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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillors Gilgunn, Graham and O’Sullivan. Also apologies from Rose Marie McDonald, Co-Optee.


Declaration of Substitute Members

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Councillor Mackmurdie substituted for Councillor Graham.


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 280 KB

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That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 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 meeting that since the last meeting he met Resident groups and representatives of Notting Hill Housing noting that there are areas for communication improvement. He also met Southern Housing leaseholders on the ongoing issues of cladding and its impact. 


External Attendees (if any)

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Order of Business

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The order of business would be B1,B3,B4,B2, B5 and B6.


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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Major Scrutiny Review 2023/24: New Build Homes-Officer presentation and witness evidence pdf icon PDF 6 MB

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Committee received a presentation on New Build Homes from Stephen Nash and Alistair Gale, Head of Strategic Development & Delivery and Head of Programming Design & Customer Care. The following points were highlighted:


·       There is a housing crisis with a desperate shortage of genuinely affordable homes with over 15,700 registered on Islington’s housing waiting list.

·       At present under 3,000 Islington households live in overcrowded accommodation of which over 500 are severely overcrowded households.

·       Homelessness is on the rise and temporary accommodation availability is declining.

·       Meeting was advised that 146 applicants on the housing register require wheelchair accessible accommodation.

·       In 2008 Islington Council became one of the first local authorities to start building new council housing again for 25 years, following a period which it had been forced sell off housing stock through the Right To Buy scheme.

·       Islington remains one of the smallest and most densely populated boroughs in London, that much of the borough is already built up, resulting in a scarcity of land for new housing.

·       The lack of land supply and high property values in Islington has driven the council to look for opportunities to build new homes on land it already owns. Most of the completed and under construction new housing projects consist of building new homes alongside existing homes on council-owned estates.

·       It was noted that ‘infill’ projects are often on constrained sites that require carefully considered design and well managed construction which tends to result in higher construction and development costs.

·       Members were advised that with every project, the new build team aims to build as many new council homes as possible; improve communal areas, improve facilities and landscaping; making sure the new homes and any improvements made meet the residents’ needs on the estate.

·       In addition to the above, other aims of the new build team is to ensure  that there will be minimal disruption to its residents; achieving the best value for money; that proposals prioritise a mix of homes more closely aligned with housing need, including larger family homes, accessible homes and specialist supported housing.

·       Islington’s local lettings policy gives local residents priority for the new council homes built, particularly those living in homes that don’t meet their current needs which then provides another opportunity to release existing homes that are then re-let to meet the needs of other Islington residents.

·       With regards to design and construction, meeting was advised that council’s aspiration is to achieve higher standards for housing design and build quality homes.

·       Council aims to be at the forefront of building safe, secure, high quality, maintainable, energy efficient new homes that residents would be proud to live in, that its approach is bespoke to each individual site but pinned to a core set of principles to achieve a consistently high level of quality and performance.

·       All new homes are designed to be tenure blind, with no visible difference in the appearance and common areas of buildings of different tenure.

·       The Council has worked successfully with its contractors to maximise  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.


Major Scrutiny Review 2022-23 , Strategic Review of Overcrowding in Islington - Draft Recommendations , To agree pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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Member requested recommendation 4 be more robust, change the wording to read “Council build larger 4-5 bedroom accommodation.

Chair informed Members that at the next meeting in November final report on Overcrowding and draft recommendations is to be considered for approval after which it will be scheduled on the Executive’s work programme.


1-    Draft recommendations approved subject to amending the wording of recommendation 4 for it to be robust.

2-    Final report and recommendations to be scheduled at the November


Damp and Condensation Mould - Officer update pdf icon PDF 416 KB

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Councillor O’Halloran the Executive Member of Housing and Needs gave a statement in response to a recent online coverage of damp and mould in one of Islington’s Council homes originating on social media.

Executive Member stated that with regards to the case reported online, Council repeatedly tried to access the property so as to carry out the necessary works, offering the resident temporary accommodation on several occasions which he refused, and turning down all affairs of a temporary accommodation. 

Executive Member informed Committee that following resident’s request for a permanent new home and instructing solicitors to seek an outcome through disrepair, the Council has provided all parties its surveyors report on condition and the specification for works.

In light of the above, meeting was advised that Council has pursued an injunction to secure access so that urgent repairs could be carried out while continuing to engage with the resident in the hope of gaining entry.


Meeting was advised that Council has now gained access to the property on the 11th September 2023 so as to undertake the required works. Also Council will also consider the Council’s injunction request to ensure the works can be completed.

Finally Executive Member informed the meeting that in light of the above and going forward, the Council has reviewed its approach to seeking injunctions especially when residents fail to provide access, that Council will automatically begin proceedings if no response is received after three letters from Council solicitors .

Executive Member reassured the council and its residents that despite this legal option being a last resort, the Council takes its safeguarding responsibilities serious to prevent cases of damp and mould and other disrepair escalating .

The Chair thanked the Executive Member for her statement clarifying the Council’s position and thanked housing officers for their actions so far on addressing not only with this particular case but in general and that it is important that all cases of damp and mould are dealt with effectively and quickly.

Meeting received an update on the progress on how the Council addresses its damp and mould within its housing stock . The following issues were highlighted:

·       Meeting was informed of the recently published Government new guidance on 7th September 2023: Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home for social and private sector landlords.

·       Guidance sets out a clearly the health risks of damp and mould, regulation on damp and mould, what is damp and mould and root causes, how to respond to reports, taking a proactive approach to reduce the risks, collaborative working with other professionals and building relationships with tenants.

·       The guidance states “This guidance is a direct response to the Coroner’s report, and has been developed with a multidisciplinary group of experts in housing and health. Members of the government’s expert Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants were also consulted. It makes sure that social and private sector landlords have a thorough understanding of their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Housing Ombudsman Severe Maladministration Determinations and Reports pdf icon PDF 286 KB

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The Interim Director for New Builds, Jed Young updated the meeting about the Housing Ombudsman Severe Maladministration Determinations and the following issues were highlighted:

In the last 12 months (August 2022 – September 2023), the Homes and Neighbourhoods directorate has seen a significant increase in the number of Severe Maladministration determinations being issued by the Housing Ombudsman and particularly within the last six months.

·       In December 2022, the Housing Ombudsman notified the council of its intention to launch a ‘Paragraph 49 Investigation’ into the council’s handling of reports of damp and mould, and complaints submitted as a result of these issues.

·       A strategic action plan will be presented to Committee at the November 2023 Housing Scrutiny Committee to ensure that the Homes and Neighbourhood address the areas identified by the Housing Ombudsman and continuous improvements around the delivery of services to our residents takes place.

·       Meeting was advised that as part of the council’s response to the 15 cases, a total of £46,744 has been paid in compensation to our residents.

·       The earliest of these was issued in March 2023. Prior to this, the department had not been issued with a determination of Severe Maladministration for over five years, which suggests that the criteria for this determination may have changed. It should be noted that the Housing Ombudsman has not published a definition or criteria for ‘Maladministration’ or ‘Severe Maladministration’ on its website or in other guidance.

·       67% of these determinations were issued in June 2023, bringing them within the scope of the P49 Investigation.

·       This growing trend is not unique to Islington. Since 2019-20, the Ombudsman no longer reports annually on Severe Maladministration rulings but, instead, issues press releases on individual cases.

·       Looking at the most up-to-date information published by the Housing Ombudsman 1284 determinations were made in the April 2023 to June period a 69-percentage increase on the January 2023 to March period when 759 determinations were made. Fifty-two percent of all determinations results in compensation being made to residents across England.

·       Meeting was advised that when fully analysed of residents who have accessed Housing services in the period of the Housing Ombudsman investigation, evidence shows Council has provided services to 456788 individual requests for service provision. This, therefore, shows that severe maladministration has been identified in 0.003 percent of interactions for the areas within the determination framework of the Housing Ombudsman.

·       Complaints handling accounted for 39% of the determinations of Severe Maladministration issued against Islington Council.

·       Despite these determinations being issued between March and August 2023, due to a historical backlog of complaints at Stage 2 of the council’s complaints procedure, as well as lengthy delays in the Ombudsman’s own investigations, many of the cases being reviewed date back a number of months or even years.

·       Meeting was advised that in November 2022, the council developed a corporate Complaints Improvement Board and council-wide Complaints Improvement Plan.

·       At the time, the Stage 2 backlog, which accounts for the vast majority of the Severe Maladministration determinations in this area  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Quarterly Review of Housing Performance (Q1 2023/24) pdf icon PDF 266 KB

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Councillor O’Halloran reported to Committee on quarter 1 2023/24 Housing Performance and the following points were highlighted:

·       71% of homeless decisions were made in the target timeframe in Q1. Performance is below the annual target of 80% (stretch target of 90%). The service has continued to experience a significant increase in demand as homelessness increases across the borough and London as a whole.

·       86.0% of repairs have been fixed first time this year. Performance is above the annual target of 85%. Although performance is below last year Q1 (88%), around 4,000 more repairs have been completed in Q1 this year compared to last year (13,326 in Q1 2022/23, 17,358 in Q1 2023/24). Some of this increase is due to the insourcing of PFI however the remainder is due to a range of factors the service is still exploring.

·       On the issue of first time repairs , the Director acknowledged the slight drop in performance, that the volume of works has increased in comparison to the previous year.

·       In terms of compliance checks and the difficulty of accessing properties, a suggestion to employ a trained person to carry out both gas and water safety checks at the same time, the Director welcomed the idea but reminded the meeting that regrettably water tanks are not in residential spaces but roofs and lofts which is difficult to access and some of these works require specialist. It was noted that although some boroughs do employ this approach, Council is keen on ensuring that experts are looking at each item separately.

·       In response to a question, the Director acknowledged that checks are carried by a small in house team and external contractors.

·       On some external contractors not carrying out their safety checks and claims that they are unable to access properties, the Director informed the meeting that in such instance the Service request for evidence on not being able to access, that generally most visits are carried out.   


That the report be noted


Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

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Chair noted that in light of the packed agenda during the last few meetings due to legacy matters such as damp and mould, he would be liaising with the Vice Chair  Councillor Cinko-Oner on the way forward with future agenda for the Committee.

A suggestion on whether a report on scaffolding could be scheduled for a future meeting in light of its increasing cost and its impact on residents. Meeting was informed that this item was reviewed about four years ago.


Chair requested that item be brought back to Committee at a later meeting not the November meeting. Director requested that Member provide the specific area of interest so that officers could address it.


·       That a report on scaffolding be scheduled at a later meeting.

·       That the report be noted