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Swansea Labour backing plans for new technology to boost city housing services

Plans to make housing services in Swansea more accessible for council tenants are being considered.

Among the improvements in the service is the use of new smartphone technology to enable city tenants to pay rent and access other housing services.

As well as that there are moves to increase home visits for more vulnerable tenants.

The Labour-led Swansea Council has recently completed a commissioning review of Housing Services which considers how its limited resources can help meet the demands of tenants and tackle important issues such as homelessness.

Efficiencies identified during the review will also be reinvested in core housing services.

Labour Councillor Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, said: “It’s been many years since we undertook such an extensive review of housing services in Swansea. In that time, new technologies have been introduced and tenants expect to access our services in more modern ways.

“This has been a really important piece of work to ensure we can meet the demands and expectations of council tenants in the future.

“We will be looking at upgrading our telephone systems and improve access to housing services online. This will include developing new ways for tenants to pay their rent and will also support those on our waiting lists, making it easier for new tenants to find the home they want.”

“The planned improvements will also help us meet important targets such as the Welsh Housing Quality Standard where we will have improved all of our housing stock by 2020 and invested almost half a billion pounds in providing new kitchens and bathrooms.

“We are creating brand new energy efficient homes in Swansea and the planned changes will ensure we can continue doing this.”

The report also proposes to consult with council tenants on the current provision of district housing offices and proposals to remodel the service.

Tenants were previously contacted about the plans and were given the opportunity to provide feedback on future district office provision.

Cllr Lewis added: “At this stage we are interested in how tenants feel about the proposals to remodel district housing office services. We know that numbers of tenants visiting some of our district housing offices are reducing each year as tenants choose different ways to access our services. It’s likely the introduction of even more technology and systems will see these numbers drop even further.”

The Council has put forward options which consider reducing the current level of DHOs from nine to six. Along with this change, it also aims to make better use of efficiencies to increase home visits for tenants and also hold housing surgeries in local community building where tenants can access advice on housing issues.

The consultation on the future model of district housing office services would take place in January 2020 if the proposals are approved.

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