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Clydebank Housing Association

Clydebank Housing Association

National Award for Environmental Excellence®-Silver Award

The challenge

Clydebank Housing Association (CHA) is a registered social landlord providing approximately 1,100 homes for rent, predominantly in central and east Clydebank within the West Dunbartonshire Council area. The Housing Association was established in 1984 by residents and working in partnership with the Housing Corporation and the Local Authority, set out to improve housing and regenerate the central and east areas of the town. The Association was registered with the Housing Corporation in January 1985 and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015.

In 2015 Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) were approached by CHA to provide an assessment of the cleanliness of the housing stock under their control. The key objective of this assessment was to develop an internally operational benchmarking tool, to compare themselves against other housing associations across Scotland and to improve engagement with tenants.

In addition they wished to demonstrate:

  • To their tenants that CHA considers cleanliness, ambience and environmental quality to be a high priority
  • To CHA staff and tenants that the Company recognises all their efforts to improve the management of their sites
  • To their stakeholders that CHA is committed to maintain and improve high standards of environmental performance

Our approach

After consultation with CHA the decision was made to assess seven of their Multi-Storey flat properties, in the Radnor Park area of Clydebank, using the tried and tested National Award for Environmental Excellence® model for Housing Standards. These standards are based around an organisations ability to provide clean, green and sustainable environments for customers and the wider community.

This audit comprised of a three-day on-site survey which included: Visual inspections of all seven blocks, face to face interviews with staff and tenants, collation of photographic evidence and initial scoring of criteria on a site by site basis. Off site activity included a review of internal reporting standards and policy procedure documents.

In addition to the Housing Standard assessments, street audits were conducted around the CHA properties to assess general environmental cleanliness.

Key findings:

Overall the audit found that standards throughout the Radnor Park area were good and several practices were commended which included: Clean and welcoming foyer areas in all seven blocks of flats and well-established practices of tenant inclusion and involvement. Subsequently the sites achieved a Silver Award.

However, a few general improvements were recommended:

  • More robust cleansing procedures to be put in place for both on site staff and tenant responsibility around the cleaning of the landings and stairwells of the properties
  • Consideration to further recycling provision throughout the sites based on the introduction of waste streams
  • Development of more concise and clear plans, policies and procedures on environment, waste and community participation

How we made a difference

CHA regularly engages with their tenants to establish how well they think they are doing in terms of providing clean green and sustainable environments. However, this was the first time CHA had undertaken an independent audit. The audit asked questions of existing practices and strategies to enable CHA to move from being reactive to proactive. This now provides CHA with a benchmark as to where they are against a set of recognised standards.

Following on from this CHA has since reviewed their procedures around the seven properties and has subsequently taken the decision to consult with their customers about the introduction of a common area cleaning service rather than tenants having to carry this out themselves as per the requirement of their tenancy agreement.

CHA have also started the process of upgrading the infrastructure of their properties, making lift improvements, upgrading décor, installing energy efficient sensory lighting, and making better use of the space that they have including investigating the feasibility of using internal common space areas as social hubs or community meeting spaces.

The focus is now to use the process/standard to improve the area as a whole - with the intent of using the KSB methodology and standards to change their working practices across their estate.

CHA embraced the process recognising the benefits across the board for all their housing stock and have recommissioned KSB to assess the environmental condition of all their stock – the seven Multi Storey and an additional 135 Tenements. From this next phase of assessments, they will be able to determine improvements across stock profile as well as make further recommendations for continuous improvements.

They have also commissioned KSB to produce and consult on the development of their Carbon Management strategy in recognition that sound environmental management not only reduces environmental impact but can have a positive effect on resource use, costs and health and wellbeing.

The Keep Scotland Beautiful assessment process led to us reviewing our estate management and caretaking processes in a different way. This was invaluable in improving our working practices and subsequently the whole environment at Radnor Park. The process also served as a basis for an overall estate improvement plan for the area. This has ensured that all local residents benefit from improved estates and environmental services. We look forward to the reassessment of our multistorey flats in 2018 and hope to improve on our Silver award.

Joe Farrell, Head of Housing Services

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