‘Making a positive difference to tenants’ lives’

Cardiff Council is making a positive difference to residents' lives through its effective compliance with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).


A recent report by the Wales Audit Office reviewing the Council's arrangements to meet and maintain the WHQS has concluded that the authority's approach is well-integrated into the housing function and there is a strong customer care focus in the way the Council deals with tenants.


The review, which included focus groups with council staff and council tenants, found that the Council has comprehensive information on the condition of its housing stock and there is a financed and deliverable programme for repairs and improvements to be carried out.


In 2012, Cardiff became the first council in Wales to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard - the common target standard for all social housing in Wales set by Welsh Government.  All social landlords are expected to adopt the standard and devise programmes for bringing their homes up to the standard as soon as possible, but by 2020 at the latest, and to maintain standards in the future.


The report states that the Council has maintained a continued focus on the quality of council-owned housing and a continuing commitment to invest in the stock, with wide ranging plans to support ambitions to maintain the WHQS. Rolling programmes of window and door replacements, roof and external improvements as well as kitchen and bathroom upgrades all form part of the Council's work to maintain the standard, including around a £15m investment programme for 2018/19.


The review also praised the Council's track record for carrying out emergency repairs to its homes with more than 12,300 carried out in 2017/18 - 99% of which were completed within 24 hours.


Effective tenant engagement, extensive estate regeneration programmes, the development of community hubs, the Council's proactive approach to the major challenge of dealing with cladding that failed current fire safety standards to six of its high rise blocks and substantial improvements to sheltered accommodation schemes are also highlighted in the report.


There was also positive feedback from tenants surveyed as part of the review with 73% being satisfied with the WHQS works in their homes, 79% satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live and 88% stating they can quickly and easily contact the housing service.


Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said; "We were very proud to be the first Council in Wales to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard in 2012 and are committed to maintaining the standard to ensure our tenants are living in good quality properties.


"I very much welcome this WAO report which recognises the hard work and dedication of the housing service and the holistic approach taken by the service to providing decent homes for people in the city.


"While we are committed to delivering more affordable housing and have ambitious plans in place for 1,000 new council homes by 2022, and a further 1,000 new properties beyond that, it's essential that we maintain and provide investment for our existing stock and estates.


"I'm particularly pleased that the report concluded we are making a positive difference to residents' lives and that tenants themselves feel that happy with the condition of their homes and the improvements we make."