Agenda and minutes

Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee - Monday, 5th October 2015 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall

Contact: Democratic Services - 01522 873619 

Items
No. Item

15.

Confirmation of Minutes - 10 August 2015 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 August 2015 be confirmed.

16.

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.

17.

LTP Matters

Minutes:

Eric Jenkinson advised of the following LTP matters:

 

·         The void properties that were visited by tenants during September had all met the required standard

·         The working groups were on target for completing their projects

·         Four members would be visiting Trafford Hall for a seminar in November

·         Sharron Elsom had been elected on to Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee at the last LTP meeting.

18.

Housing Investment Programme 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Bob Ledger, Director of Housing and Community Services

 

a.    provided an update on the final 2014/15 outturn for the Housing Investment Programme

b.    gave an overview of the background to the report as detailed at paragraph 2 and highlighted that at the end of quarter 2 the overall planned expenditure had reduced to £11,703,812

c.    advised that the final spend on the programme was £11,870,968 which equates to 101.43% of the approved programme

d.    gave an overview of Contingency Reserve and advised that there was an underspend of £144,377 for 2014/15 which was reallocated to overspends on Decent Homes elements within 2014/15

e.    referred to the table at paragraph 5 of the report and summarised the elemental performance as at 31st March 2015 compared to the estimated programme for 2014/15 financial year

f.     gave an overview of the property improvement and refusals for 2014/15 as detailed at paragraph 4.2 of the report

 

RESOLVED that the progress of the Capital Programme in 2014/15 be noted.

19.

Anti-Social Behaviour Update Report pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Minutes:

Karen Talbot, Assistant Director of Housing

 

a.    provided an update on the Housing Services response to anti-social behaviour (ASB)

b.    advised that the report considered performance for 2015/16 and summarised current progress towards reassessment of the ASB service for Housemark Accreditation in 2016

c.    gave an overview of 2014/15 performance as detailed at paragraph 4.1 of the report

 

d.    advised that a review of ASB had taken place and having sought clarity from Housemark, it became apparent that Officers had been counting tenancy issues within the figures that were not ASB complaints

 

e.    advised that some ASB cases had been resolved but had not been closed on the IT system which resulted in a disproportionate end time, this had been resolved by ensuring that monthly checks take place on all open cases, not only to ensure that they were closed at the appropriate time but also to ensure effective and progressive case management

 

f.     referred to paragraph 4.4 and 4.5 of the report and highlighted the improved performance average and the average number of days to resolve a case from September onwards

 

g.    gave an overview of the Housemark accreditation scheme and highlighted the improvements that had been implemented as detailed at paragraph 5.3 of the report

 

h.    advised that over the next quarter an action plan would be developed for service improvement which would include a refresh of the procedures.

 

Members asked for an example of typical anti-social behaviour cases.

 

Karen Talbot advised that the majority of the cases were low level neighbour disputes for example parking and children’s behaviour where some mediation may be required.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

20.

St Botolph's Court Modernisation Project pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Bob Ledger, Director of Housing and Community Services

 

a.    presented a report to provide an update on the St Botolphs Court improvement works and the additional budget requirements for the works

b.    gave an overview of the building as detailed at paragraph 3 of the report

 

c.    referred to appendix B of the report and advised that the scheme had been approved by Executive in 2013 and highlighted the overall budget detailed at paragraph 3.10 of the report

 

d.    advised that some pilot work was completed and it was clear that not all of the work identified at the time of the original report and the initial estimates were not an accurate reflection of the current market costs and budget requirement

 

e.    referred to paragraph 3.12 of the report and summarised the actual works that were carried out in the pilot bedsit

 

f.     advised that an independent review regarding the additional project costs had been commissioned and referred to the table at paragraph 5.4 of the report and highlighted the areas of significant costs that had led to a budget shortfall in the delivery of the project

 

Members referred to page 22 of the report and highlighted the metal strip in the kitchen work top and asked if this could be looked at to improve the finish?

 

Bob Ledger, Director of Housing and Community Services responded that he would look into this.

 

Members further asked if they could visit a property once it had been completed?

 

Bob Ledger responded that this could be arranged through Democratic Services.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

21.

Housing Revenue Account 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Minutes:

Bob Ledger, Director of Housing and Community Services

 

a.    presented the 2014/15 outturn on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA)

b.    advised that the revised budget for 2014/15 amounted to £28,368,000. For 2014/15 the HRA net budget was at a surplus of £113,390 , resulting in an estimated level of general balances at the year-end of £1,117,165

c.    referred to paragraph 3.1 of the report and highlighted the shortfall of £258,935 and gave an overview of the key variances

d.    advised on the additional contributions to earmarked reserves as detailed at paragraph 3.2 of the report

e.    advised on the shortfall of £258,935 which resulted in HRA balances falling to £858,230 which was below the £1m prudent minimum assessed in MTFS

 

f.     further advised that a reduction to the revenue contribution to the Housing Investment Programme of £141,770 had been made to ensure the HRA balances back up to the prudent minimum of £1m.

 

Members asked what would be the impact of the 1% rent reduction?

 

Bob Ledger, Director of Housing and Community Services gave an overview of the potential impact of the rent reduction advising that a re-profile of the HRA would take place in January.

 

Members referred to the additional costs within supervision and management and asked if this had been rectified?

 

Bob Ledger confirmed that it had been addressed and the use of agency staff would be monitored.

 

Members further asked how the Housing Department had prepared for the implementation of Universal Credit?

 

Bob Ledger advised that the department was trying to decrease the amount of arrears through enforcement to prepare them for Universal Credit. Housing staff would also be well briefed on welfare benefits and Universal Credit and would be able to provide good advice to tenants that were struggling.

 

Members further asked if Direct Debit could be used.

 

Bob Ledger, advised that Housing Officers were encouraging the use of direct debits as much as possible as they were the safest method of payment for the tenancy.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.   

22.

Housing Revenue Account Quarter 1 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Minutes:

Bob Ledger, Director of Housing and Community Services

 

a.    presented the first quarter (Qtr 1 2015/16) outturn on the Housing Revenue Account

b.    referred to paragraph 3.1 and advised that the HRA was meant to work with operating balances of 1 million to act as a safety net to guard against and allow provision for unexpected expenditure or reduced income

c.    referred to paragraph 3.2 of the report and advised that the level of forecast HRA balances would be monitored closely during the next quarter and would be subject to a fundamental review as part of the HRA Business Plan and MTFS

d.    gave an overview of the Executive decision to approve additional HRA revenue budget allocation and highlighted the virement that was presented to Executive as detailed at paragraph 3.3 of the report

e.    referred to appendix B of the report and highlighted the key variances

 

RESOLVED that the Quarter 1 performance of the Housing Revenue Account be noted.

23.

Work Programme 2015 -16 Report pdf icon PDF 12 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Claire Turner, Democratic Services Officer

 

a.    presented the work programme for the Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee for 2015/16 as detailed at Appendix A of the report

b.    advised that this was an opportunity for the committee to suggest other items be included within the work programme

c.    advised that the Benchmarking report scheduled for the November meeting was an historic item and asked for it to be removed from the work programme due to data not being available

 

RESOLVED that subject to the amendment above the work programme be agreed.