27 October 2015

Tenants and leaseholders are being asked to have their say about proposals to council housing services in a consultation that starts today.

As a result of Government changes in national rent policy, there will be less income coming into the council’s housing services. By 2019/20 the council’s Housing Revenue Account will have £27 million less each year than anticipated.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said:  “The Government is pushing through policies which will mean significantly less money for council housing services, repairs and investment into homes. This has forced to us to look at our long term plan for housing and how we can develop proposals that prioritise important services and investment to people’s homes.”

“We are already saving money through smarter working and are spending less on repairs because of the improvements we’ve made to homes. In Sheffield we have developed a long term plan with tenants which means we not only prioritise the services that are important to tenants but are better placed to respond to unexpected cuts.”

“We have now developed some initial ideas which will help keep the long term plan viable and it’s only right we invite every tenant to have their say. This is the start of a longer conversation and we’ll be consulting further as proposals develop.”

People are able to have their say on the proposals from today until Tuesday 24 November online at sheffield.citizenspace.com *.

The council is also holding information and feedback sessions at Sheffield’s Town Hall on Monday 9 November, at 4.30-5.30pm and 5.30-6.30pm. It is also consulting tenants at working groups set up to respond to the budget pressures, as well as at last week’s annual tenant conference.

The consultation asks for views on proposals to build into the council housing business plan from next year to contribute to the savings needed. These include:

• Replacing bathrooms every 25 years instead of every 20 years from 2020/21 once the current programme of bathroom replacements has been completed – this still remains above the Government’s Decent Homes standard for bathrooms to be replaced every 40 years.

• Continuing to upgrade all windows to uPVC as planned over the next 10 years but after that assume window replacements involve pane replacement/re-glazing instead of replacing the whole window and frame.

• Continuing to replace boilers every 15 years as before but from 2020/21 no longer assume a full system replacement – including pipework and radiators – for all properties every 30 years.

• The council is already contributing to the savings required through reduced repair costs due to the level of investment made to homes over recent years. It is also moving to the new Housing+ service which is a more efficient way of working. Other measures already being put in place – such as updating the lettings policy and reducing overhead costs – will contribute to the savings from 2016/17.

Further proposals will be developed and consulted on from next year.

More information is available at http://sheffield.citizenspace.com. Please call 0114 293 0000 to book a place at one of the Town Hall meetings.