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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 5, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  020 7527 3308

Items
No. Item

207.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Gary Doolan and Marian Spall.

 

Councillor Raphael Andrews submitted apologies for lateness.

208.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

Councillor Gary Heather for Councillor Marian Spall.

 

Councillor Raphael Andrews for Councillor Gary Doolan.

209.

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.

210.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:
That the minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 2016 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

211.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

None.

212.

Order of Business

Minutes:

No changes were proposed to the order of business.

213.

Public Questions

Minutes:

None.

214.

Housing Services for Vulnerable People: SID and Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 264 KB

(a)  Agreement of SID following the comments of the Housing Disability Panel

(b)  Witness Evidence Plan

(c)  Context of the review – Paul Byer, Service Development Manager

(d)  Evidence from Adult Social Services –   Claudia Thompson, Assistant Director Adults Integrated Community Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)  Agreement of SID following the comments of the Disability Housing Panel

 

The Committee considered the comments of the Disability Housing Panel and the proposed changes to the scrutiny initiation document.

 

The proposed changes were agreed, subject to an amendment to widen the scope of the assessment of housing advocacy services for vulnerable people. It was agreed that the Committee should consider the housing advocacy services available to all vulnerable residents, not only council tenants. It was suggested that further information on this matter could be considered as written evidence. It was also noted that advocacy services and the way in which organisations communicate with vulnerable people at risk of losing their home could be raised with housing associations under the regular RSL scrutiny item.

 

It was agreed that references to ‘bed blocking’ in the appendix be amended to ‘delayed discharge’.

 

RESOLVED:

 

    (i)        That the comments of the Disability Housing Panel be noted.

   (ii)        That the SID be agreed as set out in the paper submitted, subject to amending the final bullet point under section 2 of the scope to read ‘Advocacy services available for vulnerable people at risk of losing their home’.

  (iii)        That references to ‘bed blocking’ in the appendix be amended to ‘delayed discharge’.

 

 

(b)  Witness Evidence Plan

 

It was agreed that a wide range of service users should be invited to give evidence to the Committee. It was also suggested that a visit to service users would be useful.

 

The Committee requested that written evidence be provided in advance of meetings where possible.

 

RESOLVED:
That the Witness Evidence Plan be agreed, subject to the following amendments:

·         An open invitation to service users to attend a future meeting to give evidence;

·         A visit to service users be arranged.

 

 

(c)  Context of the review

 

Paul Byer, Service Development Manager, presented the SID appendix to the Committee, which detailed the council’s additional support services for vulnerable people.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The annual programme of visits to vulnerable tenants evaluated a range of factors, including the condition on their home, if any repairs or adaptations were required, if benefits advice was needed, and if a smoke alarm was fitted. Although it was not possible to visit every vulnerable tenant annually, it was advised that 400 vulnerable tenants were visited every year. Officers ensured that different residents were visited each year, however it was not possible to advise of the maximum waiting time for a home visit. The Committee queried the effectiveness of the visits and the proportion of tenants aged over 75 visited each year.

·         Floating support services were available for vulnerable people with more complex needs, such as drug and alcohol dependencies, or those at risk of losing their tenancy.

·         The handyperson scheme was available to all borough residents, including those living in housing association properties. Works were carried out by caretakers and staff were trained to identify vulnerabilities.

·         It was confirmed that all residents could be referred to the fire service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 214.

215.

Estate Services Management Scrutiny Review: 12 Month Update pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Minutes:

David Salenius, Principal Housing Manager – Estate Services, presented the report which set out progress against the Committee’s recommendations.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         Since the scrutiny review the service had focused on maximising income, including through the refurbishment of garages. It was noted that the letting of garages at Maryland Walk on a commercial basis would generate income of up to £45,000 in 2017/18. The refurbishment of garages for general use was expected to generate up to £72,000 per annum.

·         Officers had investigated the potential of offering caretaking and other services to external organisations on a commercial basis. It was advised that the council’s service had a higher cost compared to commercial competitors and further market testing was required.

·         Work was underway to improve caretaking facilities which did not meet minimum health and safety standards.

·         Following a question, it was advised that there had been recent problems with the use of leaf blowers due to concerns about the transportation and storage of petrol. Officers were working to resolve this issue and had investigated the procurement of electric leaf blowers, however it was concluded that these were not as effective and the purchase would represent a capital loss.

·         A member highlighted problems with lumber dumping on the Andover and Six Acres estates, suggesting that the current waste arrangements were not satisfactory. Officers advised that the protocol was for caretakers to move dumped lumber to specific collection points and for the lumber to be removed within 24 hours. Work to resolve performance issues was ongoing.

·         Following a query, it was advised that a few hundred garages could not be let as they either required repairs, needed to be cleared, or were earmarked for future residential development. Officers commented that it was difficult to significantly increase the refurbishment programme within existing resources.

·         It was noted that there was greater demand for garage space in the south of the borough that resulted in a waiting list for garage space.

·         The Committee commented on the benefits of communal gardening, which included increasing community cohesion and improving the attractiveness of estates. It was suggested that further work was required to advertise such opportunities.

·         The Committee considered the cost of garage rent. It was suggested that the cost of rent was beyond the means of some residents, however it was noted that the cost was cheaper than commercial alternatives.

 

The Committee thanked David Salenius for his attendance and for the progress made in implementing the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the progress made in implementing the recommendations be noted.