Survey - Edinburgh Council

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Health, Wellbeing & Housing Committee name 10am, Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tenant Survey Results

Item number

8.2

Report number Wards

All

Links Coalition pledges

P8

Council outcomes

C16 and C23

Single Outcome Agreement

SO4

Mark Turley Director of Services for Communities

Contact: Michael Thain, Strategy and Investment Manager E-mail: [email protected] | Tel: 0131 529 2426

Executive summary Tenant Survey Results Summary All councils and Registered Social Landlords are required to report to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) on what their tenants think about how they are meeting the Scottish Social Housing Charter (SSHC) outcomes. To support compliance with SHR requirements and to gather tenants’ views on a range of housing and related services, a survey of a random sample of Council tenants was carried out in March 2013. The results provide detailed feedback from tenants, which will ensure that the Council understands tenants’ priorities and that there is up to date research information to drive forward service improvement. The results are very positive, for example, 90% of tenants were satisfied with the service provided and the quality of their home and only 4% dissatisfied. Satisfaction levels with key services, customer care and engagement were comparable with figures for all Edinburgh residents and as good as, or better than, satisfaction ratings for other large landlords across the UK.

Recommendations It is recommended that Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee: 1. Notes the very positive Tenant Satisfaction Survey findings. 2. Refers the report to the Tenant Participation Working Group. 3. Notes that in light of the summary results, an action plan is being developed to ensure ongoing service improvement.

Measures of success The target of 1,000 completed surveys was met. Tenant satisfaction with housing and related services is high and dissatisfaction low.

Financial impact The survey cost to date is £14,497, which includes the procurement of Research Resource to carry out the survey, printing costs and VAT. Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee – 18 June 2013

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This revenue cost has been met through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) contribution to the Services for Communities Customer Research Programme 2012/13. Any costs associated with reporting the results will be contained within this year’s HRA budget.

Equalities impact Responses are being analysed by equalities strands to check for variances in satisfaction. During the survey, support was made available for non-English speaking tenants and tenants with special needs. On advice from the SHR, weighting may be used to adjust the sample to ensure that it represents the population profile.

Sustainability impact There are no adverse environmental implications arising from this report. Responses to questions relating to affordable heating and energy efficiency inform work to support tenants to meet their heating and energy needs.

Consultation and engagement The survey is an example of detailed consultation with tenants. The results provide an overview of tenants’ views on a range of housing and related services. Edinburgh Tenants Federation (ETF) is represented on the Project Board overseeing the development and execution of the survey. Regular reports have been provided to the Tenant Participation Working Group, which includes Councillors and tenant representatives. It is proposed that feedback on the results of the survey is provided to all City of Edinburgh Council tenants.

Background reading / external references The Scottish Social Housing Charter: http://housingcharter.scotland.gov.uk/ The Scottish Housing Regulator: http://www.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/what-wedo/how-we-regulate/scottish-social-housing-charter

Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee – 18 June 2013

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Report Tenant Survey Results 1.

Background

1.1

The new Scottish Social Housing Charter (SSHC) came into effect on 1 April 2012. It sets out the standards and outcomes that tenants can expect from their landlord. The Charter requires landlords to evidence how tenants’ views are taken into account when developing services and planning strategy.

1.2

The Council surveyed a random sample of its tenants to support compliance with Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) requirements and to gather tenant opinion on a range of housing and related services. The results will inform the Council’s Annual Return on the Charter (ARC), which will be required from May 2014.

1.3

The SHR requires that the data submitted for the Annual Return in 2014 is “weighted”, however, detailed guidance on the weighting process has yet to be provided. The figures in this report may therefore differ from the Council’s final submission to the Regulator in 2014.

2.

Main report

2.1

The Council carried out a tenant satisfaction survey in March 2013. It randomly selected 3,000 tenants to take part and sent a letter advising they might be contacted. The aim was to complete 1,000 surveys. Research Resource, the consultants commissioned to carry out the work, completed 1,041 surveys. The surveys were carried out face to face at tenants’ homes. Of the 3,000 tenants contacted, only 124 declined to take part (4% of the sample).

2.2

A full summary of the findings, drawn from the responses of 1,041 current tenants on themes including landlord services, satisfaction with neighbourhoods, energy efficiency and welfare reform, is attached as Appendix One.

2.3

Overall, 90% of tenants were satisfied with the housing service they receive and only 4% were dissatisfied. This is an excellent result and the Council compares well against other landlords in the UK. The top scoring landlord in the UK wide HouseMark benchmarking group, of which the Council is part, had 91% satisfaction, or about the same as Edinburgh.

2.4

Tenant satisfaction with the neighbourhoods was also high, with 92% of tenants satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live and only 2% dissatisfied. The Edinburgh People’s Survey (EPS) 2012 result is similar with 94% of all residents satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live. The landlord

Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee – 18 June 2013

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result compares very well against HouseMark data where the median score was 82% satisfied, and the best score of any large landlord was 88%. 2.5

Staff performance was also recognised, with tenants responding very positively about their experience of contacting Council staff, 90% of tenants rated staff as helpful and 80% rated staff as able to deal with queries quickly and efficiently.

2.6

Tenant satisfaction with the repairs service was high, with 87% of tenants fairly or very satisfied with their most recent repair and only 4% being fairly or very dissatisfied. In the HouseMark benchmarking group the highest satisfaction in the large landlords group was 88%.

2.7

Edinburgh Building Service carries out the repairs and these are arranged through the Council’s Contact Centre. The Contact Centre also carries out satisfaction surveys with tenants who have received a repairs service; data from these surveys for the same period highlights that 94% of tenants were satisfied with repairs carried out during March 2013 and 96% for 2012/13.

2.8

The different satisfaction ratings are due to proximity of experience. All surveys by the Contact Centre are undertaken within a few weeks of a repair being completed, when the experience is still fresh in the minds of tenants. Other surveys ask tenants to think back on experiences which may have occurred many months before. Because we expect negative experiences to have a stronger and more lasting impact on long-term satisfaction than positive experiences, the slightly lower satisfaction ratings in the Tenant Survey (relative to Contact Centre surveys) are entirely expected.

2.9

Of the tenants surveyed, 76% felt that the Council was good at keeping them informed about the services it provides and only 5% were dissatisfied with this aspect of the service. A similar proportion of tenants (73%) felt the Council listened to their views and acted as a result. These results again compare well against HouseMark data. The median score for feeling a landlord listens and acts on feedback is 66%, while the highest scoring large landlord had a 77% satisfaction figure, compared to the Council’s 73%.

2.10

These figures also compare well against EPS 2012 data when only 55% of all residents felt that the Council took account of residents' views when making decisions and 34% of all residents felt able to have a say on things happening or how local services are run.

2.11

The Project Board is overseeing the development of an action plan, which will take forward any service improvements identified from the results of the tenant survey. The Project Board includes tenant representation from ETF and Council officers from Community Engagement, Housing Management and Strategy and Investment.

2.12

The Project Board will be exploring the best ways in which to ensure that additional SHR performance reporting requirements are met on factoring, gypsy

Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee – 18 June 2013

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travellers and satisfaction with homelessness services, and that the various data gathering approaches used are aligned. 2.13

Work is also ongoing to develop a survey to gather the views of EdIndex (The Housing Register) applicants. This information will support long-term policy development, ensuring that the needs and priorities of prospective tenants are taken in to account.

3.

Recommendations

It is recommended that Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee: 1. Notes the very positive Tenant Satisfaction Survey findings. 2. Refers the report to the Tenant Participation Working Group. 3. Notes that in light of the summary results, an action plan is being developed to ensure ongoing service improvement.

Mark Turley Director of Services for Communities

Links Coalition pledges

P8 - Make the sure the city’s people are well housed

Council outcomes

CO16 - Well housed – people live in a good quality home that is affordable and meets their needs in a well managed neighbourhood

Single Outcome Agreement Appendices

CO23 - Well engaged and well informed – communities and individuals are empowered and supported to improve local outcomes and foster a sense of community SO3 - Edinburgh’s communities are safer and have improved physical and social fabric 2013 Tenant Survey Report

Health, Wellbeing and Housing Committee – 18 June 2013

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2013 TENANT SURVEY The City of Edinburgh Council

Full report on the findings of the City of Edinburgh Council's 2013 Tenant Survey, summarising the response from 1,041 interviews with current tenants on themes including landlord services, satisfaction with neighbourhood, energy efficiency and welfare reform. David F Porteous Business Intelligence Corporate Governance E: [email protected] T: 0131 529 7127 (57127) Document version: 0.7

THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Executive Summary This report presents the findings of the 1,041 responses from current City of Edinburgh Council tenants as part of the 2013 Tenant Survey. In summary the findings are:

     

  

       



Landlord Services Tenant satisfaction levels are high and in line with the results obtained from the Edinburgh People Survey. The Council is generally performing as well as, or better than, other large landlords where comparable performance is available; 90% of tenants were satisfied with the service overall, 4% were dissatisfied; 92% were satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live; 2% were dissatisfied; 89% were satisfied with the Council’s management of their neighbourhood; 3% were dissatisfied; 87% of all tenants were satisfied with the most recent repair to their home, 4% were dissatisfied; Only 65% of tenants perceived the Council as providing value for money in relation to the accommodation and landlord services it provides. The Council’s relative performance against this indicator will only become clear when other landlords begin implementing the Scottish Housing Regulator’s guidance on surveying. Affordable Heating and Energy Efficiency 37% had experienced difficulty affording to heat their home and, 67% of those felt that it had become more difficult in the last year; Most tenants had not changed (96%) and were not planning to change (98%) their energy supplier and 44% were paying for gas and / or electricity through more expensive pre-payment meters; 63% of tenants had never heard of any of the energy-saving advice organisations and 98% had never contacted any agency for energy advice. Communication and Engagement Of those who had contacted the Council in the last year about anything other than rent, 77% contacted about home repairs; Tenants had generally positive experiences with Council staff they contacted, rating them as helpful (90%) and able to deal with queries quickly and efficiently (80%); Most favoured visiting a location to make a rent payment (Council Office 31%, Post Office 31%, Paypoint 27%) or paying by direct debit (26%). Only 1% favoured going to the Council’s website to make a payment. 66% of tenants were satisfied with their opportunities to interact with the landlord’s decision-making processes; 6% were dissatisfied; 15% were aware of Edinburgh Tenants Federation, but 61% didn’t know if any tenants or residents association operated in their area; 2% were currently involved with a local association; 4% accepted more information. Awareness and Impact of Welfare Reform Most tenants were receiving some housing benefit (60% full rent, 9% part rent); 55% felt they knew a great deal (3%) or a fair amount (53%) about the changes to housing benefit. 37% said they knew “not very much and 7% felt they knew “nothing at all”. As reported knowledge increased, so did an individual’s likelihood of believing their housing benefit would be cut; 19% of those receiving housing benefit (13% of all tenants) did not know how the changes would affect them.

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2013 TENANT SURVEY

Background The City of Edinburgh Council is a social landlord providing around 20,000 homes in the capital, most of which are in traditional estates spread around the city. As a local authority and a landlord, the Council is a key partner in dealing with a range of social problems and directly provides services, including home repairs, to all tenants. Previously the Council has monitored tenant satisfaction with services directly – such as through the Edinburgh Building Services Customer Survey – and ensured tenant views are represented proportionately in its annual citizen survey. However in 2012/13 the Scottish Housing Regulator, which oversees all social landlords in Scotland, placed significant importance on gaining tenant satisfaction for monitoring the Scottish Social Housing Charter. To ensure the guidance was appropriately implemented and achieve best value from a tenant survey, a project board was assembled which included staff from various Housing disciplines, tenant representatives of the Edinburgh Tenant Federation and social research specialists. This project board agreed a questionnaire that sought to gain information on the following themes:

    

The core questions of satisfaction with the services provided by the landlord, required by the Scottish Housing Regulator; Energy efficiency and the affordability of heating; Contact and communication between tenants and the landlord and involvement in the landlord’s decision-making processes; Use of information technology amongst tenants and the extent to which new methods of rent payment are desired; and Awareness of the changes to housing benefit made by the Westminster Government.

Following a competitive tendering process, the market research agency Research Resource was appointed to undertake the fieldwork for the survey. Around 3,000 tenants were written to in January, advising them that they might be contacted to take part in a face-to-face interview in their own home. Tenants had the option of declining to take part in the survey in advance, as well as being able to refuse on the doorstep. The sample identified ensured proportionate coverage of the city – where there were more Council homes, more interviews were carried out – and proportionate coverage of the types of Council housing. A target of 1,000 interviews was set to ensure a good level of statistical robustness and this target was exceeded by a small amount. All 1,041 tenant interviews were conducted between the end of February and the beginning of April 2013.

Notes for the Reader The term “the Council” is used throughout this report. It is important to note that all responses apply only to the landlord function of the City of Edinburgh Council and no other part of the organisation. During the survey this is communicated to respondents many times. All figures in this report are “unweighted”. The Scottish Housing Regulator requires that final data submissions made in 2014 are “weighted”, but at the time of writing detailed guidance on the weighting process has not been provided. Therefore figures in this report may differ from the Council’s final submission to the Regulator in 2014.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Sample Characteristics

Statistics Sidebar

The main categories used for analysis in this report are the age of the tenant, the sex of the tenant and the type of property they live in. Tenants responding to the survey ranged in age from 17 to 94. Figure 1, below, shows the number of tenants at each age. 26% of tenants were aged under 35, 47% were aged between 35 and 64 and 26% were aged 65 and over. These age bands are used for analysis throughout the report.

Samples are used instead of interviewing everyone (a census) because they are cheaper and they can be carried out more quickly.

Figure 1 – Age of tenants responding to the survey 30

Number of Tenants

25 20

When researchers use a sample there is always a level of uncertainty around the result which is called a “margin of error”. This figure is an estimate of how accurate the sample is in relation to the whole population.

15 10

16-34

5

35-64

65+

0 16

26

36

46

56

66

76

86

Age of Tenants

The sample was 59% female, 40% male (around 0.5% declined to provide a sex). Tenants from a range of property types were selected for interview. Most of the Council’s housing stock is low-rise and four in a block flats (65% of the sample), and the remainder is houses (19%), maisonettes (3%) and multistorey flats (13%). Due to the small number of tenants in maisonettes, no satisfaction figures are shown for this subgroup in the report. Figure 2 – Property type of tenants responding to the survey

679

0%

20% Flat

199 28 135

40% House

60% Maisonette

Most customer and social research is carried out using samples. A sample is a selection of the whole population – and individuals in a sample are usually randomly selected.

80% Multi-storey

100%

The 2013 Tenant Survey has an overall margin of error of +/-3%. This means we would expect a survey of all tenants to provide results that are between 3% lower and 3% higher than the results reported here. This level of accuracy is often called the “gold standard” in social research. This summary is, of course, a simplification and a number of introductory textbooks and free online short courses in statistics are available for those interested in learning more.

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2013 TENANT SURVEY More than a third of households (37%) included an individual whose daily activities were limited by a longterm health problem or disability. In 16% of households, the individual’s daily activities were “limited a lot”.

Figure 3 – Are your or any household member’s dayto-day activities limited because of a health problem which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months?

162

Most respondents said they did not have a religion (69%), while the largest individual religions were Christian (25%, all denominations), followed by Muslim (2%). A further 3% of respondents were of another religion, while 1% declined to answer the question.

241 638

The sample was predominantly heterosexual (99%), with most of the remainder declining to answer this question.

Yes, limited a lot

Yes, limited a little

No

A quota was set to provide an appropriate number of interviews in each area of the city, based on the number of Council homes in that area. This resulted in 32% of respondents being from the South West Neighbourhood, followed by 18% in North and South, 17% in East, 8% in Leith / City Centre and 7% in West. Figure 4 – Neighbourhood in which interviews took place 350

330

Number of Tenants

300 250 200 150

183

176

191

100

88

50

73

0 East

Leith / City Centre

North

South

South West

West

Ethnically, tenants were predominantly white and Scottish (88%). The largest individual groups after Scottish were white Polish (4%), white English (2%) and Pakistani (1%). The remaining 5% of tenants came from a broad range of backgrounds including African, Caribbean, Irish and Bangladeshi. This is similar to the population of Edinburgh as a whole, however a slightly higher proportion of tenants than non-tenants identify themselves as Scottish – in the whole population around 84% describe themselves as Scottish while 2% are English, 2% are British. The non-white population of Edinburgh is small relative to many UK cities (all non-white groups combined account for around 5% of the population) and this is not significantly different from the tenant population 1. 1

All ethnicity estimates for Edinburgh based on the 2012 Edinburgh People Survey.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Satisfaction with Landlord Services Landlord services are divided into three broad themes: overall satisfaction with everything the Council provides; the quality of the tenant’s home and the repairs service; and the general neighbourhood and how the Council is managing the neighbourhood. A summary of the key results is presented below.

Overall Satisfaction

Home Quality and Maintenance

Neighbourhood

90% satisfied with the overall service provided by the landlord

87% of all tenants satisfied with their most recent repair

92% of tenants satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live

65% feel the services provided represent good value for money

89% satisfied with the current quality of their home

89% satisfied with their landlord's management of the neighbourhood

Overall Satisfaction Most tenants (90%) were fairly or very satisfied with the services provided by their landlord overall, with a minority (4%) being fairly or very dissatisfied. This response to this question is summarised in the chart below. Figure 5 – Overall satisfaction with services provided by landlord, by housing type and respondent age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

65%

69%

25%

20%

All tenants Living in flat Very satisfied

Fairly satisfied

53%

40% Living in house

65%

60%

27%

31%

71%

17%

Living in Aged 16-34 Aged 35-64 multi-storey

Neither nor

Fairly dissatisfied

Very dissatisfied

60%

33% Aged 65+ No opinion

The combined satisfaction score (very satisfied plus fairly satisfied) does not vary significantly between any groups and there were no differences in terms of tenant sex (not shown). However the very satisfied ratings do show differences in satisfaction between

5

2013 TENANT SURVEY housing types and age groups; those living in houses2 have the highest very satisfied ratings of any group, while those aged between 35 and 64 are much less likely to be very satisfied than the other age groups. Housemark benchmarking data for landlord satisfaction shows that, on average, 81% of tenants of large landlords (15,000+ homes) are fairly or very satisfied with the services provided overall. The top scoring landlord in this benchmarking group had 91% satisfaction – about the same as Edinburgh. Housemark is a benchmarking organisation that operates predominantly in England. Using regular data returns from benchmarking partners, Housemark attempts to share best practice and allow landlords of all sizes to learn from each other. Edinburgh is normally compared against the “large landlord” group – those with more than 15,000 homes. Tenants were asked to take into account the accommodation and the services provided by the Council and say whether they felt these represented good or poor value for money. Two thirds of tenants (65%) said they did receive good value for money, however more than a quarter (28%) said they felt the value was neither poor nor good. As with overall satisfaction, those living in houses had higher “very satisfied” ratings, while those aged 35-64 had lower ratings than other groups. Figure 6 – Perceived value for money, by housing type and respondent age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

28%

29%

48%

49%

17%

15%

All tenants Living in flat Very good

Fairly good

27%

27%

29%

43%

51%

45%

24%

20%

21%

Living in house

30%

52% 10%

26% 45% 25%

Living in Aged 16-34 Aged 35-64 Aged 65+ multi-storey

Neither nor

Fairly poor

Very poor

Don't Know

Large mid-scale response are sometimes an indicator of uncertainty amongst respondents and the 28% of all respondents expressing no strong view may reflect both a lack of experience of other landlords and their costs, and those who have all housing costs paid through benefits being unaware of what those costs are. It should be noted that, in line with Scottish Housing Regulator guidelines, “don’t know” is not presented as an option for this question, forcing respondents to express an opinion which they may not actually hold. Comparing against other large landlords using Housemark data, the median score was 79% and the lowest score was 73%, compared to Edinburgh’s 65%. Dissatisfaction rates were broadly comparable, with Housemark landlords ranging from 6% to 18% dissatisfaction.

2

Houses include detached, semi-detached and terraced housing. Flats include tenements, four-ina-block housing and low-rise blocks of flats. Multi-storey properties are high-rise flats.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Home Quality and Maintenance Fewer than one in ten tenants (8%) had moved into their current home in the last year, while the more than a third (36%) had lived there for ten years or more. Of those who had moved in the last year, 71% were satisfied with the standard of their home when they moved in while 18% were dissatisfied. All tenants were asked to consider the quality of their home at the moment, 89% were satisfied and 7% were dissatisfied. The same satisfaction patterns identified before are present here – those living in houses are more likely to be “very satisfied”, those aged 35-64 are less likely to be “very satisfied”. Again, there was no significant difference in response between men and women. Figure 7 – Satisfaction with current quality of home, by housing type and respondent age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

53%

63%

67%

26%

21%

All tenants Living in flat Very satisfied

Fairly satisfied

41% Living in house

61%

56%

27%

32%

69%

18%

Living in Aged 16-34 Aged 35-64 multi-storey

Neither nor

Fairly dissatisfied

Very dissatisfied

60%

34% Aged 65+ No opinion

When comparing against Housemark benchmarking data for large landlords, the median satisfaction with quality of home was 78%, while the top scoring landlord had 88% satisfaction – roughly the same as Edinburgh’s 89%. Overall repairs satisfaction amongst all tenants was 87%, however this figure includes a majority of tenants (59%) could not recall any repairs to their property in the previous 12 months. Amongst the Housemark benchmarking group the median satisfaction rating for repairs was 81% and the highest satisfaction in the large landlords group was 88% - though it should be noted that these questions are slightly different and more directly comparable information will be available when other landlords begin to implement the Scottish Housing Regulator’s questions. Overall repairs satisfaction is similar to the levels recorded in the Edinburgh People Survey and slightly below some of the figures recorded by Edinburgh Building Services in the postrepair survey. Though again, none of these older questions are directly comparable with this new question because of differing questions, question ordering, proximity to repairs and survey mechanisms. The following graph shows a similar pattern of satisfaction to that seen before – those living in houses are more likely to be “very satisfied” and those aged 35-64 are least likely to be “very satisfied”. Amongst the oldest age group there were no tenants who reporting being “very dissatisfied” with the repairs service.

7

2013 TENANT SURVEY Figure 8 – Satisfaction with most recent repair, by housing type and respondent age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

51%

55%

35%

31%

All tenants Living in flat Very satisfied

Fairly satisfied

40%

48% Living in house

51%

46%

36%

40%

47% 56%

27%

Living in Aged 16-34 Aged 35-64 multi-storey

Neither nor

Fairly dissatisfied

Very dissatisfied

46% Aged 65+ No opinion

Neighbourhood Tenant satisfaction with the neighbourhood as a place to live was at 92%. This figure is broadly similar to the results of the Edinburgh People Survey, which asks the same question to all residents. The result also compares well against Housemark data where the median score was 82% satisfied, and the best score of any large landlord was 88%. Figure 9 – Satisfaction with neighbourhood as a place to live, by housing type and respondent age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

66%

69%

26%

23%

All tenants Living in flat Very satisfied

Fairly satisfied

58% 57% 40% Living in house

24%

58%

31%

73%

19%

Living in Aged 16-34 Aged 35-64 multi-storey

Neither nor

Fairly dissatisfied

Very dissatisfied

61%

35% Aged 65+ No opinion

There was significant variation amongst subgroups in relation to this question. Those living in multi-storey properties were significantly less satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live (71%), while those living in houses were most satisfied (98%). Satisfaction generally increased with age, with those in the oldest age group (96% satisfied) being more satisfied overall than those in the youngest age group (89% satisfied). These results are consistent with the findings of the Edinburgh People Survey for the whole of the population.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL Almost as many tenants were satisfied with the Council’s management of their neighbourhood (89%). Figures are similar to those measured in the Edinburgh People Survey. Household type and age were key factors influencing satisfaction, but dissatisfaction was low for all groups. Figure 10 – Satisfaction with neighbourhood management, by housing type and respondent age 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

57%

64%

66%

25%

22%

All tenants Living in flat Very satisfied

Fairly satisfied

56% 40% Living in house

24%

58%

30%

71%

17%

57%

35%

Living in Aged 16-34 Aged 35-64 Aged 65+ multi-storey

Neither nor

Fairly dissatisfied

Very dissatisfied

No opinion

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2013 TENANT SURVEY

Affordable Heating and Energy Efficiency Affordable heating and energy efficiency is divided into three themes: affordability; suppliers and payment methods; and energy efficiency awareness. A summary of the key results is presented below.

Affordability

Suppliers and Payment Methods

Energy Efficiency Awareness

37% had experienced difficulty affording to heat their home

Most had not changed / were not planning to change supplier (96% / 98%)

63% had never heard of any energy-saving advice organisations

67% felt it had become more difficult to heat their home in the last year

44% of tenants paid for their gas and / or electricity through pre-payment meters

98% had never contacted any agency for energysaving advice

Affordability Tenants were asked if they had ever experienced difficulty in affording to heat their home – 37% of all tenants had. This figure was highest amongst those living in multi-storey properties (47% had difficulty affording heating), but appeared to decrease with respondent age. Of those aged 16-24, 45% had difficulty affording heat; amongst those aged 35-64, 38% reported difficulty; and amongst those aged 65+, 27% had difficulty. In 1998 and 1999 the domestic gas and electricity markets were fully opened to competition, leading to an expansion of consumer choice. Industry regulator Ofgem has concluded that the ability to change supplier has meant substantial reductions in energy prices for all customers. However, not all customers have exercised choice and price comparison site Uswitch.com estimates that those who have not previously switched supplier could save up to £314 on annual energy bills. Large numbers of households opt for prepayment meters rather than monthly or quarterly billing because this allows them more direct control over their spending. However prepayment meters have, historically, proved to be a more expensive way of paying for energy.

Of the 383 tenants who had ever experienced difficulty affording to heat their home, 67% felt it had become more difficult in the last year, 31% felt it was about the same and less than 1% felt it was easier.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Suppliers and Payment Methods Most tenants (96%) had not changed their energy supplier and only 2% said they were planning to change their supplier in the next year. Figure 11 – Method of paying for energy

3%

Pre-payment meter Other

43% 7%

At a bank, post-office Quarterly or direct paypoint debit

29% 17%

Monthly direct debit

7%

At a bank, post-office Quarterly or direct paypoint debit

29%

3%

Pre-payment meter Other

43%

0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

Just under a quarter of tenants paid their energy bills by direct debit (17% monthly, 7% quarterly). More popular payment methods included paying at a physical location such as a bank, post-office or paypoint (29%) and using a pre-payment meter (43%).

Energy Efficiency Awareness Less than half of tenants felt they knew how to make their home energy efficient (1% “a great deal”, 47% “a fair amount”) and more than a third (37%) had heard of at least one energy advice agency. However, as the chart below shows, almost two thirds of tenants (63%) had never heard of any energy advice agency. Figure 12 – Awareness of energy advice agencies

29%

Energy Saving Trust

18%

Greener Scotland

10%

Energy Saving Scot. Adv. Cent. Greener Leith

5%

Home Energy Scotland Hotline

4% 3%

Changeworks

63%

None 0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

11

2013 TENANT SURVEY Almost no tenants had ever contacted any agency for advice on energy efficiency – in total less than 2% had contacted any agency. Each agency had been contacted by no more than 1% of tenants, with some tenants contacting multiple agencies. Tenants were asked if, regardless of their heating system, they used a timer which turned their heating on at set times of the day – 44% did, 55% did not and 2% were unsure.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Communication and Engagement Communication and engagement is divided into three themes: contacting and being contacted; information technology use and rent payment; and engagement and influence. A summary of the key results is presented below.

Contacting and Being Contacted

Information Technology Use and Rent Payment

Engagement and Influence

93% of tenants contacting the Council found it easy to get the right person

52% of tenants never use the internet or mobile applications (apps)

66% were satisfied with their opporunties to influence their landlord's decisions

90% found the staff they spoke to helpful / 5% unhelpful

When informed of the range of ways to pay rent, only 26% preferred direct debit

15% were aware of the Edinburgh Tenants Federation

Contacting and Being Contacted In the previous year a quarter of tenants (27%) had contact the Council (their landlord) for something other than payment of rent or service charges. Most of these contacts were about repairs (77%), followed by applying for a new house or housing transfer (8%), then neighbour complaints (6%). The following graphics (figures 13, 14 and 15) show that most tenants (93%) found it easy to get in contact with the right member of staff to deal with their enquiry. 90% of tenants felt that staff they spoke to were helpful, however only 80% were satisfied with the ability of staff to deal with enquiries quickly and efficiently – 13% were dissatisfied. 83% felt that their query was answered in a reasonable time, however only 74% of tenants who contacted the Council were satisfied with the outcome of their query – 19% were dissatisfied. The difference between customer service and outcome satisfaction is regularly observed with housing enquiries for several reasons. For example, due to the limited supply of Council housing available to meet requests for new homes, tenants who want these services can face long waiting times and may never receive a new property. Tenants preferred traditional means of being contacted by the Council, including telephone (64%), in writing (53%), newsletters (32%) and visiting the office (15%). There was some enthusiasm for text messaging (9%) and email (4%), but only two tenants of the 1,041 interviewed wanted the Council to contact them through Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Written correspondence from the Council was strongly preferred over all other forms of communication. (See figure 16 for more detail).

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2013 TENANT SURVEY

Figure 13 – Ease of getting hold of the right person when contacting your landlord

Figure 14 – Helpfulness of Council staff 100%

100% 90%

90%

80%

80%

70%

Figure 15 – Satisfaction that query was dealt with quickly and efficiently

49%

100% 5%

90% 80%

70%

70%

45%

60%

60%

50%

50%

50%

40%

40%

40%

30%

30%

30%

20%

44%

5% 8% 7%

44%

20%

40%

20%

10%

10%

10%

0%

0%

0%

Very easy Fairly easy Neither nor Fairly difficult Very difficult

40%

60%

Very helpful Fairly helpful Neither nor Fairly helpful Very helpful

Very satisfied Fairly satisfied Neither nor Fairly dissatisfied Very dissatisfied

Figure 16 – Methods of contact you are happy for the Council to use / prefer the Council use 15%

Telephone

64% 56% 53%

In writing 26% 32%

Newsletter Visit to the office

1%

Text / SMS

0%

15% 9%

0% 4% 0% 3% 0% 2% 0% 0%

Email Visit to your home by staff Public meetings Facebook, twitter, social media

0%

Prefer

20%

40%

60%

80%

Happy to use

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Information Technology Use and Rent Payment The Council is exploring different ways of providing access to services and ways of making payments, in particular whether tenants would prefer to access online and mobile payment systems. Tenants were asked if they used either smart phone / mobile applications (apps) or the internet for any purpose – 52% had never used these things, while 48% had. Use of the internet or mobile apps was strongly linked to age, with 83% of those aged 16-34 having used these, compared to 50% of those aged 35-64 and only 10% of those aged 65+. Those who had used the internet / apps were asked what they had done online in the previous year; the answers are summarised in the chart below. Figure 17 – Activities performed on the internet / using a mobile app in the last year

77%

Bought something over the internet

70%

Regularly used social media

31%

Used internet banking

29%

Paid a household bill on the internet Used an 'app' to manage your bank account

4%

Used an 'app' to buy something or pay a bill

3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%

Most tenants favoured visiting a location to make a rent payment (Council Office 31%, Post Office 31%, Paypoint 27%) or paying by direct debit (26%). Only 1% favoured going to the Council’s website to make a payment. These figures are similar to how tenants currently pay for their energy bills, with personal visits being used over automated, online or mobile methods.

Engagement and Influence Two-thirds of tenants (66%) were satisfied with the opportunities available to them to influence the Council’s (their landlord’s) decision-making processes, 6% were dissatisfied. Around a quarter of tenants (28%) had no strong views on opportunities to be involved in decision-making. Around three-quarters of tenants (76%) felt the Council was good at keeping them informed about the services it provides, 5% were dissatisfied. A similar proportion of tenants (73%) felt the Council listened to their views and acted as a result, around one in ten (9%) did not feel this was the case. The only available benchmarking information on engagement comes from the Housemark data. This shows that the median score for feeling a landlord listens and acts on feedback is 66%, while the highest scoring large landlord had a 77% satisfaction figure, compared to the Council’s 73%.

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2013 TENANT SURVEY Figure 18 – Key questions in relation to engagement and influence 100% 90% 80%

6% 28%

5%

8%

19%

18%

59%

55%

17%

18%

70% 60% 50% 40%

52%

30% 20% 10% 0%

14%

Satisfaction that landlord Landlord is good / poor at Satisfaction with opportunities to be involved keeping me informed about listens to views and acts on them services in decision making Very satisfied / good

Fairly satisfied / good

Fairly dissatisfied / poor

Very dissatisfied / poor

Neither nor

15% of tenants had heard of the Edinburgh Tenants Federation. Most tenants said they had not heard of the Federation (73%), while around one in eight were unsure (12%). 21% of tenants knew of a tenants or residents association in their area, 17% felt there was no association for their area, but most (61%) didn’t know either way. Uncertainty decreased with age – 77% of those aged 16-34 didn’t know if there was an association in their area, falling to only 51% of those aged 65+. Only 19 tenants (2%) were currently involved with their local tenants or resident association and when asked if they would like more information about how they could be more involved, only 4% accepted this information.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL

Awareness and Impact of Welfare Reform Most City of Edinburgh Council tenants receive some benefit to meet their housing costs. Three-fifths (60%) have all their rent paid, while just under one in ten (9%) have part of their rent paid. More than half (55%) of those receiving benefit felt they knew about the changes to housing benefit (3% “a great deal”, 53% “a fair amount”). 37% of tenants receiving benefits said they knew “not very much” about the benefit changes, 7% said they knew “nothing at all”. As reported knowledge increased, individuals were more likely to feel that their benefit would be cut as a result of the changes. 15% of all tenants expected their benefits would be cut, but a larger proportion (19%) said they didn’t know. Two thirds of tenants (66%) said their housing benefit would not be cut as a result of the changes to housing benefit. When offered more information about benefit changes, 19% of tenants accepted this.

Welfare Reform Sidebar As part of a range of measures to make work pay, reduce benefit dependency and control the cost of welfare, the UK Government at Westminster introduced reforms to housing benefit which came into force in April 2013. The under-occupancy charge – often referred to as “the bedroom tax” – means that where a household has more bedrooms than the Government feels are needed, the amount of housing benefit paid by the Government will be reduced. This is similar to the way housing benefit works in the private rented sector through Local Housing Allowance and Shared Room rates. It is intended that this move will also make housing markets function more efficiently by encouraging people to downsize to smaller properties. However, demand for smaller properties is significantly greater than supply. In 2011/12, just over 900 one-bedroom Council and RSL homes became available for let in the city but there are estimated to be over 6,000 tenants affected by the underoccupancy changes. Given the significant number of tenants who rely on housing benefit, welfare reform poses significant challenges for tenants and the services provided to them.

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2013 TENANT SURVEY

Conclusions The results of the tenant survey are very positive. On key services and landlord functions, the City of Edinburgh Council enjoys satisfaction ratings that are at least as high as, if not higher than, those of other comparable landlords. In some cases the Council is at the top of its peer group. And in relation to informing and engaging tenants, the housing service is rated more positively than the Council as whole is rated by all residents. While there is always room for improvement, none of the feedback received in this survey about services is immediately apparent as an area for concern. However the survey has revealed several issues connected to tenancy, in particular:



Use of information technology A majority of tenants have never used the internet or smart phone applications. While this is strongly linked to age – and therefore certain to change in the longer term – in the short term this has implications for the way the service communicates with tenants. Use of information technology can provide real financial benefits to tenants in the form of better deals for products and services and lower costs for utilities. Even amongst those who have used the internet, few tenants are using smart phone applications to make payments for services they receive. However, as other services move on-line, particularly benefits, it will become increasingly important to support tenants to access and use digital services. This will inform how we shape access to services going forward.



Energy efficiency and costs Energy costs are rising at a greater rate than other housing costs and are the most significant factor in fuel poverty faced by many tenants. The majority of tenants have not heard of most of the energy advice agencies operating in Scotland and awareness does not result in any significant level of contact. Many don’t use timed heating – the most efficient way to use any domestic heating system. Tenants have not changed energy supplier nor do they intend to. And large numbers are paying for gas and electricity through prepayment meters or PayPoint systems – with only a third using direct debit. Combined with information about tenant access to information technology, this paints a picture of a group who are likely to be using energy inefficiently, paying more than they need to for what they use and who are not receiving the right advice and support to help them change this situation. In the current financial climate and with energy bills for everyone expected to rise, the marginal impact of improved energy efficiency is likely to become far more important. This will inform the advice and help provided to tenants by the Council and its partners in the future.



Preferred methods of payment Tenants appear to have a strong preference for cash-based payment systems. There may be a range of factors influencing this including (but not limited to) habit, distrust of technology and need to keep tight control on finances. Most make personal visits to pay rent and when informed about the range of options available, tend to choose what they are doing at the moment.

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THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL This suggests that simply raising awareness of alternative payment methods may not result in an increase in uptake – and this has clear implications for the Council, since there are significant costs associated with receiving cash payments. If tenants currently receiving full benefits behave in the same way as other tenants, the roll-out of direct payment of benefits would result in a large increase in the number of cash payments being made to the Council. This will inform the work to redesign rent collection and payment services which is being carried out jointly with Edinburgh Tenants Federation.



Benefits and welfare reform The majority of tenants depend on housing benefit to pay their rent and for most of them this benefit fully covers the cost. Half of tenants feel informed about the changes to benefit and while we cannot know whether their understanding is correct, the service has conducted targeted communications which should help to minimise any negative impacts. What is most apparent is that information about a major government policy covered by television news and newspapers for several months has failed to reach a substantial number of people in an important target audience. This presents a risk for the service for the later stages of welfare reform – direct payment of benefit especially.

The broader social issues identified in this feedback are challenges that continue to be faced by the Council as a whole and which the service may have an important role in addressing. However the core of the service appears to be highly-regarded by tenants. How the Council compares with other Scottish landlords will become clearer when more implement the Scottish Housing Regulator guidance on surveying later this year.

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