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Watchdog criticises council homes

9 March 09 10:57 GMT

Dundee City Council has been criticised by a watchdog for "major" weaknesses in its housing services.

The Scottish Housing Regulator found the authority's repairs and management services were "poor" while services for the homeless were "fair."

It added the council had not always delivered minimum requirements in its stock of about 14,500 homes.

The council said it did not agree with all the findings and added that improvements were already being made.

The local authority was given a D grade for housing management and asset management and repairs - the lowest possible grade.

Michael Cameron, head of inspection at the Scottish Housing Regulator, said: "Our inspectors found that Dundee City Council has some strengths but that these are significantly outweighed by a range of weaknesses, some of which are major.

"The council has not always delivered minimum requirements, and it does not focus effectively on improvement."

The council must now forward an improvement plan to the regulator within eight weeks and inform tenants of the inspection findings.

Housing convener at the council George Regan said: "Although I acknowledge that there is room for improvement, the report confirms that our tenants are generally satisfied with our housing services.

"There is nothing that cannot be fixed and we have the determination and commitment to our tenants in Dundee to ensure we continually improve the service we provide."

However, he did not accept all the comments and recommendations in the report.

"Our procurement policies for housing, for example, are sound," he said.

"The Repairs Partnership Board, which includes tenants, ensures that repairs are delivered within targets and at a reasonable cost."

He added: "It is vital that we do not lose sight of the tremendous improvements to our tenants' homes and Dundee communities over the last few years.

"The award-winning regeneration of Ardler is an excellent example of how an area can be transformed by working with the community and we are continuing to consult local people on strategies for improving areas such as Mill O' Mains, Whitfield and Hilltown."

He said that over the last few years Dundee's investment per house had been above the Scottish average for local authority spending.

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