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Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 75273044


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Before meeting commenced, a 2 minute silence was observed in relation to the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II who was buried the day before.


Apologies were received from Councillors Gilgunn and Spall.


Declaration of Substitute Members

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There were no declarations 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.



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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 262 KB

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That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2022 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Chair's Report

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The Chair welcomed the new Borough Fire Commander Karl Smith to the meeting to update Committee on what the Service is doing regarding fire safety in the borough.

The Chair informed the meeting that a recent training scheduled by the Fire Service which he attended briefly had to be terminated following the news of the death of HM Queen Elizabeth I, that a new date for the training is to be rescheduled, encouraging members to attend.

Cllr O’Halloran, the Executive Member for Homes and Communities updated the Committee in light of the ongoing energy crisis.

Meeting was informed that over 12% of council tenants and leaseholders presently receive their heating via communal heating system and pay a heat charge to the Council, while other residents with individual systems pay directly to their energy supplier.

The Executive Member stated that while the Council has over the years managed to get good wholesale prices for the gas for communal heating so as to heat homes cheaply, unfortunately due to the global energy crisis, markets prices have increased massively.

The Executive reiterated that the Council will do everything within its powers to protect residents from price rises.

Meeting was informed that it is important that Council makes all efforts to limit energy use, that at present dwellings receive over 18 hours of communal heating however there are plans to reduce this to 13hours per day, split across a morning and evening period. The council will be communicating with residents over the autumn about the arrangements for each individual estate as system vary.

In response to the Chair’s request for an update on Council’s plan on communal heating and in particular how it plans to limit energy use, the Corporate Director of Homes and Neighbourhood agreed that officers will bring a report/oral update to the Committee at the November meeting.


External Attendees (if any)

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Order of Business

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The order of business would be as per the agenda.


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.


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Fire Brigade -Verbal Update on Fire Safety by the Borough Commander pdf icon PDF 424 KB

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Committee received an update from Matt West, Islington’s Service Director , Housing Property Services and Karl Smith, Islington Borough Fire Commander on issues relating to fire safety within the council’s stock and other properties in the borough. The following points were highlighted

·       Members were advised of the Council’s strategy in preparation for the new/updated legislative framework following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

·       The meeting received an update on the Council’s Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) programme, including status of actions arising , fire safety works upgrade programmes and other relevant fire/building safety related matters.

·       The Fire Safety Regulations 2022 comes into law from 23 January 2023 which sets out new duties that External Wall (EW) construction will now be in scope of Fire Risk Assessment, provision of information on EW construction to Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), doors between dwellings and common parts explicitly ‘in scope’ , annual inspection of flat front entrance doors in blocks 11m+( 5 storey) etc.

·       The Council has 86 buildings within its portfolio which are considered within scope as HRRB’s (High Risk Residential Buildings) including 17 Tenant Management Organisations (TMO) buildings. Members were reminded that the first BSA (Building Safety Act) places a duty on Council in relation to existing HRRB to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator between April and October 2023.

·       Meeting was advised that since the last update to committee, a total of 390 Fire Risk Assessments have been carried out on the Council’s housing stock.

·       Homes and Neighbourhoods have worked closely with residents to increase awareness of the importance of keeping communal areas free of hazards.

·       The Council received notification from the London Fire Brigade that Council had satisfied the requirements of the Enforcement Notice that was served in respect of Godfrey House in June 2021.

·       In addition to the above, the Council received 3 notifications of Fire Safety Deficiencies in the current financial year and that progress against any enforcement action is being monitored via the Council’s Homes and Estates Safety Board to ensure that all issues are effectively tracked to completion.

·       On the issue of fire door replacement, the Service Director acknowledged the difficulty of convincing some residents not keen on having doors being replaced, noting that things will improve when the new legislation comes into force.

·       In response to concerns that some floors in older high rise dwelling blocks do not have fire exits, the Service Director assured the meeting that risk assessment is carried out on all building, however he agreed to undertake a site visit and report the outcome to the Chair if details are sent to him after the meeting.

·       With regards to alleviating the cost of the doors being replaced on leaseholders, meeting was advised that options will be offered to leaseholders.

·       Meeting was advised that any incidents of BBQ held on balconies of flats should be brought to the attention of relevant departments so that it can be quickly addressed.

·       In response to a question on whether the Fire Brigade undertakes safety checks  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Main Scrutiny Review - Strategic Review of Overcrowding in Islington ( Witness Evidence) pdf icon PDF 360 KB

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Committee received evidence from Fiona Mogre and Serdar Celebi of the Islington Law Centre highlighting a number of cases to demonstrate the severity of overcrowding which the Centre supports. The following points were raised:


·       Islington Law Centre provides a range of advice and assistance to Islington residents regarding their housing needs and runs two outreach projects in partnership with Islington Council to provide accessible housing advice to residents.

·       A significant number of enquiries relate to residents seeking to be moved to more appropriate accommodation due to overcrowding.

·       Islington Council uses a choice based letting scheme, with points awarded to residents based upon their circumstances which is in line with the Council’s Housing Allocation Scheme.

·       Most Islington residents do not meet the average threshold of points to successfully bid for a larger property and experience shows that residents living in severally overcrowded conditions are highly unlikely to successfully bid for size appropriate accommodation

·       Allocation schemes are required under the Housing Act 1996 to be framed to secure that reasonable preference is given to overcrowded households.

·       Members were advised that households that experience opposite sex type of overcrowding only acquire 10points.

·       Evidence shows that overcrowding alone is unlikely to result in the tenant having sufficient points to be able to bid for and move to larger accommodation.

·       At present Council literature states that to bid for 2 bedroom a tenant will require 226 points, 252 points for a 3 bedroom and 289 points for a 4 bedroom.

·       In the 2 typical overcrowding cases shared with Committee, it was noted the difficulty for tenants bidding for a suitably sized property, given that more points were required, for instance in the case of a secure tenant living with his wife and 3 children in a 1 bedroom property with 190 points, they would require 252 points.

·       Meeting was advised that additional points would be required to improve the chances of bidding by tenants like medical problem, a welfare/social issue/a disrepair /decant issues, harassment/ASB from a neighbour.

·       In most cases handled by the Law centre, tenants rarely have additional issues that will attract additional points besides overcrowding concerns, so little prospect of them moving on to bigger and suitable accommodation.

·       It was noted that lack of available larger properties especially 4 plus bedrooms remains a big issue, that there is a recognition the need for more joined up working between Housing Options, Social services and the Disrepair team. Members were advised that even if medical and welfare points are awarded, larger households with disabled members seeking to move to more size appropriate accommodation it is virtually impossible to obtain rehousing through the Housing Allocation Scheme.

·       The availability of larger properties is very much limited and highly sought after leaving families stuck in unsuitable and severally overcrowded conditions indefinitely.

·       Condensation in severally overcrowded accommodation is common, however recognised with an award of welfare points only after the Centre intervenes on behalf of their clients as most times when tenants complain about condensation they are sometimes wrongly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Quarterly Review of Housing Performance ( Q 1 2022/23) pdf icon PDF 680 KB

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Councillor Una O’Halloran, Executive Member of Homes and Communities and Maxine Holdsworth, Corporate Director of Homes and Neighbourhood was present and outlined the report. The following points were highlighted:

·       In response to the high number of people sleeping rough when compared to Q1 last year , the Corporate Director acknowledged that 10 out of the 14 people sleeping rough on the streets of Islington had no connection to Islington but were from neighbouring authorities, however the Council is working to address this issue.

·       On the breakdown details of people sleeping rough in the borough in terms of demographics, the Corporate Director advised that details will be circulated to committee members after meeting.

·       On the number of sales of affordable homes being sold by Housing Associations, the Director acknowledged that information collated by the Housing Regulator can be provided to members in due course.

·       With regards to fixed first time repairs, the Corporate Director acknowledged that although the reported target is lower, it is still above the annual target of 85% for 2022/23. Members were reminded about the reintegration of the properties managed by Partners into the Council housing stock and that future reporting of repairs will show an improvement.

·       In response to a question on whether the repairs could be linked to certain areas of the borough or particular type of buildings, the Corporate Director stated that there was no evidence to that effect.  There are some notable areas in the borough that experience damp and condensation.

The Chair thanked Maxine Holdsworth for her many years of dedicated service to the Council and in particular her support of the Housing Scrutiny Committee, requesting her to share her observations or views with committee of any areas that members should focus on.

In response the Corporate Director thanked present and past membership of the Committee for ensuring that she was kept abreast of housing issues, welcoming the ‘critical friendly’ nature of the committee as it undertook its review of the Service and reminding members to keep listening to its residents, welcoming how the Council has tackled homelessness, its creative work regarding refugee and importantly its aim to address climate emergency , all initiatives which are commendable.


1.    That data on the demographics of rough sleepers be circulated to Members

2.    That information regarding sale of homes especially by Housing Associations be provided.

3.    That the report be noted


Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

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That the work programme be noted