To receive a presentation on the service plans under the remit of the committee.
Summary & Purpose
This report presents the three-year rolling Service Plans for April 2020 to March 2023 for the service areas under the remit of this Committee, which are:
· Housing Delivery & Communities Service Plan 2020-23 (except for Communities)
· Housing Operations Service Plan 2020-23 (Full Plan)
It is recommended that the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the Service Plans for 2020-23 as set out at Annexe 1, and makes any observations or comments to the Executive.
Annalisa Howson, Service Improvement Manager, outlined the Housing Operations section of the Service Plan via a presentation (copy attached to minutes).
Members were informed of the five outcomes the service would work towards:
· financial robustness;
· meeting the needs of tenants;
· a professional and skilled workforce;
· an effective partner; and
· improved customer experience.
Issues raised by members:
· Members wished to know what objectives were rolling over from previous years and what were new.
o Hugh Wagstaff, Head of Housing Operations, advised most of the projects outlined in the SP were new.
· Efficiencies were being made in the General Fund departments. Where were the efficiencies being made in the housing arena?
o Hugh Wagstaff advised the VfM paper would outline the efficiencies being implemented. Retendering of the maintenance contract was one such efficiency saving. Graeme Clark, Strategic Director, advised that Housing was a Waverley function and that the Council was looking at efficiency plans in all areas corporately.
· The Chairman asked that in the ‘impact’ section of item 2 that ‘Failure to reduce the carbon footprint’ be added.
· Annalisa Howson was asked to explain what ‘sustainable tenancy’ meant – she explained it meant helping tenants to maintain their tenancy to allow them to continue staying in the property.
· The Chairman asked officers to be mindful of the wording in these documents as some terminology may not be obvious in its meaning.
· Hugh Wagstaff advised that outcome 3 was rolled over from last year.
· Outcome 4 – members asked if this had not already started?
· Outcomes 3.5 and 3.6 there were no figures under resources.
o Annalisa Howson advised that there was already a training budget so it was hoped there would be no additional funding required.
o Hugh Wagstaff advised that Waverley have an apprentice levy from the government so this would be used for some of this funding.
· Members asked for some of the objectives to have measurable targets so there was tangible evidence whether they had been met or not.
o Hugh Wagstaff advised that performance reports are provided to O&S quarterly to monitor this.
· Outcome 5 – Hugh Wagstaff advised that the new maintenance contract was an example of this and they would be monitoring its performance closely. The contactor would receive a bonus subject to the results of residents questionnaires.
· Members asked what ‘One customer view’ meant.
o Annalisa Howson advised that the new customer management system would mean all areas of the business would work from one recording system meaning an officer could have a holistic view of all contacts a customer had made with the council and should details change it would only have to be changed once instead of informing every single department.
· Members queried why the section on Blunden Court had financial resources as zero.
o Hugh Wagstaff advised that this related to additional resources and as all resources had already been budgeted for there were no additional ones anticipated.
o Annalisa Howson explained that all the procurement work had been done.
o It was suggested that outcome 5 should be split out to Blunden Court as a separate outcome to the other areas.
· HO5.5 - The committee asked that ‘Asbestos’ be expanded to explain if it is testing or removal to make it clearer.
· HO5.8 – impact of not completing is not delivering on the carbon footprint reduction.
Andrew Smith outlined the Housing Delivery part of the service plan explaining that the communities objectives were not under the remit of this committee.
He explained there were five key areas with 14 objectives the service would work towards:
· Supporting community initiatives
· Delivering new affordable homes
· Preventing homelessness
· Regulating private landlords and
· Three cross cutting themes with Housing operations of meeting the needs of tenants, up skilling staff and improving the customer experience.
Issues raised by members:
· Although not in the Committee’s remit Andrew Smith was asked if there were plans to recruit more police officers for Waverley as Community Safety came under his remit. He explained there was a desire to increase numbers but a decision had not been made as yet.
· Outcome 7 should include major remodelling also.
· HDC7.8 – should have a start date of 01/04/2020 not 2019.
· HDC 7.4 – members asked about the sites at feasibility stage. Andrew Smith advised that they could not be named in the public domain at present. It was suggested that the paragraph be reworded or removed.
· It was suggested that HDC7.4 be split down into 2 parts with the schemes at Chiddingfold, Churt and Godalming be a separate objective.
· HDC 7.7 – Members asked for clarification on the bidding of properties. Andrew Smith was asked if we were bidding on properties already built? If so they were keen to know if there was a price difference between us purchasing and costs to build. Louisa Blundell explained that as builds were tenure neutral and appraisals on the properties were carried out we certainly wouldn’t be paying more.
· It was asked how often developers fail to deliver once a planning application is agreed. Andrew Smith explained that we do press them and there are often discussions around viability.
· HDC 7.1 – The Chairman advised there seemed to be two objectives and asked for them to be split. He also asked for ‘location’ to be added into the sentence regarding affordable housing.
· HDC 7.5 – It was requested that ‘Carbon Neutral’ be changed to ‘Low Carbon’ as it is very difficult to have a carbon neutral home.
· HDC 7.6 – Members asked for the final sentence regarding refurbishment of phases 2 & 3 to be removed.
· HDC 7.7 – First sentence please add ‘in target locations’
· Objective 8 – Members emphasised that the homelessness team were brilliant.
· HDC 9.3 – Members asked how easy it was to measure the carbon footprint of an Edwardian house. Andrew Smith advised that this was a good topic to provide a presentation on.
The Committee noted the Service plans and asked the Executive to note their comments.