Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Housing
Tuesday, 25th June, 2019 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Kimberly Soane  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

66.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Richard Seaborne as Chairman of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Group for the Council year 2019/20.

Minutes:

The Committee confirmed the appointment of Cllr Richard Seaborne as the Chairman of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Council

Year 2019/20.

67.

APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Peter Marriott as Vice-Chairman of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Group for the Council year 2019/20.

Minutes:

The Committee confirmed the appointment of Cllr Peter Marriott as the Vice-Chairman of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Council Year 2019/20.

68.

APPOINTMENT OF CO-OPTED MEMBERS

To agree the co-option of two members of Waverley’s Tenants Panel, and a substitute, to the membership of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

The Committee agreed the co-option of Terry Daubney and Dennis Smith, members of Waverley’s Tenants Panel, and a substitute Gilliam Martin, to the membership of the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

69.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The Minutes of the meeting of the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 26th February 2019 are attached, and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26th February 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed.

70.

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 18 June 2019 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Michael Goodridge.  No substitute was appointed.

71.

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.

72.

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.

 

The deadline for submission of written questions for this meeting is Tuesday 18th June 2019.

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

73.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

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

 

The deadline for submission of written questions for this meeting is Tuesday 18th June 2019.

 

 

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members.

74.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS INTRODUCTIONS

Members to introduce themselves and provide any relevant background appropriate to the Committee.

Minutes:

Members introduced themselves and highlighted any relevant background appropriate to the committee.

75.

SERVICE PRESENTATION

To receive presentations on the service areas falling within the remit of the Panel.

Minutes:

The Committee received presentations from the Heads of Service on the areas falling within the remit of the Committee.

 

Andrew Smith, Head of Housing Delivery and Communities, gave an overview of the range of services provided by his team. These were housing needs, housing development, housing strategy and enabling, private sector housing, service improvement and communities (specifically community safety).  He advised that his team maintains the housing register and allocates social and affordable homes in the Borough.  The Committee was advised that there is a lack of affordable homes in the Borough. The average price of a market home in the Borough was in the region of £500K, which is beyond the means of families on average salaries in the Borough.  Work around the prevention of homelessness was an important part of the team’s remit.

 

The Committee asked:

·         how the Council monitors the levels of affordable housing expected from developers.  Andrew advised that the team is involved at the start of the planning application through the enabling officers who advise on the required levels.

·         does the Council still receive government grants?  Andrew responded that there were grants still available and the Council does have a grant to fund social housing.

 

Hugh Wagstaff, Head of Housing Operations, advised that his team look after the maintenance of the properties, rents, tenancies, senior living and tenancy support services.  An overview was presented of the work carried out to maximise net income under the HRA Business Plan. 

 

The Committee received an update on the activities carried out by team in relation to the Council’s contractors and optimisation of the services provided by them – It was suggested this could be an area the Committee may want to look at.

 

Hugh then reported on the challenges faced in collection of the rents to our properties.  Currently there is a £28 million rent roll which has decreased slightly as government legislation imposed a 1% rent decrease. Despite this the arrear levels are relatively small at £180,000 which equated to a 0.6% of the rent roll.  It was pointed out that the implementation of universal credit is likely to cause challenges with regards to rent arrears.

 

A new contractor (MPS) has recently been engaged to provide the maintenance for the Council’s properties. A customer satisfaction survey is carried out throughout the maintenance journey.

 

It was stressed that the tenancy support team is central to the team as the team members are the ones who work to keep tenants in their homes.

 

Hugh then went on to outline the Housing Service Plan 2019/20 and its 5 objectives:

·         Financially Robust;

·         Meet residents needs;

·         Professional people;

·         Effective parties; and

·         Customer experience.

 

Yasmine Makin, Scrutiny Officer, outlined the highlights from previous years of scrutiny work carried out by previous committees:

·         Void re-let times have reduced from 57 in 2014/15 to 15 in 2018/19;

·         Work around contract renewals (resulting in MPS contract);

·         Work of the scrutiny group;

·         Pride & Prejudice – improving the perception of social housing; and

·         Housing design standards.

 

Issues/questions raised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT 2018/19 QUARTER 4 AND END OF YEAR OUT TURN pdf icon PDF 97 KB

The Corporate Performance Report provides an analysis of the Council’s performance for the fourth quarter of 2018-19. The report, set out at Annexe 1, is being presented to each of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees for comment and any recommendations they may wish to make to the Executive.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the performance of the service areas under their remit as set out in Annexe 1 to this report and makes any recommendations to senior management or the Executive as appropriate

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nora Copping, Policy and Performance Officer, presented the Q4 2018/19

Corporate Performance Report. For the benefit of new councillors she explained why the report was necessary. Members were advised that they only need be concerned with the sections relating to Housing Operations and Housing Strategy & Delivery. (sections 8 and 9 respectively).

 

1.            The Committee was advised that the areas to note in section 8 for Q4 were KPI’s H5, H7 and H8.

 

H5 was pointed out as the figures could be misleading for each quarter as they were accumulative.

 

Performance values for KPIs H7/8 had dropped due to the demobilisation of the current contractor and mobilisation of the new one but they were only just out of target and had been generally positive throughout the year.

 

The response rates for level 1 complaints was slightly off target but this was due to more complex investigations being required. The complainants were always kept advised of the delay.

 

Concern was raised regarding the report of a legionella case in a senior living scheme.  It was highlighted that this was discovered during a water check and no individuals had actually caught legionella.

 

2.            The Committee was advised that the KPIs in section 9 were primarily data only statistics as no targets are set as a great many of the results depend upon issues out of our control such as planning permission, contractor start dates etc.

 

It was requested that an additional metric to show the numbers of applications given detailed planning consent would be useful as there can be a long delay between initial application for permission and the actual start of building.

 

Resolved:

The Committee noted the performance of the service areas under its remit as set out in the report.

77.

BUDGET STRATEGY WORKING GROUP pdf icon PDF 147 KB

The Purpose of this report is to:

 

Bring to the attention of the O7S members the work of the Budget Strategy Working Group set up by the Value for Money and Customer Service O&S Committee in October 2017 in order for the committee to nominate a member(s) from its Committee to join the group.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee:

 

Nominates a member(s) to join the Budget and Strategy Working Group to represent its committee.

Minutes:

Resolved:

The Committee noted the report and nominated Cllr Peter Marriott to join the Budget

Strategy Working Group.

78.

COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 87 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, Policy Officer – Scrutiny, outlined the current Housing O&S work programme and items carried over from the previous year.

The Committee then considered the items and agreed they were all important items

that should remain on the programme.

 

Issues that were highlighted as of interest were:

 

Item 12 – A briefing on the role of housing associations.

Item 2&14 – Allocations policy and numbers in private rental.

Item 14 – More regular update on number of affordable homes completed by housing associations in Waverley.

Item 4 – Presentation on Housing and Mental Health. It was clear that this issue was of huge concern to some committee members, so the Committee would like an update on the provisions available for vulnerable people.

Item 12 – Would like to add this item as there are some areas that need attention.

 

The Chairman commented that there was a lot of linkage on many of these items.

 

It was requested the Committee have a short briefing on the bidding system for Council-owned properties.  The Chairman advised this would be covered in the informal training on 10th September and invitations would be sent out soon.

 

Annie Righton, Strategic Director, asked the Committee to be clear on the outcomes they want by scrutinising these items.

 

Andrew Smith was asked to pull together a piece of work to shape the Committee’s focus on the items that had been highlighted.

 

Yasmine Makin brought item 15 to the Committee’s attention and advised that the VfM O&S Committee had this item on its work programme but had felt it would be more valuable to scrutinise this after the contracts had embedded a while.

 

The Chairman suggested a working group be considered to carry out a review of the Housing Allocations Policy.  Andrew Smith advised that as part of the Business Transformation project relevant officers would be tied up in the near term looking at Housing Options, so he asked that the working group not be established until November at the earliest.

 

The Chairman also highlighted that it had been suggested that some site visits could be carried out to some new Waverley developments in order to give committee members an opportunity to see the standard of property that the Council is building.

 

Additional issues/questions raised by the Committee were:

 

·         How many Housing Association properties do we have in the Borough?

·         Can we look at developments that need attention as well as success stories.

 

Resolved:

 

The Chairman asked the Scrutiny Officer to arrange the list into a draft work programme for agreement at the next meeting.

 

 

79.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider, if necessary, 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 items, 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 (to be identified at the meeting).

80.

ANY ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED IN EXEMPT SESSION

To consider any matters relating to aspects of any reports on this agenda which it is felt need to be considered in Exempt session.

Minutes:

There were no issues to be considered in Exempt Session.