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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 4, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  020 7527 3308

Items
No. Item

195.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Marian Spall and Aysegul Erdogan.

196.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

Councillor Dave Poyser for Councillor Marian Spall.

197.

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:

None.

198.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:
That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 May 2016 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

199.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair noted that the meeting would receive the findings of the resident Service Review Group review of new build communications. Members of the Service Review Group were welcomed to the meeting.

200.

Order of Business

Minutes:

No changes were proposed to the order of business.

201.

Service Review Group: Review of New Build Communications pdf icon PDF 290 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jim Rooke presented the findings of the Service Review Group to the Committee.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The review commenced in October 2015 and received evidence from local residents, officers from the Housing and Communications sections, members of the Disability Housing Panel and an officer from Camden Council.

·         The findings of the Panel and the potential improvements identified were summarised. The council was working to develop a response to the review and some of the recommendations, such as improving communications materials, were already being implemented.

·         The Committee considered the recommendation to develop an independent residents’ champion role and queried why this task could not be carried out by an officer or a ward councillor. In response, members of the Service Review Group commented that residents would likely have greater trust in an independent person and envisaged community leaders to be appropriate candidates. Members expressed that any representative would need to be able to represent all sections of the community equally and act impartially.

·         A member who had recently attended a new build consultation event commented that it was generally successful; however it was reported that some of those in attendance had misconceptions about the scheme. It was thought that communications should be circulated to all affected residents well in advance and should be written in plain English, particularly for residents whose first language was not English.

 

RESOLVED:
That the recommendations of the Service Review Group be received.

 

 

202.

Responsive Repairs: Final Report pdf icon PDF 342 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:
That the report be agreed and submitted to the Executive.

203.

Housing Services for Vulnerable People: Scrutiny Initiation Document pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Maxine Holdsworth, Service Director for Housing Needs and Strategy, introduced the scrutiny initiation document. It was commented that officers from both the Housing and Adult Social Care services would be contributing to the review.

 

The Committee agreed that the scrutiny initiation document should be submitted to the Housing Disability Panel for comment prior to being formally agreed by the Committee at its next meeting.

 

It was agreed that the document be amended to specify that the Committee intended to review the additional housing services for those with mental health issues, the advocacy support available to vulnerable people at risk of losing their home, and receive evidence from a good practice housing association.

 

RESOLVED:

(1)  That the scrutiny initiation document be amended to specify that the Committee intend to review the additional housing services for those with mental health issues and the advocacy support available to vulnerable people at risk of losing their home, and receive evidence from a good practice housing association;

(2)  That the scrutiny initiation document be submitted to the Housing Disability Panel for comment;

(3)  That consideration of the scrutiny initiation document be deferred to the next meeting.

 

204.

Review of areas of enquiry for registered provider sessions at Housing Scrutiny Committee meetings pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Minutes:

Members considered the list of questions to be asked of housing associations presenting to the Committee.

 

The Committee indicated that it would be helpful to consider financial matters such as the pay ratio between the highest and lowest earners. It was advised that such information was often available in the housing press.

 

The Committee agreed to enquire about how resident satisfaction was measured and the impact of national welfare and housing policy changes. 

 

The Committee agreed to further areas of enquiry related to how housing associations work with vulnerable people. It was suggested that this information could contribute to the Committee’s review of housing services for vulnerable people. 

 

RESOLVED:
That the areas of enquiry document be approved, subject to the addition of the following questions:

(i)            How do you measure resident satisfaction, and how is the data collected? 

(ii)           Since the introduction of Welfare Reform have you had an increase in rent arrears, and has this led to an increase in evictions?

(iii)          Have you implemented the government’s ‘Pay to Stay’ (‘Tenant Tax’) policy? What effect has this had? 

(iv)         Do you have agreed protocols for engaging with vulnerable tenants?

(v)          Do you work with local authorities to ensure your vulnerable tenants are receiving comprehensive support?

205.

Work Programme 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 11 KB

Minutes:

It was suggested that the Family Mosaic, Peabody and Origin housing associations could be invited to present to the Committee in 2016/17.

 

It was advised that the Committee would receive quarterly performance updates following changes to the reporting of performance indicators.

 

RESOLVED:
That the work plan be agreed.

206.

Public Questions

Minutes:

Members of the public queried the impact of ‘Pay to Stay’ legislation and how the Council would be implementing the policy, suggesting that it penalised council tenants in work and was a disincentive to employment. The Committee was sympathetic to the residents’ concerns and noted that the council considered the policy to be a ‘Tenant Tax’.

 

The Executive Member for Housing and Development was present and confirmed that the council was opposed to the government’s housing policy changes. It was noted that the council was lobbying on this matter and would be holding a public meeting in the autumn.