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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Ola Adeoye  020 7527 3044


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillor Spall and Co-Optee Rose McDonald.


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 249 KB

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That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 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 on behalf of the Committee expressed their thanks to Maxine Holdsworth, Islington’s Corporate Director of Homes and Neighbourhood for her 17 years service to the Council and in particular her support of the Housing Scrutiny Committee, wishing her well in her new position as the Chief Executive of the Kensington and Chelsea Council.


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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Main Scrutiny Review - Strategic Review of Overcrowding in Islington - To agree Scrutiny Initiation Document and receive presentations pdf icon PDF 183 KB

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Ian Swift, the Director of Housing Needs presented the Scrutiny Initiation Document, copy interleaved and the Committee received 2 presentations regarding Overcrowding in Islington and the following issues were highlighted:

The Director advised that following Committee decision to review overcrowding in Islington, a draft Scrutiny Initiation Document has been produced with details on how the exercise will be carried out.

Members were advised of the scope of the review, that the review involves taking evidence from external organisations and analysing data to help understand the scale of overcrowding in the borough and the impacts of overcrowding on residents health, education attainment, well-being, housing conditions, safety and the wider impact on the community. Evidence will be taken from different stakeholders such as Islington officers, RSL, statutory agencies such as Children Service’s tenants, Adult Services, Health Agencies etc.

Ramesh Logeswaran, Head of Housing Needs gave a presentation and the following points were highlighted:

·       Overcrowding is categorised as a household needing one additional bedroom and severe overcrowding is when a household requires two or more additional bedrooms.

·       Overcrowding needs to be tackled as it is associated with increased physical and mental health problems, poorer educational achievement by children, increased risk of infectious or respiratory diseases, increased risk of accidents and fires, reduced stature in children. It is also evident that poor diet and nutrition is higher in people living in overcrowded conditions which can have an impact on family life and relationships which in some instances lead to family breakdown and increased social tensions with neighbours.

·       Overcrowding may be as a result of a number of factors including  family size growth with additional children, other wider family members joining the existing household, guardianship orders and foster arrangements etc

·       Housing Needs supports families in overcrowded households, providing advice on mutual exchanges as one of the best ways for tenants to alleviate their overcrowding irrespective of housing points awarded. Advice is provided on how to prevent damp and mould formation as well as support to rent storage space from the council and to manage energy costs.

·       For severely overcrowded tenants, the service can arrange for the provision of space saving furniture to alleviate the effects of severe overcrowding, undertake home visits with tenants to signpost tenants to other services e.g. Social Care, Bright Spark, SHINE, Property Services (re repairs).

·       Advice is also provided on bidding, local letting schemes and mutual exchanges

·       The Service supports downsizers to move to create voids, in particular offer personalised service to support tenants who are typically vulnerable through the process of downsizing. This generally comprises advanced identification of properties and joint viewings with tenants.

·       To promote downsizing, there is also support with financial incentives for each room ‘released’, support to access a a decoration allowance, moving support, utilities re-connections etc.

·       Mutual exchanges is a great way for residents to downsize, thereby releasing their larger home for a larger household. Housing Needs support tenants who wish to exchange properties with another social housing tenant and this is a joint exercise between  ...  view the full minutes text for item 364.


Housing Repairs - Officer update pdf icon PDF 339 KB

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Matt West, Director Housing Property Services gave a presentation, copy interleaved on the repairs carried out on the Council Housing stock. The following issues were highlighted:

·   Repairs of Council owned properties include plumbing, electrical, gas and carpentry which are completed within either 2 hours, 24 Hours or 20 Working Days.

·    The majority of repairs are carried out in house, the council employs 160 direct operatives and 32 contractors? to carry out the repairs with over 75,000 repairs completed every year (more in 2021-22)?.

·    The Service is primarily focused on customer service and resident safety.?

·    In terms of performance targets , meeting was advised that although first time fixes for the 2022/23 financial year is lower comparable to the 2021/22 however it is still on target.

·    It was noted that Repairs is dependent on the call handling personnel and it is noticeable that performance for the 2022/23 year is on target.

·    On the issue of resident satisfaction about repairs undertaken. feedback from residents, compiled by an independent company shows that the Service is on target.

·    The 3 main priorities of the Service are providing best experience for residents, creating opportunities for residents and improving diversity and better communication

·   On the issue of providing best experience for residents, the meeting was advised that the Service recently undertook mystery shopping exercise which identified a number of learning, such as sharing complaints with resident's panel? and also providing better communications to residents and councillors especially during large repair incidents?

·    In terms of creating opportunities for residents and improving diversity?, meeting was advised that Improvers Role has been created and the Service is using Housing Ambassadors Programme and local initiatives to increase representation within the work force.? In addition to this the Service is offering work experience, apprenticeships and training to not only Islington residents.

·    Meeting was advised that there is scope for better communication on all aspects of repairs, with the online translation service called ‘big word’ and also the Service has introduced the  ‘what next card’ for repair operators when work is uncompleted and requires a follow on.

·    In terms of operations, the Director updated the meeting that recently following the Ombudsman Damp Report?, that a programme of work is to be commissioned over the summer to compare report recommendations to current process?, that there are plans to pilot of an app, Localz to improve the resident experience which is to be rolled out Autumn 22.

·    In terms of Insourcing?, meeting was informed Set up voids team and PFI2 team in 2022?.Working with estate champions to provide opportunities to feedback on service?

·    Fire Safety is of huge concern, that there are lots of new responsibilities, that a new team for compliance has been established and the Service has started pilot of door checks.?

·    Meeting was informed that in light of the new Housing Regulator, the Service is working as part of large Service Improvement Programme to ensure that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 365.


Housing Scrutiny Committee - Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

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That the work programme be noted