Secure Homes and Estates
Approved by Board March 2017
The purpose of this storyboard is to provide an insight into NPT Homes’ contribution to providing secure homes and estates since the last self-assessment. This is a dynamic process and so the storyboard is subject to continual update.
The NPT Homes’ outcomes for this storyboard of feeling secure and communities being safer were agreed so that they tracked the contribution being made to achieving the Welsh Government’s delivery outcomes. “To better understand what is involved when we say ‘tenants feeling secure in their homes’ and ‘communities are safer places to live’ we will be carrying out further co-design work in this area. This will help identify the role that NPT Homes, tenants and other partners have to play in making a difference.
What difference do we want to make? (Main Outcome)
Safety in our homes and communities
Secure Homes and Estates’ has been a high priority for our communities and our commitment to work with tenants and other partners to achieve this was set out in the Offer Document. In 2015, we received ‘substantial reassurance’ from an internal audit of our anti-social behaviour processes but due to our commitment to co-design we embraced the challenge of a review to ensure it was still fit for purpose. Several tenants who are members of the Academy were involved in the co-design of our anti-social behaviour (ASB) processes.
Picture: Two tenant members of the Academy taking part in an ASB policy Co-design session
Safety in our Homes and Communities
To gain an insight in this area, our Academy undertook a Community Safety survey in early 2017 to find out how safe people feel in their homes and communities and the extent to which NPT Homes plays a part in how people feel.
Overall, 90% of tenants said that they feel safe and secure in their homes compared to 86% in 2015/16 and 78% said that they feel safe and secure in their community compared to 86% in 2015/16. This is based on a sample size of 18 in 2016/17 and 23 in 2015/16. It must be noted that this is not a statistically relevant sample size given that we have in the region of 12,000 tenants.
For a summary of the Community Safety survey findings please click here.
Here are some of the responses:
Further details are available here.
Since the survey was undertaken, the co-design review of the anti-social behaviour policy and procedure has been completed which includes improvements to the communication arrangements for tackling such cases. Further co-design work will take place to explore with tenants what it means to be ‘safe’ and ‘secure’ and understanding who has a role to play in addressing the responses which have been received, for example, “Not enough community surveillance” .
Our £15m external programme is scheduled to commence in Autumn 2017 and the work will be completed in 2020. A co-design approach will be taken to this work which will also draw upon a combination of consultation and boundary survey information to inform the works that are carried out on a street by street basis. The aim of this work is to help us improve tenants’ feelings of safety in their homes and communities.
Supporting Sustainable Tenancies
The corporate priority project “Supporting Sustainable Tenancies” gives a commitment to working with others to provide tenants with the right support should they need it. This work has shown that the most important thing for tenants if they are to feel ‘safe’ and ‘secure’ is understandably to “keep a roof over their head”. Only when this has been addressed can further work take place to help improve their feelings of safety and wellbeing.
The Supporting People funded Tenancy Support and Older Persons Services (Bridge) offer advice, support and assistance to tenants to help them sustain their tenancies. This service is currently delivered in-house. Part of the support aims to improve tenants’ feelings of safety and to contribute to the safety and wellbeing of themselves and others. 59 tenants were supported in this area between April and December 2016. For further information on the outcomes of the Older Persons Service please click here. For additional information on the outcomes of the Tenancy Support Service please click here.
Contributing to the development of Safer Communities
To contribute to improving the safety of our tenants and our communities we are funding free Sports First Aid courses for coaches of young peoples’ sports teams. This has been a highly successful project. A total of 4 training sessions have been run over the past 12 months. The cost of each 3 hour training session was £200, an average cost of £13.56 per head.
59 attendees have benefited from the training sessions;
11 different sports have received training;
22 clubs now have coaches with the first aid qualification.
Here’s a quote from one of the scheme recipients:
“This latest course provided by NPT Homes cuts a line through some of the myths associated with first aid and provides you with the confidence to help others in times of need. It gives you a good understanding of the ABC's to save lives or prevent serious harm.” Michael Healey, Goytre Football Club
Tenants feel secure in their homes
Haven Housing Review
In 2015 NPT Homes, tenants and other stakeholders worked together to review the service provided to sheltered housing tenants and co-design the perfect community; this resulted in the developing/branding of Haven Housing (accommodation) and Bridge (support).
The new service went ‘live’ in April 2016. Since this time Haven tenants have been engaged with the evaluation of the new service, which is considering feelings of safety and security amongst tenants of the schemes.
As part of this work a survey of 153 Haven tenants found that they generally felt safe and secure in their schemes, however there were areas of concern as 28 tenants felt very-unsafe/unsafe and 67 tenants suggested changes they would like to see. This is a statistically relevant sample of Haven tenants.
The co-design project group felt that security issues would resolve in most schemes when the WHQS works are completed in 2017. This will be supplemented with a number of other options from promoting the importance of security to considering security lighting in line with the Visibly Better Standard.
(See Sustaining Tenancies Storyboard for more information about Haven Housing).
During 2016, a group of tenants became ‘Tenant Assessors’. Their role is:
To monitor the frequency and standard of cleaning and grounds maintenance services in Haven Housing and blocks of flats
To check the quality of services provided by NPT Homes
To identify areas for improvement
To work in partnership with NPT Homes
Tenant Assessors make a contribution to improving security because when assessing standards they have the opportunity to identify and report if communal doors are not being closed correctly, visitors are being allowed in without appropriate checks being made, the security lighting is not working and if communal areas are not being kept free of obstructions.
A co-design approach was taken to the development of the Tenant Assessor role and the assessment forms and questions they use. The role involves tenants using assessment forms to note the quality of the service provided as promised in their Service Standards. The role also involves providing this feedback to NPT Homes and meeting with staff on a quarterly basis to discuss findings and prepare reports.
The results of their work will be fed in to future updates of this storyboard including the impact this has on contributing to tenants’ feelings of safety in their homes and communities.
Improving the Security of our Homes
The pictures above shows the types of work we are carrying out. The essential repair work will be completed by 31 March 2017.
All properties that have had new kitchens installed have had outside security lights installed at the same time. This work has been carried out in 8,355 properties (31.12.16) and 98% of the kitchen replacement programme is now complete.
Secure Windows and Doors
In terms of the security of homes, our WHQS ‘secure by design’ window and door replacement programme is complete. As a result 2,283 of our properties have had new ‘secure by design’ windows and doors installed as part of the WHQS programme.
Extra Security Measures (Vulnerable People)
NPT Homes works with the Safer NPT Partnership to help vulnerable tenants benefit from extra security measures including those provided through the “Feel Safe Scheme”. The scheme is for older, disabled and vulnerable people with the aim of helping to make them feel safer through the installation of security measures such as door bars, sash jammers and window locks.
Since 2013, we have installed additional security measures in 53 of our properties. Here is a quote from Mary Williams, Crime Reduction Tactical Advisor, South Wales Police:
“From my perspective and Community Safety this arrangement (installation of security measures for victims of domestic abuse) is crucial for the continual safety and reassurance for your tenants who are classed as High Risk, due to the financial climate it would be a strain on our budgets if we had to pay for this additional target hardening.”
Our communities are safer places
Anti-Social Behaviour Policy
During 2017, a new Anti-social Behaviour Policy was approved following a co-design review involving customers, staff and partners. The new policy and restructure of the Housing Department meets the Offer Document promise of a dedicated team to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour including hate crime. As part of the review we held partnership meetings, knocked doors and completed surveys, researched how others deliver their service and identified available assets.
We asked customers what was good and where we could have done better. They gave 7.5 out of 10 for their experience of the anti-social behaviour process, with respect, support and honesty being among the most important things they expect from us. Also the 5 important things customers want from the service have shaped the revised policy. A copy of the policy is available on request.
Anti-Social Behaviour Service
NPT Homes aims to provide a safe and secure environment for tenants to live in; by preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour using the most appropriate means. We believe everyone has the right to enjoy their lives in their own way provided they respect the needs of other people within their community and stay within the law.
We work in partnership with tenants and partners to pool expertise and develop solutions for dealing with each case on an individual basis. The person dealing with each case tells the tenant about the options available to them and will visit to discuss.
We conduct satisfaction surveys of the anti-social behaviour service. Overall 79% of respondents were satisfied with the service and this is a slight improvement on 78% the previous year. The findings are based on a survey sample size of 70% (16 responses out of 23 cases for 2016/17). However this response is for the period before the co-design review was completed. The next phase of the review will focus on developing a toolkit for tackling anti-social behaviour and co-designing with tenants an evaluation of the new policy and procedure for tackling anti-social behaviour including hate crime (see below).
NPT Homes contributes to making communities safer by working in partnership with the South Wales Police Hate Crime Officer and other agencies to investigate complaints and support victims. By participating in Hate Crime partnership meetings and using our communication channels; we help raise awareness of hate crime and how it can be tackled.
Domestic abuse is difficult to identify and responding safely to the risks is a complex and sensitive task. NPT Homes recognises victims can be helped through our presence in communities and in individual properties.
During 2016, a revised Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Policy was co-designed with tenants, survivors of domestic abuse, staff and partners. The new policy applies to all employees and service users; which includes tenants, applicants for housing and leaseholders. It includes the national “Ask and Act” process for identifying domestic abuse and asking if a person has been affected by abuse. We have also accessed the national training framework provided by the Welsh Government.
NPT Homes helped a tenant and his wife obtain an emergency injunction against their son due to the serious levels of domestic abuse they had experienced. The tenant who was already receiving tenancy support approached us for help to protect themselves from any future abuse. We made contact with the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference Co-ordinator and the Police's Domestic Abuse Unit to build up a picture of the case and identify options. As a result the Police immediately ensured the tenant and their property was identified as vulnerable to domestic abuse, so any incidents could be responded to quickly. It was agreed with the tenant that an injunction would be the best course of action. We provided supporting documentation, assisted with transport and made the necessary arrangements with a solicitor. A successful application for a 12 month injunction was secured.