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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 044

Items
No. Item

132.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Lukes, Gallagher, Mackmurdie and Spall.

133.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

134.

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.

135.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Minutes:

Matters Arising:
A Member enquired if officers had received information from the Camden’s Commercial Manager regarding responsive repairs and the criteria assessment used to determine which works to be brought back in house had been received. The clerk to look into this issue.

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 31 October 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


 

136.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

 

The Chair welcomed members of the Housing Disability Panel to the meeting and in particular their contribution at future meetings.

The Chair reminded members of a number of forthcoming housing related events, details to be circulated to interested members, one of which is the Housing Construction event in Uxbridge on Friday where the Hackitt Review report will be discussed. 
 

The Chair informed the meeting that the breakdown of the communal heating systems in Brooke House, Redbrick House and Spa Green had been brought to his attention, however he welcomed the news from Council Officers that this had now been resolved. The Chair mentioned that the item will be on the agenda for consideration at a future meeting in 2020 when all contractual matters have been fully resolved.


137.

Order of Business

Minutes:

The order of business would be as per the agenda.

138.

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

139.

RSL Scrutiny : Islington Shoreditch Housing Association

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from Ruth Davison, Chief Executive, Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association about its work, challenges and future plans as a landlord in the borough.

The following points were highlighted:

·         Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) is committed to building homes of high quality where everyone irrespective of their background has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life. The meeting was informed that ISHA has developed many homes in the borough in partnership with developers and with Islington Council who, for example, recently provided a plot of land at the old Ashmount school site at a price which enabled ISHA to build 60 homes - 100 percent of which were social rent or shared ownership.

·         Meeting was informed that ISHA has been in operation within the borough since 1933 and has presently 616 homes built for social housing, with presence in other neighbouring authorities such as Camden, Hackney and Haringey and outer boroughs such as Waltham Forest. Meeting was informed that half of ISHA homes have been built in the last 20 years and it continues to look for opportunities to grow and to build more houses. ISHA’s Board is run by volunteers and  staff and contractors are paid the London Living wage.

·         Chief Executive informed members that in its pursuit to build and help others to build homes ISHA established the North River Alliance(NRA) 15 years ago, a development consortium of 11 small housing associations where both expertise and resources are  shared and has over the years delivered 3,500 homes.

·         Meeting was advised that ISHA continues to strive to be a good landlord, does not have starter tenancies; is committed to life tenancies; new homes and all re-lets are provided at social rents and importantly it does not carry out affordability checks for social rented homes. In addition, homes are built with great space and high environmental standards.

·         With regards to repairs and maintenance, ISHA endeavours to provide high quality service, however feedback from a recent STAR survey shows an overall satisfaction rate of just 60% which indicates that there is still room for improvement especially with its first time fixes. The Chief Executive assured members that ISHA is addressing this and that its analysis has recognised that although in general the service is good, there are issues of consistency and communication that need to be addressed.

·         Ruth Davison informed the meeting that in its pursuit of being a good landlord to its residents, training is provided to all staff on a range of issues, both staff and contractors are now being held accountable and in extreme cases contracts were terminated due to service failure. ISHA continues to invest in stock and repairs and have been able to set new standards, which was co-created with residents at ‘action days’.

·         On the consultations held at St Mary’s Path estate, Ruth Davison reminded members that on taking office, she made commitments that secure and assured tenants had the right to remain; that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 139.

140.

Effectiveness of Communications -12 month report back pdf icon PDF 231 KB

Minutes:

Paul Byer, Service Improvement and Involvement Manager updated Members on the progress of the recommendations in a report produced in May 2016 following the review undertaken by the Housing Scrutiny Committee on the effectiveness of Housing Services Communications.

In the discussion the following points were made -

·         On Recommendation 1, to agree a code of communications for the Council’s Housing Services, TMO’s and Partners for improvement and contractors, Paul Byer advised that although Partners is responsible for improving its own communications within its organisation, the Council has granted Partners access to the Council’s on-line Housing Library on the intranet which has Council guidance on documents such as Write First Time Toolkit, Writing Style Guidance, updated branding guidelines etc. In addition, TMO’s have been sent the council’s communications guidance and good practice information. 

·         With regards to Recommendation 2 & 7 which relates to improving complaints processes, the meeting was informed that a complaints improvement Action plan has been put in place to improve complaints handling in Property Services.  In addition, the Repairs Customer Service Team have also been provided training on handling and dealing with difficult phone calls and the quality checking system for complaints responses from the team has also been reviewed.

·         With regard to managing resident’s complex responsive repairs, a named manager will be in place to deal with these type of complaints. Meeting was also informed that a Property Services Complaints Resident Group has been set up. This is a forum for resident input into improving handling and improving how we learn from complaints. Changes have recently been made to the learning from complaints process within Property Services.  Repair Group Leaders now have more timely information about complaints linked to their service area to improve performance.

·         On Recommendation 4 and 6, making better use of communications, members were advised that protocol is in place with regards to the use of Electronic Notice Boards (ENB’s) especially as they are now used to support corporate, community information and localised messages. Residents views have been taken on board so ENB’s now display local information specific to their estate, job opportunities and training and community services for different groups.

·         In response to Recommendation 5 and 10 which addresses out of date information and broken links on the Council website, the manager informed members that the Service has been able to put in place a well-established process for residents and staff to report issues about the information on the website or being able to query information that needs clarification with the communication team being able to monitor it regularly, investigate and address any anomalies. In addition, the meeting was informed that since 2019, the communications team is now responsible for managing the content on the website and will be working more closely with services to review and improve their pages.

·         Members were reminded of the future legal requirement for content on the council website to be accessible to a wider range of people and those with disabilities such as blindness and low vision, deafness  ...  view the full minutes text for item 140.

141.

Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the work programme be noted.