Venue: Committee Room 4, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions
Contact: Ola Adeoye 020 7527 044
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Councillor Gallagher.
Declaration of Substitute Members
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.
There were no declarations of interest.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2019 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.
The Chair informed the meeting
that Partners Improvement will be attending the meeting of 3 March,
an opportunity for members to review performances of Partners in
the last year.
Order of Business
The order of business would be B2, B1,B3 and B4.
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.
Karen Lucas, Director Housing
Needs and Strategy provided members with a brief background on the
mini review carried out about Homelessness and Rough Sleeping in
the borough. In addition a presentation
highlighting the scope of the review, its findings and concerns was
The following issues were
highlighted and discussed.
Members were reminded of their
visits and meeting staff of Streets Kitchen, Solace, St
Mungo’s, Glasshouse temporary shelter, Now Medical, the
Streets Festival and Jubaa Somalia organisation. Also the Chair
attended a seminar on homelessness and the committee had received a
presentation from Islington Law Centre.
Members were informed of strong
partnership working across the public sector and the voluntary
sector; Leadership officers attending Strategic Housing meetings
across the North London sub-region and the pan London Councils
meetings, all with a view to alleviating homelessness.
Data provided shows that in
2017/18, 2,504 households approached the Council’s Housing
Team for advice and the reasons provided vary from family
breakdown, domestic abuse and loss of private sector accommodation.
In addition other reasons for seeking assistance included residents
having children or expecting a child as a common category of
priority need each year, making up 78% of all households accepted
With regards to placing
households in temporary accommodation, members were informed that
although largely stable across London, it is noticeable that this
has been on the increase in the last two years.
Members were informed that
despite market challenges, the Council continues to experience
reductions in out of borough placements, which indicates that a
significant proportion of homeless households were still able to
retain their social, family, educational and employment
The meeting was informed of
concerns raised Director highlighted concerns raised by voluntary
organisations such as Solace and Islington Law Centre. This
included vulnerable women finding it difficult to access services
and the Council’s continued reliance on the services of its
commissioned medical advice service for assessing applications for
social housing applications. Other concerns raised was what role in
particular do Housing Associations play with regards to preventing
homelessness especially as they manage over 14,500 residents.
A copy of the draft recommendations was circulated at the meeting for consideration. The Chair informed ... view the full minutes text for item 149.
2019/2020 Mini Scrutiny Review ( Private Rented Sector) - Presentation and witness evidence ( To Follow)
Members received a presentation
from both Janice Gibbons, Service Manager (Environmental Health)
and Karen Lucas (Director Housing Needs and Strategy) on the
Private Rented Sector. A copy of both presentations is interleaved
with the agenda.
· Islington presently has over 25,217 privately rented properties which represents 27% of the total housing stock. It is noticeable that since 2011 that the private sector is experiencing the highest level of growth across all housing sectors.
· Members were advised that in light of the shortage in social rented housing, properties in private accommodation attract rents of about £1752 rent per month and this remains a challenge especially for young private renters as this represents about 34% of their income.
· The Council through Housing Services provides help and support for people who live in privately rented properties, signposting residents to accredited private landlords and liaises with landlords who provide temporary accommodation for people designated as homeless.
· Other support includes a phone advice service, a drop in service at 222 Upper Street, funding organisations like the Citizen Advice Bureau which is located at 222 Upper Street and Islington Law centre. The Council offers monthly outreach surgeries for hard to reach communities in children centres, community centres, Finsbury Park Mosque and Job centres
· Members were informed of the importance of the Trailblazer programme, the Early Homelessness Prevention Service in alleviating homelessness.
· Meeting was informed that information such as Landlord Accreditation schemes; complaints procedure and a London rents map showing average rents is published on the council website.
· Meeting was informed that staff are trained in negotiation skills when issues arise with landlords to resolve issues with their tenants.
· With regard to Landlords forum, the Director acknowledged that in recent year the noticeable drop in attendance the Service will be looking at ways of raising its profile as it recognises their value and contribution in alleviating homelessness. Similarly the Council is keen to hear the views of private sector tenants about the advice and support available to them.
· Figures provided show that of the 2,488 clients that sought advice from CAB, only 8% were identified as private sector clients. The Director acknowledged that more work will be required in this area as it is obvious that private renters were not accessing this valuable resource.
· Members were advised that as many residents were unlikely to be offered social housing, the private sector remains the only option to help prevent homelessness.
· Islington Lettings and Islington Residential, the two letting schemes run by the Council, work in partnership with approximately 15 private sector landlords across London. The council pays the landlord either an incentive fee or a rent deposit fee. Most of the landlords offer a minimum tenancy term of 12 months with some exceptions of up to 2 years.
· In response to a question about rents being charged for residents placed in private accommodation by the Council, Members were advised that market rates are being charged.
· The Director advised ... view the full minutes text for item 150.
Councillor Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, introduced the quarterly performance report.
The following main points were
noted in the discussion:
The Executive Member informed the meeting that in
the last quarter the number of affordable homes built had fallen
Performance with repairs continues to improve, from
85.4% at the end of the previous quarter to 87.0% at the end of
this quarter. The Executive Member acknowledged that issues with
the dashboard remain and are IT related.
Rent arrears continues to increase and below the
profiled target for the point in the year. This is driven by the
continued roll-out of Universal Credit
in the borough.
With regard to street homelessness, members were
informed that 60 people were supported into accommodation in
comparison to 8 in the previous year and this was due to a myriad
of factors, in particular the austerity measures introduced by the
The Executive Member advised members that the
Council would no longer be using the services of Now Medical in
assessing housing applications.
In response to a request that ward councillors be
kept to date on changes in personnel within Housing Area offices,
the Director Housing Needs acknowledged that although the
restructuring is still ongoing, the Service will ensure that Councillors receive an updated
contact details of personnel when in post.
That the work programme be noted.