Agenda and draft minutes

Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee - Thursday, 2nd November 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Rooms 1-2, City Hall. View directions

Contact: Alison Hewson, Democratic Services Officer  (01522 873370)

No. Item


Confirmation of Minutes - 10 August 2023 pdf icon PDF 505 KB




  1. the minutes of the meeting held on 10 August 2023 be confirmed as a true record.


  1. answers from Members’ questions, raised on 10 August 2023 would be circulated to Members further to the meeting.



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.


Lincoln Tenant's Panel Project Update pdf icon PDF 236 KB


Mick Barber, Chair of Lincoln Tenants Panel (LTP), provided a written report on the panel’s continued work on a variety of projects with tenancy services, fire safety assurance, maintenance, business management and resident involvement teams. The briefing note, designed as a regular update to members of Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee, covered the following areas:


  • LTP continued to hold quarterly meetings with the Voids Team Leader to review void inspections and targets. The number of voids inspections had increased and all had surpassed standards. The completion of forms had moved to a digital format to enable the Voids Team Leader access information immediately. Further discissions would  be held with the Voids Team Leader to establish how multiple void inspections could be conducted with limited disruption to the team.
  • The Complaints Review Group continued to hold quarterly meetings. The Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Working group had recently reviewed and implemented recommendations. The City of Lincoln Council (CoLC) had been awarded the ASB accreditation.
  • The Schedule or Repairs (SOR) Working Group had received positive information relating to performance with repair timescales. A detailed action plan to enhance and increase the SOR programme on Facebook had been rolled out. LTP had reviewed the kitchen and bathroom work programme, attended the final 30-year business plan and estate regeneration workshops. LTP worked with the Resident Involvement Manager to help in the creation of a set of questions to form park of the tenant wide consultation delivered in August and reviewed responses/feedback.
  • The Investment Working Group had reviewed the communal door replacement programme and were in the process of creating a satisfaction survey.
  • LTP attended virtual training courses on the impact of the Tenant Satisfaction Measures, consumer standards and joined a virtual Council tenants forum.
  • LTP continued to represent CoLC at Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) and Social Housing Quality Resident Panel.


Members discussed the content of the report, commented, asked questions and received relevant responses as follows:


Question: Could an update on the issue of Green Verges be provided?

Response: It was a difficult time of year as the weather resulted in mud being churned up. It was hoped that when the issue moved over to the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, there would be improvement in the area. Modern houses often contained between 3-5 cars and the lack of availability of space was a continued difficulty. Work on the issue was ongoing.


Comment: The issue affected everyone and did not always affect only council housing tenants.

Response: There had been areas cordoned off to prevent vehicular access and there had been an increase in signage.


Comment: Prior to the commencement of development in the area, a trial had been conducted in Hermit Street. There had been work with parking enforcement and additional signage had been installed. In addition, enforcement was pursued for individuals that did not comply. The approach made a considerable difference however consideration to the ownership of land was important. Further to consultation with tenants, the issue of parking was considered a key concern.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Housing Revenue Account Business Plan 2024/54 pdf icon PDF 279 KB

Additional documents:


Daren Turner, Strategic Director of Housing and Investment:


a)    presented Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee (HSSC) with a report which detailed the long-term Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan for 2024/54 which could be seen at Appendix A to the report


b)    added that HRA Business Plan built on the previous five-year plan, demonstrated the current situation and outlined the aims and objective for the 30 years from April 2024. In addition, the HRA Business Plan included financial assumptions and projections during the lifespan of the plan


c)    confirmed that the Council had a legal duty to ensure the account remained solvent and would review financials on a yearly basis


d)    reported that the Business Plan focussed on 4 key objectives:


a.    Develop and Improve Core Housing Services

b.    Delivering New Homes

c.     Estate and Neighbourhood Regeneration

d.    Addressing Climate Change


e)    added that extensive consultation had taken place in collaboration with LTP, Tenants and also included five Member workshops. A shorter synopsis of the Business Plan was expected to be made available to all Members.


f)      offered thanks to Members of LTP for their involvement and for the attendance to workshops of all elected Members


g)    invited comments and questions from Members of the Committee.


Members discussed the content of the report, commented, asked questions and received relevant responses from Officers as follows:


Comment from Mick Barber, Chair of LTP: The hard work of the officers involved in the creation of the plan and the commitment of LTP was valued.


Comment from Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing: The dedication of officers for the vast amount of work that had been undertaken was recognised and appreciated. The document would be reviewed and amended over time as the situation would look very different in 30 years’ time.


Question: Had the consultants work now been completed?

Response: The contract for the consultants was not for one specific part of the plan only. There would be a presentation by the consultants in the future.


Question: How many times throughout the year would consideration be given to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA)? Should HSSC decide how many times the HRA was reviewed per year?

Response: The financial performance of the HRA had not historically appeared as a regular agenda item for consideration by HSSC. Instead, it had been presented to Performance Scrutiny Committee. Review of the financials was conducted within the department on a quarterly basis.


Comment: It may prove beneficial for a financial update to be presented to HSSC on a bi-annual basis for scrutiny.

Response: It would be a matter for the Chief Finance Officer to present financial information and discussions with finance colleagues would take place further to the meeting. Democratic Services had already commenced enquiries for bi-annual presentation of financial information, prior to the meeting.


Question: Where did the money to support emergency accommodation in hotels come from? The General Fund Account or the Housing Revenue Account?

Response: The General Fund Account. The long-term aim was to secure individuals into  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 2 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:


Michelle Hoyles, Business Manager, Corporate Policy:


a)    presented Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee with a verbal summary on performance indicators for the Directorate of Housing and Investment (DHI) for Quarter 2 of 2023/24 (July – September)


b)    added that regular monitoring of the Council’s performance was a key component of the Local Performance Management Framework and supported its ongoing commitment to continuous improvement of Council services


c)    confirmed that there was a total of twenty-one performance indicators monitored by DHI. An overview of performance for the second quarter of 2023/24, against such indicators, was attached at Appendix A to the report.


d)    reported that of the 21 measures in total; eight had met or exceeded their agreed target, five had performed close to target and seven had performed below target. Three of the measures found to be performing close to target were ‘year-end’ measures and included two measures that cumulatively recorded expenditure in maintenance and capital works


e)    added the third and final year-end measure related to the proportion of homes not at ‘decent homes standard’. Performance against this measure, whilst formally recorded at year end, had notable improvement since Quarter 1 and therefore had moved closer to target


f)      referred to Appendix A of the report which attempted to simplify the overall analysis by listing performance on a service functional basis (rents, repairs, etc) and then showing the source of the indicator (reason)


g)    confirmed that further, detailed information on the areas highlighted was provided within the report


h)    invited comments and questions from Members of the Committee.


Members discussed the content of the report, commented, asked questions and received relevant responses from Officers as follows:


Question: Was there a figure available for response in maintenance?

Response: A total of £2.2M had been spent, 28.75% of the budget.


Question: Referred to Appendix A of the report. The figure of closed Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) cases had been listed within the appendix however the total number of opened cases was not present. It would be helpful to know how many cases were opened as a comparative tool.

Response: The number of closed ASB cases was 138. It would be difficult to expand on the data further, as the figures were compiled on a quarterly basis. Therefore, it may be the case that an ASB case was opened in one quarter and closed in another.


Question: Did the new system pick up online repairs? Concerns had been raised by Customer Services that online repair requests had not been actioned.

Response: It was not necessary to speak to Customer Services to report a repair using the online system. The online repair took had worked well and repairs had been received through the system. Regular dialogue took place between Customer Service staff and resource planners at Hamilton House.


Comment: Members of LTP had worked with Officers regarding voids and things had progressed a long way.


Note: Councillor Alan Briggs wished his thanks be noted, on record, to Amy Larder, Interim Maintenance Manager for the improved planning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Downsizing Policy Update

Additional documents:


Paula Burton, Housing Strategy & Investment Manager:


a)    presented Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee (HSSC) with a verbal summary on the details of a Downsizing Incentive Scheme (DIS) for Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee to review, prior to the introduction of a six month pilot.


b)    added that the option of a DIS was first discussed with HSSC in February 2023.


c)    confirmed that the scheme aimed to incentivise tenants to move to smaller accommodation more suited to the need and provide access to family housing for those registered on Lincs Homefinder.


d)    reported that the City of Lincoln Council had a statutory duty to assess and help those who qualified for housing assistance and demand continued to increase. The number of people registered for Lincs Homefinder for housing assistance for the past three years could be seen at paragraph 2.2 of the report.


e)    added that as of October 2023, over 500 secure tenants were deemed to be under occupying CoLC homes. The Council had collected household profile data and the figure was expected to increase.


f)      referred to Appendix A of the report which offered detailed information on the Downsizing Incentive Policy. This included eligibility for the scheme, policy statement, decision making and appeal process, relevant legislation, regulation or standards and the monitoring and evaluation of the downsizing scheme.


g)    requested HSSC review the DIS policy prior to the commencement of the six-month pilot. Following the six-month pilot, Post Implementation Review would be presented to HSSC to establish if the scheme had been a success and the next steps


h)    invited comments and questions from Members of the Committee.


Members discussed the content of the report, commented, asked questions and received relevant responses from Officers as follows:


Comment: Thanks offered to Paula Burton for an informative and well written report.


Comment: If a property was occupied by four tenants and the property was received back, the data may present as we had removed an individual from the waiting list four times. The policy seemed to give consideration to the number of bedrooms.

Response: The report confirmed at paragraph 4.3 that the benefits to the scheme included the reduction of the number of tenants under-occupying and subject to the 14% (one extra bedroom) or 25% (two or more extra bedrooms) under occupancy charge. It was not concerning 4 individuals but was about one larger property potentially resulting in a number of lettings to fill that property (the other properties that are transferring into the larger one and cascading down).


Comment: The incentive was very positive. In real terms, on a three-bed property, the downsizing incentive worked out to be approximately £4300. In addition, an applicant may receive further assistance with downsizing. It was noted that many people did not wish to downsize however the incentive was considerable. It was hoped that the scheme would encourage people to move and free up family homes.


Question: Would prospective eligible tenants be approached or would the pilot be advertised?

Response: A communications strategy would be rolled out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Additional documents:


The Democratic Services Officer:


a.     presented the work programme for Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee for 2023/24 as detailed at Appendix A of the report


a.     advised that this was an opportunity for Committee to suggest other items to be included on the work programme.




1.     Additional items be added to the work programme as follows:


·        Pet Policy Review – February 2024

·        Downsizing Policy – March 2024


2.     The content of the Work Programme be noted.