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Rate my estate guidance

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

1. Overview

This guide has been produced to help us provide improved estates and a better quality caretaking service for those who live there. The guide aims to make caretaking standards on council-managed estates more focused and transparent. To do this, the guide describes caretaking standards using a combination of text and visuals. These descriptions form a clear framework, against which caretaking standards can be fairly assessed and any area of improvement can be managed.

The guide is aimed at residents and council employees, for example caretakers and housing officers.

Caretaking inspections

Inspections are carried out monthly to assess caretaking standards and to ensure our managed properties and estates are kept clean and in good condition. Carried out by our own officers, the inspection will review all areas within a block or within a specified inspection area. The scoring system is a traffic light RAG rating based system with green being good and red poor.

When making an assessment of caretaking standards there are a number of factors that should be considered in order for the assessment to be fair and accurate.

The condition of the building

It is important to bear in mind the condition of the building when making an assessment of caretaking standards. Factors to consider include:

  • ingrained dirt, stains or burn marks
  • the general wear and tear of the building and furnishings
  • areas that require major repair work
  • irreparable damage

These may be beyond the control of the caretaker and remit of their work. As such these factors should be taken into account when making assessments of cleanliness.

Unforeseen circumstances

There are sometimes unforeseen circumstances that the cleaning frequency plan cannot legislate for, such as:

  • extreme weather conditions
  • acts of anti-social behaviour, including graffiti
  • the adverse effects of Planned Works programmes or other building work

These instances may have an adverse effect on the cleanliness and/or quality of an area and mean that scores fall below a certain grade. We will always act to rectify such a situation, but the occurrence may be something that we cannot prevent.

Caretaking rating system

We use a traffic light rating scoring system, red, amber, green (RAG) to rate caretaking standards. This section aims to explain what these scores mean in a general sense. Within this guide Inspections grades are awarded as a reflection of the block as a whole, rather than a specific area within any block or inspected area.

Green rating (all clear)

This is the standard we aim for. It should look like this after the area has been cleaned.

An area with a score of green will not be completely free of dirt, litter and detritus. However, the extent to which it is present is unlikely to be noticed by most people walking through or past the area or be regarded as having a significant adverse effect on the quality of the local environment.
We aim that no area should fall below this standard in between cleaning cycles. An area graded green will:

  • look clean and in good condition
  • have few signs of litter, debris or visable removable marks and stains
  • look like cleaning is taking place regularly

Amber rating (satisfactory)

An amber area will have only a small amount of dirt, marks, stains, litter or debris present to such an extent that it may be noticeable to most people passing through the area. An area amber area will:

  • have some visable marks and signs of litter and debris
  • look like cleaning is taking place but maybe could do with an extra clean
  • look like it needs some extra attention to bring it up to green standard

Red rating (poor)

A red area typically has marks, stains, litter, detritus and dirt present to such an extent that it is highly visible and has a serious negative impact on the surrounding environment.

The build-up may present a health and safety issue. This grade also applies to some tasks where a fundamental component of the task has visibly not been completed, e.g. where a security door has been left open or unsecured. An area graded red will:

  • display no sign that cleaning is/has taken place
  • have excessive rubbish/fouling/marks and stands; and/or
  • present health and safety hazards, such as broken glass, faeces, needs or other sharp objects

Definitions used

  • Detritus / debris - comprises of dust, mud, soil, grit, gravel, stones, rotted leaf and vegetable residues and fragments of twigs, glass, plastic and other finely divided materials. Detritus is not a factor when the area considered is a grass, soil or granular surface e.g. a grass play area or lawn.
  • Litter – this includes mainly synthetic materials, often associated with smoking, eating and drinking, that are improperly discarded and left by residents or members of the public; or are spilt during waste management operations. Litter may also include putrid or clinical wastes, or faeces, e.g. dog or other animal faeces.
  • Bulk – also referred to as ‘bulk refuse’ and ‘bulk items’, this relates to non-refuse items that have been disposed of on estates, e.g. fridges, wardrobes, pieces of wood.
  • Graffiti – any informal or illegal marks, drawings or paintings that have been deliberately made by a person or persons on any physical element within the indoor or external environment.


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