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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 3044

Items
No. Item

61.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Hamitouche.

62.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

63.

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.

64.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

65.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair informed the meeting that draft recommendations with regards to the review into Responsive Repairs will be circulated to Committee members in advance of the committee meeting in March. Members input to the exercise is welcomed and should be sent to the Committee clerk ahead of the meeting.

66.

Order of Business

Minutes:

The order of business would be B2 and B1.

67.

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:

None

68.

Scrutiny of Partners for Improvement in Islington

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from Tom Irvine, Managing Director, on the performance of Partners for Improvement in Islington.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         Meeting was advised that in terms of key performance indicators, Partners had exceeded most of it’s targets especially in terms of the number of repairs completed on time; communal repairs completed on time and importantly the number of residents satisfied with the repairs.

·         164 major repairs were carried out by Partners from January to December 2018, however only 50 were left open for 12 weeks or more as a result of access issues, leaseholder consultation in progress; building control/conservation/ planning process etc.

·         With regard to PF12 contract, cyclical works were completed to 496 properties with an average time of 12.8 weeks to complete the works. Meeting was advised that with regards to the works carried out, there was a 92% satisfaction rate by residents that took part in the survey. Plans in 2019 for Partners to complete 100 cyclical works with the PFI1 contracts.

·         With regard to resident engagement, the Managing Director highlighted the various channels through which Partners communicates with its resident such as the Partners Residents Open Forum; the existence of Partners Engagement Register; Resident surgeries and Satisfaction surveys.

·         The Managing Director acknowledged that in terms of complaints, there has been a slight increase in stage one complaints in comparison to the previous year.

·         Partners priorities for 2018/19 include promoting safety and minimising risks in properties, providing a good and efficient service to its customers; continue to communicate and engage with its residents and also provide a good service to its leaseholders.

·         The Managing Director acknowledged the various issues and challenges highlighted by residents and leaseholders as the clear and safe communal areas policy; access issues into properties to be able to carry out repairs; impact of universal credit on residents in terms of rent arrears; leaseholder estimates of cyclical cost of repairs and anti-social behaviour.

·         Members were advised that residents were split with regards to the Clear and Safe Communal area policy, however Partners still had to carry out multiple visits to resolve complaints on this issue. Members were reminded that the implementation of the policy is based on advice from the London Fire Brigade.

·         The meeting was informed that with over 17,000 repairs carried out per year, 2,000 were affected due to failure to access the properties by operatives and to address this concern, Partners are offering incentives to residents to provide a copy of keys to communal areas so as to carry out electrical safety checks.
 

·         Partners recognises the impact of universal credit on it’s tenants especially as 219 of 279 known claimants are in rent arrears. Partners continues to work closely with Islington Council to alleviate it’s impact by intervening early in known cases and close monitoring.

·         With regard to the estimated costs of cyclical decorations received by leaseholders, the Managing Director informed the meeting that these were estimates and are based on an agreed maximum  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.

69.

Scrutiny Review : Witness Evidence ( Homelessness)

Minutes:

The Chair invited Ruth Hayes and Stuart Hearne, Co-Directors of the Islington Law Centre to explain their activities and what part they play in alleviating homelessness in Islington. The following points were raised and discussed:

 

·         The meeting was advised that Islington Law Centre (LC) provides low income residents with accessible high quality legal advices to challenge the effects of poverty which is inextricably linked to homelessness. LC in conjunction with statutory agencies, the Local authority, the Islington Strategic Advice Service and BAMER community organisations help to address these issues.

·         Through it’s partnership working LC is able to provide a range of services to help reduce the risks of housing crises and homelessness and most of its focus and activities are centred around early intervention, welfare benefits and debt

 

·         LC runs a drop in Reception and Referral service for residents threatened with evictions where they can bring in their correspondence and are assisted in understanding what stage their case is. LC also offers specialist weekly housing advice outreach sessions across the borough; specialist weekly welfare rights and specialist weekly debt advice outreach sessions.

 

·         The Law Centre is funded by Council grants and receives additional funding from both Cripplegate and Cloudesley which is used for follow up casework where needed.

 

·         Residents seek advice on a range of issues such as representations on possession proceedings, homelessness, succession rights, rent arrears, landlord and tenant matters, evictions, anti-social behaviour, rehousing etc

 

·         The Law Centre also provides legal representation to help people avoid possessions, evictions and homelessness which is available through the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court duty scheme. Tenants of different tenures whether Council, housing associations tenants and tenants in private rented sector are supported by LC.

 

·         However, LC clients tend to be Council tenants, only 8% compared of tenants in the private sector compared to 31% council tenants and 46% social landlord tenants seek advice and support.

 

·         Due to increasing overlap between the Law Centre’s immigration work and housing need, it is able to offer services to Islington residents through its weekly outreach sessions at the Hackney Migrant Centre.

·         With regard to the Council’s No Recourse to Public Funds team, the meeting was informed that the Law Centre works with young people to regularise their status so that they are able to access work, education and benefits.

 

·         In light of the introduction of the Universal Credit, LC has been advising people at risk of losing their home, however as its implementation is still in its infancy, LC has yet to able to analyse the impact, however it will continue to work with the Council on this issue.

 

·         Homelessness is caused by a myriad of factors such as lack of security in the private sector, low income, erratic income, failures of the social security system along with crises such as job loss, ill health or family breakdown.

 

·         In response to a question about the services of Now Medical, representative from the LC advised that the Council should consider the medical assessments made by the individual’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the work programme be noted