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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 Councillors Jackson and Ozdemir.


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 277 KB

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That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2023 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Chair's Report

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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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Main Scrutiny Review 2023/24 -New Homes Build in Islington: - witness evidence- To follow

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The Chair informed meeting that item is deferred to the next meeting as witness was unavailable.


Damp and Mould - officer update pdf icon PDF 125 KB

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Director of Housing Property Services presented the Damp, Condensation and Mould report and draft recommendations and the following issues were raised:

·       Members were invited to appraise the work undertaken and offer suggestions of how Council’s work in this critical area be improved.

·       Additional recommendations is attached for members to adopt, reminding Committee that it has now been a year since the damp and condensation programme was established.

·       Online reporting form is in the process of being updated so that residents are empowered to provide more information when reporting damp and mould and officers can assess and triage quickly and more accurately.

·       Repairs policy has been revised and updated to include damp, condensation and mould. Policy is due to go through governance and signed off early 2024.

·       The One View Dashboard has influenced a new operational dashboard, which enables officers to communicate to a wide audience and to prioritise risk and highlight any gaps.

·       Housing Ombudsman has commended Islington’s programme and recognised the dedicated work of all involved.

·       Tenancy and Property visits pilot has been hugely beneficial in identifying damp and mould in homes, root causes and other repair issues that could lead to damp and mould. A total of 521 households was involved in the pilot and 50 homes had visible damp and mould which were then referred to the Repairs Team.

·       Meeting was informed that the Partnership referral form was initially piloted with Andover Medical Practice and will be extended to other medical practices and services.

·       Council has a programme in the winter months of proactively testing the performance of boilers and communal heating. Remote monitoring devices which will help identify the increase in humidity in a property so that the repairs team can proactively prevent damp, condensation and mould in homes.

·       The Service is working with University College London in conducting a net zero and damp and mould research study to prepare Council for reducing damp and mould and also meeting its net zero aims.

·       In response to a question about street properties brought back in house, the Corporate Director informed the meeting that some of the funding of £5m received from the Social Housing Department has been used to insulate street properties within its housing stock.

·       With regards to time scale on completing some of the recommendations, the Corporate Director advised that most are in progress at the moment and that these will have to be agreed by the Executive with set deadlines.

·       On whether the Council had sufficient funds with regards its relationship with UCL, meeting was reminded that despite the increase of £1m planned investment, the Council will be seeking more funds from central government .

·       Meeting was advised that funding is available to recruit surveyors noting that presently agency staff is being used prior to the position being filled and trained up and also the Service is looking to train apprentices.

·       Over 4000 properties were visited, that the damp and mould team continue to look at trends; that a number of outreach activities were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Quarterly Review of Housing Performance (Q2 2023/24) pdf icon PDF 439 KB

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Corporate Director Homes and Neighbourhoods presented the Quarter 2 Performance Report and the following issues were highlighted:

·       61% of homeless decisions were made in the target frame in Quarter 2, however performance is below the annual target of 80%.

·       Service continues to experience a significant increase in demand as homelessness increases across the borough and London as a whole.

·       Committee were reminded that in August 2023, London Councils published an article stating that one in 50 Londoners are either homeless or living in temporary accommodation. The increase has stemmed from homeless applicants approaching council due to a combination of domestic abuse, disrepair, lack of private sector housing and cost of living.

·       An improvement plan is being implemented in Islington to address the performance noted above, that Service continues to have a weekly focus meeting on performance for this indicator by increasing the officer target for decision reached and provision of overtime for high performing officers to reach decision within the target time frame.

·       Meeting was advised that in Quarter 2, 1099 households are in temporary accommodation, that latest government statistics on homelessness in England show that the number of households in temporary accommodation has increased nationally , and that there are homeless households living in temporary accommodation in England than any other time in our history.

·       The 50% rise in homelessness is due to a number of factors such as an increase in no-fault evictions in the past year by private landlords, also an estimated 70,000 UK households missed or defaulted on a rent or mortgage payment. It was also noted that one child in every classroom in London is now living in temporary accommodation.

·       Although it is well known that the lack of social housing and high rents in private housing is the cause of homelessness, Local councils nationally continue to lobby central government for funding in other to address this issue.

·       On the Tenancy Satisfaction Measure, the Corporate Director informed the meeting that although there has been a slight improvement of resident satisfaction of the Service, there is still room for improvement.

·       On the Council’s Decent Homes Standard, meeting was advised that performance has improved, that presently only 4% of homes are regarded as non-decent and that when benchmarked against other authorities or housing providers, Islington is performing better than the London median.

·       Corporate Director advised that stage 1 complaints has been impacted by recording challenges in quarter 1, however there is ongoing work to improve the data quality of complaints data. In quarter 2, there were 38 per 1000 properties stage 1 complaints raised which is lower than the London median (42.7 per 1000). It was noted that 60% of stage 1 complaints were responded to within timescale which is below the London median of 77%.

·       In terms of stage 2 complaints, there were 9.1 complaints raised per 1000 properties which is above the London median. 97% of complaints were responded to within timescale which is above the London median of 49%.

·       In response to the omitted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Housing Ombudsman Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 121 KB

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The Corporate Director of Homes and Neighbourhood provided an update on the progress of the Housing Ombudsman Action Plan.


·       Housing Ombudsman concluded their special investigation into Islington Council in October 2023, Council accepted the findings and confirmed its commitment to service improvement on publication of the report.

·       Draft Action Plan has been shared with committee at last meeting and that work has commenced on delivering the Action plan as well as refining it.

·       Corporate Director, Homes and Neighbourhoods will be meeting the Housing Ombudsman later in January to discuss progress and their plans to monitor arrangements following their Special Investigation report.

·       Meeting was advised that although the Council has been commended on its proactive approach to remedying areas identified for improvement, work had commenced prior to launch of the investigation.

·       Action Plan has been developed to respond to the 21 recommendations and work has commenced on delivering the action plan.

·       Report sets out the progress that has been made under the 4 areas , disrepair (including damp and mould),anti-social behaviour and complaints handling.

·       Action plan contains 81 actions in response to the 21 recommendations, that of the 83 actions , 21 have been completed or are in place already.

·       It is important to note that some of the actions in the Action plan are cross cutting between different partners or services, that it is important to note that the Council has developed a departmental format for action plans which ensures SMART objectives and Senior Responsible Officers are in place for all action. Also a staff survey has been designed for implementation during December and January to seek feedback on staff empowerment and support staff.

·       In terms of disrepair recommendations amongst a number of actions, the Council has introduced a backstop team to prevent missed appointments through reallocations processes, a damp and mould team in place with specific timeframe measures so as to help isolate and monitor service performance.

·       In addition to the above, additional checks are in place for complex repairs delivered by Partners and annual performance reporting through Housing Management Team and Political Leadership meetings.

·       Partners are working proactively with the Council to imbed changes into their service arrangements and incorporating updated policies and processes.

·       In terms of Anti-social Behaviour recommendations, the Council has carried out a self -assessment against the Housing Ombudsman ‘Time to be Heard’ insight report and an action plan has been developed.

·       With regards to complaints related recommendations which focusses on the Council’s need to improve, the meeting was advised that Council has developed a complaints handling programme utilising the Housing Ombudsman online training courses for all office-based staff, to be rolled out in February.

·       Meeting was advised that a new complaints reporting format is now in place and is consistent across all Homes and Neighbourhood teams.

·       Homes and Neighbourhoods complaint service restructure has been agreed with additional resources secured for the team which ensures that quality management remains at the heart of the service. The restructure process will be rolled out in late January  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

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In response to a suggestion for the Committee to look into scaffolding and to include it in the work programme as it is an issue noticeable in member’s case work raised by residents, meeting was reminded that a previous review into scaffolding was carried out a number of years ago which made a number of recommendations. This report should be circulated to committee.


The Executive Member acknowledged residents concern about scaffolding and the length of period that scaffolding remains in place and suggesting members to forward individual cases to her and it will be looked into.

In response to a query on anti-social behaviour, meeting was reminded that this lies within the remit of the Council’s Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee which is currently undertaking a review into the issue and likely to be completed in the spring with recommendations .


That the work programme be noted

To include the topic of scaffolding on the committee’s work programme