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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  020 7527 3308

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Alex Diner and Mouna Hamitouche. Councillor Dave Poyser offered apologies for lateness.


Declaration of Substitute Members




Declarations of Interests

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.


If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.


*(a)     Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

(b) Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c) Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d)      Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e) Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.

(f) Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 


This applies to all members present at the meeting.





Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 156 KB


That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 March 2016 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Chair's Report


The Chair thanked members, officers and witnesses for their contribution to the Committee in 2015/16.


It was noted that the Committee would be selecting the topics for review in 2016/17 at its next meeting and members were asked to discuss any suggested topics with the Chair.


Order of Business


No changes were proposed to the order of business.


Public Questions


The Chair outlined the procedure for public questions and the filming and recording of meetings.


RSL Scrutiny: One Housing Group pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:


Kevin Beirne, Group Director of Housing Care and Support, and John Gregory, Group Director of Housing Services, made a presentation to the Committee on the performance of One Housing Group.


The following main points were noted in the discussion:


·         One Housing Group was in its 50th year of providing affordable housing in London and the Home Counties. The organisation managed 16,000 homes and operated in 27 London boroughs. One Housing provided homes to around 11,500 older and vulnerable tenants and had built 1,500 new affordable homes since 2011. 

·         One Housing considered the delivery of new housing to be fundamental to the role of a housing association. The organisation also developed a small amount of private housing, the profits from which were reinvested to develop further affordable housing. Housing development had been a core element of the organisation’s business plan since the coalition government significantly reduced the social housing grant in 2010.

·         One Housing was a relatively small provider in Islington, however was the largest provider of young people’s housing services in the borough.

·         The organisation worked in partnership with the council and NHS to provide supported housing to people with mental health issues. One Housing operated the Crisis resource centre at Highbury Grove, which offered support to people experiencing mental health crisis as an alternative to hospital admission. It was noted that 80% of those supported at Crisis would otherwise have been admitted to A&E.   

·         One Housing considered the introduction of the Local Housing Allowance cap to be a significant risk. The cap was expected to result in a significant increase to the cost of providing supported housing for vulnerable people inside London.

·         It was commented that One Housing had been looking to develop more social housing in Islington however land values were prohibitive and the organisation had been outbid by private organisations.

·         The Committee noted the organisation’s performance as monitored by the independent HouseMark service. Satisfaction and rent collection rates were in line with other London-based housing associations. One Housing had an average re-let time of 32.38 days in 2015/16, which was longer than comparable housing associations and work was underway to improve this.

·         It was advised that 88% of tenants were satisfied with their most recent repair in 2015/16, which was a decrease of 8% in comparison to the previous year. One Housing had brought its repairs service in-house during 2015/16 and satisfaction data was previously collected by its repairs contractor; it was thought that the 2015/16 data provided a more accurate representation of tenant satisfaction. Providing repairs in-house was expected to achieve savings of around £30million over the next ten years. 

·         The Committee noted the organisation’s average weekly rents. The average weekly rent was around 70% of market rent, lower than the government definition of “affordable” at 80% of market rent. It was commented that average rent would be lower than 70% of market rent in Islington due to the high private rental values.

·         The organisation had a low number of re-lets in Islington  ...  view the full minutes text for item 176.


Responsive Repairs: Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 148 KB


The Committee received witness evidence as follows:  


Representative of Affinity Sutton Repairs pdf icon PDF 985 KB


Michelle Reynolds, Group Commercial Director at Affinity Sutton, and John Bell, Managing Director of CBS, made a presentation to the Committee on the Affinity Sutton repairs service.


  • Affinity Sutton was a national housing association with 57,000 homes throughout England. The organisation offered an in-house responsive repairs service carried out by two wholly-owned service providers, CBS and ASR. The repair organisations carried out 140,000 repairs annually. CBS had provided repairs to dispersed stock nationwide since 2000; ASR was established in 2015 to provide repairs to Affinity Sutton properties in London and Kent.
  • The Committee noted the challenge of providing an in-house repairs service on a national scale to dispersed housing stock. To achieve this Affinity Sutton had invested in mobile working and multiskilling operatives in order to ensure a high proportion of “first time fixes”. Since bringing the repairs services in-house the organisation had also adopted a flatter management structure and had empowered operatives to take personal responsibility for repairs.
  • Before repairs in London and the Kent were brought in-house the organisation’s repair service would operate from local offices and depots. Since coming in-house, Affinity Sutton operatives worked from home, with details of repairs sent remotely to their PDAs and tablets. The service was organised on a regional basis, with sub-regional local teams each covering a specific area. Operative salary bands were competency-based in order to promote up-skilling.
  • Affinity Sutton allowed residents to report repairs online; however the majority of repairs were reported via telephone.
  • The importance of a “first time fix” was emphasised, as this led to improved efficiency, a positive customer experience, and improved financial performance. It was noted that 88% of Affinity Sutton customers were satisfied with their most recent repair; this very closely correlated to the organisation’s “first time fix” rate of 88%. The organisation considered a “first time fix” to be completing the repair on the first visit without having to leave the property.
  • The average completion time for a repair was seven days. The organisation had worked to improve its reporting and diagnostic processes to ensure that all required information was collected at the first point of contact. In 90% of cases all of the required information was received  at the first point of contact.
  • Affinity Sutton communicated with customers via text message, sending a reminder the evening before a repair and when the operative was on route to the property.
  • Affinity Sutton was keen to learn from specialist logistics operations in other sectors, such as Autoglass, and Ocado. It was noted that those receiving windscreen repairs through Autoglass usually did not pay as this cost was covered through their insurance; this was likened to a housing association repairs service, as tenants did not directly pay for repairs to their property. Affinity Sutton had worked with Autoglass to establish how customers valued a service without assigning a direct financial value to it.
  • Affinity Sutton had worked to improve the customer focus of operatives. Trade staff were personally responsible for the satisfaction associated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 178.


Representative of LB Camden pdf icon PDF 12 MB


Kim Wells, Head of Repairs at LB Camden, made a presentation to the Committee on the organisation’s repairs service.


·         Camden had an in-house responsive repairs service. All capital works were carried out by an external contractor. One area of Camden had its responsive repairs carried out by an external contractor; this was to provide a comparison to the council’s service.

·         Camden’s service received 60,000 repair orders each year. The service employed 130 trade staff and 14 apprentices. It was noted that the service usually employed 12 apprentices however received a high number of exceptional applications in the past year.

·         Camden had brought its repairs service in house in 2012 in an effort to improve the service and remove duplication associated with the client/contractor delivery model.

·         Camden provided repairs to leaseholders and had previously provided these in accordance with the national schedule of rates. This was considered to cause unnecessary confusion and for this reason Camden had started to charge leaseholders the actual cost of each repair.

·         Camden’s repairs service was based on five separate local teams in order to promote specialist local knowledge.

·         Operatives were assigned one job at a time. It was noted that repairs services would traditionally allocate several jobs to operatives to complete in one day.

·         Camden’s operatives carried a variety of stock in order for them to complete repairs. If specialist equipment was needed, operatives could either make use of the “ring and bring” service in which parts were couriered to the property while the operative waited; or the operative could collect the part from the depot; or the operative could make a follow-up appointment with the tenant before they left the property.

·         Although emergency repairs were dealt with as soon as possible; all other repairs were carried out at a time to suit the customer. Tenants were able to report repairs and book and appointment online.

·         Camden had delegated decision-making on repairs to front line staff; operatives decided how best to complete the repair and made the decision to either carry out the repair or renew the fixture or fitting. This had resulted in savings through decreased levels of supervision. Supervision staff focused on quality control as opposed to decision-making.

·         The importance of quality ICT was emphasised. It was noted that Camden previously made the repairs service fit the limits of the ICT system, whereas the systems were now structured to support the service processes.

·         Camden used Kwest to independently measure repairs satisfaction. The organisation surveyed 20% of completed repairs and would interview tenants six to eight weeks after a repair; this was to ensure that repairs were completed successfully.

·         The Committee noted Camden’s use of Clickview, software which allowed satisfaction and performance to by analysed on a team, trade and operative basis. Data was able to be analysed daily and was reported to operatives in meetings with their supervisor. The Committee considered this to be a useful system.

·         Since Camden had brought its repairs service in-house, the service had experienced a 14% reduction in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 179.


Extract of New ICT System Specification pdf icon PDF 591 KB


The Committee noted the system specification however commented that this did not detail the structure of the database as requested by the Committee. In response, it was advised that the data structure was in the process of being developed. Officers emphasised that the new system would be tailored to Islington’s service requirements.


It was advised that the new system would support text messaging and would fit within the service’s existing digital landscape.


Details of Repairs Apprentice Scheme pdf icon PDF 22 KB




Kwest resident satisfaction survey: further information from officers pdf icon PDF 102 KB




Housing Direct KPIs pdf icon PDF 33 KB