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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 044

Items
No. Item

92.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Spall, Gallagher and Mackmurdie.

93.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None.

94.

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.  

95.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 April 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

96.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair advised that a Silent Walk and Solidary March for Grenwell would be held to commemorate the two year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

 

It was noted that the Corporate Director of Housing would be providing an update on fire safety matters to the Committee in the autumn.

 

The Chair advised that he had informally discussed potential scrutiny topics with members of the Committee and it had been suggested that the Committee carry out two reviews; one on planned maintenance and the other on private sector housing.

 

97.

Order of Business

Minutes:

The order of business would be as per the agenda.

98.

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.

99.

Membership, Terms of Reference and Dates of meetings pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the membership, terms of reference and dates of meetings of the Housing Scrutiny Committee for the 2019/20 municipal year be noted.

100.

Scrutiny Topics and Work Programme 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Minutes:

The Committee agreed two main scrutiny topics for 2019/20.

 

The Committee’s primary focus would be on planned maintenance, with a particular focus on the insourcing of services. At the end of 2019 the Committee’s focus would shift to private sector housing, which would consider recent and upcoming legislative changes, including ‘Right to Rent’ checks on tenants’ immigration status. It was requested that Scrutiny Initiation Documents for both reviews be presented to the next meeting.

 

The Committee queried if the review of Planned Maintenance was timely, given that the council was currently re-procuring its major works contracts. In response, the Corporate Director of Housing advised that the review could help to inform the major works procurement and future procurement activity related to planned maintenance works.

 

It was advised that the Committee’s review of Homelessness was still to conclude. It was noted that the Chair would meet with Cllrs Lukes and Khondoker to discuss the evidence received and develop recommendations for the agreement of the Committee. An update would be provided to a future meeting.

 

It was advised that the report of the Committee’s review of Responsive Repairs would come to a future meeting for formal sign-off.

 

It was requested that Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association be invited to present to the 31 October meeting. 

 

It was advised that the Committee would receive the 12-month update on its review of Housing Services for Vulnerable People. This was expected to be received in autumn 2019.

 

It was agreed that, instead of receiving a presentation from a Housing Association in January 2020, the Committee would receive an update on Tenant Led Organisations in the borough.

 

It was advised that the Committee would receive the 12-month update on its review of New Build Housing. It was suggested that this item would be presented in spring 2020.

 

The Committee requested a short briefing or presentation on the status of the Council’s PFI contracts with Partners for Improvement in Islington in April 2020.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)        That ‘Planned Maintenance Insourcing’ and ‘Private Sector Housing’ be selected as the main scrutiny review topics for 2019/20

 

(ii)        That the work programme be agreed, subject to the amendments set out above.

 

 

 

 

 

101.

Quarterly Review of Housing Performance (Q4 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 159 KB

This item appears on the agenda in accordance with Procedure Rule 83.4 of the Council’s Constitution.  

Minutes:

Councillor Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, introduced the report which set out the performance of Housing services in Quarter 4 2018/19.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The number of genuinely affordable new homes completed by the council was slightly off target, however Cllr Ward was assured that the council would meet, or exceed, its overall target of delivering 550 genuinely affordable new homes by 2022.

·         The number of genuinely affordable new homes completed by developers was below target. This was being monitored and the council was challenging where appropriate, however it was acknowledged that the council had limited influence over construction delays.

·         The number of severely overcrowded households was above target, however the number of households downsizing had increased. It was thought that an increase in downsizing and the development of new genuinely affordable housing would help to reduce the number of severely overcrowded households in future.

·         A discussion was had on the tenancy conditions of registered providers, including providers that made use of fixed-term tenancies. It was noted that housing associations were using a range of tenancy conditions and this may be an area for future review.

·         The Committee considered the sale of housing association properties in the borough and expressed concern that social housing in Islington may be sold to fund development elsewhere, especially as some Islington Council properties were previously transferred to housing associations under previous administrations.

·         The Committee noted that he first time fix rate was below target and expressed concern that improvements to housing repairs systems had not yet been fully implemented. It was advised that an update from officers would be requested.

·         The Committee reiterated its concerns about the performance of Partners and the credibility of its performance measures. It was suggested that qualitative performance reporting would help to reassure the Committee that improvements were being made.

·         It was suggested that the council should review the feasibility of increasing the number of precautionary works to prevent component failures and repairs.

·         The Committee expressed concern that rent arrears had increased following the implementation of universal credit. Advice and support was being provided to residents receiving universal credit.

·         The Committee noted concerns about vulnerable roughsleepers and emphasised the importance of support services for street homeless people, including mental health and addiction services. 

·         Following a query, it was advised that the council carried out tenancy checks on an annual basis.

 

The Committee thanked Councillor Ward for his attendance.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That progress to the end of Quarter 4 against key performance indicators falling within the remit of the Housing Scrutiny Committee be noted.