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Main Scrutiny Review : Planning for the end of the PFI Properties in 2022 - Presentation and to Agree Scrutiny Initiation Document

Minutes:

Karen Lucas, Interim Director Housing Needs and Strategy was present and outlined her presentation to the Committee

 

During the presentation the following main points were made

 

·       The PFI Integration Board meets every two months to oversee the programme

·       Membership of the Board included Councillor Ward, Director of Housing, Directors Home and Communities, Property Services, Housing Needs and Strategy and Integration Programme Manager, relevant Heads of Service, representatives from other key partners, including legal, finance and IT. This includes a number of work streams and those reporting into the Programme Manager

·       Noted that the PFI2 contract ended with Partners in April 2022, and the properties would then come back to the Council. Consultation had taken place, and 92% of residents wanted the properties to come back under Council control from Partners

·       It was stated that as the SID was a public document the acronyms used in the report should be replaced with a full description, so that is easier for the residents and Members to understand

·       There were 9 work streams, and an officer had been appointed to ensure milestones were kept and to ensure delivery. A number of work streams were currently underway, and others due to come on board in the future

·       To date progress against schedule is good, and it is anticipated that the survey on handback condition of properties would be completed before Xmas. A Member stated that the Council needed to ensure these properties were handed back in a good state of repair, as Partners often did not complete repairs in a satisfactory manner. It was stated that the contract with Partners was clear, and that properties should be handed back in a satisfactory condition.The Council had engaged an expert contractor to carry out the condition survey to ensure that this was the case

·       In response to a question it was stated that Partner properties should meet the Decent Homes standard, however there is need to ensure that information is provided to the Committee during the scrutiny to ensure qualitative repairs had been carried out by Partners not just quantative data

·       It was stated that consideration would be given to staff transferring to the Council, in order to ensure that they were familiar with the Council’s ways of working and where they were situated

·       Reference was made to a number of issues that Partners tenants had with the quality of repairs, and that some cyclical works had not been undertaken 3 years after they were scheduled. In addition, Partners were not engaging tenants and also claiming they were having problems in doing this due to Zoom technology. The Director of Housing stated that she would investigate this

·       A Member referred to a tenant who had not had a new bathroom for 30 years, and enquired as to the reason given Partners were supposed to have brought properties up to Decent Homes standards. It was stated that if details were provided the Director of Housing would look into this

·       A Member referred to a number of instances where litigation by tenants was being taken out against Partners, and enquired once transfer had taken place if this would then be the Council’s responsibility. It was stated that this issue was being looked at by Legal officers, and the situation could be reported at a future meeting

·       Reference was made to which data would be transferring back to the Council from Partners on handover, and it was stated that this is under consideration to ascertain what information the Council required

 

RESOLVED:

That the following items be added to the SID for final approval –

         Removal of the acronyms in the report and a brief description of these issues

Additional witnesses/organisations who specialise in maintaining and dealing with Victorian street properties be added to the list of witnesses

Residents/Leaseholders be added to the list of witnesses

Data required by the Council when Partners properties come back in house

 

 

 

The Chair thanked Karen Lucas for her presentation

Supporting documents: