Neighbourhood Management

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1 Neighbourhood Management Circle Housing offers greater opportunities for independent, affordable and secure living to people in housing need. 1 Scope 1.1 This policy applies to Circle Housing. For the purposes of this policy, Circle Housing includes all Circle Housing Registered Providers (RPs), Centra, and Central Services. 1.2 This policy applies to all residents across Circle Housing and Centra of all tenures. 1.3 For the purposes of this policy we define a neighbourhood as a number of homes within a certain area. We cannot state an exact number as this will vary between area to area and registered providers make local decisions on what constitutes a neighbourhood. A neighbourhood can include an estate, a group of street properties or a group of properties within rural area. Neighbourhoods also can comprise of a mix of housing tenures. 2 Neighbourhood Statement 2.1 Neighbourhood management is integral to our mission of Enhancing Life Chances of our residents through the provision of safe, secure and well maintained neighbourhoods. 2.2 Well-managed neighbourhoods provide a better quality of life for our residents and can act as a deterrent to antisocial behaviour, neighbour nuisance and crime. We aim to provide high quality services, create sustainable communities and promote pride in our neighbourhoods. 2.3 We will comply with the Regulator s Neighbourhood and Community Standard through partnership working with our tenants and external organisations and our commitment to keeping neighbourhoods and communal areas clean and safe. 2.4 We aim to put residents at the heart of their neighbourhood by encouraging active customer involvement and consultation on all aspects of neighbourhood management and we have consulted with customers across Circle Housing in developing this policy. 2.5 Registered Providers will be able to provide residents with further details on the neighbourhood management commitments in their areas and are committed to engaging with residents on neighbourhood issues. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 1 of 9

2 3 Shared Responsibilities 3.1 Effective neighbourhood management is built on the success of shared responsibilities of residents and landlords. 3.2 Our responsibilities as landlords include: Providing quality services that keep communal and external areas in a good state of repair and cleanliness, safe, free from hazards and fit for use by residents and visitors. Ensuring that there are no Health and Safety risks to residents and visitors in our neighbourhoods. See our Statutory Services policies. Making neighbourhood improvements and where appropriate consulting with residents. Giving residents a wide range of opportunities to influence and be involved in how neighbourhood services are delivered, how performance is monitored and how satisfaction is assessed in accordance with the Regulators Tenant Involvement and Empowerment standard. Listening and acting on concerns raised by residents with regard to their neighbourhood and having a clear, simple and accessible approach to complaints to ensure they are resolved promptly. Partnership working to deal effectively with antisocial behaviour and other neighbourhood concerns or issues. 3.3 Residents responsibilities include: Making sure that homes, gardens and driveways are well maintained and in good condition in line with their tenancy/ lease agreement. Promptly reporting any repairs or disrepairs for which we are responsible. Helping us meet our health and safety responsibility in ensuring that communal areas are kept clean, tidy, safe and free from obstruction and to not use them to store personal belongings or other items. Making sure that pets are kept under control, are not used in a threatening manner and do not defecate/urinate in communal areas. See our Pets and Animals policy. Not engaging in anti-social behaviour, nuisance or annoyance to neighbours and reporting any concerns. See our Anti-Social Behaviour policy. To not hoard items, animals or anything at the premises. See our Hoarding policy. 3.4 Landlord and resident responsibilities are fully detailed in the individual tenancy or leaseholder agreement. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 2 of 9

3 4 Partnership Working 4.1 We are committed to working in partnership with relevant partners and external agencies, such as local authorities and the police, to help promote the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of our neighbourhoods. 4.2 Customer involvement is central to building neighbourhood pride and improving our neighbourhoods. We are committed to working with residents of all tenures. See our Customer Involvement policy and Neighbourhood Inspections procedure. 4.3 We will work in partnership with relevant organisations, and community safety partnerships, to prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods in conjunction with our Anti-Social Behaviour policy. 5 Grounds Maintenance and Cleaning 5.1 Grounds maintenance and estate cleaning are delivered either through in house service teams or are outsourced on individual contracts across the organisation, according to the specific requirements of each Registered Provider, managing agent (Centra Living or Centra Care and Support), neighbourhood, estate or block. Where Registered Providers have local contracts or arrangements in place these should stipulate service provision, standards and timescales. 5.2 Where an issue arises which is non-routine (e.g. an emergency or urgent issue) action will be taken in accordance with the Grounds Maintenance and Cleaning procedure. 5.3 We encourage residents to take an active role in service monitoring and we make service offers and standards available to residents on request; these are available from neighbourhood teams at each Registered Provider. This forms part of our commitment to meaningful customer involvement. Resident issues with grounds maintenance services provided by our contractors will usually be resolved and dealt with directly by the contractor, however in some on-going cases the issue may be dealt with through Circle Housing s formal complaints procedure. 6 Neighbourhood Inspections 6.1 Neighbourhood inspections provide an opportunity for us to check that our services are of a high-quality standard and that we are delivering customer satisfaction. The checks include monitoring neighbourhood conditions, including internal and external communal areas, and contractor performance, identifying health and safety and repair issues and ensuring any other housing related concerns are dealt with promptly and effectively. 6.2 We believe that customer involvement within the inspection process, local knowledge and ownership will result in a sustained marked improvement in services. Inspections allow us to identify issues and listen to the views of individual residents and resident groups on the services provided. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 3 of 9

4 6.3 Neighbourhood inspections should be undertaken to the recognised standard and in line with the Neighbourhood Inspections procedure. 6.4 All neighbourhoods which are to be inspected have a frequency schedule (agreed by each Registered Provider) which outlines timescales for all inspections. This can differ from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Inspection dates and times will be timetabled for a year in advance so that they can be published to residents at the earliest opportunity. Latest versions of the schedule and inspection dates should be made available to residents upon request. 7 Neighbourhood Improvements 7.1 Neighbourhood improvements are planned works to improve communal environments within neighbourhoods and enhance quality of life. Decisions on neighbourhood improvements are based on the nature of the improvement work, a needs assessment, resident consultation and the budget allocation and setting process. Consultation 7.2 We are committed to ensuring that when planned neighbourhood improvements are required, including associated works, that customers are consulted and are given an opportunity to be involved in accordance with our Customer Involvement policy. 7.3 Neighbourhood Improvements that affect residents may be subject to consultation where it is service chargeable. Individual tenancy and lease agreements outline the types of works and improvements that are excluded from the service charge and therefore may not require formal consultation. Where improvements are service chargeable we are obliged by Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to consult with all leaseholders or variable service charge paying residents before any major works are carried out which will cost any individual resident or leaseholder more than 250. Resident Improvements 7.4 We support residents in enhancing their homes through alterations and improvements but acknowledge that certain standards must be met. Requests for improvements will be considered in accordance with the Property Alteration and Improvements policy or by the relevant managing agent. 8 Communal Areas 8.1 Communal areas include but are not limited to: Hallways, landings, stairs and lifts Shared doorways, porches and any windows in communal areas Bin stores and drying areas Gardens and grassed areas Paths, roadways and parking areas Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 4 of 9

5 Any other internal or external communal space that we manage. 8.2 We will ensure that communal areas and facilities are: Adequately serviced and lit Kept free of personal items, litter, unwanted items and graffiti Kept safe, clean and secure We will ensure this is achieved in accordance with the timescales in our Repairs policy. 8.3 The level, frequency and type of services for communal areas (e.g. cleaning services) will be outlined in grounds maintenance and neighbourhood cleaning local agreements. 8.4 The health and safety of all residents is our priority. Internal communal areas must not be used by residents, visitors or members of any household to smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs. Any actions in a communal area which may cause a nuisance, annoyance or harm to other residents will be dealt with through our Anti-Social Behaviour policy. Storage and removal of goods in communal areas 8.5 We have a legal duty to ensure that all fire escapes and fire routes are kept clear at all times. To ensure the safety of all residents, communal areas must be kept free from obstruction and not be used to store any personal belongings or other items. For further information see our Fire Safety policy. 8.6 We will immediately remove goods without notice that pose a high risk to life, are hazardous or pose an immediate risk to resident s safety e.g. obstructing means of escape or creating an ignition and/or fuel source. 8.7 In some cases action may need to be taken by us to remove goods and personal items stored in communal areas. If goods do not pose an immediate risk to resident s safety, we will comply with the Torts (Interference with Goods Act) 1977 to remove them. See Procedure. 8.8 We may charge a nominal fee for the removal and storage of a resident s personal item, where the responsible tenant or leaseholder can be identified and they wish to collect their item(s). 8.9 When residents cannot be identified we reserve the right to recharge for the removal and storage of the goods, and this may be rechargeable through the service charge. See Recharge Policy In accordance with our Mobility Scooter Storage and Use policy we do not allow the storage and/or charging of any mobility scooter in communal areas of our properties other than in designated storage areas as they can pose unacceptable health and safety risks to residents. We will take action where the storage of mobility scooters poses risks for residents, neighbours or staff using the building. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 5 of 9

6 Rubbish and recycling 8.11 We will work with local authorities to ensure the appropriate rubbish and recycling facilities are provided We will always dispose of waste in communal areas where we consider it to be perishable and will take action where waste has been dumped or fly tipped by residents. The costs of removal may be recharged to the resident in accordance with the Recharges policy. 9 Vehicles 9.1 Vehicles are an essential part of many residents lives. We aim to reduce irresponsible parking, parking-related disputes, dumping of illegal vehicles and resolve access problems for emergency and service vehicles. We will work in partnership with residents, external agencies and other local groups to do this. Abandoned and End of Life Vehicles 9.2 We recognise the significant impact that abandoned vehicles can have on a neighbourhood, therefore we will seek to take action to ensure all vehicles abandoned on land managed by us are identified and removed. The costs of removal may be recharged to the resident in accordance with the Recharges policy. 9.3 Our staff will provide information to residents about the local free take-back service for end of life vehicles (ELV) and the nearest take-back point. Caravans, trailers, oversized vehicles 9.4 Our approach to caravans, trailers and oversized vehicles within our neighbourhoods will be dependent on the individual situation and will be assessed locally on a case by case basis. 9.5 Where issues with a caravan, trailer or oversized vehicle arises, staff should given consideration to the local environment, parking location, impact on other residents, local planning requirements and terms of the tenancy or leasehold agreement when trying to resolve the situation. Parking Schemes 9.6 We may appoint a reputable company to operate a parking scheme, or parking maintenance, in our neighbourhoods to ensure the effective management/control of parking spaces, facilities, gates or barriers. 10 Playground Management 10.1 Play is an important part of a child s wellbeing and development. Where we own play areas or sports/play equipment, including outdoor gym equipment, skate parks and playground furniture, we will ensure that they are safe to use, properly inspected and fit for purpose. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 6 of 9

7 10.2 We will ensure that all new playgrounds and equipment are designed and installed in compliance with statutory requirements, legislation and design standards. Inspections 10.3 We will carry out, or nominate an independent suitably qualified body to regularly inspect and risk-assess play areas and equipment that we own according to the relevant legislation and good practice. Details on the type and frequency of inspection are outlined in the Procedure All staff and contractors have a responsibility to report any potential health and safety issues or hazards with play areas or equipment to the Technical Operations Team In the event that a defect is discovered or maintenance is required, we will order restorative works based on an assessment of priority. High risk defects or hazards may result in the immediate closure of the play area All inspections, risk assessments and maintenance information for play areas and equipment will be recorded on a formal register All playgrounds owned by us should include appropriate signage (see procedure) displayed in a prominent position near the play equipment. 11 Trees 11.1 We promote active management of our existing tree stock, planting of replacement specimens and ensuring that industry best practice guidelines and legislation are followed at all times Each Registered Provider must ensure that they hold a local register of all trees owned and maintained in communal areas. A planned tree management programme should outline locally agreed inspection regimes, tree surveys, maintenance schedules, works required and location maps We may inspect and undertake works on trees in tenant s gardens where they pose a possible health and safety risk or are damaging the property. Generally, the maintenance of trees in tenant s gardens is the responsibility of the tenant. This is normally specified in the tenancy agreement For leaseholders, lease agreements vary and responsibility will depend on the terms of the individual lease Where works are required, they will be prioritised in accordance to identified risk and best practice Trees will not be unnecessarily removed, unless emergency works are needed. We will check for Tree Preservation Orders and seek relevant permission before works are undertaken. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 7 of 9

8 12 Snow 12.1 Decisions to clear snow and grit will be undertaken by Registered Providers in line with statutory requirements, our responsibilities as landlords and the individual characteristics of the neighbourhood We will not generally clear snow or grit on paths which provide access to a single street property as this is the tenant s responsibility In cases where there is a requirement to clear snow under the Occupier s Liability Act 1957, this will be done within 24 hours after the end of snow fall In all cases, a risk assessment must be completed before making a decision whether to clear snow or grit to establish: 13 Flooding an order in which areas will be attended to, detailing priority locations and how priorities were worked out when gritting/clearance will be started how gritting/clearance work will be carried out, who will do it and what equipment they will use a system to ensure any preventative gritting is carried out at the right time records of when and what gritting/clearance has been done and by whom Where major flooding affects our residents or properties we will liaise with residents and other agencies to mitigate the impact as much as possible We may decant where flooding prevents residents from being able to live in their homes. See the Decant policy Registered Providers should activate their Local Business Continuity Plan in response to major flooding and flood warnings We will take out buildings insurance for flood damage to all of our properties. Where a known flood risk exists we will encourage tenants to take out home contents insurance to cover them for the repair or replacement of any belongings damaged or lost during a flood. However, this remains the tenant s responsibility and decision to do so. 14 Complaints 14.1 We aim to deliver quality services. However, if any residents have a complaint about our services we will address it using our Complaints policy and procedure. 15 Diversity and Inclusion 15.1 At Circle Housing, we have adopted diversity and inclusion as core values and place all our policies in the context of the following objectives: Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 8 of 9

9 Ensuring that all our residents and staff are treated with dignity and respect Ensuring that the opportunities we provide for learning, personal development and employment are made available on a non-discriminatory basis Providing a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for staff, residents and visitors We seek to be a genuinely inclusive organisation and our aim is to integrate diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our day-to-day activity We are committed to supporting residents and staff access information in a way that suits individual needs. Please get in touch with your local office to discuss this We welcome text relay calls. Residents should dial first and then the number that they require. Neighbourhood Management: November 2014 Page 9 of 9

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