In July 2000 the Government acknowledged that ‘all people have a right to live in a decent property’ - this means that as well as private homeowners, Council and other rented accommodation should also meet a required standard. To ensure that councils and other registered landlords comply with this aim, the Government introduced the ‘Decent Homes Standard’. Chesterfield Borough Council are committed to ensuring that all Council owned properties meet or exceed this standard by 2010. The standard sets down exactly what is required for a home to be considered ‘decent’. The standard consists of four major parts (or criteria). A brief outline of the criterion is set out below:
Chesterfield’s Approach to the Decent Homes Standard
- Criteria A - The property must meet the current statutory minimum standard for housing: i.e. no damp, structural faults etc.
- Criteria B - The property is in a reasonable state of repair: i.e. external walls, roof, etc., require little or no work.
- Criteria C - The property has reasonable modern facilities and services: i.e. kitchen less than 20 years old, bathroom less than 30 years old.
- Criteria D - The property provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort: i.e. loft insulation, gas central heating etc.
In the summer of 2001 a 10 percent stratified sample (giving an accuracy level of +/- 3%) of House Condition Surveys were carried out on council properties borough wide. The properties surveyed were randomly selected based on property type and numbers in an area. Since this time additional surveys have, and are being carried out; we currently hold (as at 1st January 2004) detailed information on approximately 25 percent of our stock.
The Business Planning Team (who monitor and report on Decent Homes) also carry out NHER and SAP surveys (energy efficiency surveys), to monitor how energy efficient our properties are. This information is used to complete Best Value Performance Indicators and identify properties for further improvement. It also allows us to check that central heating, loft and cavity wall insulation programmes etc are significantly improving thermal comfort levels for our tenants.
All of this information has been input into our in-house designed software programme ‘CHAMP’ (Chesterfield Housing Asset Management Programme). This is used to profile future programmes of work, and estimate costs to ensure that all work necessary to meet the Decent Homes Standard by 2010 is carried out as appropriate. CHAMP is also used to inform the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, various property strategies and is the basis of our Area and Estate Profiles.