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Agenda item

Damp, Condensation and Mould - Officer update


Matt West, the Director Housing Property Service updated the meeting on how council is addressing damp, condensation and mould within its housing stock and the following points were highlighted:

·       Feedback on key performance indicators from members have been received which has informed headline key performance indicators and that a sub-set of indicators are being scoped.

·       Further demographics data and “known to” Adult Social Care and Children Social Care has been added to the One View dashboard and that officers continue to work with Public Health to have a strong data-led approach, as a result of which a structured data monitoring plan has been designed and agreed for the short, mid- and long-term time of the programme.

·       Phase two of Council’s urgent response has been launched and letters to the remaining tenants who reported damp and mould between Jan 2020 – Dec 2022 were sent on the 19th of June 2023. It was noted that from that mail-out there, 37 new jobs were raised, that officers are monitoring responses and will design a process for contacting tenants who are yet to respond.

·       It was noted that Officers continue to apply learning from its on-going engagement with residents, benchmarking and Housing Ombudsman special investigation reports. Also Council continues studying the outcomes of all Housing Ombudsman investigations, the 3 reports into other council’s and housing associations to learn from these reports so as to ensure Islington Council continuously improves the services for its residents.

·       The Homes and Neighbourhoods service updated the Islington Health and Wellbeing Board on the 4th of July, report was positively received which has now led to the Health and Well-Being Board agreeing to undertake a strategic review of Health and Housing work to improve the health outcomes, educational attainment, reduce stress in households and improving the living conditions for its communities.

·       In addition to the above, meeting was advised that the Housing and Neighbourhoods service have reached out to Health colleagues to progress this important work, that a meeting is being arranged to conduct this strategic review over the next 12 months.

·       It was noted that with Childrens Social Care leads, it has been agreed initially for there to be a frequent data sharing arrangement to maintain the level of visibility of the whole household and risk factors. This area of work will expand to Adult Social Care. The Homes and Neighbourhoods service is meeting with the Adult Social Care service on the 11th of July 2023, to progress this seamless delivery of services.

·       The Tenancy and Property visits pilot is in phase two, that tenanted properties in the north and south of the borough will be visited, and that a new digital tool has been designed with the aim to improve data quality and reporting.

·       Director informed meeting that training is ongoing and includes call handlers, that this is built into the continuous learning programme. Training for elected members was conducted in June 2023 and July 2023 around Damp and Mould and Disrepair.

·       In June, officers met with representatives of University College London to discuss a research project to inform the services Council delivers in relation to damp, condensation and mould. This is an academic input and review of damp techniques and processes to ensure the most up to date and rigorous systems are adopted. It aims to reusing Net Zero Carbon data to prepare funding/investment bids targeting damp and Net Zero Carbon.

·       Council conducted a positive meeting with the Housing Ombudsman on the 6th of July 2023, relating to the Section 49 investigation, that officers will update members on the outcomes of the meeting in due course.

·       As part of Council being proactive in addressing damp and mould, Council is conducting 30 community drop-in sessions for all 36,000 residents living in an Islington Council property from June 2023 to the end of September 2023, that these community drop-in sessions will ensure residents voices are heard and council acts upon these views, this will include residents living also in street properties.

·       Community drop-in sessions provides an opportunity for council to ‘walk’ in the shoes of its residents and services provided going forward meet the expectations and needs of our residents.

·       The proposed new housing allocations scheme is to be considered at Executive meeting on the 20th of July 2023 with proposals that will ensure people living in damp and mould properties are provided with higher priority for rehousing through the Choice Based Lettings scheme.

·       Meeting was advised that training of elected member provided on damp and mould and disrepair is to ensure elected members are empowered to challenge the service for the benefits of its residents.

·       With regard to the council’s collaboration with UCL on issues around damp and mould, the Director acknowledged that Committee will be updated at future meeting, a further opportunity for members to scrutinise this work.

·       A suggestion that council workers on estates be more proactive on issues such as repairing broken drain pipes and leaks and removal of plants was noted.

·       In terms of monitoring works of contractors, meeting was advised that all work is post inspected, that roughly about 10% is randomly inspected, that includes any repairs over £500, that the council  expects its contractors to adhere to the Council’s high standards.

·       On the question of the pending number of staff awaiting training, the Director acknowledged that 100% of staff in Housing services had been trained and in house surveyors, that details about staff trained in customer services will be provided at a future meeting.

·       In response to a question, the Director stated that following the decision of Council to revisit cases identified over 3 years, 37 new jobs were identified, that details will be provided at future meetings.

·       On the issue of digital tools, the director acknowledged that it has been designed and implanted, that the next stage is to put it into action with live cases.

·       In terms of the housing ombudsman, meeting was informed that Council has a very short time to respond to the outcome of the investigations, however details will be brought back to committee in September or later.


The Chair welcomed the ongoing work and actions being undertaken in addressing damp, mould and condensation, in particular its proactive stance, thanking officers and the Executive Member and its importance of it being on the committee agenda as it is for the benefit of its residents well being. 

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