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The Wheatley Group

The Wheatley Group

Local Environmental Quality Audit

The challenge

Wheatley is Scotland’s leading housing, care and property-management group, owning or managing over 79,100 homes across the country.

Wheatley and its subsidiaries, Dunedin Canmore and West Lothian Housing Partnership have a common goal to ‘achieve excellence in all they do’ and a joint mission in 'Making Homes and Lives Better' for the people they work for and the communities in which they live.

As part of this they have committed to an annual Environmental Quality Standards audit, through a continuous rolling programme, where different stock types and Local Housing Office areas are assessed by Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB).

In June and November 2018 (as part of this rolling programme) KSB reviewed the environmental quality of 25 tenement properties in Edinburgh and West Lothian.  This assessment was undertaken just under a year after Dunedin Canmore launched their in-house Neighbourhood Environmental Teams (NETs). The NETS teams are directly employed by the Wheatley Group, replacing contractors to provide an all-round service for tenants, including grass cutting, bulk uplifts, cleaning and removing graffiti.

Our approach

KSB assessors visited the properties accompanied by Wheatley Group members of staff. This ensured that any issues highlighted could be acted upon immediately creating a training element for both KSB assessors and Wheatley staff.

When on site each property was surveyed from top to bottom, including all landings, stairwells, chute areas, foyers and entrances. The cleanliness of these areas was reviewed along with any anti-social incivilities, aesthetic and waste issues. The immediate surrounds of each block were also evaluated, and any issues noted including graffiti, paintwork issues and aesthetics of building.

The externals of each site were then assessed in terms of the ground’s maintenance and upkeep of hard and soft standing areas. Any car parks were looked at and any issues noted with regards to surface, cleansing, lining etc. All grassed areas were monitored for grass cutting frequency, management of area and litter removal.

The external appeal of the areas was also evaluated with the neighbouring streets measured against the standards outlined in the code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2006, in order to ascertain acceptance levels or otherwise of littering.

All policies, procedures, statements and general public information generated by Wheatley Group were then assessed in terms of being appropriate for the organisation. This involved gathering all relevant information and carrying out desktop evaluation of the documentation. Company website information was also reviewed where appropriate.

How we made a difference

The audit recognised the positive impact of the NETS initiative, highlighting the role the teams had in working with residents to spruce up their neighbourhoods, keeping them looking spick and span all year round.

The KSB assessors were particularly impressed by the appearance of buildings inside and out, the cleanliness and upkeep of the back courts and the green spaces, and the high levels of maintenance and attention to detail. 

The assessors also highlighted the excellent recycling facilities, good engagement with customers/residents and the extra details they had added to the areas such as flower displays.  As a result, the communities were awarded 5 Stars, based on the criteria applicable to the Keep Scotland Beautiful  National Award for Environmental Excellence®.

We want all our tenants to be proud of where they live. This award from Keep Scotland Beautiful reflects the hard work that customers and our environmental teams have put in to make our communities great places to live.

Director of housing, Alan Glasgow

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