Agenda item

Flooding action plan and conclusion Report

To note the report.


Simon Lewis, Head of Housing, Income and Tenancy Management and Ian Candlish, Head of Property Service introduced the report. The following points were raised and discussed (summarised):

What went well:

• Excellent response on the night and during the following days, were

officers were on the ground daily, supporting every affected household.

• Excellent cross-working between Property Services and Tenancy

Services, coordinating our support to tenants.

• Supportive and caring approach which was customer focussed and


• Elected to cover the costs of carpet replacement and removal of

furniture during cleaning, as many tenants would have struggled to afford this.

• Officers went above and beyond, many volunteering and working antisocial hours and showing agility and flexibility to find solutions

• Dehumidifiers were provided to all properties early in the process and

we committed to pay excess heating and electricity costs for their use.

• Creative support solutions identified for complex tenants bringing in

other agencies as needed. For example, one very elderly tenant was partially sighted and had support needs and needed decant; we also had

examples of people with significant hoarding and other tenants struggling with their mental health – all of whom required sensitive support to meet

their needs.

• Regular communication with those displaced and with their properties

being prioritised to be made ready to return.

• Daily project meetings taking place and communications to tenants,

with people on site every day meant our communications was clear and


• We identified a cost effective, empathetic contractor to undertake the

removal and cleaning works required for each property.

What could have gone better:

• Having a clear process, allocated coordinator, and allocation of

resource for a significant event like this, including backfill / reprioritisation.

of work from the start and ensuring a rota of officer to avoid burn-out.

• Better anticipation of the sheer amount of work this would entail.

• Ability to get hold of Deane Helpline and for them to bring in support

was limited.

• A wider list of officers available for call out in an emergency,

particularly when bad weather is forecast.

• Needed a single point of contact to be responsible for identifying works

required. In practice actions were being identified by officers on the

ground and being phoned in by tenants which duplicated work.

• Understanding of insurance arrangements and earlier involvement of

the Council’s insurance agency (note self-insurance requires service to

take all responsibility for works and repairs)

• Ability to secure temporary accommodation was a significant challenge

and needs to be easier.

• A necessity to have professional, accredited cleaning and sanitisation

of properties earlier in the process, which is certified.

• Necessity for dry certificates to evidence that property is dried.

• Few tenants had contents insurance and we require clearer principles

on what the HRA will pay for when tenant does not have contents

insurance – for future cases. This needs to align to a hardship policy and

fund. Note our current position sends out mixed messages.

• A clearer position on when we would insist on a decant, normally when

the property or a person is at risk by staying in their home. Most incidents

where water has entered a property will require a decant.

• Clearer guidance on our position when tenant refuses to leave or to

use dehumidifiers, or for contaminated carpets to be removed. Legal

Services has advised that a signed disclaimer would not suffice.


The group discussed what preventative measures are being put in place to try and stop the flooding issues. The use of specialist flooding consultancies and gully clearing are being used to try and stop flooding. The need of contents insurance was discussed and how the council can communicate the importance of contents insurance to tenants. It has been taken forward that there is a wider strategic communication piece on this topic.

Supporting documents: