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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

246.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

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

 

Councillor O’Halloran submitted apologies for lateness.

 

247.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None.

248.

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:

Rose-Marie McDonald declared a personal interest in Item 3, Housing Services for Vulnerable People: Witness Evidence, as she was a Partners resident.

249.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

250.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair commented that the evidence received from the Housing Disability Panel at the previous meeting had been extremely useful. It was noted that members of the Committee would meet with members of the Panel to discuss draft recommendations in advance of the next meeting.

 

It was noted that a representative of Homes for Haringey was due to present their evidence to the Committee however unfortunately they were unable to attend the meeting.  

 

251.

Order of Business

Minutes:

No changes were proposed to the order of business.

252.

Public Questions

Minutes:

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

 

253.

RSL Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Minutes:

The Chair noted that Family Mosaic Housing Association was not able to attend the meeting, and led a discussion on how the Committee scrutinises housing associations.

 

It was advised that there were around 15,500 properties managed by housing associations in Islington. The Committee considered that its previous scrutiny of housing associations had been successful; and commented that best practice in terms of services for residents tended to be demonstrated by smaller housing associations.

 

The National Housing Federation had developed a ‘sector scorecard’ to evaluate the performance of housing associations. The Chair expressed concern that this was disproportionately focused on commercial measures and considered residents as ‘customers’.

 

The Committee noted the trend of housing associations merging and raised concerns that this could lead to housing associations becoming more remote and losing their connection to local communities.  Concern was also expressed about staff terms and conditions in the social housing sector. It was advised that Cllr John Gray of LB Newham Council was campaigning on such issues and it was suggested that the Committee could consider this also.

 

254.

Housing Services for Vulnerable People: Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To include:

 

·         Evidence from Partners

·         Evidence from another local authority

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)  Evidence from Partners for Improvement in Islington

 

The Committee received a presentation from Tom Irvine, Service Improvement and Engagement Manager at Partners, on the organisation’s work in supporting vulnerable people.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         Partners managed and maintained 6,400 properties owned by Islington Council. 70% of these properties were tenanted and 30% were leasehold properties. The organisation had more information on its tenants than its leaseholders.

·         Partners was aware that 21% of its tenants had a disability or impairment, however thought that the true number would be higher as some residents would have vulnerabilities which were not known to the organisation. Partners only knew the specific details of one third of tenants with an identified disability or impairment, with around a third choosing not to disclose this information to Partners.

·         All Partners’ properties were general needs housing and were not specifically designed for those with support or care needs, although many tenants did have such needs.

·         Partners acknowledged that it was not a specialist in providing support services and worked to develop relationships with other agencies, including Islington Council Social Services, to make referrals when required. Referrals were made with resident consent in the majority of situations. The organisation maintained a directory of staff to refer to; this helped to ensure that referrals were effective and reached the best possible contact.

·         Partners staff received training on vulnerability awareness and identifying vulnerabilities, as well as specific sessions on mental health and safeguarding.

·         The Committee noted examples of referrals made by Partners; for example, the repairs team identified that holes in a resident’s door were a result of domestic violence and made a referral to the council. Repairs staff had also identified evidence of illegal drug use and had reported this to both the Police and social services.

·         Partners prioritised heating and hot water repairs for vulnerable people, aiming to respond to these within 24 hours. The organisation also had a budget for discretionary repairs for vulnerable people, installed adaptations, and provided some internal decorations and gardening works through the council’s Assisted Decorations Scheme.

·         Partners had a programme of visiting older and vulnerable tenants to assess their needs. This was focused on identifying risks in their home.

·         Following a question, it was advised that it was difficult to manage instances of antisocial behaviour when the perpetrator had a mental health condition. It was advised that Partners would seek a pragmatic solution to such scenarios and would need to balance the interests of the perpetrator and those affected by the behaviour. It was advised that in some situations Partners had managed moves for tenants as a result of antisocial behaviour.

·         Partners had carried out 45 repairs to date in 2016/17, and more would be carried out by the end of the year.

·         Partners’ annual budget for assisted decorations was £25,000.

·         The Committee noted that many street properties had damp and condensation issues, commenting that this could have a particularly severe effect on vulnerable people. It was queried  ...  view the full minutes text for item 254.