with
 to have a real, positive and lasting     tenants to improve the environment on our estates.
 impact on the well being of              The Christian Fields redevelopment is a good
 communities and individuals.             example of this, providing new homes and working
                                          with tenants. Our tenant participation structure
                                          allows people to have a say in future housing
                                          services.




                                        Page 15 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



 Key Theme 4 – Homelessness             We have undertaken a fundamental review of our
 and Supported Housing                  Sheltered Housing Service and developed an
                                        action plan to implement. We provide around 600
                                        residential warden sheltered units and around 600
                                        semi sheltered units. 13 units of our housing stock
                                        have been designated for use as temporary
                                        accommodation to ensure that homeless families
                                        do not have to be housed in bed and breakfast.

                                        We have a SLA with GCHA to manage 50 units of
                                        temporary accommodation.


 Key Theme 5 – Quality and              The stock options appraisal recently undertaken
 sustainability of the housing          concluded that both stock retention (i.e. retaining
 stock – everyone in the South East     the status quo) and stock transfer were the most
 should have the opportunity of a       viable options for Gravesham. On 28 June 2005,
 decent home.                           the decision was taken to proceed to a ballot of
                                        tenants on stock transfer. A transfer would result
                                        in a higher level of investment in homes than would
                                        be possible with the council.



Sub Regional Priorities

In the Communities Plan, the Thames Gateway has been identified as a growth area
where the Government will invest £466 million over the three year period 2004 to 2007,
to facilitate land assembly, site preparation, affordable and key worker housing,
neighbourhood renewal and urban renaissance. The Thames Gateway Kent
Partnership has been set up as the key organisation to drive forward the new growth and
investment. The Partnership covers Kent Thameside (Dartford and Gravesham),
Medway and Swale.

The Partnership has developed an Area Investment Framework focusing on key
priorities and investment projects with some high level targets including:

Quality of Life Targets:
    Household incomes equal to or higher than Rest of South East
    Performance on health, education and other key indicators that matches, if not
        exceeds, the South East
    All North Kent Wards to be outside the 50% most deprived wards in the UK

Development Targets 2001 to 2021

      Between 40,000 and 50,000 new homes
      104,000 people accommodated in new housing
      Some 84,000 new employment opportunities
      Some 2.5 million square metres of additional floor space for business



                                      Page 16 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



As a landlord, we need to ensure that we make best use of our homes, they are of a
high standard and meet the demand of people wishing to rent in the social housing
sector.

The Kent Thameside Partnership is considered in more detail in the Housing Strategy
2005-2009.




                                    Page 17 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

3) Our Council Housing


Gravesham Housing by Tenure

17% of the housing stock in Gravesham is owned by the Council with 6,132 properties
as at April 2005.



                   Gravesham Housing by Tenure


                 Housing                    Privately
                association               rented, 10%
                owned, 2%




        Council owned,
                                                     Owner
            17%
                                                 occupied, 71%




Profile of our Stock by Bedroom Size



                         Stock by Bedroom size

                               26   101
                         247
                                                                 Bedsits
                                                   1907
                                                                 1 Bed
                                                                 2 Bed
                                                                 3 Bed
      2648
                                                                 4 Bed
                                                                 5 Bed
                                          1203




                                     Page 18 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Profile of our Stock by Age




                 Age Profile of Stock - January 2004
 1200


 1000


  800


  600


  400


  200


    0
        1900- 1910- 1920- 1930- 1940- 1945- 1950- 1955- 1960- 1965- 1970- 1975- 1980- 1985- 1990-
        1910 1920 1930 1940 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995




Projected Stock Numbers

We do not build new affordable homes for rent; the last home was built in 1993. We now
work within the planning system and with housing associations to develop new housing.
The Right to Buy legislation which allows tenants to purchase their homes at a discount
has resulted in many of our homes being sold. In 2003/04, we sold 155 homes; in
2004/05, 62 homes and in 2005/06, 30 homes. The increase in interest rates on top of a
significant increase in valuations has resulted in a slowdown of sales. The proposed
stock transfer may result in an increase in RTB sales as tenants feel uncertain about the
future. Existing tenants would retain their right to buy after transfer.




                                         Page 19 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

4) How the council as a Landlord is delivering the Corporate Agenda for
   Gravesham


How our Strategies and Plans Fit Together

We have developed a number of strategic plans and objectives after listening to our
community. These plans often are developed with other agencies and organisations
operating in Gravesham and the neighbouring areas. To deliver the corporate agenda,
housing must contribute to the development and implementation of these key strategies.

The diagram below shows how all the key documents and policies fit together




                             Corporate Strategies
        Local Strategic Partnership – Community Strategy – Towards the
                                  Future Place
           Corporate Plan 2003-2007 – Taking Pride in Gravesham
                Corporate Plan 2005 – 2009 - Moving up a Gear
                                Capital Strategy
                          Asset Management Strategy
                    Community Safety Strategy 2002 - 2005




      Housing Strategy


        HRA Business Plan                         Other Plans and Strategies
                                                        Regional Plans
                                                  Gravesham Local Plan/Local
           Homelessness
                                                   Development Framework
             Strategy
                                                  Kent Supporting People Five
                                                   Year Strategy 2005 - 2010
       Private Sector Housing
                                                  Affordable Warmth Strategy
          Renewal Strategy

            Service Plan




A full list of Strategies and Plans is included in Appendix A




                                      Page 20 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Local Strategic Partnership and Community Strategy Priorities

Gravesham and Dartford Borough Councils have come together, along with key public,
business and voluntary organisations in the area, to form the Kent Thameside Local
Strategic Partnership. The objective is to make a positive difference to the quality of life
in the area over the next few years.

The focus is on:

      Meeting local people‟s priorities and needs

      Better planning, co-ordination and delivery of services

      Improving the quality of life for everyone, not just the majority

Over five square miles of Dartford and Gravesham have been zoned for regeneration
making the Kent Thameside among the largest regeneration areas in Europe. The
regeneration is likely to take 20 years. We already have leading edge developments at
Bluewater and Crossways Business Park. Good motorway links and rail links will be
significantly improved with the new international and domestic station at Ebbsfleet
planned to open in 2007.

The council as a landlord contributes to the achievement of the following Community
Strategy priorities:

      Leisure and Culture – provision of open space on the Christian Fields
       redevelopment and estate improvements at Gravesham Court / Homemead
      Regeneration and Transport – regenerating our estates through investment in
       our homes and the environment
      Community Safety – working with the police and community to tackle anti-social
       behaviour and providing a community warden service
      The Environment – carrying out environmental works to estates to make them
       more attractive places to live
      Housing and the Built Environment – ensuring that our 6,132 Homes are decent
      Jobs and Business – providing affordable housing for workers in the area who
       cannot access the owner occupier market
      Lifelong Learning – providing tenants with opportunities to get involved and learn
       new skills

For more information on the Kent Thameside Local Strategic Partnership or to obtain a
copy of the Community Strategy – Toward the Futureplace, please contact Christopher
Woodley on 01474 337340 or e-mail christopher.woodley@gravesham.gov.uk. The
document is also available on the council‟s website www.gravesham.gov.uk




                                      Page 21 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Corporate Priorities

We have published our Corporate Plan for 2003-2007, “Taking Pride in Gravesham”,
which details how we will take forward our aspirations and how we intend to support the
delivery of the Kent Thameside Community Strategy. The corporate priorities relating to
our landlord role are shown below:



                         Progress towards reducing the level of racial harassment by responding
                         effectively to victims and taking actions against perpetrators
   Community Safety
                         Reduce criminal damage, vandalism and other acts of anti-social behaviour
                         Provide support to victims of crimes perpetrated on council-owned property


   The Environment       Take forward action to support key elements in Local Agenda 21


                         -Put in place an investment strategy to progress action to achieve the
                         Government‟s Decent Homes Standard
                         -Seek to achieve an upper quartile position for rent collection
                         -Secure the regeneration of the Christian Fields Estate, in partnership with Moat
 Housing and The Built   Housing and Countyside Properties
     Environment         -Implement the Sustainable Estates programme to secure long term sustainability
                         -Provide a range of Social Inclusion Initiatives – to tackle fuel Poverty, access to
                         financial services, housing advice and tenants participation



                         -Ensure the Sustainable development of the Ebbsfleet Valley, Springhead, North
   Regeneration and
                         East Gravesend and the Lord Street/Parrock Street/Eden Place area
      Transport


   Lifelong Learning
  Jobs and Business
                         -The Corporate Plan 2003-2007 sets no specific targets for housing
 Health and well-being
  Leisure and Culture

                         -Pursue a best practice approach to achieving Best Value
                         -Establish mechanisms for the practical involvement of residents in the
                         development of services
       An Effective      -Put in place an effective Performance Management Framework
       Organisation      -Implement our e-Government Strategy
                         -Through our Asset Management Plan, seek to secure resources to achieve our
                         strategic priorities
                         -Implement a programme for Achieving Management Excellence




This has been updated and published in June 2005 as “Taking Pride in Gravesham:
Moving up a Gear” which sets the priorities for the next two years under six strategic
aims:

        A safer place

        A cleaner greener environment




                                            Page 22 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      Healthy and diverse communities

      Excellent housing

      Community – led regeneration

      An excellent council: a model employer with improved accommodation and top
       quality performance

As a landlord, we contribute to the achievement of our corporate priorities:

      The provision of decent homes and measures to build sustainable communities –
       by 2010, we expect all of our homes to have met at least the Decent Homes
       Standard
      Our tenants have the opportunity to get involved and work together to improve
       their homes, their estates and the services we provide for them. A decent home
       provides a good basis for healthy living
      We are continually improving our services to meet the needs of our tenants and
       we are involving tenants in that process
      We provide employment locally for housing staff and the direct workforce and
       improvements in our performance contribute to the council‟s overall assessment

For more information on the Corporate Plan or to obtain a copy please contact Customer
Services by telephone on 01474 337000 or by e-mail
customer.service@gravesham.gov.uk. The document is also available on the council‟s
website www.gravesham.gov.uk


Best Value Performance Plan 2006/07

The Best Value Performance Plan 2006/07 shows how we are achieving our objectives,
providing detailed performance information including our performance indicator targets.
Under the heading, Excellent Housing, the High Level Service Improvement Plan
includes two objectives:

      Treat the improvement of Housing Services as a corporate priority

      Set clear, measurable local standards and targets for housing repairs and
       maintenance that reflect the current and future needs of tenants and residents

For further information on the Best Value Performance Plan or to obtain a copy please
contact Customer Services by telephone on 01474 337000 or by e-mail
customer.service@gravesham.gov.uk. The document is also available on the council‟s
website www.gravesham.gov.uk




                                      Page 23 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Community Safety Strategy 2005-2008

Our second Community Safety Strategy was published in July 2005 in conjunction with
our key partners; Gravesham CDRP, Kent County Council, Kent County Constabulary
(North Kent Police), Gravesham and The Primary Care Trust, National Probation Service
and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

This new three-year strategy builds on the work and commitment of previous strategies
and utilises the findings from the Crime and Disorder Audit to develop an action plan by
focusing on tackling the root causes of crime and disorder and taking a pro-active
approach to preventing it. The strategy has three strategic aims:

Strategic Aim 1 - Reducing Crime and Disorder (including Anti Social Behaviour)
                  throughout the Borough

Strategic Aim 2 – Reducing the Fear of Crime throughout the Borough

Strategic Aim 3 – Community Development

For further information on the Community Safety Strategy or obtain a copy contact
Patricia Jefford on 01474 337528 or e-mail patricia.jefford@gravesham.gov.uk

As a landlord, we are extremely proactive in contributing to our Community Safety
Strategy including:

      A multi-agency Northcourt Action Group which has been set up to tackle estate-
       based issues as a pilot for other estates. Housing officers regularly attend
       meetings
      Mediation in North Kent (MINK) is now part of a structured approach to dealing
       with Anti Social Behaviour and monitoring outcomes. Since the scheme went
       live in January 2004, there have been 24 referrals
      We have a special fencing budget to improve the security of vulnerable
       properties. We are providing 1.8 metre close boarded fencing to side and rear of
       properties that adjoin alleys to increase security and privacy
      We have a witness protection strategy in place and as a result have re-housed
       witnesses, provided CCTV and lifeline alarms in domestic violence cases and
       provided support to witnesses before court cases
      We have partial CCTV installed on three estates (Kings Farm, Northcourt and
       Wallis Park) and we have found it effective in reducing anti-social behaviour
      Gravesham Borough Council employs Community Wardens who work at Wallis
       Park and the surrounding area. They have been involved in working with the
       residents to improve the quality of life in the area. They have arranged litter
       picks, sport with the youths and have given support to people who have been
       victims of unacceptable behaviour. It has been acknowledged that through the
       activities of the residents, housing staff and other agencies Wallis Park is a more
       desirable place to live in. Recently, the community wardens have established a
       mobile patrol in addition to working in the Northfleet area. They challenge
       behaviour where appropriate and have assisted in the prosecution of recent
       cases across the borough. The five wardens work closely with the caretaker
       service, housing officers, other agencies and the residents to promote a safer



                                     Page 24 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

       community. We are in the process of recruiting a sixth person so that we can
       maintain a visual presence to promote Gravesham as a safe place in which to
       live, work or visit.


Capital Strategy and Asset Management Plan, July 2003

Our Capital Strategy has been developed to ensure that we are using our capital
resources to the best effect to deliver our corporate objectives. We operate a bidding
system for new capital projects requiring the Head of Service to consider a number of
factors including the revenue implications of schemes and how the scheme contributes
to corporate objectives before a bid can be considered by a Director/Member panel (the
Sustainable Budget Group).

The Asset Management Plan has been developed to ensure that asset management has
a high profile within the council and is developed by the Asset Management Group. The
group provides a strategic direction to property management identifying opportunities to
rationalise assets for better use and to realise surplus assets. The group includes
officers from the Housing, Regeneration and Finance departments. An „Idea Property
Portfolio‟ has been developed as a tool for future management of assets. Should an
asset be surplus to requirements but suitable for residential development, the council
has an adopted policy whereby the site is considered for the development of new
affordable housing. A knock-on effect of the policy is that sites often have to be
disposed for less than best value to a housing association partner. If the asset to be
disposed is HRA land then the capital receipt is ringfenced for future investment in our
housing stock.

Both these documents have been informed by the Housing Strategy 2002 to 2007 and
the HRA Business 2002 to 2012. Future versions will reflect the objectives in this
document. The housing capital programme is the most significant of the council‟s overall
capital programme at over 90 per cent of the total spend and significant changes in
housing policy and objectives within the Housing Strategy have a significant impact on
the capital strategy and asset management plan e.g. investment to meet the Decent
Homes Standard.

For further information on the Capital Strategy or to obtain a copy please contact Phil
Wilson on 01474 337202 or e-mail phil.wilson@gravesham.gov.uk

For further information on the Asset Management Plan or to obtain a copy please
contact John Miller on 01474 337382 or e-mail john.miller@gravesham.go.uk




                                      Page 25 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Housing Strategy 2005-2009

The Housing Strategy 2005-2009 is the key strategy for housing across all tenures. It
has been developed to ensure a balanced housing market and the supply of decent
affordable homes in Gravesham. The Housing Strategy sets our four priorities for
housing:



 Priority 1 – To deliver an excellent housing service for all the residents of
 Gravesham

 Priority 2 – To improve the quality of housing in both the private and social
 sectors

 Priority 3 – With partners, to maximize the supply of affordable housing

 Priority 4 – To tackle and prevent homelessness



This HRA business plan demonstrates how the council as a landlord can contribute to
the achievement of these objectives in particular priorities 1 and 2. Our challenge will be
to ensure that should the ballot for stock transfer be successful, the new landlord will
have a clear set of tenant priorities for the development of housing services.

For more information on the Housing Strategy or to obtain a copy of the Housing
Strategy, please contact Liz Crockford or Deborah Beadle on 01474 337330 or e-mail
housingstrategymanager@gravesham.gov.uk. A copy is available on the council‟s
website www.gravesham.gov.uk.




                                      Page 26 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

5) The demand for council housing


Housing Needs Survey

Our housing needs survey was undertaken on our behalf by Fordham Research in
Spring 2001 (Final Report in December 2001) and showed that there was a net need for
new affordable housing of 409 units per year. A complete new housing needs survey
will be undertaken in 2006. We are not expecting any reduction in the demand for
affordable housing, probably an increase as there has been a significant increase in the
numbers of homeless families since 2001.

Our housing needs information is kept up to date through reviews of the common
housing register, monitoring homelessness returns to the Office of the Deputy Prime
Minister (now Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)) and parish
needs surveys.

There is a huge demand for two and four bed properties throughout the borough. The
council works with registered social landlords to reflect the need for this sized property
by securing properties on new developments through section 106 planning agreements.

The Housing Strategy considers housing need in the borough in more detail.


Housing Register

We maintain a common housing register for Gravesham. In March 2006, the register
contained 1,544 families on the waiting list and 611 families on the transfer list. Both the
waiting lists and transfer lists are split down by bedroom size:



   Number of Bedrooms                 Waiting List                 Transfer List
           1                              851                          230
           2                              389                          121
           3                              212                          177
           4                               92                           82
           5                               0                             1
         Total                           1544                          611


Making the best use of our stock

Our policy for allocations and nominations is based on four factors:

      Re-housing targets
      Rules for the allocation of different types of property
      Re-housing priorities
      Use of discretion




                                      Page 27 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

As well as rules for the way we determine the size and type of property allocated, we
also set targets each year for categories of applicants. Currently, the majority of our
general needs homes are made available to homeless households.

We have an Under Occupation Strategy to encourage tenants to move to smaller
homes. Where the criteria is met, we pay the removal expenses of tenants over 60
moving into sheltered accommodation and pay incentives to other tenants downsizing. It
is in our service plan to review this scheme, looking at best practice elsewhere to reduce
under occupation.

Following consultation on the Housing Strategy, the council has approved to pilot a
revised Under-Occupation Strategy. The pilot will target under occupiers in three and
four bedroom houses, with an enhanced incentive for each bedroom given up. The
council learnt through the consultation process that as important to single person and
couple households who are under-occupying, are their eligibility to be considered for two
bedroom homes. The pilot will encompass this revised approach.

In 2005/06, £20,000 was planned to be allocated to the pilot. Subject to the success of
the pilot, further funds will be sought for 2006 onwards.

In conjunction with moving forward, we have introduced a scheme to support young
single homeless persons. We have set aside accommodation for 15 young people and
are providing a full time key worker to train them in life skills. The aim is to provide
young people with the skills they need to be able to sustain a secure tenancy in the
future.


Voids turnover

The turnover of voids represents the vacancies arising in our stock to house the
homeless and people off the waiting list in accordance with our letting policy. Our void
turnaround time, the time taken to let one of our homes after the previous tenant moves
out, was 35.31 days for 2004/05 and 30.05 days for 2005/06.



                      Bedroom size                      Number of Voids

                             1                                  281
                             2                                   39
                             3                                  123
                             4                                   14
                             5                                   1
                                                                458


Hard to let properties

With high demand for housing in Gravesham, we need to ensure the prompt letting of
our homes. Although not significant numbers, we do have some properties that are



                                      Page 28 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

difficult to let. These homes are rejected by applicants even when they are in urgent
housing need.

We have identified 476 homes that fall into this category and are taking action, involving
residents to resolve issues:

      Wallis Park – this estate of 168 homes is unpopular due to the level of crime,
       vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Actions taken by the council to address
       these issues include:-

                  A Pilot Community Warden scheme was set up in the area and levels
                   of crime and vandalism have since reduced. The funding for this
                   scheme was initially awarded from a successful Urban II funding bid.
                   Following the success of this pilot scheme, the council has continued
                   to fund and expand the service.

                  Since this time, we have undertaken a Caretaking and Community
                   Wardens review to enhance the service further. This included the
                   appointment of a Senior Officer to manage and co-ordinate both
                   services.

                  The Wallis Park Task Force has been set up, made up of tenants with
                   others attending including the police, the caretaker of the estate, the
                   community development worker, health action worker and other
                   groups with an interest in improving the estate.

                  In conjunction with other partners over the last three years, over
                   £250,000 has been spent on improvements including structural
                   repairs, a painting programme using anti-graffiti paint, improving the
                   ball court, the provision of play equipment and training/learning
                   opportunities.

      Northcourt is an estate of 319 homes and suffers from substantial nuisance and
       harassment to residents. Working with residents, we have developed a scheme
       with Kent County Council, which attracted £400,000 of funding for a homezone
       project in Thistle Road and Rose Avenue. Actions taken by the council to
       address these issues include:-

                  Becoming part of the North Kent Equine Group which has significantly
                   reduced the number of horses being tethered in inappropriate areas of
                   the estate.

                  The council works with other agencies in the area providing services
                   to the local community through the Riverside Community Centre to
                   which residents are involved in the steering group. In the past, the
                   area was a police focus area; however, as a result of these actions,
                   the area is no longer a police focus zone and there has been a
                   reduction in crime.




                                      Page 29 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Sustainable estates

The demand for our homes in not entirely based on the property itself. The environment
can also be significant. In addition to Northcourt, Wallis Park (above) and Christian
Fields (section 6) we have also been undertaking work on the following estates:

      Westcourt Estate – this estate has an extremely, well developed Residents‟
       Association which has accessed a number of funders to run various projects
       including:

                     The conversion of an old school hall into a community centre.

                     The Neighbourhood Development Officer sits on the Westcourt
                      Community Forum, a local partnership of residents groups,
                      school, church, scouts, guides and other organisations in the
                      Westcourt ward. The aim of the forum is to tackle social exclusion
                      by providing a cross cutting family support project funded by
                      Urban ll.

      Gravesham Court / Homemead – this development of two blocks of multi storey
       flats including sheltered accommodation is close to the town centre. From a
       “planning for real” day, we are now implementing plans to deal with residents
       concerns which include:

                     Boundary works, security and secure parking in the first phase,
                      now complete.

                     Part of the site has been transferred to Hyde Housing Association
                      for the development of four new “lifetime” homes.

                     Further works including improvements to door entry systems,
                      internal CCTV and a concierge system are also being introduced.

      Waterdales – the Residents‟ Association has taken a proactive approach to
       problems on the estate. We have supported the group through our
       Neighbourhood Development Team in partnership with the CVS Development
       worker. An old cricket pavilion has been renovated to provide a community
       facility and the association is providing training to groups to run youth and other
       clubs on the estate.




                                      Page 30 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

6) Delivering Decent Homes


Introduction

In 2000, the Government introduced the Decent Homes Standard for all social housing
which has to be achieved by 2010. This has now been extended to the private sector in
new Guidance published by the Government in February 2004. The Decent Homes
Standard requires that a home must:

      Meet the current statutory minimum standard for housing
      Be in a reasonable state of repair
      Have reasonably modern facilities and services
      Provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort

More information on the Decent Homes Standard can be obtained from the Department
for Communities and Local Government website: www.communities.gov.uk

At the beginning of the 2005/06 financial year, 262 of our homes failed the Decent
Homes Standard with a further 1,143 expected to fail during 2005/06 making a total of
1,405 that do not meet the standard this year.


The Decent Homes Plus Standard

The Decent Homes Standard is recognised as a minimum standard for Social Housing.
The options appraisal report gave us the opportunity to work with tenants to develop the
Decent Homes Plus Standard. This standard reflects the improvements that tenants felt
are important and asked to be included:

      Enhanced kitchen upgrades
      Solid front doors with security features
      Wider CCTV provision
      More community warden patrols
      An improved repairs service
      Improved cleaning of communal areas

The above works will cost a further £2.9m to 2010


Stock condition

A 10% survey was carried out by Rand Associates in 1998 and updated in 2002 with a
further 5% survey. For the stock options appraisal, additional work was carried out on
stock condition and, as a result, the investment requirements for our stock (2004 price
base and stock numbers) over 30 years included £162.9 million in the projections. To
2010, the investment requirement is £28.6m to meet the minimum Decent Homes
Standard.

An independent survey will be carried out as part of the stock transfer process.



                                     Page 31 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Energy efficiency

As at 31 March 2005, the SAP rating for the council‟s stock was 61.21. This compares
favourably to the boroughwide average SAP rating of 51. It also fulfils the Decent
Homes Standard which requires all homes to have a SAP rating of 50 or above.


How we keep our stock condition information up to date

Based on the original Rand Survey, we carried out a desk top survey of our properties
using historic information on condition and investment. We supplemented this with
surveys building up a picture of the condition of our stock. We have an Asset
Management Programme in place and are loading all our paper information onto this.
We have a plan in place to update all stock condition data using handheld computers to
collect the information. We have a planned percentage of surveys which we will carry
out over the year together with any ad hoc surveys as our surveyors visit properties.
Overall, we expect to carry out detailed surveys of our homes at 10% per year.


Asset Management Strategy

Following the establishment of the Asset Management Programme, this will then allow
us to establish a comprehensive Asset Management Strategy.


Our plan to deliver Decent Homes

Now that the council has taken the decision to proceed to ballot for stock transfer, much
of the investment needed to meet the Decent Homes Standard and the Decent Homes
Plus Standard will be new and provided by the new landlord. We are required to bring
our homes up to the Decent Homes Standard by 2010. In the run up to stock transfer,
we will concentrate our efforts on meeting the Decent Homes Standard. Our plans to
2006/07 are:



                                                   2005/06      2006/07

 Number failing Decent Homes Standard at 1           262           192
 April 2005
 Number of homes worked on                           1,213        1,703

 Number of new failures                              1,143        1,630

 Balance Carried Forward                             192           119



Should the ballot produce a “No” vote then the plans would need to be revised to show
how we intend to meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010.



                                     Page 32 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Not just about Decent Homes

There is other work that we have to do, in addition to the Decent Homes Standard, that
is required to keep tenants safe. This includes warden call systems, asbestos surveying
and removal, lift replacement and structural repairs. The estimated cost of this work to
2010 is £7.9m with an estimated £1.58m to transfer in October 2006.

We have identified and dealt with the issues relating to our Precast Reinforced Concrete
(PRC) non-traditional housing. The main estate, Christian Fields (see below), is being
redeveloped leaving us with a few properties where the works were not carried out as
part of our programme to upgrade our PRCs. Works were not carried out where tenants
refused the improvements and we are addressing these properties as they become
vacant at a couple a year.


Christian Fields

The Christian Fields Estate comprises 178 council owned PRC „Wates‟ homes plus 30
owner occupied homes that were purchased under the Right to Buy legislation and
subsequently modernised. A survey of these properties revealed that an investment of
approximately £8m would be required to bring them up to the Decent Homes Standard.




We decided that carrying out this refurbishment work did not provide value for money
and that a disproportionate level of resources would be invested in a small number of
homes when we have to bring all our homes up to the Decent Homes Standard. After
extensive consultation with residents on the estate, we have approved a scheme that will
result in the redevelopment of this site over four phases providing 179 affordable homes
for rent, 33 shared ownership homes and 214 private homes for sale.

Our partners in this scheme are Moat Homes Limited who will manage the social
housing on the site and the developer is Countryside Properties. Some tenants will
move to temporary accommodation in the neighbourhood while the work is being carried
out. However, we have listened to our tenants and the majority will move straight to their
new homes; hence, the long time scale. We now have the Secretary of State‟s approval
to transfer the land to Moat Homes. We estimate that this scheme will be completed in
2014 with the key milestones shown below.




                                     Page 33 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Outline timetable

Development Agreement Signed                                              April 2006
Phase 1                                                    October 2006 – May 2008
Phase 2                                                 September 2007 – June 2010
Phase 3                                                 September 2009 – June 2012
Phase 4                                                 October 2011 – October 2014



Our investment programme 2005/06 - 2006/07

We are expecting, subject to a majority in favour during the ballot, that the stock transfer
will take place in June 2007. Therefore, we are only planning our spending to that date.
Our plans to that date show our total investment programme in 2005/06 will be
£7.537million with £2.487million expenditure up to October 2006 for both Decent Homes
works and other planned works.


Delivery and procurement of the programme

We are in the first year of our new partnering contracts. We have two partners for
works: Apollo London for major works including decent homes and improvements
programme and Gravesham Services for the revenue repairs and maintenance works.
Both contracts are for five years. The partnering approach means that we work closer
with our contractors to ensure that works are carried out efficiently and we get it right first
time.


Involving tenants in repairs and maintenance

The Service Improvement Advisory Group (SIAG) for repairs and maintenance has been
set up with three people from residents‟ groups and three people from the People Bank.
The group reviews repairs and maintenance activities including repairs to empty
properties, monitors contract performance, reviews performance statistics and considers
how services to tenants can be improved. An example of a suggestion from the group
that was successfully implemented is that Swale Heating, our contractor for gas
servicing and breakdowns, telephone ahead to let tenants know they are on their way to
an appointment or if they are running late, tenants know when they will arrive.




                                       Page 34 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

7) Managing Gravesham’s homes


Introduction

Currently our homes are managed by the Housing Department based within the Civic
Centre and in four area offices. The area offices are at Kings Farm, Northcourt, The
Hive and Lawrance Square.


The management structure




                                        Andy Chequers
                                     Head of Housing Services




              Wale Adetoro                                Mandy Samrai (up to Sept 2006)
        Housing Operations Manager                        Housing Policy & Projects Manager



  Responsible for:                                     Responsible for:
  Housing Management                                   Major Projects
  Estate Management                                    Best Value
  Caretaking Services                                  HRA Business Plan
  Sheltered Housing                                    Supporting People
  Caravan Sites                                        Performance Management
  Allocations                                          Efficiency Agenda
  Rents                                                Asset Management Strategy
  Neighbourhood Development                            Stock Transfer
  Tenant Participation                                 Policy Development
  Community Wardens




There are currently 110.1 full time equivalent staffing posts directly funded by the
Housing Revenue Account (2006/07).




                                         Page 35 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Managing our homes

Services to tenants are provided through our area offices at The Hive, Kings Farm,
Lawrance Square and Denton. The services we provide to tenants include:

      Empty properties – when a tenant gives us notice, we will inspect the property,
       ensure that the works the tenant is responsible for are carried out and determine
       any void works before the property can be relet. We will show prospective
       tenants around the property.

      Tenancy Management – all tenants are provided with a tenants‟ handbook which
       provides them with details of tenancy conditions, what they can expect us to do
       and what we expect them to do. New tenants to the council have a probationary
       tenancy for one year. If the tenancy conditions are broken then we will apply to
       the court for a possession order. Where tenants breach the tenancy conditions,
       we take action to resolve problems or, for serious breaches, we will take court
       action.

      Responsive Repairs – although tenants can report repairs at their area office,
       most of our repairs are reported through our Customer Contact Centre and
       passed to our in-house contractor, Operational Services, to carry out the work
       under our new partnering contract.


Income management

The council has a dedicated rents section that is responsible for the management of rent
accounts, arrears and former tenant arrears. Performance within this area has improved
from 2003/04 with a percentage income of 96.25% to 97.17% in 2004/05 and 98.40% in
2005/06. The council has arrangements in place with the Citizens Advice Bureau to
provide a debt counselling service.

In order to maximise rental income, the council has in place many methods of payment
including direct debit, standing order, payment at neighbourhood offices, Civic Centre,
and on line via the website.

The council is currently undertaking a review of its leaseholder management and service
charge procedures in order to enhance performance further in this area.

More robust procedures are being put in place to recharge residents for vandalism and
malicious damage to council property.


Tenant satisfaction

The results from the STATUS tenants‟ survey undertaken in February / March 2004
were very positive:

      78 per cent of tenants were satisfied with landlord service
      79 per cent of tenants felt that the rent represented good value for money



                                     Page 36 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      85 per cent were satisfied with their accommodation
      81 per cent said they have the right number of rooms
      81 per cent said their property was in good or very good condition.

We are always looking to improve our services for tenants. A further tenants' survey
was undertaken in September 2005 and showed improvement:-

      86 per cent of tenants were satisfied with their home
      74 per cent were satisfied with their neighbourhood
      82 per cent were satisfied with the landlord service
      85 per cent were satisfied that their rent offered value for money
      89 per cent said staff were helpful


Maintaining and repairing our homes

Our Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPI) are shown in Appendix B and reveal that
our performance is improving. The Repairs and Maintenance service was inspected, for
the first time, in April 2003 and assessed as a “poor” no star service that had “uncertain
prospects for improvement”. Despite this being a disappointing result, we put in place a
service improvement plan to significantly improve the repairs service. In May 2004, we
were re-inspected with the service being assessed as a “fair” one star service that has
“promising prospects for improvement”. We have addressed our key problems including
links to corporate service plans, greater consultation with tenants, introducing a lettable
standard, having a clear plan for meeting the Decent Homes Standard and good liaison
between tenants and contractors.

Our maintenance work is split between planned and responsive works. Responsive
maintenance is where we carry out repairs in a tenant‟s home at their request due to a
breakdown (e.g. leaking toilet, repairing kitchen units etc.) - an appointment system is
available to tenants for this service. Other revenue repairs include cyclical repairs (e.g.
gas and lift servicing and planned maintenance including pre-painting repairs). Good
practice on the split between revenue planned and responsive works is 60:40. In
2005/06, we budgeted to spend 70% on planned to responsive maintenance.


Managing voids and allocations

We have a lettable standard in place developed with the help of tenants through our
Service Improvement Advisory Group. It explains what new tenants can expect to find
when they move into one of our homes.

Our void performance was 35.31 days for 2004/05 and 30.05 days for 2005/06. These
are both improvements on performance for 2003/4 which was 42.35 days. A clear voids
process is in place with targets for each part of the process. Performance is closely
monitored and a number of operational improvements have been put in place to improve
performance.




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Dealing with anti-social behaviour

We updated and re-published our Anti-Social Behaviour Policy and Procedure document
by 31 January 2005 as required by statute. We also provided and published a summary
of the document which is available free of charge to residents. Residents, officers and
councillors were involved in the development of this policy document through the Service
Improvement Advisory Group. Our principal priorities include securing the safety and
well-being of the community. We will promote community safety by working to reduce
criminal damage, vandalism and other acts of anti-social behaviour. The Anti-Social
Behaviour Policy is founded on these underlying principles, and the obligations that
Gravesham Borough Council‟s Housing Services has, as a landlord, in achieving them.
We are committed to maintaining safe and sustainable housing neighbourhoods.

Some examples on how we are dealing with anti-social behaviour on our estates are:-

      We carry out partnership working with our colleagues in community safety, legal
       services, North Kent Police, the racial equality council and other statutory and
       voluntary organisations in addressing anti-social behaviour.

      Senior Housing Officers attend the inter-agency Anti-Social Behaviour Group,
       which includes representatives from other housing providers, Community Safety,
       Legal Service, Housing, Social Services, Education, Youth Offending Team and
       North Kent Police. This group looks at options for intervention and support to
       divert unacceptable behaviour as well as enforcement options.

      There are internal meetings involving community safety, legal services and
       housing to discuss ongoing issues with problem behaviour involving tenants.

      There is a Racial Harassment Case group that regularly meets to review the way
       housing deals with reported case. The group consists of North Kent Police,
       Housing, Social Services and North Kent Racial Equality Council.

      Housing officers actively investigated 368 complaints of unacceptable behaviour
       in the year ending March 2005. They referred 14 cases on to the inter-agency
       Anti-Social Behaviour Group for intervention and support work. They made seven
       referrals to the Mediation Service to try and broker agreements on the future
       behaviour of neighbours involved in disputes. The officers were involved in nine
       cases where persons signed an acceptable behaviour agreement and agreed not
       to display certain types of behaviour for a six month period of time.

      Three Notices of Seeking Possession of the Property were issued for anti-social
       behaviour in 2004/05.

      One injunction with a power of arrest and one eviction for anti-social behaviour
       was obtained.

      Prior to April 2005, Gravesham Borough Housing Services had taken 15
       proceedings for eviction for anti-social behaviour, obtained an anti-social
       behaviour order and two interim orders, obtained a number of injunctions and
       issued 23 acceptable behaviour agreements.



                                     Page 38 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



      We have worked with the police in assisting them obtain several anti-social
       behaviour orders and post conviction anti-social behaviour orders against people
       in the borough.

      We are conscious of the fact that tenants who support us in obtaining these
       convictions need help and support to protect them from future harassment and
       intimidation. We have spent £41,000 on one case alone moving six families and
       supporting them both prior to and after the court proceedings. We have used
       professional witnesses on five occasions in an effort to obtain additional evidence
       in reported instances of serious anti-social behaviour.

For more information on policies and procedures for dealing with anti-social behaviour,
please contact Paul Gilbert on 01474 33 73 59 or e-mail paul.gilbert@gravesham.gov.uk
or Tony Clayton on 01474 33 79 97 or e-mail tony.clayton@gravesham.gov.uk.


Racial harassment

The new Racial Harassment Policy for Housing has been operating since 1 April 2004 in
compliance with Best Value Performance Indicator 164: “Does the authority follow the
Commission for Racial Equality‟s Code of Practice in Rented Housing and the Good
Practice Standards for Social Landlords on Tackling Racial Harassment included in the
Code of Practice for Social Landlords, Tackling Racial Harassment?”

In the year 2004/5, 12 cases of racial harassment were received. A case group
consisting of representatives from Gravesham Borough Council Housing, North Kent
Police, Kent Social Services and North Kent Racial Equality Council oversees the way in
which cases are dealt with by the housing department.


Mediation in North Kent (MINK)

MINK is registered both with the Charities‟ Commission and Companies‟ House and has
a management committee of trustees and directors. Its trained volunteers try to broker
agreements between parties that are referred to it. The two main sponsors for three
years are Gravesham Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council. More recently
under the steerage of the permanent co-ordinator, MINK has been successful in
obtaining support from other organisations.

Its aims and objectives are to provide a free, impartial and confidential service to help
people involved in disputes within their community, to reduce the potential of violence,
harassment, stress and tension within the community as a result of neighbour conflicts,
to help people live peacefully and comfortably next door to each other and to promote
the use of mediation by members of the public.

In 2004/5, there were 14 referrals from Gravesham. 50% of all referrals made to MINK
involved anti-social behaviour and another 25% of all cases referred involved complaints
of noise.




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Services for older people

As a landlord, we provide services for older people and tenants in need of support to
sustain their tenancies. We have a sheltered housing service of around 600 residential
warden units for older people in 20 schemes. We employ 20 Scheme Managers who
spend 100 per cent of their time providing support to tenants. We also have visiting
wardens who provide a support service to elderly tenants not living in sheltered housing.
An emergency response service is also provided to give support in the case of
emergencies occurring outside normal working hours.


Supporting People

Supporting People aims to provide a coherent programme of support provided by
different agencies supported by a single funding stream. Kent County Council is
responsible for the development and implementation of the Supporting People Strategy,
with support and input form the district councils, which considers how needs in Kent will
be met.

Tenants in receipt of housing benefit do not have to pay for their support, and those who
were tenants of sheltered housing before 1 April 2003 are also protected. New tenants
of sheltered housing are expected to pay their support charges though some support
may be available through “fairer charging”.

In 2005/06, Supporting People funding met £280,000 of our costs. Nationally funding is
being reduced. We cannot rely on this level of funding to continue for the foreseeable
future so services will have to be kept under review.

For more information on the five year Supporting People Strategy, please contact John
Roach at Kent County Council or e-mail john.roach@kent.gov.uk


Leaseholder management and community development

We have 349 leasehold properties (March 2006) and have set up a Leaseholder Forum
to ensure that they have a say and we address their concerns and needs.

Neighbourhood development is a key strand to redevelop neighbourhoods. We provide
support to residents who indicate an interest in establishing their own resident group or
in joining an existing group on their estate. Residents can become involved in a variety
of ways. Examples of which include their ability to set up a Residents‟ Association for
their estate, and become a member of the Tenants‟ Forum. This is the main resident
consultative umbrella organisation in Gravesham where residents come together from all
recognised resident groups to work with the council.

People may wish to join the People Bank, which is a pool of people who have indicated
an interest in participating with the council to help shape and improve our existing
housing service provision. This can involve residents in participating in Focus Groups
such as the one that looked at the Repairs‟ Partnering Contract, taking part in surveys
including mystery shopping exercises to help the council achieve continuous
improvements in service delivery, or participating in a Reading Group or Editorial Panel


                                     Page 40 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

where they review written information, documents, newsletters to help ensure that the
council‟s use of language is clear, easily understood and free from jargon.

Residents can also become involved in Service Improvement Advisory Groups to jointly
work with the council looking at performance in a vast range of service areas such as
Allocations, Rents, Estate Management, Community Safety and Sheltered Housing
issues, to name but a few.

Residents are also directly involved in other housing project developments currently
happening in the Borough such as the Christian Fields housing development with Moat
Homes Limited and another project at Gravesham Court and Homemead. Other ways in
which residents can participate include community day events, outings, coffee and
networking mornings as well as in devising their own newsletters.

All resident group committee members are encouraged to participate in a variety of
ongoing resident training courses. The courses that are chosen each quarterly period
are based upon the preferred choice indicated by residents across the borough. Such
training benefits not only the resident groups by enabling them to develop and sustain
but also allows individuals to develop their own self confidence and experience.


Our performance

Our Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPIs) are shown in Appendix B and reveal
that our performance is improving. Our local performance indicators also provide us with
a useful measurement of how services is performing.

Within the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA), the Decent Homes
Standard diagnostic was assessed to be ”B” – low in terms of the need for improvement.
This contributed to an overall assessment of”Fair” for the council. We believe that
having achieved “Fit for Purpose”, our Housing Strategy and Business Plan together with
our detailed plan to achieve the Decent Homes Standard based on the Stock Options
Appraisal, will help the council to improve its CPA rating.

Our repairs and maintenance service was inspected, for the first time, in April 2003 and
assessed as a “poor” no star service that had “uncertain prospects for improvement”.
We put in place a service improvement plan to significantly improve the repairs service.
In May 2004, we were re-inspected with the service being assessed as a “fair” one star
service that had “promising prospects for improvement”. We have addressed our key
problems including links to corporate service plans, greater consultation with tenants,
introducing a lettings standard, having a clear plan for meeting the Decent Homes
Standard and good liaison between tenants and contractors.

A high level Service Improvement Plan (SIP) has been produced to drive through
improvements from a corporate perspective. The SIP is monitored on a quarterly basis
by the Directors‟ Group to ensure that good progress is maintained.

A further inspection took place in November 2005. This focused on the Landlord
Services, which were judged to be a “fair” one star service that had “promising prospects
for improvement”. We were pleased that the Inspection Team recognised our



                                     Page 41 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

performance in implementing recommendations from previous inspection reports and
that these had resulted in improved services for our tenants.


Performance Indicators

We compile and publish the Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPIs) each year plus
a range of our own targets enabling us to monitor and manage our performance. We set
targets for future years to ensure continuous improvement.


Comparing ourselves to others

The council is a member of HouseMark, a benchmarking club for monitoring
performance against other similar housing organisations.

The council‟s performance against these other authorities is regularly monitored. In the
first quarter of 2005/06 for rent collection, BVPI 66a, the council was ranked 9th out of 23
for collection rates.

For reletting vacant dwellings in the same period, the council was ranked 4th out of 40.


Efficiency agenda

Sir Peter Gershon was asked to identify “efficiencies” in the public sector to release
resources into front line services. As a result, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
(ODPM) agreed an efficiency gain of at least £6.46bn by 2007/08. A target of £867m
has been set for local authority housing. It is up to councils to decide which services
should produce efficiency gains.

We are required to submit Annual Efficiency Statements to the ODPM (now DCLG) each
year. The statements are in two parts: a forward looking statement identifies where
efficiency savings will come from and a backward look confirms the efficiency gains
achieved in the previous year.

For 2006/07, efficiency gains will come from the council for the following housing
services:

      Enhanced arrangements for increasing tenant rent collection
      Improved arrangements for bad debts
      Reduction in rental loss from empty properties
      Replacing the caretakers‟ new vehicles with 2nd hand vehicles to reduce
       leasehold costs and maintenance costs
      Increasing the insurance excess payable by the council on fires in order to
       reduce the insurance premium




                                      Page 42 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

8) Housing Stock Options Appraisal


Stock Options Appraisal

The Government requires that all stock holding local authorities carry out a full options
appraisal for their stock, and issued detailed guidance on how this should be undertaken
in June 2003. One of the key considerations in the options appraisal is whether or not
the council can meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010 and maintain the standard
thereafter.

If the Decent Homes Standard cannot be met and maintained then there are three
options for increasing the resources to do so:

       Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) – the council sets up a
        company limited by guarantee to manage the housing stock and deliver
        improvements to the housing stock. The council, if accepted onto the ALMO
        programme, receives funding to pay for improvements to homes up to the Decent
        Homes Standard. The options appraisal concluded that it may be possible to
        secure up to £18 million of Government investment towards meeting the Decent
        Homes Standard but with an additional revenue cost of around £1m per annum.

       Private Finance Initiative (PFI) – the council enters into an agreement with a
        private sector provider to manage the housing stock and deliver improvements to
        homes. This can be to a higher standard than decent homes.

       Stock transfer – the council sells its homes to a housing association. The
        housing association can borrow money to pay for improvements to tenants‟
        homes. This can be to a higher standard than decent homes. This option
        provides additional resources for the council. Tenants have the final say on
        whether they wish to transfer in a secret ballot.

The Stock Options Appraisal was carried out in conjunction with Tribal HCH and the
Independent Tenant Advisor (ITA) was Your Choice Housing Consultants Ltd.


Determining the investment need and resources

Included in the Tribal HCH report were the costs of investing in homes over the 30 year
period to the Decent Homes Standard and to the Decent Homes Plus Standard. These
are detailed below:



 Year                   Decent Homes (£)        Decent Homes             Overall (£)
                                                   Plus (£)
 2005                       5,488,563             6,037,420               7,613,034
 2006                       6,183,875             6,802,263               8,150,680
 2007                       5,608,495             6,169,344               7,350,011
 2008                       5,689,387             6,258,325               7,529,997



                                     Page 43 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


 2009                       5,622,658               6,184,924              7,338,097
 2010                       5,929,164               6,522,080              7,686,326
 2011                       5,297,838               5,827,622              6,666,846
 2012                       3,614,596               3,976,055              5,124,422
 2013                       4,165,350               4,584,885              5,091,043
 2014                       4,591,713               5,050,884              5,806,821
 Total                     52,191,637              57,410,801             68,357,276

 2015 - 2019               12,137,928              13,351,721             20,320,726
 2020 - 2024               16,545,785              18,200,363             22,478,619
 2025 - 2029               23,027,775              25,330,552             28,989,845
 2030 - 2034               16,859,517              18,545,469             22,711,609

 Overall Total             120,762,642            132,838,906            162,858,076


The cost of meeting the Decent Homes Standard is £28.6 million (as at 2004 prices) or
75% of the total investment required up to 2009/10. A further £3.0 million is required
over the same period to meet the locally defined Decent Homes Standard making a total
of £31.6 million with the resources available being £26.6 million. The costs of works
included in the overall financial assessment for the next five years are shown below
together with the resources available.

The full 30 year programme of works and financing is shown in Appendix C. This shows
a shortfall of capital resources of £40.3m. From 2011/12, direct revenue funding from
the Housing Revenue Account is assumed; the council is able to do this as long as the
HRA is in surplus. This is not a significant amount at £3.6m over the 30 year period.

If the stock were to be retained, other resources could be used to fund the investment in
homes including capital receipts from the sale of council houses. If these were to be
used then resources would be directed away from other housing programmes and would
have to be a decision of council with the implications of that decision being assessed.
Prudential borrowing could also provide additional resources but the HRA would have to
meet the repayments. As there are no surplus funds in the HRA, savings would have to
be found which could impact on services.

If the stock were to be retained, the Housing Revenue Account projections over the 30
year period are shown in Appendix D1 together with the assumptions made in Appendix
D2. They show the HRA remaining in surplus over the 30 years but where the balance
is marked with an * the HRA goes below the minimum balance level of £750,000
(uplifted each year for 2.5% inflation).


Outcome

We concluded that both stock retention (i.e. staying with the council as landlord) and
stock transfer to a housing association were the two viable options and carried out a test
of opinion. We had a response rate of 21% with 1265 replies. Of those, 69% said that
their preference was that the council retains its housing stock with 28% interested in
stock transfer. 3% did not respond to this question.



                                     Page 44 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

We then undertook a stock options evaluation day which involved the stock options
working group taking into account all the evidence they had heard on the evidence days
on which only the councillor, tenant and leaseholder members of the groups were
allowed to vote. The working group‟s decision would then go forward as its
recommendation to Cabinet. The majority view (seven out of 10 votes) was that there
should be a ballot to determine whether the council transfers its homes.

At its meeting on 28th June 2005, full council resolved:

      The recommendation of the stock options appraisal working group to take the
       option of Large Scale Voluntary Transfer as the future option for the council‟s
       housing stock be approved, subject to tenants voting for transfer in a formal
       ballot.


Potential capital receipt at transfer

There is a significant amount of work to be completed before any stock transfer could
take place with a lead in period of approximately 16 months. The capital receipt from
stock transfer is dependant on the investment level that is agreed upon. The Tribal HCH
report considers a potential capital receipt of £27.5m.


                                              £m
 Total Capital Receipt                        27.5
 Less:
 Set up Costs                                 3.2
 20% Government Levy                          4.5
 Residual Housing Debt                        2.0

 Balance Available                            17.8


Should the transfer of the council‟s housing stock be supported by residents, no
guarantee should be placed on the likely level of Capital Receipt to be directed to new
affordable housing provision. The council will determine the use of any capital receipt as
the process progresses.




                                     Page 45 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

9) Resources


Housing assets

Our assets are our houses, flats and garages.


 Asset                         Numbers at 1st
                                 April 2005

 Houses/flats                        6132

 Garages                             851



Resources available to invest in our homes

The resources we have available to invest in our homes to meet the Decent Homes
Standard and other tenants„ aspirations are controlled in overall terms by the
Government. Within this framework, some resources such as the Major Repairs‟
Allowances are ring-fenced to council housing; others can be spent in accordance with
council priorities. The capital strategy (detailed in Appendix E) is the key corporate
document determining how resources are allocated to council services. The Housing
Strategy shows in detail how resources allocated to housing are split between the
strategic housing services and council housing.

The sources of capital finance and the assumptions we have made in this Business Plan
are shown below


Sources of capital funding and assumptions for the future


 Source of Funding                                     Assumptions


 Major Repairs‟ Allowance – an     The Government has indicated that the MRA will be
 allowance paid by the             increased in line with inflation. It is an allowance per
 government to maintain the        property based on archetypes. The MRA will reduce
 stock in its current condition    with disposals, demolitions, and Right to Buy sales.
 (represents depreciation). This   For 2005/06, the MRA will be £4.207 million, an
 funding can only be spent on      average of £679.17 per property. This will increase
 council housing.                  with inflation for the following year.




                                    Page 46 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



Supported Capital Expenditure      The HRA element of supported capital expenditure
– a limit set by the Government.   is allocated to the HRA. In 2005/06, this was
Up to this annual limit, the       £1,146,000.
Government will meet the
interest charges through HRA       Within the changes, is the way capital resources are
Subsidy.                           allocated from 2006/07. In accordance with regional
                                   housing priorities, no supported borrowing is
                                   anticipated form 2006/07. A significant reduction
                                   was assumed at £403,000 per year in the options
                                   appraisal. 50% is assumed in 2006/07.


Prudential Borrowing – where       No prudential borrowing has been assumed in this
the HRA can support the            business plan. We do not have the capacity in the
borrowing cost, the council can    Housing Revenue Account to meet the cost of
borrow money to invest in our      repaying loans - this was confirmed by the stock
homes.                             option appraisal. Now that we have taken the
                                   decision to pursue stock transfer, this is not
                                   something we would now consider.


Right to Buy Capital Receipts –    It is council policy that capital receipts from the sale
from the sale of council houses.   of council houses are not invested in council housing
25% of the receipt can be used     but are invested in General Fund services. No
for capital expenditure. The       capital receipts‟ funding is assumed for the HRA.
remaining 75% are pooled.


Capital Receipts form the sale     These receipts are predominantly allocated to
of HRA Assets (other than RTB)     housing and used to support improvements to our
– where an HRA asset is sold       homes or general fund housing. We received a
and the fund reinvested in the     significant capital receipt in 2004 to 2005 of
stock, 100% effectively            £671,000 but have no significant sales over the next
becomes useable. If this receipt   five years.
is used to fund other non
housing capital projects then      In this context, our definition of affordable housing
50% has to be set aside to         encompasses homes for either rent or sale at a
repay debt.                        discount compared to the open market value which
                                   are available to people identified by the council as
                                   being in housing need. Such provision may include
                                   new or refurbished homes provided in the social or
                                   private sectors. As a contributor to more affordable
                                   housing, the definition also encompasses the
                                   provision of more cost effective heating and
                                   insulation systems in the private housing sector, as
                                   delivered through the Private Sector Renewal
                                   budget.




                                    Page 47 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



 Revenue Contributions to             No resources are assumed until 2011/12 as the HRA
 Capital – money from rents can       is not in sufficient surplus. A total of £3.6 million is
 be used to fund capital              assumed if the stock were to be retained
 expenditure, but only if it can be
 afforded.



The projected resources are included in the Major Repairs and Improvements Financing
table at Appendix C for 2005/06 to 2009/10. They amount to £26.6m as shown in the
table below:


                                                                           £m
        Major Repairs‟ Allowance                                           21.3
        Supported Borrowing                                                 2.8
        Unutilised resources in the Major Repairs‟ Reserve                  2.5
        Total                                                              26.6


Our estimated resources until October 2006 are:


                                                          2005/06         Up to Oct
                                                           £000            2006/07
                                                                            £000
        Major Repairs Allowance (MRA including             6,391            2,287
        balance brought forward)
        Supported Borrowing                                1,146             201
        Total                                              7,537            2,488


The Capital Programme

The projection of capital works for the full 30 years is shown in Appendix C - this is
based on the investment requirement and although there are enough resources for
2005/06, there is a significant deficit after this period. As this business plan
concentrates on the next three years up until the possible stock transfer, the works in
2006/07 and 2007/08 will need to be reduced to match the resources available. Our
plans show our total investment programme in 2005/06 will be £7.537 million with £2.488
million expenditure up to October 2006 for both Decent Homes works and other Planned
works. A detailed programme is included in Appendix E.


The Housing Revenue Account

The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is a ring-fenced account where all income and
expenditure relating to council housing is recorded. Rent is the principal source of
income to the HRA and is set in accordance with the Government‟s Rent Restructuring



                                       Page 48 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Guidance (see the later section for more details). The HRA cannot go into deficit;
services must be managed to ensure that expenditure does not exceed income and the
HRA is sustainable in the future. Appendix F shows the detailed HRA budgets 2005/06
– 2006/07.



                 HRA Expenditure 2006/07 £000's


                                                Supervision and
          4528                                  Management Expenses
                                 4678
                                                Repairs and
                                                Maintenance
                                                Capital Charges
      4296
                               6467             Housing Subsidy




                     HRA Income 2006/07 £000's




                 1783     86

                                                              Rents
                                                              Service Charges
                                                              Interest

                                  17321




Sustainability of the HRA

The 30 year HRA operating account is shown in Appendix D1 which shows that the HRA
does not go into deficit over the 30 years. However, until 2011/12 the HRA balance is
lower than the minimum balance determined by the council. Any variations to the HRA
finance regime or spending pressures could result in either the HRA going into deficit or
savings having to be made in the HRA, possibly resulting in cuts to the services to
tenants.

Copies of the council‟s 30 year HRA Business Plan Model are available from Keith
Morcombe on 01474 337321 or e-mail keith.morcombe@gravesham.gov.uk



                                        Page 49 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Rent restructuring

Government policy is that social rents should be lower than the private sector, be fair to
tenants and differences between local authority rents and Registered Social Landlords
(RSLs) should be removed. These objectives are being achieved through rent
restructuring which requires local authorities and RSLs to set their rents in accordance
with a formula. The main factors within the formula determining rent for individual
properties are local earnings, the property value and the number of bedrooms. The
target rent for Gravesham is £57.76 for 2005/06 with the actual average rent for this year
being £55.86. On the current calculations, rents will converge at £73.07 in 2012.

A three year review of rent restructuring was undertaken during 2004. The
recommendations were:

      Higher bedroom weightings for three and four bedroom properties and new
       higher weightings for five and six (or more) bedrooms

      Local authorities using the same formula as RSLs to calculate rents and using
       RPI as the inflation measure

      Ignoring the downward limit of RPI+0.5% minus £2, ensuring that for those rents
       that need to fall, the target rent is reached by 2011/12

It is expected that these changes will be introduced in 2006/07 although at the time of
writing the business plan, no announcement had been made.


Housing subsidy

Housing subsidy is used by the Government to allocate resources nationally based on a
notional HRA and on assumptions about an authority‟s need to spend. It is a negative
subsidy which, as for most local authorities, we pay into the national pool. There have
been significant changes to the housing subsidy formula in recent years resulting from
rent restructuring and changes to management and maintenance allowances within the
formula. In 2005/06, we will pay £3,808,000 to the Government for redistribution with
equates to 22% of our rent income.

Changes to the way that maintenance allowances are calculated have benefited
Gravesham. Our housing subsidy determinations are shown in the table below:

Housing subsidy 2004/05 - 2005/06

                                                       2004/05        2005/06

        No of Properties:                               6,350          6,195

                                                       £000’s         £000’s

        Management Allowance                            5,370          6,061
        Maintenance Allowance                           2,599          2,600



                                     Page 50 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      Anti-Social Behaviour                          1           0
      Capital Charges                             881,437     933,481
      Interest on Receipts                        -34,304     -28,023
      Guideline Rent Income                       -17,175     -17,539
      Negative Revenue Subsidy                       0           0
      Major Repairs Allowance                      4,168       4,207
      Housing Subsidy                            4,155,936   3,740,320




                                 Page 51 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

10) Tenant involvement in the service


Introduction

Our tenant involvement strategies form an important part of the corporate agenda to
build stronger communities. As a landlord, we feel it important to reflect our customers‟
views in the development of our services and policies and we are grateful for the time
and commitment of those tenants who give up their time to attend meetings and
contribute to the improvement of our services. We have a wide ranging structure
(Appendix G) that ensures that all groups across the borough have the opportunity to be
involved.

To keep tenants informed on developments, we send them the bi-annual “glossy”
newsletter, “Open Door”. We use this opportunity to ask tenants to get involved. We
also consult using more specific newsletters to inform, consult and feed back on local
issues that affect them.

The Tenants’ Forum

Our main tenants‟ forum is made up of the chairs and vice chairs of resident
associations. The Forum meets monthly to discuss suggested policy and procedure
changes. Over the last year, in addition to the Housing Stock Options Appraisal, tenants
have been involved in the development of our anti-social behaviour strategy, best value
reviews and repairs partnering contract.

People Bank

The People Bank was established in 2003 and offers a mechanism for all residents,
regardless of tenure, to be involved in shaping key areas of the service. There is a
range of ways in which residents can be involved, such as the council‟s reading group.

Reading Group

This group was established in order for residents to style and provide feedback on the
council‟s external literature and proposed formats.

Service Improvement Advisory Groups (SIAG)

These groups focus on particular key areas of the housing service, the service provision,
performance and discuss potential improvements. The groups are as follows:-

Group 1 – Rents, allocations and estate management
Group 2 – Contracts, maintenance, voids and repairs
Group 3 – Corporate issues, community safety, leaseholder matters and sheltered
          housing

These groups are made up of residents, officers and members.




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005

Leaseholder Forum

This group works specifically with leaseholders to discuss and review areas of the
service where they have a keen interest.

Sheltered Housing Forum

Another key area of our service is sheltered accommodation. Reflecting the amount of
sheltered schemes that the council manages, a forum has been set up specifically to
reflect the needs of the elderly tenants in our schemes for them to have an opportunity to
participate in service delivery.

Christian Fields

The council in conjunction with Moat Homes Limited has worked closely with residents
on the Christian Fields estate to ensure they are fully consulted and have a major input
into the future development. This includes establishing a residents‟ consultative group
and inviting residents to attend project related meetings where input is required into the
design aspects of the planning application.

Tenants’ Compact

Our Tenants‟ Compact has been compiled by tenants on a Tenants‟ Forum Working
Party. As a result, we now have a compact in place that:

      Is user friendly and written in clear English
      Clearly states the methods by which tenants will be consulted
      Incorporates a Sheltered Housing Forum
      Has a comprehensive tenants‟ training programme

We are currently reviewing our Tenants‟ Compact and the Tenants‟ Forum members and
all resident group members will be fully consulted and regularly informed of progress
during this process. It is anticipated that the Compact Review will be completed by the
end of September 2005 and a report shall go to the council incorporating the
recommendations made following the Review.

Local compacts

We have developed a local compact with Fountain Walk which is a Service Level
Agreement (SLA) between Housing Services and local residents. The SLA describes
the services we provide for residents on the estate and how they will be consulted,
including whether or not local residents wish to pay an additional weekly charge for
receiving an enhanced grounds‟ maintenance contract for their estate. Depending on
the results of this resident survey, the SLA will be rolled out to residents on other estates
within the Borough.

      Where, how and when housing staff can be consulted
      Details of caretaking services
      What grounds‟ maintenance services are provided and when




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      Details of the repairs service including the repairs‟ line, repairs‟ priorities and
       emergencies
      How complaints will be dealt with
      On what and how tenants will be consulted
      How the agreement will be monitored

Involvement in the Options Appraisal Process

Tenants were at the heart of the Stock Options Appraisal, with an Independent Tenant
Advisor working with the Stock Options Working Group advising on how to involve
tenants in the process. We sent newsletters, held consultation events and a test of
opinion.

At the evaluation event when the recommendation to council was made to proceed to
ballot only the councillors, tenants and leaseholders on the working party were allowed
to vote. For more information about the Stock Options Appraisal, please see section 8.

Involvement in the Stock Transfer Ballot Process

Tenants were involved in the recruitment of the Independent Tenant Advisor. The
formation of a Tenants‟ Panel was set up from which residents were involved in selecting
the new Registered Social Landlord (RSL) (ie the AmicusHorizon Group). Tenants will
form part of the shadow board. Subject to the results of the first stage consultation, it is
the council‟s intention to conduct a postal ballot in autumn 2006. Each secure tenant
and introductory tenant will have a vote on whether they wish to transfer to Thameside
Housing Association which will be part of, and supported by, the AmicusHorizon Group.

Involvement in the development of the HRA Business Plan

Our HRA business plan was published on our web site and a consultation day was held
on 20 July 2005 with tenants. The following comments were made:

      Will there be an increase of housing in the area.
      Because of the Thames Gateway area, the increase in jobs will impact on the
       new affordable housing.
      New jobs, where are they?
      Land will be allocated for economic development.
      Thames Gateway.
      Retail is on the increase. Land will be set aside for redevelopment around the
       Bluewater area. Gravesham is becoming the residential area for London. No
       incentives for industry.
      Voids – released, do they need to meet the decent homes standard. – No.
      Are homes still to be sold – Yes RTB rules continue. Existing RTB tenants
       retain. New tenants will get right to acquire under LSVT.
      Two options are: Retention & LSVT. ALMO & PFI have been discontinued.
       Funding is subject to meeting the decent homes standard and 2 star from the
       ALMO. Options Appraisal finished. To pursue option of LSVT.
      If retention:-
            o Services will need to be renewed.
            o BP to be reproduced


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HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      GOSE will be monitoring the service to ensure it can meet the decent homes
       standard.
      Homeless families – They are included in the common housing register.
      Issues relating to sheltered accommodation – Pets are not allowed in sheltered.
       Feedback on sheltered services is very good. Council must sell the positive
       aspects. It will be interesting to get feedback on what effects pets have in
       sheltered housing. Sheltered housing review needs to be actioned.
      If stock did go to LSVT, will number of applicants drop? LSVT will continue to
       rehouse off the Common Housing Register, but the common housing register will
       remain the same or increase.
      How is rent managed? Rent process is in place for both secure and introductory
       tenancies. The council has a dual role: debt collection and debt counselling.
      Having subsidy pays into a national pot which is allocated to national
       programmes. Gravesham pay £3.8 million.
      Government is not assisting direct funding of Council housing. Rent restructuring
       will align rents between all housing providers.
      Age and condition of property affect the rent levels.
      Mutual exchange is still relevant under LSVT.
      The effect of non payment of rent is that repairs are not carried out. Tenants
       need to understand this further.
      Rent is increased yearly.
      Performance information to be sent to residents in addition to SIAG. Open door
       etc, to be utilised.
      HouseMark information – available to compare against other local authorities.
      Inspectors – need to fully reflect tenants‟ perception of service delivery.
      Leaseholders – repairs are limited.
      What safeguards are there for repairs? Under LSVT. New RSL would be
       clearer.
      The leases would be assigned.
      Would having a housing association ensure tenant involvement
      New RSL will have shadow board - 5 tenants, 5 members and 5 independents
      RSL‟s also keen on tenant involvement.
      Priority 2 should be number 1 - 2 tenants
      Priority 1 should be number 2 - 2 tenants
      Priority 1 should remain the same – 1 tenant
      Leaseholders would like to be given the chance to vote in the LSVT vote.

The document was also taken to Housing Cabinet Advisory Panel on 6 September 2005
and the following comments were received:

      BP links into the HS and the South East Regional Housing Strategy.
      It‟s a three year housing strategy plan taking into account the decision made by
       full council on 28th June 2005 to pursue the option of LSVT subject to a tenants‟
       ballots.
      Four priorities included in the Business Plan




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005

A consultation exercise carried out on 20 July 2005 with stakeholders provided the
following comments:

      A number of operational issues were highlighted for example:-
            o Allowing pets in sheltered accommodation
            o Under occupation of large properties
            o Review of CHR to allow single tenants in large properties to be allocated
                two bedroom rather than one bedroom properties to increase release of
                these properties.
            o Stakeholder asked for more info to be given on how rental income affects
                service delivery and info on service performance to be publicised more
                widely.
            o Suggestion of current Priority 1 should be Priority 2 and Priority 2 should
                be Priority 1.
                              Priority 1 – Service
                              Priority 2 – Decent Homes Standard
                              Priority 3 – Involvement
                              Priority 4 – LSVT Ballot
      BP – Improvement in performance
                        02/03                 03/04                04/05
      Voids             40.89 days            43.35 days           35.31 days
      Rents
      66a               95%                   96.25%               97.17%
      Example – Pets – Very common to be attached to pets. Also say „yes but‟ but
       dependent on approval of pet by scheme manager. Advise that removal could
       happen if causing a nuisance.
      No pets allowed in some schemes. Motive decision. Problems are caused when
       pets become a nuisance.
      Caveat – If problems, then arrangements to be made elsewhere.
      Tenants may not give up tenancies as pets would not be accepted.
      Dialogue required further on this.
      Priority 2 – Talks about the whole service
      Priority 1 – Government target – led. Does not make a massive difference.
      Priority 2 – Highlights a higher service provision.
      Makes no difference if swapped round.
      Need to be clear on reasoning about policies.
      May need to modify wording in Priority 2. To be clear about leaseholder role.
      May be opportunity to take leaseholders with us.
      Difficulty in collecting leaseholder charges. Leaseholders should get a good
       service.
      Some comments on rent arrears. We are soft. Reluctant to state what we are
       collecting. Firm line on rent being paid. Need to be more positive.
      Need to show whole picture
            o Rent collected
            o Services available for assistance
            o Performances
            o Number of evictions
      Need to advise that priority should be firstly to pay rent.
      Reports on Housing Benefit Section. Is it working?



                                     Page 56 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      Asked to establish if notification of Housing Benefit changes can be sorted out.
      Fraud issues also highlighted.
      Not aware of any problem. Performance is monitored by directors.
      Monthly meetings with Housing Benefits
      Rent arrears and evictions. Courts not being helpful. Can we discuss with courts
       / magistrates to discuss issues. Outline our process.
      Employing services of a barrister to assist in rent arrears issues. When barrister
       attended, the case has been won.
      Court users group highlighted. Cost of barrister can be retrieved.
      Officers – can be disheartening if keep having to go back.
      Page 23 – Community wardens. How is this going? Is a concern to all?
      Community warden service is going from strength to strength. Handyman and
       wardens linked in. Properties at Wallis Park for Temporary Accommodation have
       asked to be studied by others. Success story.
      Head warden now in charge of caretaking service. Doing a good job.
       Concerned about Christian Fields. Police issues - wardens are restricted on
       access.
      Is there any more on rubbish in empties on Christian Fields. Any more resources
       available.
      Do have rear access way clearance.
      Void property gardens – Need to establish viewable standard as well as a
       lettable standard.
      Mobile caretakers also available.
      Caretakers - are we managing to recruit more.
      Need to establish current vacancies/details - Carl Ekman in particular – resident
       caretakers




                                    Page 57 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

11) Our Priorities, Options and Action Plan


How we determined our priorities

The priorities for our HRA Business Plan have been influenced by a number of factors:

      National and regional agenda for housing
      Corporate priorities
      Housing strategy priorities
      Tenant priorities from the Stock Options Appraisal
      The outcome of the Stock Options Appraisal


Our priorities

The outcome of the Stock Options Appraisal with the decision to move forward to a
ballot of tenants on stock transfer changes the focus of our priorities from a 30 year
planning horizon to concentrating on the next three years. We will invest in our homes
to continue progress towards meeting the Decent Homes Standard and we will continue
to improve our services, but we will now need to focus our efforts on the stock transfer
process by working with tenants. Therefore, we have decided that our priorities should
be:



 Priority 1 – To deliver an excellent housing service for all of our customers

 Priority 2 – To meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010

 Priority 3 - To keep tenants at the heart of the service: setting standards,
               monitoring performance, suggesting improvements and participating
               in key decisions
 Priority 4 – To ballot our tenants on whether they want to transfer to a Registered
              Social Landlord



How we set our priorities

Our priorities were agreed in consultation with our residents. The top priority is part of
the council‟s corporate target. The second is a statutory requirement but also fits within
the context of the results of the recent tenant satisfaction survey where residents
highlighted decent homes as a main area of service that was important to them. The
third was set as part of a continuous drive to involve tenants at the very heart of the
council‟s decision making process. The fourth arises as a result of the outcome from the
stock options appraisal process.




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005

We are currently undertaking a review of our consultation processes via our tenant
participation compact. This will ensure that in future residents are at the very heart of
the consultation process on key areas of the service in the HRA business plan.


Options to achieve our priorities

In terms of improving our homes to the Decent Homes Plus Standard, we considered the
options for achieving this in the Stock Options Appraisal and concluded that both the
Private Finance Initiative and Arm‟s Length Management Organisation options were not
appropriate for Gravesham leaving the stock retention and the stock transfer to a
registered social landlord options. The Stock Options Working Group recommended
that stock transfer was the best option for Gravesham Tenants and the council should
proceed to a ballot of tenants. This was subsequently endorsed by the council on 28
June 2005.

The process that moves us to ballot for stock transfer is fairly well defined. We will be
working very closely with tenants to select the right structure for Gravesham and develop
the Offer Document on which tenants will vote.

To improve our services, we will be considering best practice and continuing to work with
tenants to ensure that the services we are developing tie in with their needs and
aspirations.


Action plan to deliver our priorities

We develop an annual service plan each year to support our Housing Strategy and HRA
Business Plan. Our Housing Service Action Plan 2006/07 should be read with this
Housing Business Plan and includes:

      Achievements last year – this details what we achieved in 2005/06 with some
       explanation

      What has not been achieved – lists the objectives we did not achieve last year
       with an explanation of why

      Objectives – a set of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,
       Timetable) objectives have been developed to ensure that we meet our priorities

      Action Plan – a set of key actions are included with the name of the officer
       responsible for the delivery of the action and a target date for delivery. These
       support the delivery of our Priorities and Objectives

      Performance Indicators – in addition to the BVPIs included in the housing
       strategy, we also have a comprehensive list of local performance indicators we
       have developed to help us measure our performance




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005


      Risk Management – we have also developed a Risk Management Plan in which
       we have identified all the significant risks we face for the service over the coming
       year

      Appendix H shows the action plan within the services plan showing our SMART
       objectives. Appendix I shows our key milestones.

For a copy of our Housing Service Plan contact Keith Morcombe on 01474 337321 or e-
mail keith.morcombe@graveham.gov.uk


Monitoring our performance against the Action Plan

The Housing Service Plan is monitored in a variety of arenas, as follows:

      Fortnightly by responsible officers through one-to-one or team meetings;
      Monthly by senior housing managers;
      Monthly by the Executive Director (Community Services) and portfolio holder for
       Housing & Neighbourhood Renewal;
      Specific aspects (e.g. homelessness, rent arrears) quarterly by the Directors‟
       Group (Managing Director, Executive Directors, Head of Finance, Head of
       Personnel and Asset Management);
      Specific aspects yearly to Cabinet.

This ensures that the plan is a “living” document committed to informing investment
decisions for the Housing Service.

In the event that the ballot is not in favour of LSVT, the council will continue to review
and produce a service plan and business plan.


For further enquiries, contact Keith Morcombe on 01474 337321 or e-mail
keith.morcombe@gravesham.gov.uk


Copies of this Business Plan can be provided in large print, audio tape or translated into
a language other than English.




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005



                                                                      Appendix A

                      Key Gravesham Strategies and Policies



Key document                   Name and Contact details


Kent Thameside Economic        Simon Hookway
Development Strategy           01474 337408
                               economic.development@gravesham.gov.uk


Kent Thameside Local           Christopher Woodley
Strategic Partnership –        01474 337340
Community Strategy             christopher.woodley@gravesham.gov.uk


Corporate Plan                 Customer Services
                               01474 337000
                               customer.services@gravesham.gov.uk


Community Safety Strategy      Patricia Jefford
                               01474 337528
                               patricia.jefford@gravesham.gov.uk


Capital Strategy               Phil Wilson
                               01474 337202
                               phil.wilson@gravesham.gov.uk


Asset Management Plan          John Miller
                               01474 337382
                               john.miller@gravesham.gov.uk


Housing Needs Survey           Liz Crockford/Deborah Beadle
                               01474 337330
                               housingstrategymanager@gravesham.gov.uk


Local Plan/Local Development   Malcolm Doyle
Framework                      01474 337401
                               Malcolm.doyle@gravesham.gov.uk




                                  Page 61 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



Private Sector Housing      Sue Coughlin
Renewal Strategy            01474 337414
                            sue.coughlin@gravesham.gov.uk


Supporting People 5 year    John Roach
Strategy                    01474 337679
                            john.roach@kent.gov.uk


HRA Business Plan           Keith Morcombe
                            01474 337321
                            keith.morcombe@gravesham.gov.uk


Housing Service Plan        Keith Morcombe
                            01474 337321
                            keith.morcombe@gravesham.gov.uk


Housing Strategy            Liz Crockford/Deborah Beadle
                            01474 337330
                            housingstrategymanager@gravesham.gov.uk




                              Page 62 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                                                                             Appendix B
Housing Performance Indicators


                                                            National             Performance                       Targets
 BVPI                       Description                       Top
  No.                                                       Quartile
                                                            2004/05    2003/04     2004/05     2005/06   2006/07   2007/08     2008/09
BV       Rent collected by the local authority as a
66a      proportion or rents owed on Housing Revenue                                           98.4%
         Account (HRA) dwellings.                           98.30%     96.25%      97.17%                98.50%    98.70%      98.90%


BV       The number of local authority tenants with more
66b      that seven weeks (gross) rent arrears as a
         percentage of the total number of council                                             5.34%
                                                              n/a        n/a         n/a                 5.25%     5.10%       5.00%
         tenants.

BV 66c   Percentage of local authority tenants in arrears
         who have had Notices Seeking Possession                                               25.89%
         served.                                              n/a        n/a       25.17%                25.15%    24.40%      23.65%


BV       Percentage of local authority tenants evicted as
66d      a result of rent arrears.                            n/a        n/a       0.60%       0.47%     0.45%     0.43%       0.41%

BV       The percentage of all council tenants, or a
74a      representative sample of council tenants stating
         that they are satisfied with the overall service                                       82%
                                                            85.00%     78.09%        n/a                  83%        n/a         n/a
         provided by their landlord when surveyed.

BV       Satisfaction of ethnic minority local authority
74b      tenants (excluding white minority ethnic
         tenants) with the overall service provided by                                          82%
                                                            86.00%     64.20%        n/a                  83%        n/a         n/a
         their landlord.




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HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                           National             Performance                       Targets
 BVPI                      Description                       Top
  No.                                                      Quartile
                                                           2004/05    2003/04     2004/05     2005/06   2006/07   2007/08   2008/09
BV 74c   Satisfaction of non-ethnic minority local
         authority tenants with the overall service                                            82%
         provided by their landlord.                       85.00%     78.49%        n/a                  83%        n/a       n/a


BV       Satisfaction of council housing tenants with
75a      opportunities for participation in management
         and decision-making in relation to housing                                            67%
                                                           70.00%     58.74%        n/a                  72%        n/a       n/a
         services provided by their landlord.

BV       Satisfaction of ethnic minority council housing
75b      tenants (excluding white minority) with their
         opportunities for participation in management                                         77%
         and decision-making in relation to housing        79.00%     50.79%        n/a                  72%        n/a       n/a
         services provided by their landlord.

BV 75c   Satisfaction of non-ethnic minority council
         housing tenants with their opportunities for
         participation in management and decision-                                             67%
         making in relation to housing services provided   70.00%     58.85%        n/a                  72%        n/a       n/a
         by their landlord.

BV       Does the authority follow the Commission fro
164      Racial Equality‟s code or practice in rented
         housing and the Good Practice Standards for
         Social Landlords on Tackling Racial                                                   Yes
         Harassment included in “Tackling Racial             Yes       Yes          Yes                  Yes       Yes       Yes
         Harassment Code of Practice for Social
         Landlords”.

BV       Average time taken to re-let local authority
                                                           30 days               35.31 days             28 days   26 days   24 days
212      housing.                                                      43.35                   30.05




                                        Page 64 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                               National             Performance                       Targets
 BVPI                Description                 Top
  No.                                          Quartile
                                               2004/05    2003/04     2004/05     2005/06   2006/07   2007/08   2008/09
                                                           days                    days




                               Page 65 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                                                                                  Appendix C


       GRAVESHAM BC
       Business Plan Assumptions
       Major Repairs and Improvements Financing
       (expressed in money terms)


                                          Expenditure                                         Financing

                          Catch                                   Total    Borro                                       Total
                           up       Planned   Improve-           Expend-     w-      RTB                              Financ-
       Year    Year      Repairs     Maint     ments     Other    iture     ing    Receipts   Other   MRR     RCCO      ing     Total
                          £,000      £,000      £,000    £,000    £,000    £,000    £,000     £,000   £,000   £,000    £,000    £,000

          1   2004.05           0     6,334         0       0      6,334     997         0       0    5,337       0     6,334       0
          2   2005.06           0     7,537         0       0      7,537   1,146         0       0    6,391       0     7,537       0
          3   2006.07           0     8,274         0       0      8,274     403         0       0    4,572       0     4,975   3,298
          4   2007.08           0     7,625         0       0      7,625     403         0       0    4,299       0     4,702   2,923
          5   2008.09           0     7,983         0       0      7,983     403         0       0    4,306       0     4,709   3,274
          6   2009.10           0     7,988         0       0      7,988     403         0       0    4,314       0     4,717   3,271
          7   2010.11           0     8,465         0       0      8,465     403         0       0    4,326       0     4,729   3,736
          8   2011.12           0     7,429         0       0      7,429     403         0       0    4,377     168     4,948   2,481
          9   2012.13           0     5,778         0       0      5,778     403         0       0    4,428     480     5,311     466
         10   2013.14           0     5,808         0       0      5,808       0         0       0    4,480     469     4,949     859
         11   2014.15           0     5,093         0       0      5,093       0         0       0    4,534     448     4,982     112
         12   2015.16           0     5,153         0       0      5,153       0         0       0    4,587     428     5,015     138
         13   2016.17           0     5,212         0       0      5,212       0         0       0    4,641     405     5,046     166
         14   2017.18           0     5,272         0       0      5,272       0         0       0    4,695     381     5,076     195
         15   2018.19           0     5,330         0       0      5,330       0         0       0    4,749     347     5,096     235
         16   2019.20           0     5,387         0       0      5,387       0         0       0    4,802     139     4,941     446
         17   2020.21           0     5,450         0       0      5,450       0         0       0    4,855     124     4,980     470
         18   2021.22           0     5,512         0       0      5,512       0         0       0    4,912      99     5,011     501
         19   2022.23           0     5,574         0       0      5,574       0         0       0    4,969      73     5,042     533
         20   2023.24           0     5,636         0       0      5,636       0         0       0    5,025      46     5,071     565
         21   2024.25           0     7,158         0       0      7,158       0         0       0    5,081      24     5,105   2,053
         22   2025.26           0     7,241         0       0      7,241       0         0       0    5,137       7     5,144   2,097
         23   2026.27           0     7,324         0       0      7,324       0         0       0    5,197       0     5,197   2,127
         24   2027.28           0     7,406         0       0      7,406       0         0       0    5,257       0     5,257   2,149
         25   2028.29           0     7,488         0       0      7,488       0         0       0    5,316       0     5,316   2,171
         26   2029.30           0     6,555         0       0      6,555       0         0       0    5,376       0     5,376   1,179
         27   2030.31           0     6,631         0       0      6,631       0         0       0    5,434       0     5,434   1,197
         28   2031.32           0     6,707         0       0      6,707       0         0       0    5,498       0     5,498   1,209
         29   2032.33           0     6,782         0       0      6,782       0         0       0    5,561       0     5,561   1,221
         30   2033.34           0     6,857         0       0      6,857       0         0       0    5,625       0     5,625   1,233

                                    Page 66 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

 GRAVESHAM BC                                                                                                                                 Appendix D1

     Business Plan Assumptions

 Operating Account
 (expressed in money terms)


                                 Income                                                              Expenditure



      Year      Net      Other   Misc     HRA     Total    Manag     Deprec     Mainten   Cost of    Other     HRA     Misc     Surplus         Total
                rent     incom   inco     Subsi   Income   -ement    - iation   -ance     Capital    Revenue   Cost    expens   to be           expenses
                income   e       me       dy                                                         spend     of      es       redistribu
                                          Recei                                                                Rent             ted
                                          vable                                                                Reba
                                                                                                               tes
                                                                                                                                .
                £,000    £,000   £,000    £,000    £,000   £,000     £,000       £,000     £,000       £,000   £,000   £,000        £,000         £,000

 1    2004.05   17,897    480     30        0     18,407   (4,547)   (4,168)    (6,135)   (12,632)      (62)       0   (133)        (3,906)      (31,584)
 2    2005.06   18,399    409     25        0     18,833   (4,697)   (4,207)    (6,390)   (12,781)      (90)       0   (144)        (3,808)      (32,117)
 3    2006.07   18,908    421     21        0     19,350   (4,758)   (4,257)    (6,427)   (12,890)      (92)       0   (148)        (4,015)      (32,587)
 4    2007.08   19,326    434     18        0     19,778   (4,808)   (4,293)    (6,443)   (12,927)      (95)       0   (151)        (4,247)      (32,964)
 5    2008.09   19,752    447     15        0     20,214   (4,860)   (4,306)    (6,458)   (12,953)      (97)       0   (155)        (4,454)      (33,283)
 6    2009.10   20,284    460     13        0     20,758   (4,930)   (4,314)    (6,504)   (12,989)      (99)       0   (159)        (4,661)      (33,656)
 7    2010.11   20,924    474     11        0     21,410   (5,016)   (4,326)    (6,580)   (13,141)     (102)       0   (163)        (4,876)      (34,203)
 8    2011.12   21,585    488      9        0     22,083   (5,104)   (4,377)    (6,657)   (13,295)     (104)       0   (167)        (5,150)      (34,854)
 9    2012.13   21,954    503      8        0     22,465   (5,194)   (4,428)    (6,736)   (13,451)     (107)       0   (171)        (5,288)      (35,376)
10    2013.14   22,330    518      7        0     22,855   (5,287)   (4,480)    (6,816)   (13,611)     (110)       0   (175)        (5,448)      (35,927)
11    2014.15   22,711    533      6        0     23,250   (5,381)   (4,534)    (6,896)   (13,771)     (112)       0   (180)        (5,630)      (36,504)
12    2015.16   23,097    549      5        0     23,651   (5,477)   (4,587)    (6,977)   (13,934)     (115)       0   (184)        (5,814)      (37,088)
13    2016.17   23,485    566      4        0     24,055   (5,574)   (4,641)    (7,058)   (14,096)     (118)       0   (189)        (6,003)      (37,678)
14    2017.18   23,877    583      4        0     24,463   (5,673)   (4,695)    (7,138)   (14,257)     (121)       0   (194)        (6,194)      (38,271)
15    2018.19   24,270    600      3        0     24,873   (5,773)   (4,749)    (7,217)   (14,417)     (124)       0   (199)        (6,388)      (38,867)
16    2019.20   24,675    618      3        0     25,296   (5,877)   (4,802)    (7,300)   (14,577)     (127)       0   (204)        (6,790)      (39,676)
17    2020.21   25,093    637      2        0     25,732   (5,984)   (4,855)    (7,384)   (14,748)     (130)       0   (209)        (6,989)      (40,298)
18    2021.22   25,514    656      2        0     26,172   (6,092)   (4,912)    (7,469)   (14,918)     (134)       0   (214)        (7,196)      (40,934)

                                        Page 67 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

19   2022.23   25,937   676   2       0     26,614   (6,202)   (4,969)   (7,553)   (15,087)   (137)   0   (219)    (7,407)   (41,574)
20   2023.24   26,363   696   1       0     27,060   (6,314)   (5,025)   (7,637)   (15,256)   (140)   0   (225)    (7,620)   (42,217)
21   2024.25   26,802   717   1       0     27,520   (6,429)   (5,081)   (7,723)   (15,423)   (144)   0   (230)    (7,836)   (42,868)
22   2025.26   27,256   738   1       0     27,995   (6,548)   (5,137)   (7,813)   (15,603)   (148)   0   (236)    (8,055)   (43,540)
23   2026.27   27,713   760   1       0     28,474   (6,670)   (5,197)   (7,902)   (15,783)   (151)   0   (242)    (8,284)   (44,229)
24   2027.28   28,172   783   1       0     28,956   (6,793)   (5,257)   (7,991)   (15,962)   (155)   0   (248)    (8,517)   (44,921)
25   2028.29   28,634   807   1       0     29,442   (6,918)   (5,316)   (8,079)   (16,139)   (159)   0   (254)    (8,752)   (45,617)
26   2029.30   29,112   831   1       0     29,944   (7,047)   (5,376)   (8,170)   (16,316)   (163)   0   (261)    (8,990)   (46,322)
27   2030.31   29,606   856   0       0     30,463   (7,180)   (5,434)   (8,265)   (16,507)   (167)   0   (267)    (9,231)   (47,052)
28   2031.32   30,104   882   0       0     30,986   (7,316)   (5,498)   (8,360)   (16,697)   (171)   0   (274)    (9,485)   (47,801)
29   2032.33   30,605   908   0       0     31,513   (7,454)   (5,561)   (8,454)   (16,887)   (175)   0   (281)    (9,742)   (48,554)
30   2033.34   31,109   935   0       0     32,044   (7,595)   (5,625)   (8,547)   (17,075)   (180)   0   (288)   (10,002)   (49,311)




                                  Page 68 of 92
       HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                          Appendix D2

                  Key Assumptions made in the 30 Year HRA Operating Account


                      Item                     Assumption             Comment

Start Year In Model                              2004/05    To reconcile with Revised
                                                            Budget
Inflation (from 2005/06)                          2.50%
Interest Rates to year 15                         8.80%
Interest Rates from year 16                       7.00%
Interest on Balances                              3.80%
Opening stock – April 2004
         Tenanted                                 6,195
         Leasehold                                 320
Opening Rent (2004/05) – 52 week
         All Tenanted                             £53.43
Rent Growth 2005/06 to 2011/12                    2.08%     Per ODPM formula
Rent Growth 2012/13 on                            0.50%     Per ODPM formula
Bad debts and voids losses
         2004/05                                  2.56%     Balancing figure to budget
         2005/06                                  2.74%     Balancing figure to budget
         2006/07 onwards                          2.53%     Per Data Requirements sheet
                                                            (DRS)
Service Charges – April 2004
       Tenanted                                   £3.70     Average across stock
       Leasehold                                  £4.66
S/C Growth 2005/06 onwards                        0.50%
Other Income - Garages / Shops / Other
        2004/05                                  £480,330   Per Budget
        2005/06                                  £408,750   Per Budget
Other Income Growth
       2006/07 onwards                            0.50%
Subsidy Allowances (2004/05)
        Management                                £409
        Maintenance                               £846
        Major Repairs                             £656
Subsidy Growth (2005/06)
        Management                               0.03%      Per ODPM determinations
        Maintenance                              13.19%
        Major Repairs                            0.97%
Subsidy Growth (2006/07 – 2011/12)
        Management                                  nil
        Maintenance                               2.69%
        Major Repairs                               nil
Subsidy Growth (2012/13 on)
        Management                                  nil
        Maintenance                                 nil
        Major Repairs                               nil


                                         Page 69 of 92
        HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Formula Rent (2004/05)                                £55.58
Formula Rent Growth
        2005/06                                       1.45%
        2006/07 to 2011/12                            1.50%
Formula Rent Growth (2012/13 on)                      0.50%
Guideline Rent (2003/04)                              £53.08     Will converge with actual rent
                                                                 and target rent by 2011/12
Subsidy Voids Allowance                               2.00%
Prior Year Opening Stock (2003/04)                    6,350
Supported (subsidy) Capital Expenditure
        2004/05                                      £997,000    Assumes 100% applied
        2005/06                                     £1,146,000   Assumes 100% applied
        2006/07 to 2012/13                           £403,000    Assumes 100% applied
        2013/14 onwards                                 nil
Opening Debt (2004/05)
        Mid Year HRA CFR                             -£4.0m
        Subsidy CFR                                   £6.5m
RTB Sales (% of opening stock per annum)              1.29%      Eg 80 sales in 2004/05
RTB Sales Price (net of discount / admin costs)      £68,300     2004/05 Base per DRS
RTB Growth in sales prices                              Nil      Ie RPI only
Receipts applied to HRA programme                       Nil
Other Stock Movements (per annum)
       2005/06                                         -19       Christian Fields
       2006/07                                         -53       Christian Fields
       2007/08                                         -56       Christian Fields
       2008/09                                         -50       Christian Fields
       2009/10 onwards                                  nil
General Management Costs - 2004/05
       Fixed                                           nil       Target in order to maintain
       Variable (per unit)                            £542       balanced HRA
General Mgmt Cost Growth
        2005/06                                       -1.58%
        2006/07 onwards                                 Nil
Special Management Costs - 2004/05
       Fixed                                        £1,212,950
       Variable (per unit)                              Nil
Special Mgmt Cost Growth
        2005/06                                      11.33%
        2006/07 onwards                              0.50%
Supporting People – Net Cost
       2004/05                                       £61,740
       2005/06                                       £90,040
Supporting People growth
        2006/07 onwards                                nil
Responsive / void / and cyclical repairs 2004/05      £997
Responsive etc – growth in costs
         2005/06                                      3.18%      Per Budget
         2006/07                                        Nil




                                             Page 70 of 92
  HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                             Appendix E
                     Detailed Capital Programme 2004/05 – 2006/07



                                         2004/05      2004/05     2005/06    2006/07
                                         Previous      Actual     Budget     Estimate
                                         Forecast      £000’s     £000’s      £000’s
                                          £000’s
HRA EXPENDITURE
DHS – Kitchen Improvements                  650         690        1,101
DH+-Enhanced Kitchen Spec                    0           0          190
DHS – Bathroom Improvements                 200         136         138
DH+-Enhanced Security                        0           0          200
DHS – Major Void Refurbishment              400          0          780
DHS – Other Improvements                    235         169         172
Fire Prevention Works                       275         112         275
Environmental Works                         370         470         387
Obsolete Materials Replacement              425         248         510
Disabled Adaptations                        190          60         240
Fisherman‟s Hill Car Park                   150          0           0
Major Lift Refurbishment                    100          0          110
Structural Repairs – Flatted                100         104         104
Developments
Miscellaneous Works                         164         529         404
DHS – Window Replacements                   635         871         412
DHS – Roofing Schemes                       490         384         412
DHS – Energy Conservation                   950         662        1,652
DHS – Miscellaneous Works                   300         285         350
Housing Computer System                      0           0          100
Total Expenditure                          5,634       4,720       7,537        4975

Financed by
Major Repairs Allowance                    5,337                   6,391        4572
Supported Borrowing                         997                    1,146        403
Total Funding                              5,634                   7,537        4975


  Sources: The 2004/05 forecasts in column 1 are identified from the council budgetary
  information as are the actual expenditures for the same year in column 2.

  The figures for the budget setting in 2005/06, column 3, are sourced from the financial
  assessment report in relation to the stock options appraisal May 2005, by Tribal HCH, as
  are the figures in the fourth column of estimated expenditure.




                                      Page 71 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                    Appendix F
                         Detailed HRA Budget 2005/06 – 2006/07


                                                         2005/06   2006/07
                                                         Budget    Budget
                                                         £000’s     £000’s
  Income
  Dwelling rents                                         -17,321   -17,970
  Government Compensation                                    0       -111
  Service Charges-Leaseholders                              -90       -90
  Service charges-HRA Tenants                             -1,201    -1,228
  Shop rental income (net)                                 -111      -105
  Other Rents and Income                                   -244      -236
  General Fund Contribution                                 -13       -12
  Housing Revenue Account Subsidy                            0         0
  Total                                                  -18,979   -19,753

  Expenditure
  Supervision & Management – General Expenses             3,502     3,271
  Supervision & Management – Wardens Services              360       374
  Supervision & Management – Community Hall                50         49
  Supervision & Management – Other                         947       984
  Supporting People Fund                                   13         60
  Repairs & Maintenance – Direct Works                    6,120     5,741
  Repairs & Maintenance – Administration                   760       726
  Depreciation                                            4,316     4,296
  Capital Charges
  HRA set aside                                             0         0
  Debt Management Expenses                                 34         33
  Premiums                                                 193       154
  Cost of Capital Charge-R                               12,866     12,864
  Capital Assets Charge Adjustment-J                     -12,866   -12,864
  Redistributed Housing Subsidy                            195        0
  Housing Subsidy                                         3,764     4,528
  Item 10 Contribution to General Fund                     68         0
  Prior Year Adjustment re subsidy                          0         0
  Rent Rebates                                              0         0
  Total                                                  20,321     20,216

  Net Cost of Services                                    1,342     463

  Capital Charges
  Interest Receivable                                       -24      -15
  Interest on Balances                                     -118     -0.1
  Transfer from Major Repairs Reserve                      -109     -109
  Notional HRA Investment Income                           -112      -71
  Discounts                                                  -2       -2
  Total                                                    -364     -197


                                   Page 72 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


  Net Operating Expenditure                                    978             267

  Appropriations


  (Surplus)/Deficit                                            978             267

  Balance Brought Forward                                     -1,695          -717
  Balance Carried Forward                                      -717           -450



Notes to the HRA

Rents – The average rent in Gravesham in 2005/06 is £55.86 (ie an increase of 4.6% from
2004/05). This is the 4th year of rent restructuring. 6195 homes (as at 1 April 2004) are
limited by the RPI+1/2% + or - £2 per week

Service Charges – We unpooled service charges from rents in 2003/04. The Authority
adheres to government guidance of limiting service charge increases to RPI + ½% in any
year.

Management Costs - Reflect the cost of staff in the Housing Department working on
Landlord Services. These include support service costs from central departments such as
IT and personnel.

Repairs and Maintenance – Reflect the costs of day to day maintenance on our homes.
Service levels have been determined with Tenants.

Redistributed Housing Revenue Account Subsidy – Based on a notional housing revenue
account. HRA subsidy is a negative subsidy paid to the Government. It is explained in
more detail in section 9.




                                    Page 73 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                                                       Appendix G

                                           Tenant Involvement Structures




                                               The Cabinet



                            Gravesham Borough Council, Housing Services




          Open Door Editorial
                Panel                    SIAG 1                  SIAG 2              SIAG 3




      Gravesham Tenants and Residents                                          People Bank
                  Forum


                                                                                             Reading Group




    Residents Associations and        Sheltered Housing Forum              Leaseholder Forum
      Estate Representatives Page 74 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

                                                                                                                               Appendix H

HRA Business Plan 2006/07 – 2008/09
The key actions for the Housing Service to achieve over the next three years 2006/07 – 2008/09 are set out below. These will be regularly
reviewed within the scheduled one to one meetings set within the Performance Management Framework. They are supported by individual
Team Plans which incorporate key milestones to highlight achievements of management actions.

The aim is to have a S.M.A.R.T approach to targets:

Specific      Measurable     Achievable     Realistic      Timetable


 Objective    Management Action (including           Target Date       Completion   Lead          Comments
 No.          Audit Commission                                         Date         Person /
              recommendations)                                                      Section

 Service Objective 1: Make our housing estates safer, cleaner, greener

 Strategic Aims 1 and 2                                 Housing Strategy Priority 1                                Business Plan Priority 1
 1.1         Review the anti-social behaviour        June 2006                      Norman
             (ASB) target times so that they are                                    Parry
             more challenging and introduce
             standard reporting procedures, in
             partnership with both tenants and
             Community Safety (AC R1.4)

 1.2          Deliver a cleaning standard of B or    October 2006                   Norman
              above under the Environmental                                         Parry
              Protection Act at least 90% of the
              time

 1.3          Develop and improve the estate         October 2006                   Wale
              inspection procedures with                                            Adetoro
              residents (AC R1.5)



                                     Page 75 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Service Objective 2: Serve all our diverse customers and promote community cohesion

Strategic Aim 3                                     Housing Strategy Priority 1                                  Business Plan Priority 1
2.1         Increase the number of BME             December                       Christine
            community members in resident          2006                           Gray
            involvement (Target: 3% minority       (Quarterly
            ethnic and 3% Irish or non-British     reviews from
            White involvement on registered        September
            resident association committees        2006)
            and Tenants‟ Forum) (AC R3.2)

2.2         Increase the understanding of the      October 2006                   Keith          Stock transfer consultation mechanisms –
            diversity and vulnerability of                                        Morcombe       analysis of tenant survey forms
            tenants (AC R2.1), for example,
            through customer profiling,
            surveys, consultation and service
            involvement

2.3         Undertake a borough-wide Housing       December                       Deborah
            Needs Survey and Gypsy &               2006                           Beadle / Liz
            Traveller Needs Survey                                                Crockford

2.4         Consult on how to improve the take     March 2007                     Christine      From RES consultation 2006
            up of the Really Useful Savings                                       Gray
            and Loans Account Scheme
            amongst ME communities

2.5         Identify a suitable site and give      March 2007                     Viv James
            priority support to a bid under the
            Housing Corporation‟s affordable
            housing programme for the
            development of a second sheltered
            housing scheme for ethnic elders




                                   Page 76 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Service Objective 3: Put people first

Strategic Aim 4                                    Housing Strategy Priority 1                                  Business Plan Priority 1
3.1         Improved efficiency in responding      March 2007                    Andy           Partnership working with Operational
            to customers:                                                        Chequers       Services department in achieving all
                                                                                                improved customer relations‟ targets
            Answer 85% of telephone calls in 5
            rings, 85% of letters within 5
            working days and 85% of
            customers‟ complaints within 15
            days (and learn from complaints)

3.2         Train staff in customer awareness      September                     Andy
            and ensure that there is an            2006 (this is                 Chequers
            effective customer focus in all the    the AC target
            department‟s dealings with             date)
            customers (AC R2.2)

            Review the complaints policy /         September                     Anita Tysoe    Wale Adetoro to lead act as the Client for
            procedure in consultation with         2006                                         Housing Services
            residents (AC R1.1)

3.3         Update the Housing Strategy            March 2007                    Deborah
            Statement 2005–09 following the                                      Beadle / Liz
            outcome of the Housing Needs                                         Crockford
            Survey, Gypsy & Traveller Needs
            Survey and Private Sector Stock
            Condition Survey

3.4         Ensure that 100% of Housing staff      May 2006                      Andy
            appraisals are completed within                                      Chequers
            timescales




                                   Page 77 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


3.5          Ensure that the future Housing          June 2006                     Andy
             Department Service Plans are                                          Chequers
             SMART (specific, measurable,
             achievable, resourced and time
             bound), robust and developed
             through a clear system of
             challenge, consultation and
             comparison with others (AC R4.4)

3.6          Continue to embed a culture of          Quarterly                     Andy
             performance management (AC              reviews                       Chequers
             R4.3) (using quarterly reviews of all
             key milestones in this plan)

Service Objective 4: Deliver Decent Homes by 2010

Strategic Aim 4                                      Housing Strategy Priority 2                               Business Plan Priority 2
4.1         Undertake a fair and informed            October 2006                  Mandy      Deferred from June 2006 to October 2006
            ballot of tenants to establish if they                                 Samrai     at tenants‟ request
            want to transfer to Thameside HA

4.2          Following the outcome of the ballot,    June 2007                     Mandy      June 2007 included in HRA Business Plan
             transfer stock to Thameside HA if                                     Samrai
             required

Service Objective 5: Maximise income and services to tenants and leaseholders

Strategic Aim 4                                      Housing Strategy Priority 1                              Business Plan Priority 1
5.1          Review the rent arrears policy./        September                     Wale
             procedure in partnership with           2006                          Adetoro
             tenants (AC R1.2)

             Achieve 98.5% rent collection           March 2007
             (upper quartile), 1.8% rent arrears
             and 0.4% eviction targets in
             2006/07
                                     Page 78 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

5.2          Develop a former tenant arrears        September                     Wale
             (FTA) policy / procedure (AC R1.3)     2006                          Adetoro

             Reduce FTA from £610,000 on            March 2007
             31st March 2006 to below
             £550,000 on 31st March 2007,
             reducing by at least £15,000 a
             quarter.

5.3          Ensure that there are appropriate      October 2006                  Wale
             and effective arrangements in                                        Adetoro
             place to administer and collect
             leaseholder service charges (AC
             R1.6)

             Collect at least 90% of the            March 2007
             leasehold service charges due

Service Objective 6: Achieve an upper quartile performance on the turnaround time of empty Council houses

Strategic Aim 4                                     Housing Strategy Priority 3                              Business Plan Priority 1
6.1         Turn around empty Council               March 2007                    Elaine
            properties in 28 days or less in                                      Longworth
            2006/07 (upper quartile by
            2007/08)

Service Objective 7: Commence development of the Christian Fields estate phase 1 and future phases

Strategic Aim 4                                     Housing Strategy Priority 2                                Business Plan Priority 2
7.1         Commence development of                 October 2006                  Mandy       Deferred from May 2006 through delays in
            Christian Fields Estate Phase 1                                       Samrai      signing of Development Agreement




                                    Page 79 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Service Objective 8: Secure 30% affordable homes on sites of 25 units or more

Strategic Aim 4                                    Housing Strategy Priority 3                                    Business Plan Priority 1
8.1         On major development sites,            Ongoing                        Viv James      Subject to any changes through the Local
            maintain a policy of seeking 30% of                                                  Development Framework (LDF)
            units in urban areas and 50% of
            units in rural areas for affordable
            housing

8.2         Enable housing association             March 2008                     Viv James      Subject to the Housing Corporation
            partners to develop up to 526 new                                                    Affordable Homes Programme
            units of affordable housing by 31st
            March 2008 so as to assist more
            households from the Common
            Register into affordable housing

8.3         Ensure the Local Development           July 2006                      Deborah        As part of wider LDF process, report to be
            Framework contains appropriate                                        Beadle / Liz   presented to Cabinet in July 2006
            measures which maximise the                                           Crockford
            delivery of affordable, accessible
            and sustainable housing

Service Objective 9: Keep tenants at the heart of the service; setting standards, monitoring performance, suggesting improvements
and participating in key decisions

Strategic Aim 4                                     Housing Strategy Priority 1                                   Business Plan Priority 3
9.1         Using the results of Objective No      October 2006                   Andy           Stock transfer consultation mechanisms –
            2.2, (through customer profiling,      (Quarterly                     Chequers       analysis of tenant survey forms
            surveys, consultation and service      reviews from
            involvement), review services to       September
            ensure that they are effectively       2006)
            tailored to the needs of customers
            (AC R2.3)




                                   Page 80 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


9.2        Increase the number of involved         December       Christine
           tenants, particularly through non-      2006           Gray
           traditional means, for example the      (Quarterly
           People Bank, estate advocates, so       reviews from
           that resident involvement is not so     September
           reliant on a small core of              2006)
           individuals and more tenants with
           different skills are involved (AC
           R3.1)

           Target increase percentage of
           tenants covered by registered
           residents‟ associations from 31% in
           March 2006 to 35% in March 2007

9.3        Develop the capacity of tenants         September      Christine   Commenced resident training programme
           through a planned programme of          2006 (AC       Gray        for 2006/07 in March 2006
           training so that they can more          target date)
           effectively contribute to the work of
           the housing department and the
           Council (AC R3.3)

9.4        Publish Leaseholders‟ Handbook          March 2007     Wale
                                                                  Adetoro

9.5        Achieve 72% satisfaction with           March 2007     Christine
           opportunities to participate (top                      Gray
           quartile)




                                   Page 81 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Service Objective 10: Improve private sector housing

Strategic Aim 4                                    Housing Strategy Priority 2                                    Business Plan Priority 1
10.1        Bring at least 39 private sector       March 2007                    Deborah        As per target in Private Sector Housing
            homes per annum back into use                                        Beadle / Liz   Renewal Strategy
                                                                                 Crockford

10.2        Undertake and complete a Private       December                      Sue
            Sector Stock Condition Survey          2006                          Coughlin

10.3        Implement the Housing Act 2004, in June 2007                         Sue
            particular, all licensable HMOs to be                                Coughlin
            licensed by the target date or an
            IMO served

10.4        Implement the revised Private          From April                    Sue
            Sector Housing Renewal Strategy        2006                          Coughlin
            2006-09

10.5        Revise the Private Sector Renewal      March 2007                    Deborah
            Strategy in light of the outcome of                                  Beadle / Liz
            the Private Sector Stock Condition                                   Crockford
            Survey

10.6        In line with the Kent Affordable       March 2007                    Sue
            Warmth Strategy, produce and                                         Coughlin
            implement an action plan for
            affordable warmth and home
            energy efficiency

10.7        Ensure a replacement Home              March 2007                    Deborah        Supporting People funding
            Improvement Agency service is                                        Beadle / Liz
            available from April 2007                                            Crockford




                                   Page 82 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Service Objective 11: Prevent homelessness and house the statutory homeless at minimum net cost

Strategic Aim 5                                     Housing Strategy Priority 4                                    Business Plan Priority 1
11.1        Prevent homelessness by utilising       Ongoing                       Gavin          Funding for 2006-7 onwards subject to
            the Rent Deposit Scheme, where                                        Meeser         resources being identified from within
            funding capacity permits                                                             existing budgets. Primarily savings have
                                                                                                 to be made on temporary accommodation
                                                                                                 in order to fund additional Rent Deposits.

11.2        Maintain a mediation service for        Ongoing                       Gavin          Funding in place for 12 referrals. Funding
            16/17 year olds in partnership with                                   Meeser         in excess of this will be subject to
            Basildon Mediation                                                                   resources being identified from within
                                                                                                 existing budgets. Primarily savings have
                                                                                                 to be made on temporary accommodation
                                                                                                 in order to fund additional mediation
                                                                                                 referrals.

11.3        Reduce the use of B&B
            accommodation through:
                                                                                  Set up:        Secretary of State consent obtained for up
               the provision of a Leasing          June 2006
                                                                                  Deborah        to 8 units to be leased. Additional units
                Scheme in partnership with
                                                                                  Beadle / Liz   will require further Secretary of State
                Avenue Lettings using empty
                                                                                  Crockford      consent.
                properties on the Christian
                                                                                  Ongoing:
                Fields estate
                                                                                  Gavin
               the provision of a direct letting   From April                    Meeser         Subject to ongoing endorsement of rental
                to the private sector Housing       2006                                         grid by Housing Benefits
                Association Leasing Scheme in
                partnership with Avenue
                Lettings, providing 50 units of
                accommodation
               the ongoing delivery of 50 units    Ongoing up to                                Current Homelessness Directorate Grant
                of high quality temporary           March 2008                                   expires in March 2008
                accommodation in partnership
                with GCHA

                                    Page 83 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005

               the provision of a Homeless        December
                Initiative Leasing Scheme in       2006
                partnership with a housing
                association
11.4        Implement a policy of only using       October 2006                   Gavin
            accredited B&B units for                                              Meeser /
            emergency access accommodation                                        Sue
                                                                                  Coughlin

11.5        Devise and implement a charging        October 2006                   Gavin
            system for all forms of temporary                                     Meeser
            accommodation and storage

11.6        Contain net homelessness spend         March 2007                     Gavin
            within the 2006/07 homelessness                                       Meeser
            budget

11.7        Review the Homelessness                March 2007                     Deborah
            Strategy 2003-2007 in light of the                                    Beadle / Liz
            outcome of the Housing Needs                                          Crockford
            Survey and stakeholder
            consultation

Service Objective 12: Offer quality and value

Strategic Aim 6                                     Housing Strategy Priority 1                                   Business Plan Priority 1
12.1        Develop a value for money strategy     September                      Andy           A major task involving all Housing
            that is in keeping with best           2006                           Chequers       Managers collectively and individually
            practice, undertake an assessment      (Quarterly
            of unit costs and consult with         reviews from
            tenants on the relative costs and      September
            quality of the service provided (AC    2006)
            R4.2)




                                   Page 84 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


12.2       Achieve upper quartile                 March 2007     Andy
           performance for all Best Value                        Chequers
           Performance Indicators (BVPI),
           including achieving 83% tenant
           satisfaction with landlord service

12.3       Update HouseMark to establish          October 2006   Keith
           benchmarking information on best                      Morcombe
           practice performance and costs.
           Assess and share information

12.4       Develop benchmarking and               September      Christine    Keith Morcombe to assist in project set-up
           exchange information and work          2006           Gray
           practices with high performing         (Quarterly
           organisations in order to improve      reviews from
           services (AC R4.1)                     September
                                                  2006)

12.5       Develop a functionality                March 2007     Wale
           specification for a new landlord                      Adetoro /
           services‟ IT system                                   Mandy
                                                                 Samrai

12.6       Establish a Housing IT system for      March 2007     Sue
           the Private Housing and Housing                       Coughlin /
           Needs Services in 2006/07                             Gavin
                                                                 Meeser

12.7       Implement Internal Audit reports‟                     Elaine
           recommendations for:                                  Longworth
            allocations                          July 2006
            sheltered housing                    May 2006
            Supporting People funding            July 2006




                                  Page 85 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


12.8       Ensure the Quality Assessment         March 2007   Elaine
           Framework level C is achieved and                  Longworth
           consolidated for sheltered service
           and community alarm service

12.9       Deliver the Housing Services‟ part    December     Andy
           of Accommodating Excellence           2006         Chequers

12.10      Enhance performance through the       November     Andy
           use of modern methods of              2006 and     Chequers
           procurement for the supply of         ongoing
           materials and services to the
           Housing Services department




                                 Page 86 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


                                                                                            Appendix I

Key Milestones 2006/07
The key milestones below highlight significant achievements for Housing Services during 2006/07.

 Objective   Key milestones                                             Target         Achieved
 No.

 Service Objective 1: Make our housing estates safer, cleaner, greener

 1.1         Review the anti-social behaviour (ASB) target times so     June 2006
             that they are more challenging and introduce standard
             reporting procedures, in partnership with both tenants
             and Community Safety (AC R1.4)

 1.2         Deliver a cleaning standard of B or above under the        October
             Environmental Protection Act at least 90% of the time      2006

 1.3         Develop and improve the estate inspection procedures       October
             with residents (AC R1.5)                                   2006

 Service Objective 2: Serve all our diverse customers and promote community cohesion

 2.1         Increase the number of BME community members in            December
             resident involvement (Target: 3% minority ethnic and       2006
             3% Irish or non-British White involvement on registered    (Quarterly
             resident association committees and Tenants‟ Forum)        reviews from
             (AC R3.2)                                                  September
                                                                        2006)

 2.2         Increase the understanding of the diversity and            October
             vulnerability of tenants (AC R2.1), for example, through   2006
             customer profiling, surveys, consultation and service
             involvement

 2.3         Undertake a borough-wide Housing Needs Survey and          December
             Gypsy & Traveller Needs Survey                             2006

 Service Objective 3: Put people first

 3.1         Answer 85% of telephone calls in 5 rings, 85% of letters   March 2007
             within 5 working days and 85% of complaints in 15
             days. Learn from complaints.

 3.2         Train staff in customer awareness and ensure that          September
             there is an effective customer focus in all the            2006
             department‟s dealings with customers (AC R2.2)

 3.3         Update the Housing Strategy Statement 2005–09              March 2007
             following the outcome of the Housing Needs Survey,
             Gypsy & Traveller Needs Survey and Private Sector
             Stock Condition Survey


                                    Page 87 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Objective   Key milestones                                            Target       Achieved
No.

Service Objective 4: Deliver Decent Homes by 2010

4.1         Undertake a fair and informed ballot of tenants to        October
            establish if they want to transfer to Thameside HA        2006

4.2         Following the outcome of the ballot, transfer stock to    June 2007
            Thameside HA if required

Service Objective 5: Maximise income and services to tenants and leaseholders

5.1         Review the rent arrears policy / procedure in             September
            partnership with tenants (AC R1.2)                        2006

            Achieve 98.5% rent collection (top quartile), 1.8% rent   March 2007
            arrears and 0.4% eviction targets in 2006/07

5.2         Develop a former tenant arrears‟ (FTA) policy /           September
            procedure (AC R1.3)                                       2006

            Reduce FTA from £610,000 on 31st March 2006 to            March 2007
            below £550,000 on 31st March 2007, reducing by at
            least £15,000 a quarter.

5.3         Ensure that there are appropriate and effective           October
            arrangements in place to administer and collect           2006
            leaseholder service charges (AC R1.6)

            Collect at least 90% of the leasehold service charges     March 2007
            due

Service Objective 6: Achieve an upper quartile performance on the turnaround time of empty
Council houses

6.1         Turn around empty Council properties in 28 days or        March 2007
            less in 2006/07 (upper quartile by 2007/08)

Service Objective 7: Commence development of the Christian Fields estate phase 1 and future
phases

7.1         Commence development of Christian Fields Estate           October
            Phase 1                                                   2006

Service Objective 8: Secure 30% affordable homes on sites of 25 units or more


8.1         On major development sites, maintain a policy of          Ongoing
            seeking 30% of units in urban areas and 50% of units in
            rural areas for affordable housing




                                   Page 88 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



8.2         Enable housing association partners to develop up to      March 2008
            526 new units of affordable housing by 31st March 2008
            so as to assist more households from the Common
            Register into affordable housing

8.3         Contribute to the Local Development Framework to          July 2006
            maximise affordable and sustainable housing

Service Objective 9: Keep tenants at the heart of the service; setting standards, monitoring
performance, suggesting improvements and participating in key decisions

9.1         Using the results of Objective No 2.2 (through customer   October
            profiling, surveys, consultation and service              2006
            involvement), review services to ensure that they are     (Quarterly
            effectively tailored to meeting needs of customers (AC    reviews from
            R2.3)                                                     September
                                                                      2006)

9.2         Increase the number of involved tenants, particularly     December
            through non-traditional means, for example the People     2006
            Bank, estate advocates, so that resident involvement is   (Quarterly
            not so reliant on a small core of individuals and more    reviews from
            tenants with different skills are involved (AC R3.1)      September
                                                                      2006)
            Target increase percentage of tenants covered by
            registered residents‟ associations from 31% in March
            2006 to 35% in March 2007

9.3         Develop the capacity of tenants through a planned         September
            programme of training so that they can more effectively   2006 (AC
            contribute to the work of the housing department and      target date)
            the Council (AC R3.3)

9.5         Achieve 72% satisfaction with opportunities to            March 2007
            participate (top quartile)

Service Objective 10: Improve private sector housing

10.1        Bring at least 39 private sector homes per annum back     March 2007
            into use

10.2        Undertake and complete a Private Sector Stock             December
            Condition Survey                                          2006

10.3        Implement the Housing Act 2004, in particular, all        June 2007
            licensable HMOs to be licensed by the target date or an
            IMO served

10.5        Revise the Private Sector Renewal Strategy in light of    March 2007
            the outcome of the Private Sector Stock Condition
            Survey




                                  Page 89 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


10.7        Ensure a replacement Home Improvement Agency               March 2007
            service is available from April 2007

Service Objective 11: Prevent homelessness and house the statutory homeless at minimum net
cost

11.4        Implement a policy of only using accredited B&B units      October
            for emergency access accommodation                         2006

11.5        Devise and implement a charging system for all forms       October
            of temporary accommodation and storage                     2006

11.6        Contain net homelessness spend within the 2006/07          March 2007
            homelessness budget

11.7        Review the Homelessness Strategy 2003-2007 in light        March 2007
            of the outcome of the Housing Needs Survey and
            stakeholder consultation

Service Objective 12: Offer quality and value

12.1        Develop a value for money strategy that is in keeping      September
            with best practice, undertake an assessment of unit        2006
            costs and consult with tenants on the relative costs and   (Quarterly
            quality of the service provided (AC R4.2)                  reviews from
                                                                       September
                                                                       2006)

12.2        Achieve upper quartile performance for all Best Value      March 2007
            performance indicators (BVPI), including achieving 83%
            tenant satisfaction with landlord service

12.4        Develop benchmarking and exchange information and          September
            work practices with high performing organisations in       2006
            order to improve services (AC R4.1)                        (Quarterly
                                                                       reviews from
                                                                       September
                                                                       2006)

12.6        Establish a Housing IT system for the Private Housing      March 2007
            and Housing Needs Services in 2006/07

12.9        Deliver the Housing Services‟ part of Accommodating        December
            Excellence                                                 2006

12.10       Enhance performance through the use of modern              November
            methods of procurement for the supply of materials and     2006 and
            services to the Housing Services department                ongoing




                                   Page 90 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005


Glossary of Terms

Affordable Housing – Housing provided through the terms of a planning agreement (Section 106) or
through the input of the council‟s capital resources, encompassing homes for either rent or sale at
discount compared to open market value which are available to people identified by the council as being
in housing need. Such provision may include new or refurbished homes provided in the social or private
sectors. As a contributor to more affordable housing, our definition includes the provision of more cost
effective heating and insulation systems in the private housing sector, as delivered through the Private
Sector Renewal budget. The overriding affordable housing need within Gravesham is for social rented
housing and this is why we always seek a “significant proportion“ of social rented homes on any new
development.
Approved Development Programme – Annual capital grants programme for housing associations (and
from 2005, developers), drawn up by the Housing Corporation. Now merged with the Housing
Investment Programme to form the Single Housing Investment Pot delivered through the South East
Regional Housing Board

Best Value – A system that ensures that the council provides good quality services to customers, whilst
providing good value for money

Best Value Performance Indicators – Nationally set Audit Commission measures for performance
measurement and comparison with other local authorities

Brownfield Land – Land that has previously been developed

Capital Receipts – Receipts from the sale of a council asset including council house sales under the
Right to Buy legislation

Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) – Audit Commission evaluation of all council
services

Decent Homes Standard – A Government Standard that all social housing must reach by 2010 and now
extended to the private sector

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) - A mandatory grant to help disabled people to have their homes
adapted, allowing them to remain in that property. Grants are partially Government funded.

Egan Compliance – Sir John Egan published a report in 1998 called „Rethinking construction‟ outlining
how the quality and cost of construction could be improved

Empty Property Grant – Discretionary grant under the Private Sector Housing Renewal Strategy for
bringing empty property back into occupation

Enabling – The process by which the council supports and encourages partners and other organisations,
particularly housing associations, to deliver strategic priorities

Fit for Purpose Criteria - The criteria against which the Regional Government Office evaluates Housing
Strategies and HRA Business Plans

Floating Support – Support provided to tenants and owners of general needs housing to enable them to
live independently in the community

Government Office of the South East (GOSE) - The relevant Regional Government Office of the Office
of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).


                                     Page 91 of 92
HRA Business Plan – October 2005



House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – A property split into smaller units of accommodation, often
sharing basic amenities

Housing Association – Also known as a Registered Social Landlord – see RSL

Housing Benefit - Financial assistance for people on low income to meet their rent

Housing Corporation – A Government body that provides grant funding for housing associations to
develop new affordable housing, which is also responsible for monitoring their performance

Housing Needs Survey – A survey of local people to assess the need for affordable housing and other
housing services, across the district

Key workers – Key people employed in the public sector e.g. teachers, fire workers and social workers

Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) – The process to transfer the ownership of council housing to a
housing association. The council receives a capital receipt on transfer of the stock, usually to spend on
new affordable housing

Local Plan/Local Development Framework – A plan outlining policies and proposals for all
development across the district

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) – Government Department responsible for local
government and housing (now Department for Communities and Local Government)

Parish Housing Needs Survey - Local housing survey to assess local housing need, undertaken at
parish level in rural areas by the Action with Communities in Rural Kent

Private Sector Housing – Housing not provided by the council or other public / voluntary bodies

 Registered Social Landlord (RSL) – Landlords registered with the Housing Corporation. Most RSLs
are Housing Associations

Right to Buy (RTB) – Statutory right of council tenants to buy their council home at a discount

Rural Exception Policy – Planning policy to allow development outside the normal limits (i.e. on the
outskirts of a village, potentially within the Green Belt) where there is an exceptional need for local
affordable housing

Section 106 Agreement – Conditions imposed on new housing developments at the planning stage to
provide various infrastructure and community gains, including new affordable housing

Sheltered Housing – Housing provided to vulnerable people (often older people) where support is
provided

Single Capital Pot – A capital allocation from the Government to local authorities to be allocated to
capital projects in accordance with corporate priorities

Social Housing Grant – Local authority and Housing Corporation grant funding towards the
development of new affordable housing by a housing association

Stock Options Appraisal – All local authorities were required to carry out a Stock Options Appraisal by
July 2005 to look at the options for bringing in additional investment to ensure that the Government‟s
Decent Homes Standard can be met


                                      Page 92 of 92

								
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