Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet Housing Panel
Monday 17th January 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Zoom

Contact: Brad Taylor 

Items
No. Item

20.

SUBSTITUTIONS

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

Minutes:

The following substitution of a Committee Members had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules:

 

Councillor S. McNamara for Councillor R. Trigg

Councillor J. Quinton for Councillor A. Dennis

21.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R. Trigg and A. Dennis

22.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 8th November 2021 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2021 was approved as a correct record by the Chair.

23.

HOUSING COMPLIANCE UPDATE pdf icon PDF 106 KB

An update on the Housing Compliance position and the improvement plan.

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive that provided an update on the Housing Compliance position and the improvement plan. Officers stated that the update followed on from the previous CHP and confirmed that an update would be provided at every CHP meeting. Officers informed Members that the most up to date figures were provided at the meeting. Officers stated that water hygiene, asbestos safety and lifts were all 100% compliant. Gas was split into communal blocks and domestic dwellings with the former being 100% and the latter at 99.97% compliant. Electrical was split with communal blocks being 100% compliant; electrical domestic was having issues gaining access to 202 properties, however officers informed Members that 100% compliance was still on track for March 2022. Officers stated that fire risk compliance had improved at 38% with 192 fire doors being completed. Rolling programmes for all areas were in place to ensure compliance was met in March 2022.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

·       Members asked how many fire doors had been assessed and how many fire doors needed to be installed each year to meet targets. Officers informed that there was no requirement to do type 3 fire assessments, but the Council had chosen to do so as best practice and to align with any new potential legislation. Regarding the fire door installation, 924 remained from the previous assessment and 824 had now been completed. Officers stated that as more fire door assessments are completed, it was likely additional doors requiring replacement would be identified, and replacement fittings would be integrated into the work program to be completed.

·       Members sought clarity over what was a good percent of fire doors assessed. Officers highlighted the information was available on the Member Information Hub following the housing compliance training for Members provided in December 2021.

·       Members asked to see if concerns had been raised by residents and if this could be included in the reports. Officers informed that actions were coming from the risk assessments and only one high risk action had been found and this had since been completed.

·       Members asked how officers were dealing with the access issues with electricity. Officers stated that the same process as Gas was being used. This meant that two booked appointments were made to evidence they are trying to get in, followed by four letters if the appointments were missed. A new programme of calling the residents on the list would be implemented.

·       Members thanked officers for the compliance Member development training.

 

RESOLVED:

(Unanimous)

 

The Panel noted the contents of this report.

24.

HOME OWNERSHIP POLICY REPORT pdf icon PDF 206 KB

A report of the Head of Housing Operations on a new Home Ownership Policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Head of Housing Operations on a new Home Ownership Policy which outlines the responsibilities of both the Council as the freeholder and the leaseholders. The specific objectives of the policy were focused on leasehold management, changes to lease through variations, selling of properties and service charges; these included major works subject to consultation. The proposed policy would introduce a flexible payment option for major works invoices which would spread the payments for leaseholders over a set period. The report proposed a pilot of a discount of 2.5% for the major works if the leaseholder were able to make a payment within 21 days. This was in line with other local authorities and housing associations.

 

Officers responded to comments made by members, confirming that it was the council’s responsibility to advise leaseholders if there were changes to fire regulations; and if a leaseholder wanted to dispute an invoice, they could go to first-tier tribunal. These updates had been made in the draft policy in advance of the meeting.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

·       Members sought further detail around the dispute issue and asked whether a leaseholder in dispute could ‘hold’ the discount. Subject to the pilot being successful if approved, Officers replied that if the dispute was valid and all information had been gathered then it would be likely. Officers informed members that the pilot discount scheme would be applicable to those already invoiced.

·       Members asked how long the trial period would last and whether it would then come back to CHP. Officers stated that the trial period would be 21 days for current overdue leaseholder invoices of major works. Officers confirmed that delegated authority would be sought to formally adopt the discount rate if the pilot was successful.

·       Members queried the measure of success. Officers stated that the discounted invoices were on those that had been outstanding for a while so any repayment of those in the discount period would be a success. Officers stated that if the policy were adopted then a benchmark could be set to be reviewed alongside other KPIs.

 

          RESOLVED:

          (Unanimous)

 

A)    Members recommend to Cabinet the adoption of the Home Ownership Policy (as set out at Appendix A).

 

B)    As the vote was unanimous, that the policy was able to be approved by an Executive Member Decision Notice.

 

RESOLVED:

          (10 in Favour, 1 Against)

 

It was recommended that a trial of payment discounts for current overdue debts if settled within 21 days be commenced. If the trial demonstrates that discounts are likely to lead to a reduction in harder to recover debt, Members recommend to Cabinet to delegate authority to the Section 151 Officer in conjunction with Executive Member of Resources to agree changes to the policy to allow a prompt payment discount.

25.

PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR HOUSING QUARTER 2 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

A performance report of the Head of Housing Operations on  housing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the period Quarter Two 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Head of Housing Operations on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Housing in Quarter two in 2021/22.

 

The report provided a summary of the strategic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPIs were monitored quarterly by Heads of Service. Officers pointed out the high number of green and amber ratings.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

·       Members asked why BPI65 (housing need register) was lower than target and whether analysis had been carried out. Officers confirmed that there had been a spike in demand with a 40% rise. The increase in demand meant the team has struggled to keep up and they were monitoring the situation to see what trends were present. Officers confirmed that the latest figures saw the team on track and meeting targets.

·       Members asked about the new void sequence. Officers confirmed that it was an internal IT system-based process that would help manage the different stages of voids. The process was easier to manage and report on.

·       Members asked about tenant satisfaction on repairs data collection and noted that the new method of data collection had not provided the data expected. Officers stated the current method used was sending letters to residents for them to return. The team were keen to modernise and use technology to improve messaging, such as the use of text messaging. This was welcomed by Members.

·       Members stated that those who were dissatisfied would be more likely to comment and they would like to see positive and negative feedback to improve the service.

·       Members raised concerns about the modernisation due to digital poverty notably in the elderly. Members asked whether a tick box could be included to find the best way of contacting residents. Officers confirmed they had a range of ways to contact residents to ensure everyone had access. They wanted to see the right outcomes from the digital strategy. Officers confirmed that they would ask if there was resident profile data on digital access, linked to the Council’s digital strategy. Officers would provide confirm this once the position is confirmed.

 

          RESOLVED:

          (Unanimous)

 

The Panel noted the contents of this report.