The local government watchdog has expressed concerns about the increase in times and costs of re-letting social housing after a report found Cork City to have the longest turnaround time in the country, at 85 weeks.
It follows the publication of the 2020 annual report of the National Control and Audit Commission (NOAC), which last year examined the performance of the state’s 31 local authorities in 11 areas, including housing, without -abrism, environment and financial management.
He revealed that local authorities have improved their levels of homelessness among adults, improved the recovery rate on home loans, stabilized their finances and reduced sick leave for staff. But he noted an increase in the wait time for the relocation of social housing, an increase in relocation costs, and he also noted the impact of Covid-19 on the services of local authorities.
Philomena Poole, chair of NOAC’s performance indicators working group, said public health restrictions increased the challenges local authorities faced in providing essential services, which, with reduced incomes, all had an impact. on performance under various indicators.
“However, the time and costs of relocation have increased again and although Covid-19 has had an impact on this area, NOAC notes that there has been a steady increase in relocation costs since 2014, with only one small decrease shown in 2019 compared to the previous year. ”she said.
NOAC found that local authorities owned 141,128 housing units, a slight drop from 2019 figures, with a vacancy rate of 3.18% on social housing and an average relocation time of 32.69 weeks.
But in Cork City, the relocation time was 85.08 weeks – the longest in the country – compared to 72.12 in 2019. In contrast, the relocation time in Dublin City was only 5. 17 weeks.
The council told NOAC that it plans to build some 600 social housing units per year over the next few years, with more than 1,000 units under construction and 500 homes at the contract award stage. He also asked the government for more staff to cope with the housing workload.
County Cork saw the largest increase in average time to remarket, from 23.59 weeks in 2019 to 49.91 weeks in 2020.
The total number of vacant dwellings at the end of 2020 was 4,467 vacant dwellings compared to 4,365 in 2019.
In a regional road condition assessment, County Cork performed poorly, as did Laois and Offaly, with more than 10% of the length of its regional road network ranked in the most state ranking. Wrong.
The report found that 81.52% of car tax transactions were made online, an increase from 70.21% in 2019, and a steady increase each year from 56.5% in 2015.
It found that local authorities recorded 84,942 pollution complaints last year, up from 2019, with nine local authorities recording a decrease in the percentage of unpolluted or waste-free area, while 18 recorded an increase. .
While Covid was touching their finances, 11 local communities had a deficit on the revenue account at the end of 2020, all of them reducing the amount of their deficit compared to 2019.
And the full-time equivalent staff employed by the local government sector at the end of 2020 was 29,717.92 – up 1.9% since 2019 – but 11 local governments recorded staff reductions. Last year, the industry’s national average medically certified paid sick leave rate was 3.01%, down from 2019.
When NOAC assessed local authority fire departments, it found that for fire-related emergencies, Waterford had, for the second year in a row, the fastest response time for full-time services of 57 seconds, seven seconds faster than in 2019.
In terms of service response times, Sligo, at 3 minutes 17 seconds, was the fastest, also for the second time in a row.
County Galway had the slowest response time for full-time services of 2:06, but improved from 2:05 in 2019. Kildare at 6:45 was the slowest for the response of the services retained with regard to fire incidents.
“NOAC was delighted to see that despite the challenges of 2020, local authorities have continued to provide essential services and continue to develop new approaches to improve their performance,” said Mr. Poole.