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Strategic housing services in NE Lincolnshire are ‘fair’

There are fewer empty properties and energy efficiency in existing homes has improved. There is less homelessness overall, but more needs to be done for homeless 16 and 17 year olds and other vulnerable groups. There has been a lack of new affordable homes available in recent years, and the service is not performing well overall compared with other similar local authorities.

Riza Yassin, Audit Commission lead housing inspector said:
‘These are challenging times for councils and it is encouraging that some improvements have been made to housing services, which often affect the most vulnerable in society. Staff are aware of weaker areas of performance and are keen to address them, but improvements have to be comprehensive and relationships with local partners need developing.’

Inspectors highlighted strengths including:

– improving homelessness services
– a well developed understanding of the housing market and of needs which has helped focus resources where needed
– conditions in private sector properties have improved through a firm approach to regulating the sector and a programme of thermal insulation

Weaknesses included:

– improvements in services have not been comprehensive
– the service needs to establish ways of setting and measuring value for money
– customers needing aids or adaptations to their homes still face lengthy delays
– there are still significant weaknesses in areas such as planning and dealing with low quality housing stock

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations. These include:

– developing services that reflect what customers really need and take into account the diverse needs of local residents
– achieving value for money in delivering housing services
– addressing gaps in planning and other housing related strategies

Copies of the report are available from North East Lincolnshire Council or on the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk

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