A few months ago an executive Councillor considered how to deal with problems relating to graffiti. As some of the problems had arisen on Council estates – with some tenanted homes being targeted – not unreasonably Council officials republished a copy of the relevant Service Level Agreement (SLA) or Customer Contract covering graffiti removal.
This had been updated in 2013 and specified how quickly issues like graffiti should be resolved.
The new graffiti removal process now seems to be working well on Council owned structures although utility boxes are still an issue in some parts of the City.
A recent Freedom of information response has raised more questions than it has answered.
Asked to publish the most up to date SLA for each public service area, the Council has so far only come up with one for Housing. It turns out to be different from that published in October although the new agreement apparently dates back to May 2019.
The SLAs for other public services have not yet been provided.
Closer examination of the housing services agreement – now referred to as a “local offer” – reveals that many of service standards which make a neighbourhood a pleasant place to live have now been discarded.
The only work volume now being monitored relates to fly tipping.
There is no mention of anti social behaviour or other crime, no standards for grass or hedge cutting, no indication of how quickly estate improvements will be completed, nothing on road and footpaths either in terms of numbers of complaints or public satisfaction and nothing on street cleanliness. There are no figures for empty properties and garages.
There are some public satisfaction measures, but they are very general in scope with results unlikely to be reliable at individual estate level.
There are no stats on estate inspections either in confirmation of where they are taking place or what issues are being revealed.
There is nothing on the garden maintenance scheme.
Officials say that the new measures have been agreed by a “tenant’s panel”. It appears that the Council has appointed six tenants to replace the tenant’s federation which lapsed some 2 years ago. How these tenants are appointed and – crucially – how they assess the views of York’s 8000 other tenants is something of a mystery. The tenants concerned are not identified. They apparently meet once a month, but no agenda or meeting minutes are published on the Councils web site.
It is likely that those individual Residents Associations that do exist, will now insist on having an input into a revised Service Level Agreement for Council housing.
We will publish the Service Level Agreements covering other public service standards in the City when we receive, them