Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Housing
Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming

Contact: Fiona Cameron  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

1.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN for 2018/19

To confirm the appointment of Cllr John Ward as Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

Minutes:

Councillor John Ward was confirmed as the Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman for 2018/19

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Pat Frost as the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

Minutes:

Councillor Pat Frost was confirmed as the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

 

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 77 KB

The Minutes of the meeting of the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 20 March 2018 are attached, and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 March 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed.

4.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTES

To receive apologies for absence and note any substitutions.

 

Members who are unable to attend this meeting must submit apologies by the end of Tuesday 26 June 2018 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from  Councillor Pat Frost and Miss Brenda Greenslade. Councillor Bob Upton attended as a substitute.

5.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS

To receive from Members declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations in relation to items on the agenda.

6.

QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The Chairman to respond to any written questions received from members of the public in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

There were no questions.

7.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

The Chairman to respond to written questions received from Members in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.

Minutes:

There were no questions.

 

8.

Response to recommendations from the Waverley Scrutiny Group's report on Recharges pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The Waverley Scrutiny Group completed a review on how the council manages the process of recharging certain costs to tenants and leaseholders. The report was presented to the Head of Housing Operations in February 2018 and shared with the Committee in March 2018.

 

This report informs the Housing O & S Committee how the Housing Service team has and will address the recommendations raised in the Waverley Scrutiny Group’s report on recharges.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

 

·         thanks the Waverley Scrutiny Group for their report;

·         supports the implementation of the scrutiny recommendations and action plan; and

·         receives a progress report in November 2018 on implementation of the recommendations and details of the number of recharges and income received during 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was reminded that the Waverley Scrutiny Group had completed a review on how the Council managed the process of recharging certain costs to tenants and leaseholders. This report had been received at the meeting in March and Members were now presented with information on how the Housing Service Team was addressing the recommendations raised on recharges.

 

The Committee was advised that of the 14 identified recommendations, work had commenced on all actions; eight had been completed. Completed recommendations included:

 

·         The review of the Recharge Policy to reflect officer decision making and responsibilities

·         New accountancy system codes had also been created to easily identify and report on recharges; and

·         New tenants were encouraged to take up home insurance.

 

The Committee noted that the aim was to complete actions against the remaining recommendations by September 2018.

 

The Committee thanked the Group for their report and supported the implementation of the scrutiny recommendations and action plan. It was agreed that an update report be brought to the meeting in November 2018 on implementation of the recommendations and details of the number of recharges and income received during 2018/19. 

9.

Update on the response to recommendations from the Waverley Scrutiny Group report on Voids repairs pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Following the report to the Committee on 4 July 2017, the Housing Service is providing an update on its responses to the recommendations made by the Waverley Scrutiny Group. This is in respect of the review undertaken by the Group in 2017 into how the Council manages void repairs.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

 

·         reiterates its thanks to the Waverley Scrutiny Group for conducting its review intohow the Council manages void repairs and;

·         agrees any comments or suggestions in respect of the Council’s responses and updates with regard to theWaverley Scrutiny Group’s recommendations.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report providing an update on the Housing Service’s response to the recommendations made by the Waverley Scrutiny Group in relation to how the Council managed void repairs.

 

The Committee was advised that the report identified ten recommendations that the Waverley Scrutiny Group concluded would result in improvements to the current void process. The Housing Service had agreed or partially agreed with all of the recommendations, and actions agreed. The re-use of key safes and recycling locks had been investigated but not progressed further: there were already processes in place for the removal of key safes, and the recycling of locks removed from properties had been considered and costed but was not cost effective. Of the remaining eight recommendations, only one was outstanding: the review of the re-let standard had been delayed, but the project had commenced and would be completed by the end of July 2018. 

 

The Committee reiterated its thanks to the Scrutiny Group for conducting its review into how the Council managed void reports, noted the response of the Housing Service, and thanked Officers for their engagement with the Scrutiny Group.

10.

Tenant Involvement progress report pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To provide the Committee with a progress report on the last year’s tenant involvement activities and future plans for 2018/19.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee:

 

1.    notes the Tenant Involvement achievements and support the actions for 2018/19; and

 

2.    acknowledges and thanks those tenants who volunteer for the Housing Service.

 

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on progress with the last year’s tenant involvement activities and future plans for 2018/19.

 

The Committee noted that the Tenants’ Panel continued to be actively engaged with all levels with the Housing Service. There were monthly meetings with the Tenants’ Panel Chair and Vice Chair, and members of the Tenants’ Panel had attended a 2017 Housing-related Support consultation at the eight Waverley Senior Living Schemes. It was noted that their aim for the rest of the year would be to continue to visit and meet with residents at the Senior Living Schemes to hear feedback on how the new service was operating.

 

The Committee asked whether it was difficult to attract volunteers. Members were advised that this was always hard and any help from them to promote the service would be appreciated. Volunteers were offered officer support and bespoke training to empower them in their roles with courses, online resources and awareness sessions. They would have an annual review to identify capacity, interests and training needs to support their role. To develop the service further the Tenant Involvement Officer had attended a number of networking and training events held by Voluntary Action South West Surrey. This had helped to inform good practice and network with other agencies such as the Clinical Commissioning Group. Working with these organisations they could now offer a comprehensive induction pack to welcome new volunteers and would look to be recognised with a national award such ‘Investors in Volunteers’.

 

The Committee noted the Tenant Involvement achievements and supported the actions for 2018/19 and acknowledged and thanked those tenants who volunteered for the Housing Service.

11.

HRA Asset Management Strategy 2015-2020 - Interim Review pdf icon PDF 122 KB

The Council’s HRA Asset Management Strategy covers the period 2015-2020.  Each year, a review is carried out to assess progress and consider the impact of any external challenges on the strategy, such as financial or changes to Government policy.  This report sets out the findings of the latest review and gives an overview of performance against commitments made.  Annexe 1 gives further detail on the outcome of the review.

 

Recommendation

 

The Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee is asked to review progress against the strategic objectives and strategic 5 year plan actions within the HRA Asset Management Strategy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Hugh Wagstaff, the Head of Housing Operations, delivered a presentation to the Committee and Members received a report outlining findings of the latest review and gave an overview of performance against commitments made.

 

The review had highlighted that although there had been progress with a number of key objectives, there had been a loss of momentum in delivery of some objectives since the rent reduction directive which required the Council to re-focus where investment would be targeted. Asset management was a critical function for the Council and through the recruitment of the Strategic Asset Manager, any pledges made within the Strategy would be more closely monitored and managed.

 

The Committee was advised that robust performance management of contractors had been a key focus in recent years and had resulted in the Council having tighter control of its contracts. This had resulted in an improvement in performance but had required significant staff resource in order to achieve this. The necessary change in focus had meant that other objectives had been impacted upon. However, many actions had been achieved and there were only three that had not in relation to meeting high energy efficiency standards, tackling dampness across the Council’s stock and reviewing effectiveness of estate inspections and walk-abouts.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the report and noted progress against the strategic objectives and strategic 5 year plan actions within the HRA Asset Management Strategy.

12.

HRA Asset Management Strategy 2021-2026 - Scoping Report pdf icon PDF 77 KB

The Council’s Asset Management Strategy covers the period 2015-2020.  The purpose of this report is to set out a pathway to the proposed 2021-26 HRA Asset Management Strategy and to seek the Committee’s endorsement of its scope.

 

Recommendation

 

The Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee is asked to endorse the proposed scope of the new HRA Asset Management Strategy.

 

The Committee is invited to consider how it wishes to be  involved in the development of the new Strategy.

 

Minutes:

The Committee was reminded that the Asset Management Strategy covered a period 2015 - 2020. Members received a report setting out a pathway to the proposed 2020-2026 HRA Asset Management Strategy and they were asked for endorsement of its scope.

 

The Committee noted that the Strategy would be effective from March 2020 and to begin the review process Members’ views were sought with regard to the elements to be included within the new Strategy. The current Strategy needed to be updated to ensure that it reflected

 

·         changing needs and demands

·         changes in legislation and regulation

·         changes in funding regimes and the impact on investment

·         changes in corporate objectives

·         changes in aspirations and future priorities

 

The Committee agreed that it also needed to reflect changes in development and technology.

 

Members noted that the key learning point from the review of the current Strategy was that it contained a number of pledges setting out what was to be achieved without a plan detailing how they would be delivered. This had meant that actions were not adequately monitored and some pledges were not prioritised as they should have been. Consequently, moving forward any pledges set out in the Strategy would be pulled into an action plan where responsibilities could be assigned which would ensure team ownership. There would be a considered approach to determining priorities and these would be mapped to resources to identify where there were additional needs to enable delivery.

 

The Committee noted the proposed approach and endorsed the scope of the new HRA Asset Management Strategy. The Committee asked that they have the opportunities to scrutinise the draft Strategy as it developed over the next 18 months.

13.

Housing Design Standards Review - Working Group Report pdf icon PDF 66 KB

The attached report sets out the work undertaken and recommendations made by the Member Scrutiny Review Working Group into Housing Design Standards for New Council Homes. Good quality homes consist of well thought out and spacious internal design, provide adequate and well designed external amenity space and are high performing in terms of energy performance and sustainability. It is expected that the recommendations of this Scrutiny Review will inform the design proposals for Site C at Ockford Ridge and future housing development schemes.

 

Recommendation

 

For the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee to note the review undertaken by the Working Group, consider the report and endorse the recommendations contained within it.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report setting out the work undertaken and recommendations made by the Member Scrutiny Review Working Group into Housing Design Standards for new Council Homes. The intention was that the recommendations of the review would inform the design proposals for Site C at Ockford Ridge, and future housing development schemes.

 

The Committee noted that the Scrutiny Review focussed on:

·         new homes developed and funded by Waverley Borough Council including general needs and affordable housing for rent

·         Internal design (space) standards, including internal storage space provision and potential use of roof space

·         Accessibility and adaptability standards

·         External space standards / gardens / amenity space

·         Parking provision

·         Materials – e.g. shaver sockets/towel rails

·         Opportunities for future proofing and adaptation to changing circumstances.

 

The Committee welcomed the report and hoped that the planners took on board some of the recommendations arising from the review. In particular those that were in relation to being elderly/dementia friendly and those in relation to improving emissions and energy efficiency.

 

The Committee thanked the Working Group for its report and endorsed the recommendations contained within it to the Executive.

14.

Performance Management Report - Quarter 4, 2017/18 (January - March 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 132 KB

This report provides a summary of the Housing service performance over the fourth quarter of the financial year.  The report details the team’s performance against the indicators that fall within the remit of the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee. 

 

The Committee has the opportunity to comment and scrutinise the presented performance data and the suggestions for 2018/19 key performance indicators.  In addition the Committee may identify future committee reporting requirements regarding performance management or areas for scrutiny review.  

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the performance figures, as set out in Annexe 1, and

 

1.    agrees any observations or recommendations about performance it wishes to make to the Executive

2.    endorses the new suggested indicators and recommends the approval from the Executive effective from April 2018, and

3.    considers the performance and identifies suggested scrutiny areas for the Committee future workplan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee reviewed performance management indicators for the Housing Service for Quarter 4, 2017/18 and was pleased to see the good performance overall. Members were asked to comment on the presented performance data and the suggestions for 2018/19 key performance indicators.

 

The Committee noted that only two indicators had not met the target. The Committee was pleased to note that 76 homes were re-let during Quarter Four with an overall average turnaround time of 19 working days. The breakdown by month demonstrated that performance was on target throughout eight months of the year, and this was a marked improvement from 2016/17 when the target was not met for eight months of the year.

 

The Committee noted that the Team had an excellent record on rent collection performance but due to the water charge credit and some proactive work to ensure rent was paid in advance there had been a reduction in the total rent collected. This was because tenants in credit had reduced their payments.

 

The Committee was advised that there had been an overall improvement in tenant satisfaction with the responsive repairs service achieving over 90% in 2017/18. This was due to improved ease of contact, operatives arriving on time and reduction on time taken to complete repairs.

 

It was recommended to the Committee that in addition to the new affordable homes delivered indicator, there were two further new indicators, and these were:

 

·         New affordable homes planning permission granted; and

·         New affordable homes started on site.

 

It addition, it was proposed that to reflect the new Homelessness Reduction Act, a replacement indicator for number of homelessness cases prevented as follows:

 

·         Number of HRA 2017 Prevention and Relief duties discharged.

 

The Committee considered the proposal and agreed to recommend the above additional performance indicators and amendment to the Executive.

15.

Housing Service Plan Annual Out-turn report for 2017/18 (April 2017 - March 2018) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Service Plans are devised each year in order to deliver the Council’s corporate priorities.

 

This report gives the Committee the opportunity to scrutinise the annual objectives outturn of the Housing Service Plan for 2017/18 and make observations and comments to the Executive.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the progress against actions contained within the Service Plans set out in Annexe 1 to this report and agrees any observations or comments it wishes to make to the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report giving Members an opportunity to scrutinise the outturn of the Housing Service Plan for 2017/18. The analysis of the Housing Service Plan objectives for the financial year showed an excellent performance with all 5 objectives and 17 sub-objectives being achieved, giving an overall 100% completion rate. 

 

The Committee noted that through the year the new five year Housing Strategy had been approved and its ongoing implementation would be reviewed annually. A revised tenancy Agreement had been introduced in June 2018 to allow more effective management of homes and tenancies. The Team had progressed work to develop online forms and had also implemented a new telephone system to increase the customer satisfaction and speed up service delivery. Finally a refugee had been successfully resettled in Waverley as part of the “Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme” and the lessons learnt from the process would be used to facilitate resettlement of four further families.

 

The Committee thanked the Team for its hard work in completing all the objectives and had no comments to make to the Executive.

16.

Ockford Ridge Update pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive and note an update on the Ockford Ridge regeneration project.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a detailed update on progress with the Ockford Ridge redevelopment. Members noted that Housing Officers were working with Planning colleagues to establish a Local Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) to reflect the ecological report and the Landscaping Plan included in the original consent for Site A. The site had now been fully vacated, final utility disconnection works and hoarding works had been completed and Demolition contractors R G Collard were due to start demolition works w/c 9 July 2018.

 

In relation to Site B, Reserved Matters were approved by the Central Planning Committee on 29 November 2017, for appearance, landscaping, layout and scale. The construction programme for Site B would be reliant on the progress of Site A.

 

Stephen Taylor Architects had prepared some options for Site C Ockford Ridge. These had been considered by the Member Working Group as part of their review of the current Design Standard Guidelines. Pre-application advice had been received and the architects were now preparing an Outline Planning Application for submission in July 2018. The residents of Ockford Ridge had been invited to a drop-in consultation event to view these plans and ask any questions on 18 July 2018, which Members were welcome to attend.

 

The refurbishment contractor TCL Group had changed their site team on 10 April 2018 and a programme for handover was agreed by TCL and the new site manager. Unfortunately this programme had not been adhered to by TCL and this led to some moves being deferred and in some cases properties handed over with snagging issues. However all properties had now been handed over and outstanding snagging works were now being completed.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the very useful update on the project.

17.

COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 102 KB

The Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee, is responsible for managing its work programme.

 

The work programme (attached) takes account of items identified on the latest Executive Forward Programme (Annexe 2) as due to come forward for decision.

 

A Scrutiny Tracker has been produced to assist the Committee in monitoring the recommendations that have been agreed at its meetings. The Tracker details the latest position on the implementation of these recommendations and is attached as Part C of the work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Yasmine Makin, Graduate Management Trainee, introduced the Committee’s Work Programme and drew attention to the items currently scheduled to come forward in September.

 

It was noted that the item on Homelessness would move from September to November. There would though, be the Health Inequalities report and a report on Housing Fraud in September. 

18.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider the following recommendation on the motion of the Chairman:

 

Recommendation

 

That pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the item, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified in the appropriate paragraph(s) of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, namely:

 

Paragraph 3: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

Minutes:

At 8.23pm, it was RESOLVED that, pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by section 100I of the Act) of the description specified in paragraph 3 of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the act, namely:-

 

Paragraph 3: Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any

particular person (including the authority holding that information).

19.

Contract Procurement

To consider the attached EXEMPT report.

 

Recommendation

 

That the Committee endorses the recommendation set out in the EXEMPT report.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Exempt report on Contract Procurement and endorsed the recommendations to the Executive.