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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD - Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 044

Items
No. Item

102.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Gallagher and co-optee Rose McDonald.

103.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

104.

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.

105.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

106.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair informed the meeting that the two previous reviews carried out in the last municipal year will be finalised and signed off by email to members in the next two weeks.

Councillor O’Sullivan informed the meeting that having recently joined and attended a meeting of the London Housing Consortium Board, he would be interested in knowing why despite the Board having a wealth of information on contract and procurement, the Council was not taking advantage of its membership.  

107.

Order of Business

Minutes:

The order of business would be B2 and B1.

108.

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

109.

Main Review- Draft Scrutiny Initiation Document ( Major Works ) pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Minutes:

Simon Kwong, the Director of Property Services presented the Scrutiny Initiation Document (SID) on the review into Major Works carried out in Council Housing. The following points were noted:

·         Members were advised that the review will examine who determines what major works are required, the robustness of construction contracts and schedules of rates; options available to deliver major work projects and the relationship between major and small contractors.

·         The Director of Property Services advised that the review would provide members an opportunity to consider the benefits and disadvantages of the different major works delivery models; how the construction industry operates and the supervision of major contractors.

·         Members will receive a presentation about the Council’s major works programme and oral evidence from possibly two other London boroughs and a construction expert will be giving evidence.

·         A suggestion to include an additional objective was agreed, that the review will focus on achieving quality and value for money was noted.

·         In response to concerns of inviting local contractors and housing associations to participate in the review, Members were reminded that for the Committee to produce a balanced report, views of all stakeholders should be taken on board.  The meeting was informed that considering a housing association is invited to committee to present their performances and work programme,  members will have an opportunity to enquire about how their major works programme is managed.

·         The Chair outlined key principles which should be incorporated into the scrutiny of the Council’s major works. These include,  that the primary focus should be on desired outputs and results; the need to balance quality and cost; transactions to be carried out in an efficient manner; all options in determining the most appropriate solution to be considered; the use of competition to obtain best value; that the procurement processes follow the organisation’s polices and priorities; essential to comply with legislation and regulatory requirements and the need for decisions to be transparent and accountable.

·         The Chair reminded the Director of Property Services of the documentary evidence such as a sample of the contracts and the department’s organisational chart from his officers as it was essential for the review exercise.

·         With regards to promoting an inclusive economy, it was suggested that the committee should consider the Preston as a model local authority which has been cited as ensuring that money is kept within its local economy. The meeting was informed of a similar experience possibly in Sheffield and hoped that lessons could be shared. Members agreed that the issue of apprentices should be taken on board while carrying out the review.

·         Members agreed that although the council does carry out due diligence on most of the major works that are carried out by contractors, it is essential that robust monitoring should be in place and continuous throughout all the stages of the major works and possible penalties to be introduced.

·         The Chair requested that the document titled ‘ Procurement and Project Management be circulated to members and officers for information purposes.

·         The Director  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.

110.

Mini Review - Draft Scrutiny Initiation Document( Private Rented Sector) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Minutes:

Jan Hart, Service Director Public Protection presented the Scrutiny Initiation Document (SID) on the review into the Private Rented Sector. The following points were noted:

·         The review into the private rented sector would involve both Housing and Environment & Regeneration departments. Members would be able to consider how housing especially in the private sector has evolved over the years; the relevant Housing Act; the regulation and powers available for local authorities and also identify areas for improvement.

·         In addition, members would consider the role of the private sector in meeting housing needs and how the council supports tenants in private rented housing.

·         A request that objective 5 as stated in the SID be amended,, that it should read - Examine the impact of the right to rent on access to the Private Rented Sector, the discrimination it causes, the council’s role and ability to combat that discrimination in line with the public sector equality duty.

·         Members agreed that in terms of witnesses, the SID should explicitly state that this is not an exhaustive list so as to avoid any form of ambiguity on witnesses that will be invited.

·         The Chair informed Members that although the review exercise into the private rented sector would not be commencing till later in the year or early 2020, any suggestions or amendments to the SID could still be received or emailed to him.

·         In response to a request to include private renters as witnesses, the meeting was advised that although there is a reluctance to give evidence for fear of retribution from landlords, officers had been in a previous review been able to set up a mechanism which ensured that evidence obtained from private renters was anonymised.

·         Members were advised that a register of all prosecuted landlords is available which is shared locally and nationally to ensure that local authorities do not place tenants with rogue landlords. Members were reminded that Islington Council had over the years been successful in prosecuting landlords who had been found to have fallen short in terms of the quality of accommodation provided.

·         With regard to the issue of leaseholders subletting their flats in Council housing estates and its legality, the meeting was advised that this was possible if their mortgage permits it. On the question of whether the council had a list of leaseholders in council estates and especially those that had been rented, the meeting was advised that this would be provided as background information.

RESOLVED

1.    That the Scrutiny Initiation Document be agreed.

2.    That the mini scrutiny review into the private rented sector will commence later in the municipal year.

 

111.

Work Programme 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the work programme be noted