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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 3044

Items
No. Item

20.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Hamitouche.

21.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

22.

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:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

 

23.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

24.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

A minutes silence was observed by members of the Committee on the death of ex Councillor Gary Doolan.

The Chair expressed the Committee’s thanks on Officers speedy response to the cladding problem in Bunhill in conjunction with Peabody Housing and hoped that lessons and experiences learnt will be shared in any future incident.

Also the Chair informed the meeting that an officer briefing with regards to the Housing Green Paper will be provided to Members at a future meeting.

The Chair informed the meeting that both Mr Donaghey and Councillor MacKmurdie had volunteered to attend the Homelessness Conference on 16 October. The Clerk to look at facilitating their attendance.

 

25.

Order of Business

Minutes:

The order of business would be B2, B1 and B3.

26.

Public Questions

For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.

 

Minutes:

The chair set out the procedure for public questions and the filming of meetings.

27.

Quarterly Review of Housing Performance (Q1 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, introduced the quarterly performance report.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         183 affordable homes was completed in quarter one and the Council was on target to build 1900 affordable homes, of which 550 are being built as Council homes for rent. Members were reminded that supply of homes was beyond the council’s powers as this was through S106 agreements and housing associations and private developers.
 

·         The Executive Member for Housing reiterated that although vast amount of repairs are completed on time, complex repairs fester for too long hence the increase in complaints received by councillors. Councillor Ward acknowledged that the figure of 20% of repairs not being done on time was not good and need addressed as soon as possible.

·         Suggestions such as introducing a traffic light system to denote peak and quiet periods for customers when reporting repairs online and allowing residents to access their repairs history was noted. Councillor Ward indicated that with the newly launched technology, possible suggestions could be possibly incorporated into the system.

·         On the reported 96.6% satisfaction rate of repairs undertaken by Partners, Members were directed to focus on the figure of 11% of major works open over three months as this was worrying. The Executive Member advised that 97% satisfaction rate was easily achieved especially if this relates to routine and minor works. The Committee welcomed the Chief Executive of Partners offer to contact 20 of their residents every month.

·         The number of rent arrears is presently high and with the impending universal credit, the situation was likely to worsen.  Members were informed that issues such as low income and benefit not being paid for six weeks were bound to cause rent arrears  and all are symptoms of government policies in relation to social housing.

·         Members welcomed the news that the number of households accepted as homeless had fallen, which is attributable to the effective work of staff and in particular the Trail Blazer Programme which recognises the need to intervene before people become homeless. Councillor Ward welcomed the central government programme but was concerned with the impact when funds are withdrawn. The meeting was informed that Council recognises the need to work with landlords and employers by intervening early on issues such as universal credit, rent plan etc, measures which would mitigate the level of homelessness. It was noted that a main reason for homelessness was the end of assured shorthold tenancy.

·         In response to a question about the impact of housing allowance being capped, Councillor Ward informed the meeting that Officers continue to liaise with landlords on accepting local housing allowance rates, with the Council prepared to guarantee rent payments for a year.

·         Members were informed of the devastating impact of the S20 of the Housing Act which allows landlords in the private rented sector to evict tenants for good reason and that the homelessness could only be addressed through national legislation.

·         In response to a question on controls  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Draft Scrutiny Initiation Document and Introductory Presentation on Responsive Repairs pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Matt West, Housing Director – Housing Property Services, presented the Scrutiny Initiation Document, copy interleaved and the Committee received a presentation on Responsive Repairs. Following a discussion the issues raised included 

·         Responsive Repairs include emergency repairs to council housing and communal works to roof spaces, communal electrics and drainages. Also included are trades and cyclical testing programmes. The responsive repairs team also undertake adaptations in council homes and offer handy person service to all residents, however Gas and safety checks, estate works, repairs to the road and capital works are not include in responsive repairs.

·         The responsive team undertake over 75,000 repairs yearly of which 7,500 are completed within 2hrs, 15,000 in 24 hours and the rest is completed within 20 working days.

·         The repairs budget is £30 million, with 110 operatives covering over 21,000 directly managed properties

·         The repairs process commences immediately from the moment the issue is logged either by telephone, online system or referral by councillors. Repairs are then prioritised, then the scheduling system allocates the work to the operatives by PDA. Operatives attends and completes work taking photographs before and after the works and records notes on system

·         Random sampling is regularly carried out when jobs are completed however in instances about the quality of the works undertaken by a particular contractor, further sampling is undertaken.

·         Due to the scale of the service, measures to monitor performance include customer satisfaction surveys, number of first time fix, jobs completed on time and appointments made and kept. Customer satisfaction is primary driver and it is carried out independently of the Council with a 93% satisfaction level as indicated in the survey carried out last month

·         The Assistant Director acknowledged that the service receives about 1% complaints however this should be looked at in context of the 75,000 repairs undertaken yearly.

·         Challenges experienced by the service include the number of complaints, diversity of the workforce, recruitment, IT development, unstable market and the scale of the operations.

·         With regards to diversity in the work place, the Assistant Director acknowledged that although an industry wide issue, more needs to be done in terms of gender and ethnic background of staff as there is a recognition that the responsive team needs to reflect the society it serves. This is being addressed through its outreach and apprentice programme.  

-          In response to a question, the meeting was advised that the IT issues still remain especially with regards to the rollout of the capability of the dashboard which monitors performance across teams and wards. The Assistant Director indicated that by December, the system should fully operational.

·         In light of the concerns about the recent high prices in the building industry, the service has positioned itself into carrying out 85% of the repairs in house as compared to using contractors. Also the Council continues to work with neighbouring boroughs such as Hackney and Haringey on possible savings and sharing of services especially in terms of procurement.

·         The Assistant Director highlighted a number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Minutes:

The Chair informed Members that as part of the Committee remit to review operations of housing associations, Clarion Housing will be invited to the October meeting . Also members were informed that later in the municipal year an invite will be sent to Partners to attend a Committee meeting for an update on their performances.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the work programme for 2018/19 be noted

2.    That Clarion be invited to the next meeting of the Committee in October .