Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Housing Panel
Thursday 20th September 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

Contact: Marie Lowe 

Items
No. Item

21.

SUBSTITUTIONS

To note any substitution of Panel Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19 – 22.

Minutes:

The following substitutions of Committee Members had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22:

 

Councillor S.Elam for Councillor T.Jackson-Mynott

Councillor J.Weston for Councillor M.Birleson

22.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M.Birleson and T.Jackson-Mynott.

23.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 6 August 2018 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 6 August 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

24.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

Minutes:

Independent Co-opted Representative, R.Paris, declared an interest in Item 16 – Asset Assessment Contract Procurement on the agenda by virtue of working, on occasion, as a contractor for Red Loft consultants.

25.

SCRUTINY PANEL - REVIEW OF REPAIRS CALL CENTRE pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) outlines the findings and recommendations from the review of the Repairs Call Centre carried out by the Scrutiny Sub Group of the Tenant’s Panel.

Minutes:

Report of the Chairman of the Scrutiny Sub-Group of the Tenant’s Panel.

 

The Chairman, in consultation with the Chairman of the Scrutiny Sub-Group, proposed that the report would be deferred until the next meeting of the Panel to enable additional time to consider further issues in relation to the report.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report and recommendations of the Scrutiny Sub-Group of the Tenant’s Panel be deferred until the next meeting of the Panel on 25 October 2018.

26.

UPDATE ON QUEENSWAY HOUSE pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) provides an update on progress and outlines the actions undertaken to Queensway House.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) provided an update on progress and outlined the actions undertaken to Queensway House which had been or were necessary to comply with the requirements of the fire risk assessment (FRA) and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

 

Members noted that, whilst the design details for the update for the additional unforeseen works were awaited from the consultants, the Council continued to take every possible measure to manage resident and leaseholder’s expectations regarding timescales and the challenges faced.  Members also noted that the additional unforeseen works had not been detailed in the original FRA (new ventilation and fire suppression sprinkler system).

 

The post-Grenfell Hackitt report and subsequent overhaul of areas of fire safety had meant that progress with certain elements of the work had been slower than expected.  However, residents had been kept updated of the areas of fire safety work that this related to and how this affected them.

 

In response to questions, Officers reassured Members that, at the time of procurement, the fire safety doors had met all Government standards.  The situation had arisen because the Government was questioning the original specification.  The work to replace the fire safety doors had virtually been completed, with two or three leaseholder doors remaining to be replaced.  Officers were closely monitoring the situation and would keep Members updated regarding new concerns raised nationally about the effectiveness of fire doors.

 

Officers reported that, following the request of the mother of a Queensway House resident to hold a meeting to inform of the reasons for the delay and length of time it had taken to carry out the works, a resident’s meeting had been held the previous week.  It had been a highly charged meeting which had been very difficult to control and to convey messages to the residents due to the atmosphere at the meeting.  At the conclusion of the meeting it was agreed that an action plan would be produced and progressed to the conclusion of the works.

 

The Corporate Director provided the background to the reasons why the bathroom windows had been blocked up.  The Fire and Rescue Service had raised the windows as the area of most concern in relation to the safety of residents in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.  As the priority of the Council was to maintain the safety of residents, the decision had been taken to carry out the work to fill in the window spaces.

 

Members were asked to note that a complicated electronic ventilation system would be installed to compensate for this.  However, it would take time for this to be sourced and installed.

 

Officers confirmed that Ward Members were regularly updated about the progress made with the works to Queensway House and would continue to be.

 

Members noted that Building Control had been made aware that the bathroom ventilation was not currently compliant with Building Regulations.  However, it was acknowledged that the fire safety of the building overrode this requirement.

 

In response to a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

HOUSING NEEDS UPDATE - HOUSEHOLDS IN TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) provides an update on the current numbers of households in temporary accommodation and a summary of the situation in other Hertfordshire local authorities.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) provided an update on the current numbers of households in temporary accommodation and a summary of the situation in other Hertfordshire local authorities.

 

At the last meeting of this Panel Members asked for further detailed information about the homelessness situation locally and the impact of the Homeless Reduction Act. 

 

A report was presented to Cabinet on 4 September 2018 which set out the position with regard to the increased caseload of the Housing Options team and the increased numbers of families who were being accommodated in bed and breakfast at that time.

 

Members had also asked for information about the position that other neighbouring authorities were in, following the implementation of the Homeless Reduction Act. 

 

Members welcomed the information reported by Officers that the number of families affected had slightly improved since the last meeting, with 112 families in temporary accommodation and 18 in bed and breakfast. 

 

Members asked that Officers be congratulated and thanked for their hard work in achieving the reduction in the number of families reported to be in temporary accommodation or bed and breakfast, for which the Council had a duty.

 

In response to questions raised, Officers reassured Members that the workload of the current homeless officers was being monitored very carefully to ensure that they were supported and not affected by stress.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

28.

SOCIAL HOUSING GREEN PAPER

Presentation from the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) summarising the proposals contained in the Government’s Social Housing Green Paper.

Minutes:

The Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) presented a summary of the proposals contained in the Government’s Social Housing Green Paper.

 

           A new deal for social housing

           Five key themes to “underpin a new, fairer deal for social housing residents” (MHCLG)

           Ensuring homes are safe and decent

           Effective resolution of complaints

           Empower residents and strengthen the regulator

           Brief summary on regulation

           Empower residents and strengthen the regulator

           Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities

           Expanding supply and home ownership

           Two other consultations launched – use of receipts from right to buy sales and rents for social housing

           Response to Consultation Being Prepared

 

Next Steps

 

The Draft Consultation Response

 

·                Final draft will be brought back to Cabinet Housing Panel on 25th October 2018

·                Approved by the Executive Member for Housing

·                Submitted to MHCLG by 6th November 2018

·                Members were encouraged to follow the weblink to view the green paper and additional two consultations

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/social-housing-green-paper-a-new-deal-for-social-housing

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     That the presentation on the Government’s Social Housing Green Paper be noted.

 

(2)     That Members submit their comments on the Green Paper to the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities).

 

(3)     That the proposed response to the consultation be brought back to the Cabinet Housing Panel on 25 October 2018. 

 

29.

WORK PROGRAMME 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

The pro-forma which sets out the Panel’s work programme has been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning of items to be considered to take place.

Minutes:

The pro-forma setting out the Panel’s work programme had been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning if items to be considered to take place.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the updated and amended work programme be noted.

30.

EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

The Panel is asked to resolve:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for items 15 to 18 (if any) on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100A(3) and Paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it is considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Minutes:

The Panel resolved that under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for items 15 to 17 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100A(3) and Paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it is considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

31.

HOUSING MAINTENANCE SERVICE RE-PROCUREMENT

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) seeks approval for the re-procurement of the Housing Maintenance Service in accordance with the Council’s Financial Standing Orders and the Procurement Policy.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) set out details of the approval for the re-procurement of the Housing Maintenance Service in accordance with the Council’s Financial Standing Orders and the Procurement Policy.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

32.

ASSET ASSESSMENT CONTRACT PROCUREMENT

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) advises Members on the results of a recent tender for a contract for a consultant to assess and make recommendations in respect of the development potential of the councils Housing Revenue Account assets.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) advised Members on the results of a recent tender for a contract for a consultant to assess and made recommendations in respect of the development potential of the Council’s Housing Revenue Account assets.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

(Independent Co-opted Representative, R.Paris, having declared an interest withdrew from the meeting during consideration of this item).

33.

QUEENSWAY HOUSE LIFT REPLACEMENT PROJECT

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) provides an update on progress and outlines the actions undertaken and necessary works to comply with the requirements of the Fire Risk Assessment and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in respect of Queensway House, Hatfield.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) provided an update on progress and outlined the actions undertaken and necessary works to comply with the requirements of the Fire Risk Assessment and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in respect of Queensway House, Hatfield.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.