Westminster City Council brings its housing management back

Thu, 28/03/2019

Westminster’s housing stock will be looked after by the council rather than CityWest Homes, from 1st April. 

A decision was originally made back in Autumn last year, after the council decided that the service was failing residents.

Since then a six-month listening programme has been held in which over a thousand residents shared their views on what went wrong and what improvements are needed.

CityWest Homes have run Westminster City Council’s housing services since being set up in 2002. There are 12,000 social housing tenants and 9,000 leaseholders in properties formally managed by CityWest Homes, who will now be supported by Westminster City Council housing services.

Cllr Andrew Smith, Westminster City Council cabinet member for housing services, oversaw the handover and is focusing on making quick improvements.

“I am committed to putting our residents, at the heart of the new service,” he said.

“While some things will take time to sort out, I hope you will see improvements very quickly.”

At over 13 listening events across the borough and 5 open door events were attended by 660 people, with many of the 600+ face-to-face conversations lasting over 30 minutes.

Three hundred and thirty five residents aged over-85 were visited in their properties. There were 380 online surveys completed.

Many residents have been highly critical and feel they have been let down by CityWest Homes in recent years.

Key findings

- It takes too long to get through to the call centre
- The repairs service needs to improve
- People want estate offices back
- Complaints process too slow
- More of a say required in how the service is run
- Leaseholders say bills are unclear

Immediate changes

- More staff recruited to speed up call centre – wait times down to a few minutes maximum and training in customer care for staff
- Joint inspections with residents to make sure repairs are up to scratch
- More staff on estates to help
- Specialist team to resolve repair complaints
- Residents will have a greater say and we will have regular opportunities for feedback
- We will review how we provide leaseholder bills to make them clearer with better timescales 

However, there is much more to do and the above is just the start.

To get in touch

The contact number for the service remains 0800 358 3783. You can also email housing.enquiries@westminster.gov.uk or Tweet @wcchousing.

Last updated: 28 March 2019