Venue: Committee Room 4, City Hall. View directions
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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2017 be confirmed.
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.
No declarations of interest were received.
Eric Jenkinson, Chair of Lincoln Tenants' Panel (LTP) reported that the workshops were going well. The next meeting of the panel was to be held on 16 August 2017. Members were going to Melton Mowbray on 17 August and training had been arranged for 23 August at City Hall. Members of the panel were attending the ARCH Tenants' Conference on 20 September 2017 in Birmingham.
Members were asked for any comments or questions.
Question: Would it be feasible for LTP to have an involvement in setting targets as the LTP was the voice of the tenants and was aware of how the service should work?
Response: The current process was to look at the service plan, meet with the service managers involved, take a draft of the service plan and suggested targets to LTP. Negotiation then took place with the Portfolio Holders to agree or disagree the targets. This was a normal process similar to that carried out nationally and by other local authorities.
Comment: At the last Performance Scrutiny meeting the Leader of the Council agreed that tenants should have some input.
Response: A flow chart was being produced by the Corporate Policy Business Manager and would be discussed further at the next Performance Scrutiny meeting to be held on 17 August 2017.
Karen Talbot, Assistant Director of Housing :
RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.
Karen Talbot, Assistant Director of Housing:
· Percentage of rents collected and the arrears always followed seasonal trends and at the end of quarter one there was no reason for concern.
· The re-let period was off target - out of 146 properties 76 required major works and 54 were the result of evictions. There had been an issue with the asbestos contract which had been cancelled and a new one started on 1 July 2017. Available property was being re-let as quickly as possible and the work in progress team met every Wednesday.
· Allocations were below target and the main reason was that people often changed their minds after they had bid for a property.
· The team was focussed on getting repairs right first time and improving performance.
Members were asked for any comments or questions.
Question: What were the major works that were causing the delays? Could earlier visits to the property be arranged to save time with the major works?
Response: Wherever possible properties would be inspected before vacated but often tenants who had lived in their properties for years would not let anyone in to carry out repairs. Karen Talbot agreed to provide a list of the types of works carried out to members.
Comment: The allocations figure appeared disappointing.
Response: It was reassuring that all properties ready for letting had got tenants allocated to them.
Question: What happened when someone didn't like the area?
Response: This was a tricky situation to handle as the housing needs didn't change and often people made a bid for a property and then turned it down because they did not like the area.
Question: Did the homeless clients ever turn down a property and if they did what did they do?
Response: Yes they did and sometimes they would prefer to sleep rough as they might have mental health issues or addiction to drugs/alcohol. They were always directed to other agencies and partners to try and get them the help they needed.
Question: A white paper was due to come out about homelessness - would this affect the council?
Response: The paper referred to was the Homelessness Reduction Act - which would come into effect next year. The main duty by the Local Authority would be to provide or secure the provision of free advisory services. These services would provide information and advice on:
· Preventing homelessness
· Securing accommodation when homeless
· The rights of people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness
· How to access help and point in right direction
The council would be working with other agencies and this would include developing money management skills and work towards helping people to help themselves.
Question: Was there any ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
The Democratic Services Officer:
a. presented the work programme for the Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee for 2017/18 as detailed at Appendix A of the report
b. advised that this was an opportunity for the committee to suggest other items to be included within the work programme
Members of the committee suggested that the following topic be discussed at the next meeting in November:
· Supported Housing Review
RESOLVED that the contents of the report and members suggestions be noted.