Social Housing Improvement Plan Consultation

Closes 30 Jun 2024

Opened 8 May 2024

Overview

What is Richmond's Social Housing Improvement Plan?

This plan sets out a clear vision and a road map for driving improvements to existing social housing, centred on putting the resident voice at the heart of decision-making, improving customer service and repairs and investing in building safer, stronger, thriving communities.

Richmond Council is not a stock-holding authority, so our principal role here is in bringing together our housing association partners and forging a new positive partnership with them committed to improving existing social housing. These partners are:

  • Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP)
  • Paragon Asra (PA) Housing
  • Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH)
  • London & Quadrant (L&Q)

Together, we have agreed this five-point plan, based on what residents have told us their priorities are. This consultation is another vital stage in the process for social housing residents to give us feedback. We want to ensure the plan captures accurately the concerns and priorities of residents in existing social housing, so please take a moment to complete the consultation below.

Why are you focusing on existing homes, what about the need for new homes?

Just as it is vitally important to build new homes, as existing homes get older investing in improving conditions is vital to drive better health, wellbeing and happiness for tenants, enabling them to live in safer and stronger communities, in sustainable homes that are safe and affordable to heat. Richmond Council wants to ensure that both things are treated with equal importance within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

Who is responsible for the investment set out in the Social Housing Improvement Plan (SHIP)?

Housing associations themselves will be directly responsible for investing in improvements to customer services, repairs, tackling disrepair and retrofitting for improved energy performance. The housing associations signed up to the SHIP have all committed to invest in improving these in the ways set out in the plan.

In addition, important priorities in the plan include putting the resident voice at the heart of decision-making, community safety and ensuring good condition of communal areas, streets, playgrounds and parks. We recognise that this is something that Richmond Council and housing provider partners have to work together to achieve in partnership and this plan will guide our commitments and joint investment to enable our work to do that.

The Social Housing Improvement Plan (SHIP) includes five commitments:

1 Putting the resident voice at the heart of decision making

  • Ideas and concerns from residents will be listened to and will inform decision making
  • All residents will have an opportunity to be heard and involved at a level that meets their needs
  • Options for involvement will include scrutiny of services and a clear route for residents to feed in to the board of their housing association
  • Ways to get involved will be clearly publicised and promoted
  • Positive outcomes from resident participation will be publicised
  • The Community Ambassador Scheme and Residents’ Associations will be supported, developed and championed by housing associations and the Council, working together

2  Improving repairs service

  •  Housing associations will ensure the provision of an effective repairs service
  • Residents will be able to book a repair in a variety of ways that meet their needs
  • There will be clear and regular communications with residents about their repair. Communications will be tailored for those with additional needs
  • Repairs will be completed to a satisfactory standard and within the given timeframe. Where this has not been possible, residents should be given a reason why and an alternative timeframe
  • It should be easy to track a repair and raise a query, with clear expectations set out on what to expect when this happens
  • Housing associations will work to minimise the number of repeat visits needed to complete a repair
  • Residents should be kept up to date when further investigation or follow-up action is required

3  Tackling defects and disrepair

  • Residents will be able to easily access information needed to manage their homes and report defects through the correct channels
  • Reports of damp and mould will be responded to as quickly as possible
  • Where there are repeat cases of disrepair, an appropriate professional will be contacted to address the issue without delay
  • Housing associations will undertake proactive, planned improvement works to all residents’ homes including the provision of new kitchens and bathrooms at appropriate intervals and ensuring homes meet the decent home standard

4 Investing in sustainable homes

  • Housing Association partners will set out clear strategies to invest in retrofitting homes in Richmond borough for sustainability and their target time-scales for doing so
  • The Council and its housing association partners will work together to identify funding opportunities to deliver decarbonisation
  • The Council will work closely with housing partners to identify opportunities to work together to improve air quality and biodiversity
  • Support will be provided to residents who live in the least energy efficient homes (EPC D and below) 
  • Residents will have access to information, advice and guidance to ensure they are less likely to experience fuel poverty

5 Investing in safe and strong communities

  • The role of Community Ambassadors will be promoted to as many residents as possible, with new membership encouraged
  • Community Ambassadors will be supported to inspect and report any defects in communal areas
  • There will be further investment by housing associations in community spaces, so they are safe and appealing, supporting strong communities with a zero-tolerance approach to visible disrepair 
  • Housing associations will continue to make estate improvement funding available
  • The Council will continue to make available match-funding opportunities for resident-led estate improvement projects and events
  • Funding opportunities for local improvements will be well-publicised and residents will have information and support in accessing funding
  • The Council will work closely with housing partners to ensure effective refuse and recycling collections and to maximise recycling rates
  • The Council, housing association partners and the Police will work together to tackle anti-social behaviour in homes and communities at the earliest stage

How will the Plan be monitored to ensure progress?  

The Council has brought together housing partners and residents to produce this plan and, as such, the Council will play a pivotal role in encouraging and monitoring progress against the priorities set out in the plan every year.

To do this, the Council will invite housing association partners to attend committee to discuss their performance, challenges and workstreams on an annual basis. They will be asked to set out what they are doing to take action on the commitments in Richmond’s five-point Social Housing Improvement Plan and what their progress has been.

To support the clarity of this reporting, the Council will produce a report benchmarking tenant satisfaction measures across the borough. To set these figures in a wider context, the report will also compare these figures to national averages. This is made possible due to changes in national housing regulations (please see below).

How does this plan fit with national housing regulations?

Following the tragic events of Grenfell and the death of Awaab Ishak, new regulatory measures are coming in from the Social Housing Regulator which will measure resident satisfaction across all registered social housing providers, with the intention of driving improved standards. This is further supported by a proposed set of new decent homes standards.

We want to ensure that our Richmond Social Housing Improvement Plan both supports the aims of national regulation and reaches beyond it, to encompass all the things we want to achieve locally. The Council wants to work together on a local level with residents and housing provider partners to develop a shared vision and a plan for investment, and provide a way to monitor progress, so residents can feed into what the priorities are and we can all see what the plans are and how they’re progressing over time.

How has the Social Housing Improvement Plan been developed?

The Council has produced the draft Social Housing Improvement Plan (SHIP) for Richmond Borough in partnership with the four largest housing associations in the borough, based on what residents have told us are their overriding concerns and priorities. These partners are RHP, PA Housing, MTVH and L&Q.

Whilst the Council does not own its own housing, we want to work with housing association partners to improve the lives and experiences of people living in social housing. We want homes in Richmond to be safe and well maintained and we want to ensure our residents’ voices are heard. In addition, the Council wants to work with housing associations to ensure that the aims of other important strategies such as the Climate Emergency Strategy are met, to tackle fuel poverty whilst driving sustainability. 

What is the purpose of this consultation?

We would like to hear from Richmond social housing residents, local groups and any other interested parties about our proposed plan.

We will use consultation feedback to further develop the Social Housing Improvement Plan and make changes where necessary. The Plan will be used to guide investment and strategic decision-making for the Council and its housing association partners.

Have your say

Please give us your feedback by clicking the Online Survey link below. If you need any help completing the survey or if you need a paper copy or a different format, please call 020 8871 8942 or email consultation@richmond.gov.uk

What happens next?

After the consultation period closes, we will consider all feedback received and make any necessary updates before the Social Housing Improvement Plan is published.

Give Us Your Views

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Open to all

Interests

  • Richmond Borough