A report of the Head of Landlord Services.
The Landlord Services Manager submitted a report presenting the Board with an update on the operation of the communal cleaning service (item 5 on the agenda).
The Board was advised that:
(i) The contract had started at the end of 2019 and members were given an overview of how the current situation regarding the management of the contract.
(ii) The contract allowed for a two-year extension and as things stood, the position was to recommend the continuation of the contract for a further two years.
In response to questions from the Board it was explained that:
(i) The original decision to enter into the contract was not a result of direct consultation with tenants, rather it arose through STAR surveys that indicated low satisfaction with the cleanliness of blocks. Tenants were, however, consulted on the frequency of the cleaning. The latest STAR survey about to go out to tenants and included questions on how tenants saw the service and asked them if they would consider paying more for additional services that could be added such as communal window cleaning, dry mopping and adding fragrance to cleaning products so areas ‘smelled’ clean. The contract served the purpose it was originally intended for.
(ii) Walls were only detailed in the specification as being washed up to five feet owing to considerations around the use of equipment in the delivery of the contract.
(iii) It was very important that the comments of residents were communicated to Landlord Services about concerns regarding the failure to meet the contract specification. The service operated a rigorous programme of inspections on a planned basis and were based on a schedule of cleans that was drawn up at the beginning of the contractual year. The target was for 10% of blocks to be inspected per month. A contract meeting was held every month and complaints were a standing item on the agenda, however, a contract breach could only be enforced if a default can be identified from evidence of a breach, therefore the service relied on residents contacting the Council when not happy. If the cleaning of a block had not met specifications, contractors would re-visit and inspect and sometimes re-cleaning would occur as a result. However, such inspections needed to happen shortly following the initial cleaning had taken place in order to get an objective assessment of compliance with the specification.
(iv) Approximately 12 tenant inspectors had been recruited at the beginning of the contract and had been trained. Unfortunately, very shortly after training had been completed, lockdown began and it became increasingly difficult, because of the restrictions, to maintain the support and continual training of the inspectors that was needed. Restrictions had now been lifted and engagement officer was now in post, part of whose brief was to reinvigorate the tenant inspector programme. It was desirable for tenants to become actively involved in the service that they were paying for and it was important that they were given appropriate training so that they could be objective in their inspections.
(v) An article would be published in the next One Charnwood encouraging feedback and informing tenants on how to give it.
(vi) The addition of the dates of cleaning to the website was in progress. It featured a list of all blocks being cleaned and scheduled cleaning dates throughout the year. However, it was not yet searchable and so users would need to manually scroll through.
The Vice-Chair raised issues about an unresolved complaint.
Action: Vice-Chair to contact the Landlord Services Manager to inspect.
Board Member David Wright expressed his satisfaction with the service.
Councillor Bolton suggested that tenants could speak to Councillors if they did not feel they could talk to Council officers directly.
1. That the report be noted.
2. That an article be published in the next One Charnwood about the cleaning contract, informing tenants on how to give feedback.
3. That Board Members e-mail Landlord Services about any concerns about on the cleaning contract.
1. To acknowledge the Board’s consideration of the matter.
2. To encourage feedback from tenants to the service could be improved.
3. So that the agenda could move forward.