Agenda and minutes

Policy Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 19th September 2018 6.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Committee Room 2, City Hall

Contact: Claire Turner and Wendy Greenwell - 01522 873619  (01522 873387)

Items
No. Item

12.

Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

13.

Modern Slavery Statement and Charter pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Public Protection, Anti-Social Behaviour and Licensing Service Manager:

 

a)    Presented a report which informed the Policy Scrutiny Committee of the Council’s roles and responsibilities relating to modern slavery;

 

b)    Informed the Committee of the requirement for the Council to have a Modern Slavery Statement in place and presented the City of Lincoln Council’s proposed statement, as set out in Appendix A of the report.

 

c)    Presented the Committee with the Charter Against Modern Slavery, as set out in Appendix B of the report, and took members through the ten commitments for local authorities to attain.

 

d)    Invited members’ questions and comments.

 

A question was raised as to what would happen to any victims of modern slavery should any instances be reported or highlighted by the Council, either through officers or members. It was noted that this would depend upon the individual circumstances of the case, but Lincolnshire Police’s Understanding and Safeguarding Emerging Communities team would be involved, together with Social Services, as such victims were often vulnerable. The City Council may become involved should consideration need to be given to re-housing, for example.

 

Regarding sub-contractors, a question was raised as to how the wages they paid their employees was monitored further to point 3 of the Charter which sought to challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they did not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery. It was noted that the Council’s procurement processes had a number of checks in place to address this matter.

 

RESOLVED that the adoption of the Modern Slavery Statement and Charter Against Modern Slavery be supported and recommended to the Executive for approval.

14.

Review of Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Scheme pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Private Housing Team Leader:

 

a)    Presented a report which reviewed the Council’s scheme for the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation.

 

b)    Reported that new legislation came into force on 1 October 2018 which extended the criteria for the types of Houses in Multiple Occupation that would need a licence and imposed minimum room sizes and new mandatory conditions to be applied to all licences.

 

c)    Reported that the adoption of amenity and space standards for the district clarified the Council’s expectations for the standard of shared housing in Lincoln, helping landlords to know what they needed to provide and supporting officers to respond to challenge.

 

d)    Reported that it was estimated that the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation requiring a licence as a result of the new requirements would increase from 300 to 900 properties.

 

e)    Presented the Council’s revised Mandatory Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation as set out in Appendix A of the report, effective from 1 October 2018, and highlighted the following key changes:

 

·         a number of definitions within the licence had changed, which were clarified in appendices attached to the scheme;

·         a new Houses in Multiple Occupation online portal was in the process of being configured which would enable applications for licences to be submitted electronically. The scheme had therefore been amended to reflect this;

·         the licence fee had been updated to reflect changes to the Trusted Landlord Scheme;

·         the variation fee included in Appendix 5 would be removed from the scheme. This was in response to case law which had been published subsequent to the writing and publication of the report for this meeting;

·         in terms of renewals, legislation prescribed and restricted what documents the Council could require applicants to submit for an application to be valid. The revised scheme specified these requirements;

·         the revised scheme defined ‘appropriate people’ to hold a licence, in that they needed to prove that they had the necessary financial resources and had authority to act in respect of any property associated with the application;

·         a number of amendments to Appendix 10 in relation to satisfactory management arrangements. This outlined what the Council expected of landlords, with high-profile prosecutions having already being executed regarding landlords, ensuring that the Council continued to be robust through its processes and ensuring that they were complied with. Evidence could also be collated electronically as part of the online portal to assist with this;

·         adopted standards had been incorporated into the scheme to reflect new minimum requirements, but this also included guidance from a discretionary perspective in addition to those that were mandatory. Lincoln had a large number of Houses in Multiple Occupancy so it was important to push standards, with these revisions set out in Appendices 11 and 12 relevant to all Houses in Multiple Occupancy in the city, which were consistent with neighbouring areas;

·         further clarity was provided in relation to fire safety and fire doors in particular;

·         further clarity was provided in respect of conditions associated with smoke  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.