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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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There were no apologies for absence.


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 293 KB

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That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2023 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Chair's Report

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Chair informed meeting that he recently met with Matt West, Director of Housing Property Services to discuss scaffolding in and around housing estates, that an officer update will be scheduled for consideration by committee at a future meeting.


External Attendees (if any)

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Order of Business

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


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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In response to a question from a member of the public about the Council’s engagement process and a statement by the interim corporate director of Community Engagement and Wellbeing, Nadeem Murtuja who expressed an interest in non-Eurocentric engagement methods, the Interim Corporate Director of Homes and Neighbourhood acknowledged that this is being considered.



Housing Ombudsman Annual Complaints Review 2022/2023 Synopsis pdf icon PDF 134 KB

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Item was taken in conjunction with B2

Meeting received a synopsis of Housing Ombudsman Annual Complaints Review 2022/23, details of which are the following:

·         The Annual Complaints Review has revealed a sharp increase of severe maladministration findings, as individual performance reports were published for 163 landlords where the Ombudsman made most findings.

·         The figures revealed a challenging picture of social housing complaints, which has seen a huge spike due to poor property conditions, legislative changes, media attention and the inquest into the death of Awaab Ishak a child who sadly died in Rochdale due to Damp and Mould.

·         The Annual Complaints Review provides a unique and comprehensive assessment of complaints in social housing, that the Ombudsman received over 5,000 complaints for the first-time last year, a 28% increase on the previous year.

·         Ombudsman has written to Chief Executives of landlords who have a maladministration rate of over 50% to bring urgent attention to the figures, that there are 91 landlords with a maladministration rate above 50%, with 25 landlords being above 75%.

·         Islington Council received letter from Housing Ombudsman on the 11th October 2023. Review looked at Complaints Handling Failure Orders (CHFOs) and a number of key issues for the first time.

·         The Ombudsman issued 146 CHFOs last year, mostly for failing to progress complaints in line with its Complaint Handling Code, with 73% of those being for landlords with over 10,000 homes. Islington Council received two complaint handling failures.

·         In terms of what residents were complaining about, property condition was once again the leading category, with the Ombudsman making almost 2,000 findings where the failure rate has increased dramatically from 39% to 54% this year.

·         The Ombudsman also found a 52% maladministration rate for health and safety complaints.

·         Another key element of the Annual Complaints Review is the regional data which indicates Southwest as having the lowest overall maladministration rate, as well as having a significantly lower maladministration rate on health and safety complaints and the Northeast and Yorkshire having the lowest severe maladministration rate.

·         London continues to be where the Ombudsman makes most of its determinations, even accounting for the quantity of social homes in the region. It had the highest maladministration rate and accounted for 77 of the 130 severe maladministration findings last year.

·         The rate of maladministration for local authorities was slightly higher than housing associations, 62% compared to 50%. The Housing Ombudsman have found that due to less resources, it is harder for local authorities to offer reasonable redress, therefore ending up with more maladministration findings.

·         The Annual Complaints Review shows that London has the highest number of determinations, even accounting for quantity of housing stock in region.

·         The London region also has the highest maladministration rate at 58% and the highest maladministration rate for property condition at 58%.

·         It was noted that of the 131 severe maladministration findings last year, 77 of these were for London landlords.

·         Meeting was advised that Islington Council had a 56.8% of maladministration findings, with 74 landlords  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.


Housing Ombudsman Special Report on Islington Council pdf icon PDF 438 KB

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Item was taken in conjunction with item B1

·       Committee received the Housing Ombudsman Special Report on Islington Council and the following issues were noted:

·       The investigation commenced in December 2022, and the special investigation report into Islington Council was published by the Housing Ombudsman on the 24th of October 2023.

·       Meeting was advised that the Housing Ombudsman makes final decision on disputes between residents and Council and Housing Association landlords.

·       Members were informed that the special report attached as Appendix One to this report follows an investigation conducted under paragraph 49 of the Housing Ombudsman Scheme, which allows the Housing Ombudsman to conduct further investigations to establish whether any presenting evidence is indicative of a systemic failing.

·       The cases considered as part of the special investigation include complaints that were with the landlord between February 2019 and 24 November 2022. Therefore, the complaints cover a three year and nine-month period.

·       The special investigation considered all housing services provided by Islington Council and the related complaints for all these services and that the investigation report and work identified underlying causes which have led to failings in three principal areas of the landlord’s service provision where the Housing Ombudsman see repeated failings and include Disrepair including Damp and Mould, Anti-social behaviour and Complaint handling.

·       Meeting was advised that the complaint handling by Islington Council had been the subject of a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation, an LGSCO report produced was referenced within the Housing Ombudsman report on pages 41 to 44 relating to complaint handling by the council.

·       The Corporate Director informed committee Islington Council fully accept the Ombudsman’s report and recommendations, that Council wants everyone in Islington to have a safe, decent, and genuinely affordable place to call home.

·       It was also noted that tenants and leaseholders within the borough deserve a high-quality service, which Council sadly acknowledge has not always delivered in the past.

·       The Corporate Director reiterated that Islington Council have been working to put things right and note that this report further clarifies the actions and resources needed, building on the external critical appraisal Council have sought from partners over the last two years.

·       Islington Council are committed to delivering a number of improvements in an extremely challenging environment of long-term underinvestment in social housing, the challenges our residents face with the cost-of-living crisis, and a severe shortage of affordable housing in one of London’s densest Boroughs.

·       In June 2022 Islington Council set up a Housing Improvement Board to raise standards and respond to new regulatory requirements and that Council will build on this and deliver the Ombudsman’s recommendations through an expanded Improvement Plan, including:

·       Introducing a new, place-based approach, Getting repairs right, Delivering our five-point-plan on damp and mould, Tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB), Transforming our complaints service. Attached as Appendix Two to this report is the draft Improvement/Action Plan to address the findings and recommendations contained and connected with the special investigation report produced by the Housing Ombudsman.


Main Scrutiny Review 2023/24 -New Homes Build in Islington: - Witness evidence pdf icon PDF 4 MB

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Committee received presentations from Stephen Nash, Interim Director Strategic Development & Delivery on how it consults and engages with the different stakeholders in the delivery of its new homes and Alistair Gale, Head of Programming, Design and Customer Care on partnership working.


·       Meeting was advised that besides delivering new affordable high-quality homes it is important for residents to understand why Council is building new homes on their estate, why it has to sell homes to pay for the works, and how people can apply for newly built homes. This is possible through its consultation and engagement process.

·       The New Build Team does not determine whether a scheme goes ahead, that lies primarily with the Council’s Planning Committee.

·       The Team ensures that all relevant voices are heard, how it influences our buildings and spaces and the need to continue involvement.

·       Interim Director highlighted its engagement process with internal stakeholders with its initial fact finding; design guide; stakeholder workshops; building control and technical reviews; members meetings and updates.

·       Throughout the engagement process, the New Build Team aims to put residents at the heart of the process by involving them in both design and implementation phases.

·       In terms of community engagement, meeting was advised that local knowledge and feedback helps improve council schemes and enhance the social value that developments can deliver and this is done via exhibitions and drop in sessions, residents meeting the Design team to talk about the built environment; Steering groups and design workshops; feedback surveys; newsletters and posters and visiting residents.

·       Meeting was also informed that the New Build Team engage with residents that do not live on the estate so as to get their perspective on the impact of the new scheme.

·       Resident engagement continues during construction and onto when scheme is completed and handed over as new schemes can have an impact on resident amenity with possible closures of access roads and noises from construction activities and its impact on residents well-being.

·       The new build team provides regular newsletters, organise ‘meet the contractor’ event, having in place a dedicated resident liaison officer; use of online project webpages, attendance of TRA/TMO meetings and including a contractor ‘Social Value’ clause.

·       A successful engagement process will ensure that process is tailored to the needs of the projects as it is important to recognise that there is a no ‘one-size-fits-all’ . The process will make use of local knowledge and feedback to develop and refine proposals, that it will allow for a ‘win/win’ approach whereby existing / and future residents will benefit, achieve an acceptable balance of time/cost/quality for the Council New Build once construction is underway.

·       Meeting was informed of the recent changes within the New Build Team, that previously the engagement process was managed by a Project Manager, a Strategic Engagement Manager and Officer has been proposed to manage the process with tasks of reviewing how the Team currently engages; filter out what works, what doesn’t, what could be done better; speak to other developing boroughs and incorporate the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


Main Scrutiny Review 2022/23 - Overcrowding Strategy - Final Report and Draft Recommendations pdf icon PDF 317 KB

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Ian Swift, Director of Housing Needs Operations advised the meeting that following the review exercise, a number of recommendations had been produced which has been shared with all stakeholders for their comments.


The Director informed meeting about the under-occupation scheme report attached and recommendations on page 135-136 of the agenda

That Recommendations include the recruitment of an additional officer in the mobility team; relaunching the downsizer scheme; prioritising downsizers for a greater pool of lettings; raising the financial incentive from £500 per bedroom up to £2,000; increasing the removal expenses up to £750 for all downsizers; raise awareness among other teams and departments ;cross matching the under-occupier register with Adult Social Care records; review the Council’s webpages related to the Downsizer Scheme; creating a dedicated phone line and mailbox and to explore the implications of promotion of Shared Lives and Home share schemes to under-occupiers.

A member suggested that in addition to the recommendation of increasing financial support, Council should consider other officer support as a package.

In response, the Executive Member for Homes and Neighbourhood acknowledge that in light of the ongoing cost of living challenges there is a recognition that the recommended financial increase may not be sufficient as an incentive for under-occupiers to release their homes and move on and that this issue will be revisited sometime in the near future.


(a)  That the report be approved and referred to the Executive for consideration

(b)That an interim progress on the recommendations be reported to committee in the next 6 months

(c)  That the report on under occupation scheme and recommendations be appended onto the report.


Fibre Broadband -Update pdf icon PDF 519 KB

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The Director of Housing Needs and Strategy informed committee that presently cabling has now been completed for 2379 properties or 7% of the Council’s properties, that officers continue to consult regularly with colleagues across the council to maximise partnership working with the providers, making introductions to colleagues where appropriate, provide input where useful and to extract community value from the programme.


Meeting was also advised that the Community Centre at Peregrine House has now a live connection.


That the report be noted


Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 139 KB

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That the report be noted