(Councillor Howes made a voluntary
announcement that he was a member of the Tenants Consultative
Group. Councillor N Baker made a
voluntary announcement that a family member lived in a property
managed by East Kent Housing.)
Deborah Upton, Chief Executive of East Kent
Housing was present for this item.
Sarah Randall, the Strategic Contracts and
Commissions Manager introduced the report identifying improvements
required by East Kent Housing (EKH) and a proposed improvement plan
for consideration. The proposed plan
included actions, outcomes and performance indicators to be
It was noted that EKH were performing well in
some areas, but that there were a number of areas were they had not
performed well and where urgent improvements were needed
particularly in procurement and contract management. It was acknowledged that there were difficulties
with working for four separate client councils; that there had been
an issue with recruiting suitable staff and that the introduction
of Universal Credit had creating many difficulties.
The Committee discussed the report and asked a
number of questions. The Strategic
Contracts and Commissions Manager and the Chief Executive of East
Kent Housing gave points of clarification where necessary.
Points including the following where made:
All four councils would need to agree the proposals for additional
funding for it to go ahead. If there
was no agreement, alternative options would need to be considered
but these may take some time to implement.
The telephone service was provided by Civica, not by EKH and work
was being undertaken to try to improve the service.
The majority of issues were caused by the introduction of Universal
Credit and historically the service provided by EKH was very
good. There had been no increase in
funding since the introduction of EKH in 2011 and nearly all costs
Recruitment was proving particularly difficult, despite using
different recruitment methods. This appeared to be a wider problem
and was not limited to the East Kent area.
Housing officers still existed and now worked in dedicated
teams. Staff were only able to discuss
cases with the individual concerned due to data protection
If the money was to be awarded, an improvement would need to be
seen very quickly. The improvement plan
would be monitored by the Board which was made up of one councillor
and one tenant from each authority, plus four independent
members. The Committee wished to see a
progress report in September 2019.
Options contained within the report were:
Support the proposed improved plan (recommended).
To do nothing but to continue to work with EKH as per the current
Terminate the current shared arrangement and take back in-house or
into a local authority trading company.
It was proposed, seconded and when put to the
vote agreed that the draft improvement plan at Annex 1 be endorsed
and that it was recommended to the Policy and Resources Committee
that the costs set out in the report be included within the Housing
Revenue Account ...
view the full minutes text for item 607.