District heating repairs: major works

The request was successful.

London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000

Dear Southwark Borough Council,

The London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000 (LAS2000 www.las2000.org) would like to supplement the information in FOI 969936 received by you on the 28 August 2018 with the 16 data items listed below. Given the prompt and complete answers you kindly provided in response to the earlier request, they believe they've described what is meant clearly, and that they're simple to extract from your systems.

Comparison of estimate vs final account for major works on heating systems

For all invoices where the estimate is greater than the final account and where final accounts were issued in FYs 16/17 and 17/18
* Total value of final accounts
* Total value of estimates for these final accounts
* Total number of final accounts/estimates in this category
* The average time between payment being due and receiving the final account

For all invoices where the estimate is more than £500 above the final account and where final accounts were issued in FYs 16/17 and 17/18
* Total value of final accounts
* Total value of estimates for these final accounts
* Total number of final accounts/estimates in this category
* The average time between payment being due and receiving the final account

For all invoices where the estimate is less than the final account and where final accounts were issued in FYs 16/17 and 17/18
* Total value of final accounts
* Total value of estimates for these final accounts
* Total number of final accounts/estimates in this category
* The average time between payment being due and receiving the final account

For all invoices where the estimate is more than £500 below the final account and where final accounts were issued in FYs 16/17 and 17/18
* Total value of final accounts
* Total value of estimates for these final accounts
* Total number of final accounts/estimates in this category
* The average time between payment being due and receiving the final account

Yours faithfully,

London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000 (LAS2000)

accessinfo, Southwark Borough Council

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your request for information. For us to process your request, we require your full name. Section 8(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires us to collect your name and contact address (e.g. email or postal address) and without this information, your request is invalid and cannot be processed.

Please can you confirm your full name within 10 working days so we can validate your request and continue to process it.

Kind Regards,

Payal Panchal
Information Officer
London Borough of Southwark
PO BOX 64529
London
SE1P 5LX 

[email address]
www.southwark.gov.uk

www.southwark.gov.uk/mysouthwark
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You can access your MySouthwark account to report and track your Council requests online. You can manage your rent or service charge account, pay your council tax along with reporting and tracking your housing repairs. Go to my.southwark.gov.uk.

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London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000

Dear Mx Panchal

Thank you for your response.

In the section Requests submitted by organisations (paragraphs 35 – 39 of Recognising a request made under the Freedom of Information Act (Section 8)) it says that
35. If the request is from a company, then the authority should accept either its full registered name or a name that exists as a legal entity (such as a trading name) as valid.
37. …companies’ names should generally be accepted at face value, but in any case where the authority has reason to verify the authenticity of the company, it should check Companies House …. to clarify whether it is a genuine organization.
38. Requests from unincorporated bodies such as campaign groups or clubs are also valid and in most cases should be accepted at face value.
39. We therefore recommend that authorities adopt a lower and more informal test for determining whether a name provided by an unincorporated body is genuine.

The homeowner council is one of Southwark's main forums for homeowner participation. It acts as a link between local area housing forums and the council and advises them both on borough-wide matters that affect homeowners (https://www.southwark.gov.uk/home-owners.... It is body with a constitution that has been approved by a Cabinet Member.

The full name that of the company asking for the information is the LEASEHOLDERS ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHWARK 2000 (LAS2000), Company number 07073531 (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/compa....

We believe that both of these will give you the assurance you need that you have the full names of both organisations asking for this information.
Yours sincerely,
London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000

Nicholas Welburn, Southwark Borough Council

Southwark Council - Information request

Our reference: 1029155

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London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000

Dear Nicholas Welburn,
Just a note to remind you about my FoI. I look forward to receiving it shortly
Yours sincerely,

London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000

Nicholas Welburn, Southwark Borough Council

1 Attachment

Southwark Council - Information request

Our reference: 1029155

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London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000 left an annotation ()

We are grateful to the London Borough of Southwark (LBS) for providing the information requested.
Insurance is one of the most expensive items paid for from the Housing Revenue Account.
We are aware of incidents where the cost of repairing damage to LBS’s buildings was covered by the insurance policy but LBS did not make a claim. Examples include lead being stolen from roofs, and damage to window frames sustained during attempted burglary. This clearly does not represent value for money.
We are also aware that LBS did not report these crimes to the police which means that they could not be investigated, might not be taken into consideration. It also means that no one - including the police, LBS, and its residents - has a true picture of how much crime is happening in the area. This is likely to have an impact on police funding, policy and planning.

London Borough of Southwark's HOMEOWNER COUNCIL and the LEASEHOLDER ASSOCIATION of SOUTHWARK 2000 left an annotation ()

We are grateful to the London Borough of Southwark (LBS) for providing the information requested. We have compared it with information from a previous request that covers all major works, not just district heating repairs. This is shown at the end of this annotation. We wanted to know how significant a component of major repairs costs district heating is. The results show that it’s not very significant.
Summary of results from previous Freedom of information request
• See below for the figures to which these comments refer.
• In 16/17, for 79% of all accounts, the expected spend was over-estimated, with the average excess paid by leaseholders being £993.25, or 26% of the final bill. On average, LBS took over four years to repay the balance. In 17/18, for 82% of all accounts, the equivalent figures were £1,124.26 and 34% respectively, and nearly three years.
• In 16/17, for 31% of all accounts, the expected spend was over-estimated by more than £500. Here, the average excess paid by leaseholders was £2,245.75, or 33% of the final bill, again taking over four years to be repaid. In 17/18, 29% of all accounts had more than a £500 difference between the estimate and the final cost. The average difference was £2,885.89 (44%), and LBS took over three years to repay.
• In 16/17, LBS had £1.85m, or 26%, gross excess in your account because of these differences. In 17/18, LBS had £3.3m, or 34%. The net figures are £1.6m, or 17%, in 16/17, and £2.9m, or 23%, in 17/18.
It would be interesting to know why the estimates are so much larger than the final bills in so many cases
For example, where the estimate is greater than the final account,
• how much of the difference is because the estimate of how much the work will cost, and
• how much of the difference is because work that never needed doing was included in the scope of the estimate?
• What else contributes to this overestimate, and by how much?
Surveys: improving the accuracy
It would be interesting to know what is being done to improve the accuracy both of the specification of the scope of work, and of the surveys.
It would be interesting to know what else is being put in place to mitigate this poor quality service.
Settling the account
We wondered what took them so long to settle the final account.
Balance on the account
• It would be interesting to know what LBS use the money for whilst it is in their account.
• If it is invested, what interest rate do LBS get on the balance?
LBS do not pay interest when leaseholders are owed money. The standard lease requires leaseholders to pay 5% above the Nat West base rate until the payment is made in full. We note that if leaseholders were able to levy the same sanction, LBS would be paying those that remained out of pocket until 16/17 an average of £215, and £490 for those who started off being more than £500 down. For those that remained out of pocket until 17/18, the equivalent figures are £165 and £463. Please note that none of those figures include the Natwest base rate.
Table based on response to FOI request 969936

Major works: Comparison between estimated and final costs

16/17 17/18
Estimate is greater than the final account
Total value of accounts 7,046,150.87 9,600,827.48
Total value of estimates for these final accounts 8,893,592.79 12,907,278.76
Balance 1,847,441.92 3,306,451.28
Excess 26% 34%
Total number (%) of final accounts/estimates in this category 1,860 (79%) 2,941 (82%)
Average time between payment due and final account paid 4.01 yrs 2.8 yrs
Average owed 993.25 1,124.26
Estimate of % of average annual income (£26k pa) after tax but not NI 4% 5%

16/17 17/18
Estimate is >£500 greater than the final account
Total value of accounts 5,085,013.57 6,881,797.14
Total value of estimates for these final accounts 6,740,127.93 9,935,072.33
Balance 1,655,114.36 3,053,275.19
Excess 33% 44%
Total number (%) of final accounts/estimates in this category 737 (31%) 1,058 (29%)
Average time between payment due and final account paid 4.05 yrs 3.05 yrs
Average owed 2,245.75 2,885.89
Estimate of % of average annual income (£26k pa) after tax but not NI 10% 12%

16/17 17/18
Estimate is less than the final account
Total value of accounts 2,244,426.07 3,094,669.71
Total value of estimates for these final accounts 1,965,377.06 2,649,297.00
Balance -279,049.01 -445,372.71
Excess -12% -14%
Total number (%) of final accounts/estimates in this category 488 (21%) 660 (18%)
Average time between payment due and receiving final account 4.44 yrs 3.91 yrs
Average owed -571.82 -674.81
Estimate of % of average annual income (£26k pa) after tax but not NI -2% -3%

16/17 17/18
Estimate is more than £500 below the final account
Total value of accounts 1,268,568.82 1,571,558.00
Total value of estimates for these final accounts 1,042,584.44 1,164,890.21
Balance -225,984.38 -406,667.79
Excess -18% -26%
Total number (%) of final accounts/estimates in this category 122 (5%) 170 (5%)
Average time between payment due and receiving final account 4.11 yrs 4.65 yrs
Average owed -1,852.33 -2,392.16
Estimate of % of average annual income (£26k pa) after tax but not NI -8% -10%

All accounts 16/17 17/18
Total value of accounts £9,290,576.94 £12,695,497.19
Total value of estimates for these final accounts £10,858,969.85 £15,556,575.76
Balance £1,568,392.91 £2,861,078.57
Excess 17% 23%
Total number of final accounts/estimates 2,348 3,601

5% interest on £993 for 4.0 years = £215
5% interest on £1,124 for 2.8 years = £165
5% interest on £2,246 for 4.1 years = £491
5% interest on £2,886 for 3.1 years = £463

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