Housing report

Dudley housing report flags communication failures

A report from HOUSING pointed to failures in communications between tenants and Dudley Council, but a plan for improvement is underway.

At a meeting of the Housing and Public Realms Review Committee on January 27, councilors discussed a plan to improve housing supply in the Borough of Dudley.

The local council commissioned experienced housing consultant, Duncan Forbes, in October 2021 to carry out a review of housing and communities management.

The review found that Dudley Council performed “below” landlord performance in other similar local authorities – particularly when it comes to providing information to tenants.

The findings back up a survey of 3,349 tenants in 2018, which found poor communication.

The report states: “There are many anecdotal comments from tenants that we are not good at communicating with them and not good at listening to their views, so the results are consistent with the daily messaging that we receive tenants.

The report also mentioned that while the services provided are “provided to a good or excellent standard”, significant improvements in two-way communication with staff and tenants, and in the handling of customer issues, were needed.

These were the conclusions of Duncan Forbes, they recommended the need for a “meaningful change in culture”, which Dudley advised “will take several months and a few years to be fully implemented”.

But Dudley Council said ‘no timetable’ was needed for any project, noting that their new cultural approach they want to promote involves a ‘collaborative approach’ with staff and members.

It comes after the government published a white paper on social housing in November 2020. The objectives of this document include that social housing tenants are safe, are listened to, live in good quality housing and “remediate where the things go wrong”.

The social housing regulator, which now regulates local authority housing provision, now requires local authorities to be ‘transparent’ about their performance and decision-making – so tenants and the regulator can hold their tenants to account. advice.

Councilor Laura Taylor-Childs, Councillor’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: ‘We recognize that there have been frustrations on the part of tenants and we are committed to improving levels of satisfaction at with regard to the housing service.

“We took action, and in October last year we undertook a massive overhaul of every aspect of the service we provide.

“The review recognized that we provide many services at a good or excellent level but, as expected, also identified a number of high-level improvements we need to make to help our tenants.

“They include improving the way we communicate with tenants and improving our systems for handling and responding to customer service inquiries.

“We are working in partnership with residents and tenant associations to improve services in these key areas, monitor progress and ensure a positive impact on tenants.

“Work began in earnest this month on implementing the recommendations for improvements, and we are committed to providing the best possible service to our tenants and residents.”