Lambeth Tech Timeline
A Timeline of Lambeth Councils housing management technologies, practices and strategies. The list includes key housing decisions, statistics, and technical entities related to the management of Lambeth’s housing stock.
“We work on a job, then if we see an issue in the house next door which is causing the problem, we can’t fix it as we have to do what we’re told”
1972: The Rateable Value(RV) of a property was a means of collecting local Taxes prior to 1990. RV values changed to the Poll Tax and now the Council Tax. The Gross Value (GV) and the Rateable Value’s (RV) for both domestic (dwellings) and non-domestic properties were set out in the 1973 Valuation Lists. The Valuation Office Agency disposed of their copies of the 1973 Lists and Direction binders after they were offered to the respective Local Authority. These Lists were only ever produced in hardcopy. Homeowner contributions to repairs on Cressingham Gardens Estate are still calculated using RV values which are printed on service charge statements.
2001 Lambeth obtain licence for Ezytreev software. As of 2018 only 48,000 trees are mapped on this database which highlights a data gap.
2001/02: A stock condition survey by ‘Property Techtonics’(Lambeth Borough Council 2010, 3) covered 11% of Lambeths stock internally and externally. Findings from this survey were extrapolated to Lambeths entire housing stock and were employed to identify a sustained lack of capital investment. Property Tectonic introduced a bespoke database called Lifespan which recorded survey data and was structured so as to address requirements of Decent Homes Standard legislation.
“A tenant will call up and ask for a new plug in a kitchen. Contractors get there and realise its a plumbing job, not a an electricians job. You get that all the time”
2004: SX3 (Latterly called Northgate) purchased in perpetuity for £3,774,138 (2015, 3).
2005: Northgate Information Solutions acquires SX3 (Wikipedia 2016).
2006: Data on the Council’s residential stock is held on the both HICS and SX3 databases whilst data on all the operational and non-operational stock including schools is held on the Corporate Property Information Management System (PIMS) (Lambeth Borough Council 2006).
2006: Lambeth effectively had two systems in place for 2006/07. Between April 2006 and October 2006 voids were recorded using the HICS database with documentation such as tenancy agreements to support the void start and end dates scanned into Anite@work system (2007, 8).
“Residents give me grief. They don’t understand. I can’t do anything”
2007: Lambeth Council introduced a variety of new processes in conjunction with SX3 and began to store supporting documentation on paper files kept in the ‘three area’ office (2007, p8).
2007: Bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government for Decent Homes funding.
2007/08: Lambeth submitted calculations to the Department of Communities and Local Government which indicated a funding requirement of £251M to achieve 0% non-decency. The level of non-decency was estimated at 44% after the stock condition survey work in 2008. Since then investment has not reached a level to counter the aging process of the stock and at 01.04.11 non-decency was estimated to be 54% (2010).
“I have dealt with the repairs department − Even the phone call is traumatic”
2008: Lambeth Council commissioned Hunters to undertake a stock condition survey of approximately 20% of the homes to complement the existing data held on LifeSpan. While Lifespan contained a massive amount of detailed information it still lacked detailed internal information, especially related to street properties. Therefore after a competitive tendering exercise a surveying firm, Hunters, was appointed to undertake the survey. Some 6,000 properties were surveyed from a total of 27,246 properties, making a percentage of stock surveyed 22%. The survey collected information based on the 4 criteria for Decent Homes and SAP rating (2010).
“If there isn’t a code for the job, you choose a code that’s close enough. Everything eventuality gets coded up”
2008: Lambeth Council create Lambeth Living, an Arms Length Management Organization (ALMO), which is launched April 2008. The ALMO was thought to be in a better position to secure funding from central government than a local authority.
2008: Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and for Energy Performance Certificates required for all homes being let from October 2008 is incorporated into Lambeth Council data structures.
2009: Renewed license for Anite@work document server at cost of £105,226 per year. Its name changes to information@work (2008).
2010: A report based on 2008 survey data shows that the number of non-decent properties is 49%, compared with 30% as of 31 March 2009. The report was delayed as work was undertaken to validate data and ensure it was consistent with previous data (Lambeth Borough Council 2010).
2010: LBC purchase a Dynamic Job Scheduling System (DJSS) called OptiTime to manage responsive repairs, the system is provided by a company called Computacenter (UK) Ltd (Lambeth Borough Council 2016a).
“We receive a PR-6 then I get out there as quick as possible”
2011: Bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government for Decent Homes funding.
2011: Area housing services are restructured and repairs staff are co-located in the area offices and call centers. The OptiTime system and the deployment of contractor staff in the call center appears to identify and corrected repair failures early on which helps to avoid formal complaints.
2011: An increase of surveyors in each team available for home visits aims to diagnose and complete complex repairs more quickly.
“I’m not digital I’m analog. Authority feels that if it collects enough dots then it will know the person”
2011: As at 1st April the ALMO managed some 33,000 properties 23,512 tenanted and 9,413 leasehold.
2011: A pilot project of 1000 surveys was undertaken during 2011 for HHSRS. (2012, 10)
2011: The Housing Commission of 2011 recommended the co-production, with residents, of a local housing standard – later known as the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS) (2012).
“A lot of what we do isn’t about repairs, its about today’s society. We use these these PDA’s, these computers. All the confirmations and the mobile phone calls has made it much more complicated”
2011: All key areas of the Lambeth Housing Standard (except external elements) are delivered through the Lambeth Property Contracts, which commenced in April 2011. The restructure of staffing arrangements at the ALMO early in 2011 provided the opportunity for the rationalisation of property, asset management and maintenance functions (2012).
2011: Calculations Team carried out a data cleanse exercise and used the stock dwelling list to clarify the number of properties on estates and the total rateable values used to calculate repairs and maintenance charges for individual properties. (via private email from finance department)
2012 An old complaints system “Respond” is replaced by a new module in SX3.
2012 Oracle E-Business, contract to build a single combined finance system shared with the London Boroughs of Brent, Barking & Dagenham, Croydon, Havering and Lewisham.
2012: Lambeth Council publish a report “local housing standard for Lambeth”, which involved Tenant representatives, Council and ALMO officers who assessed data and who are purported to have ‘co-produced’ (residents highly contested this) the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS) which will require £499m of investment over the five years 2012/13 to 2016/17 (2012a).
“the database told us Cressingham was expensive to repair”
2012: Council decision (March 2012) to invest £350m along with £100.5m of Decent Homes backlog funding to achieve delivery of the Lambeth Housing Standard, though this leaves a funding shortfall of £56m (2012a, 16).
2012: Lambeth Council purchase new software modules to enhance the existing Northgate Housing system which is used by the ALMO, United Residents Housing (URH), Tenant Management Organizations (TMOs), Housing Regeneration and Environment (HRE), Revenues and Benefits (RB), and Legal Services (LS). (2012b).
2012: Decision to award a contract for a new Asset Management Database (AMDB) called Keystone which integrates with Northgate and aids the delivery of the Capital Programme and captures key stock condition information. The contract is for the database system and support services for a term of 10 years at a total cost of £295,678.3 (2012b).
2013 The icasework system was introduced to manage members enquiries (ME). Though Lambeth Councillors have been found to submit ME’s in a variety of ways, and the means via which they are recorded varies across council departments. Some are recorded on a case management database, some on a specialised Housing Management database, and many are dealt with informally by officers without a formal case record being created.
2014: Lambeth Council recognises failure of the ALMO and moves control of its housing back in-house (Cobb 2014).
2014: Development of a building cost model used to plan future investment in housing (Lambeth Borough Council 2016b).
2014: In an assessment of affordable housing the Asset Management Cabinet Advisory Panel (AMCAP) discuss “disposal of council housing that was considered uneconomic to maintain” (2011, p50).
*“A democratic, Co-operative Council would have allowed the balloting of residents. This is not a democratic Council. This is not a Co-operative Council. This is a Council interested in making money. It needs to stop saying one thing and not doing another. This plan will only address the issue that you want to address: to make money. I am crying inside for my children. I am very worried about the future of my children.*
2015: Lambeth Council create a new estate regeneration website (http://estateregeneration.lambeth.gov.uk) using ‘Nationbuilder’ a content management system that aims to “help people to organize others, particularly through political campaigns”. Previously information relating to regeneration of Lambeth Council had been sporadically been maintained on a free wordpress blogging site and before that on Lambeths main website.
2015: New contract for support and maintenance of the Northgate housing system for five years will cost £808,878.42 in total, or £161,775.68 per annum(2015).
2015: To deliver the LHS, funding gap of £148m has been identified. Data held on capital works expenditure matched against the AMDB used to show decency levels of homes .
2015/16: The Keystone AMDB replaces LifeSpan as the primary AMDB system and includes an Asbestos register. Lifespan, did not have the capacity to measure progress on meeting the new Lambeth Housing Standard. It was not integrated into SX3/Nortgate and therefore could not be automatically updated when responsive repairs and planned works were completed. (Lambeth Borough Council 2012b)
“when I explained our concern of 16 social homes out of 158 new builds the worker looked visibly perplexed and insisted THERE COULD BE NO FIGURES OF ANY ACCURACY PRIOR TO DESIGN. I explained we got the figures from Lambeth”
2017: “The full extent of systems and processes that will be required to deliver this [regeneration] programme are still being formulated (London Borough of Lambeth 2017)
2017: A service charge module is incorporated into Northgate to create an invoice based accounting system.
Living Lambeth. 2012. “Lambeth Living Asset Management Strategy 2012-2017.” V24. Lambeth Living, Arms Length Managment Organisation.