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Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 3044


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillors Spall and O’Sullivan.


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 272 KB

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That the minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2023 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 informed the meeting that officers are presently scheduling site visit to observe the void process for members , an opportunity for a better understanding of the current review into overcrowding with the Council’s housing stock.


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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Public questions under relevant item.


External Attendees (if any)

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Major Scrutiny Review: Strategic Review of Overcrowding in Islington- Planning department pdf icon PDF 148 KB

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Meeting received a presentation from Karen Sullivan, Director of Planning and Development. The following points were highlighted :



       Planning permission has been secured for 1,112 genuinely affordable homes across four sites i.e. Holloway Prison, Barnsbury Estate, Vorley Road and Mount Pleasant.  This includes 896 homes for social rent (including 60 extra care homes) and 216 homes for shared ownership.  

       291 new homes for social rent will replace homes demolished on the Barnbury Estate and provide better quality homes for the local residents and address overcrowding across the Estate.

       Following negotiations with developers, 55 homes for social rent will now be delivered on the Mount Pleasant site.  This is a significant achievement considering that the previous planning permission did not secure any homes for social rent (all consented at ‘affordable rent’).

       The Director acknowledged that construction on the Parkhurst Road site (TRA site) is also underway, delivering 50% affordable housing including 41 homes for social rent, noting that the former landowners originally proposed zero affordable housing.This  achievement followed a landmark legal case setting national affordable housing policy.  

       In addition to CIL and s106 payments, the meeting was advised of the significance of small sites and off-site contributions for affordable housing. The Council has secured  nearly £50m,  which  will be allocated to the New Build team to build genuinely affordable homes. Members were reminded that small site contributions are not subject to the same restrictions that apply when the Council receives grant to build homes, which is to be welcomed.

       In terms of annual targets, the meeting was advised that 775 new homes per year are to be built in the borough., This target is based on a very detailed and rigorous analysis of site availability and when sites are likely to come forward.

       Aim of the Council is to ensure that at least 50% of new homes are to be genuinely affordable (70% social rent and 30% intermediate i.e. London Living Rent or shared ownership). 

       The Director acknowledged that concerns exist on the affordability of the  shared ownership tenure, noting that no  shared ownership housing is planned for the Barnsbury Estate.

       It is important to note that Islington’s Local Plan and policies on affordable housing exceed London Plan policies with regards to the provision of affordable housing. A very careful balancing act is required between providing good quality homes versus quantity of homes. The Council has exacting planning policies which provide guidance on space standards and the size of new homes (number of bedrooms). Members were advised that officers in Planning and Development are involved in detailed negotiations with colleagues in Housing Needs on each site to ensure that the size of the new homes reflects ward level demand. 

       The Director stated that the borough is already densely developed with low levels of developable land and that any developable sites tend to be constrained.

       The Council’s planning policies place great weight on the quality of life (amenity) for future residents  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


Overcrowding and Housing Allocations pdf icon PDF 460 KB

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Committee considered a further update on the Overcrowding and Housing Allocations by Islington’s Director Housing Needs and Strategy and the following points were highlighted:


·       15,402 households are presently registered on the Council’s Housing list, that it is anticipated that by September 2023 it will exceed 16,000.

·       Of the 15,402 households, 2,902 are currently in overcrowded accommodation, 4 of which meet the criteria for statutory overcrowding, 551 are severely overcrowded and the remainder are in moderate overcrowding.

·       Meeting was advised that currently 976 homeless households have been placed in temporary accommodation provided by Islington Council.

·       The levels of overcrowding have appeared to rise markedly since the beginning of the covid 19 pandemic, or perhaps more accurately, the numbers of overcrowded households who have decided to register for a social housing move have risen.

·       Cost of living issues and the broader housing crisis are likely to also impact on this issue. The availability of homes at the more affordable end of the private sector is reducing significantly in the last 2 years and reports show that the homes available are up to 17% more expensive. In this context it is likely some households on benefits or low incomes will rent smaller homes that they can afford within local housing allowance levels and this will contribute to rising overcrowding levels.

·       Meeting was advised that currently under-occupying and applicants on the Housing Register are awarded the highest priority for a transfer as an incentive for them to give up large properties and they have to bid for properties of their preferred choice. Successful bids are based on the date they have registered. Significant individual support is required to assist under occupiers to bid. There are currently over 676 under occupying tenants registered for a move.

·       Meeting was advised that there are more under-occupiers in the stock who are not registered for housing and who may be reluctant to consider a move, that work is underway to identify these residents and through the Housing Management Services area teams and through a variety of publicity and campaigns.

·       Meeting was advised that the number of social housings lets has declined year on year, that in 2021/2022 only 1022council and housing association homes were let through the register.

·       The Director reminded the meeting that Covid 19 undoubtedly impacted on the number of social homes that were relet and delayed some new build schemes, however it is unlikely any significant increase in social lettings will be seen in 2023.

·       On Committee’s request for officers to consider options in addressing overcrowding withinthe council housing stock there is focused work underway through the Rightsizing and Under-Occupation work which aims to address levels of under occupation in the council stock and by association support the response to overcrowding.

·       Meeting was reminded that the Draft Housing Allocation scheme was out for public consultation which closed on 17 March, that less than 9% of Partner residents objected and 75% of residents welcomed the proposed changes to the scheme.

·       The Director reiterated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Fibre Broadband Roll out programme - report pdf icon PDF 137 KB

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Committee considered a report on the Fibre Broadband Rollout programme by Islington’s Director Housing Needs and Strategy and the following points were highlighted:

·       Members were reminded that committee will be receiving an update every 6 months on the progress of the fibre broadband rollout.

·       Meeting was advised of some significant progress, that connections to households has commenced and survey has been carried out on 5000 properties.

·       The Director advised of a recent press release from one of the providers regarding the fibre broadband connections to community centres which is good news as it addresses accessibility concerns for vulnerable residents.

·       On the lack of timelines for rollout, the Director advised that the Council had no control over the providers on its rollout programme, that council can only cajole and encourage them to provide the service, that the Council is hopeful that over the next 3 years over 90% of the programme will be rolled out.

·       On the question posed by a leaseholder that Islington has been not been proactive with the result that it has created a digital divide with only 400 public owned properties being connected in comparison to the 55,000 properties in the private sector, the Director reiterated that Islington has a Master way Leave which it negotiates with the 2 providers aimed at protecting Islington assets in terms of future maintenance , safety , building regulation etc, reiterating that Council cannot enforce it on any provider who have voluntarily signed it.

·       The Chair noted that this programme will be kept on review stating that this issue was beyond the control of Islington Council. The Chair welcomed any further communication on this issue with the leaseholder to be copied into him. 


That an update be provided on the progress of the fibre broadband rollout  in the next 6 months.



Draft overcrowding questionnaires to partners of Islington Council and to residents on the housing register who are living in overcrowded conditions. pdf icon PDF 575 KB

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Committee considered the draft questionnaire document which will be circulated to partners of Islington Council and households who live in overcrowded conditions and on housing register seeking alternative accommodation.

Members were invited to comment on the proposed questionnaires before they are issued to partners and residents.


That members comment on the proposed questionnaires


Social Housing (Regulation) Bill pdf icon PDF 586 KB

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Islington’s Director Housing Needs and Strategy updated the meeting on the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill and the following points were highlighted:


·       The Social Housing (Regulation) Bill has been introduced to ensure the council is publicly accountable, honest, and transparent when improving the quality of services to tenants across Islington.

·       The Bill has been making its way through the parliamentary process, introduced into the House of Lords in June and received its third reading at the end of October. It is now being considered by the Commons before receiving Royal Assent.

·       The Bill, trailed in the Social Housing White Paper in 2020, has two very notable focus areas, fundamental reform to the remit and powers of the Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) – from reactive to proactive regulation; and a focus on Health and Safety matters including tenant empowerment.

·       Health and safety regulation for social housing is broadly contained within the ‘consumer standards’, these apply to Islington Council in the same manner as Housing Associations – there won't be any special treatment.

·       The new approach to proactive regulation will require upfront information from landlords which the Regulator will likely assess against the new tenant satisfaction reports to corroborate the landlord's evidence. Members were reminded that committee received a report on Tenancy Satisfaction Measures at the 2nd of February 2023, meeting.

·       In response to a question, the Director advised that Housing Associations have a head start on Islington Council in more proactive regulatory style, as Islington Council have not been subject to In Depth Assessments (IDAs) as well as being organisations which are more concentrated and specialised on delivery of social housing. 

·       On what the Council is doing to support housing associations tenants, the Director advised that a meeting has been arranged for resident to meet the Chief Executive of the Housing Ombudsman on 30 March at 1pm in the Town hall which has been publicised in rent statements and leaflets. Also the chief Executive of the 5 Housing Associations will be at the next meeting in May, an opportunity for members to scrutinise their performance on different issues.

·       The Director acknowledged that Islington’s Satisfaction measure which were carried out by an independent company has shown an increase from 60% last year to 72%, noting that there is room for improvement going forward.

That the report be noted.



Tenant Charters Report pdf icon PDF 426 KB

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Islington’s Director Housing Needs and Strategy updated the meeting on its Tenant Charters Report and the following points were highlighted:

·       Meeting was advised that this is the final version having been considered at 2 previous earlier meetings, that the charter will be piloted during 2023 and reviewed during 2023/24 with all 26,000 tenants of Islington Council.

·       The Tenants Charter is focused on strengthening the relationship between residents and Islington Council and embodies all the great work happening across Islington to create positive relationships with residents. It also challenges Islington Council to go further – presenting an opportunity for us to take the lead in accountability and customer oversight.

·       By adopting a 10 point charter some of which include, Islington Council committing to develop a stronger relationships which will be based on openness, honesty, and transparency. The Council will build a stronger two-way relationship so as to build a fairer and more resident focused housing service.

·       The charter also focusses on delivering excellent customer services and experiences – We will be easy to deal with and resolve your enquiries and keep to our promises. We will strive to continuously improve our services and will be fair, inclusive and value diversity.

·       The charter solely focusses on Islington council tenants only , that the private rented  sector charter is out for public consultation and will be brought back to committee for consideration after the end of the period.

·       On the involvement of young people, the Director advised that a Training Academy has been set up for young people and in particular looked after children, that currently the service involves 3 young people who work alongside colleagues in Housing accommodation and advice. In addition the service works in conjunction with colleagues in the Children Services.

·       In addition to the above the charter will promote effective communication so that residents will receive clear, accessible, and timely information from Islington Council on the issues that matter to them, including important information about their homes and local community, how Islington Council is working to address problems in their area, and information about performance on key issues and Tenant Satisfaction Measures. The Council will also inform residents on what has been done with feedback received, suggestions for improving services and lessons from complaints.

That the report be noted.




Damp and Mould pdf icon PDF 560 KB

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Committee received an officers update on Islington Council’s plan to address Damp and Mould from Islington’s Director Housing Needs and Strategy and the following points were highlighted:

·       Meeting was advised of the progress made to date on the damp, condensation and mould programme that was established in November 2022.

·       Going forward, the Council now encourages its tenants to raise concerns working alongside a proactive staff. Residents are now shown how to identify and report these issues, what steps the Council will and can take when reported and when tasks will be completed.

·       The Council is learning from complaints and resident feedback which will help to improve its performances especially in instances where damp and mould reappear and not appropriately resolved. Islington Council will now have a rolling process to review complaints, assess what went wrong and as a result make changes where needed to policies, procedures and staff behaviour.

·       In 2022/2023, the Council also engaged in wider resident and partnership activity which has resulted in creating a Tenants Charter and Tenant empowerment framework, private rented sector charter.

·       In the final quarter of 2022, the council conducted 22 community drop-in sessions across Islington to discuss with residents a number of issues such as cost of living crisis, damp and mould etc.

·       The Director highlighted a number of cases of maladministration considered by the Housing Ombudsman in the report noting the various actions taken by the Council which included compensation being paid.

·       Meeting was informed of the 5 point plan to address the damp, condensation and mould issues which includes reviewing all damp and mould cases from the last three years; investing an extra £1m every year specifically for a new damp and mould action team; training non-specialist staff to be able to identify damp and mould when visiting homes; managing a dedicated line for calls from council tenants and working closely with other local partner agencies to provide joined-up help and support to residents.

·       In addition to the above, the Director stated that a framework has been designed in collaboration with partnership services setting out the Council’s approach to damp condensation and mould and communicating and its zero tolerance approach to interventions. The framework sets out three categories to respond to this approach, urgent which would receive an immediate response, tenancy and property audit which will involve proactive interventions and every visit counts which is a comprehensive approach.

·       The Director reiterated the Meet the Housing Ombudsman 30th March 2023 to be held in the Council Chamber, an opportunity to allow the Housing Ombudsman to explain to the tenants of Islington Council the work of the Ombudsman, noting that Islington Council is the first London Council to participate in this work.

·       In terms of monitoring and KPI’s, the Director noted that although this is a complex and broad programme, officers are working on KPI’s going forward noting that the Service is looking at two levels of measure, the first being an ongoing measurement of success that goes well beyond the current  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

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The Chair reminded meeting that 5 Housing Associations representatives were expected to attend this meeting but due to the packed agenda, item has been deferred to the next meeting on 8 May 2023


That the work programme be noted.
that the Committee will be inviting 5 Housing Associations to the meeting in May