Venue: Committee Rooms 1-2, City Hall. View directions
Contact: Alison Hewson, Democratic Services Officer (01522 873370)
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 11 August 2022 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.
Mick Barber, Chair of Lincoln Tenants Panel, provided a written report on the panel’s continued work with tenancy services, fire safety assurance, maintenance, business management and resident involvement on a variety of projects, covering the following areas:
· Within tenancy services LTP was working with the Voids Team Leader inspecting one property a week. We had also adapted the way we reported our findings moving from paper to digital format to speed up the process to ensure information could be shared immediately with officers.
· During the summer months, LTP attended estate inspections at Hartsholme, Birchwood & Moorland in the south; Ermine East & West and St Giles in the north and West End, Burton Road/Newport, Tower, Stamp End, City Centre, High Street and Manse in the city centre. Follow up inspections were due to take place in November/December.
· We held out first meeting with Business Management on 17th July – our recommendations have been shared with relevant officers together with a request for further feedback relating to some complaints.
· At a recent LTP meeting the Panel assessed the Tenant Involvement Strategy Action Plan and he was pleased to confirm there were no red flags. Actions had been awarded based on one of the following:
Ø Bronze – Process has started – early stages
Ø Silver – Making good progress
Ø Gold - Full implementation and maintained
· LTP was working closely with the Interim Maintenance Manager on the schedule of repairs project, attending monthly meetings to review performance, focused on creating a marketing programme to deliver a consistent message and information to tenants on the benefits of the project. Councillor Hewson, Chair of Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee attended a meeting in August when the group discussed how we could enhance tenant experience – as a result, series of Face Book posts had been created by the working group scheduled to go out on a six-week cycle to promote and encourage tenants to make an appointment.
· We continued to hold our monthly LTP meetings. The Director of Housing attended our last meeting in September to discuss the proposed rent cap. Our AGM would take place on Monday 7th November with face book posts on both City of Lincoln Council sites together with LTP members sharing the posts on other community-based pages. We were thrilled to confirm we would be hosting a celebration event on Wednesday 15th November acknowledging all the hard work over the last couple of years in creating the LTP Constitution. The event would be held at the Guildhall and the Mayor had accepted our invitation.
· All LTP 1-2-1’s had been completed by The Resident Involvement Manager and Vice Chair of LTP, which had provided us with valuable feedback, knowledge and panel aspirations, to be used to help us expand LTP and move forward.
· LTP had volunteered to assist the Resident Involvement Manager at the Jarvis and Shuttleworth House fire safety exercises and engagement events. We attended the recent fire safety exercise at Trent View which provided Lincoln Fire and Rescue ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Planned Works Programme Update 2022-23
Kevin Bowring, Investment Manager, presented a verbal update on the schedule of planned works for the current year 2022/23, as requested for members information by the Chair, covering the following main points:
· A 6-year onsite contract had been awarded to fit replacement windows.
· Installation of doors/windows:
Ø 357 front entrance doors had been installed to date.
Ø 304 front entrance doors were currently on order
Ø 112 windows had been installed.
Ø 324 windows were currently on order
· Expenditure of £1.5m was planned for door and window installation this year.
· Work by our heating contractors involved:
Ø Installation of 317 replacement boilers to date.
Ø A further 378 replacement boiler installations in progress.
· Under the annual electrical inspection programme, just under 2,000 properties had been tested this year and relevant works required as a result of these inspections were programmed for completion.
· A new contract had been procured for installation of communal/access doors and control systems, to be delivered in Feb/March 2023 at a cost of £400,000.
· Letting standards were being improved through work being carried out by housing staff and void relets.
· There were 15 procurement exercises currently underway.
· A new 5 year electrical services contract was due to be signed off tomorrow to install new electrics in flat blocks.
· Tenders for property improvements such as kitchen/bathroom upgrades had recently been re-tendered following a lack of take-up in the summer.
· Tenders were also out for landscaping boundaries, tarmac, hard standing works etc.
· A tender to procure timber doors was also underway.
Councillor Hewson, Chair, thanked the Investment Manager for this update and requested that a general breakdown of planned works be prepared for members of Housing Scrutiny Sub Committee ahead of each financial year. He referred to current expenditure against capital programme targets at under 20%, although he fully accepted the problems experienced with supply of materials and labour.
Mick Barber, Chair of Lincoln Tenants Panel asked whether it was possible for electrical safety inspections to be carried out annually across our whole stock of Council house properties in line with that of gas inspections.
Kevin Bowring, Investment Manager, advised that gas inspections must be carried out annually by statute. Electrical safety inspections were carried out over a 5 year programme; however, the outcome of the previous inspection was used to define any properties requiring a further inspection in advance of this timescale. The Housing Authority also had a responsibility to re-check properties each time they became void. He agreed to discuss this further at the Lincoln Tenants Panel meeting later that month.
Mick Barber congratulated officers on the work carried out by the gas contractor. He questioned the ratio of safety against quality and cost effectiveness with the number of smaller contracts being tendered in general.
Kevin Bowring, Investment Manager confirmed that post inspections were conducted on a percentage of works completed, to ensure the same quality of tradesmanship across different contracts.
Councillor Hewson suggested in setting a standard it would be beneficial for each job to be ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
Yvonne Fox, Assistant Director, Housing Management, presented a verbal update on De Wint Court, new purpose-built residential accommodation open now to support residents to live more independently, yet together and more inclusively with the local surrounding community. She highlighted the following key points:
· As of today, the scheme was fully allocated.
· A waiting list contained 24 active applications and 74 awaiting assessment by the Allocation Panel.
· This new sheltered housing scheme was a great flagship facility for people to live.
· The beautiful apartments had built-in security and lifestyle features that helped make the practicalities of day-to-day life easier for residents.
· Key benefits of De Wint Court centred on flexible on-site care and support packages built around people’s needs, a restaurant serving the local community on the doorstep and a hair and beauty salon without going outside the complex.
Mick Barber, Chair of LTP commended the scheme as a jewel in our crown, and he hoped there would be similar projects in the City.
Members raised questions as follows:
· How did the resident’s service charge apply to those resident’s on means tested housing benefit?
· Officer Response: The service charge was made up of a number of elements to ensure the effective management of the scheme. It was charged over and above normal council house rent offering care and support built around individual needs. Residents on benefits did get help, however, those not on benefits must pay the full service charge. New residents were made aware of the charges at the application stage. Although costs were more than council rents due to the care package provided, it was still an affordable rent. There were also alternative sheltered housing schemes available in the City. Rent charges would be constantly reviewed to ensure they were reasonable and affordable.
· Was the application process split 50/50 between the City and County Council or were City residents given priority?
· Officer Response: Lincoln residents were given priority as part of the allocation assessment. All the current residents were from the City.
Daren Turner, Strategic Director, Housing and Investment, highlighted that there were a few teething problems to be addressed by the build contractors, which were being followed up for final resolution.
Councillor Tom Dyer sought reassurance from the Director of Housing and Investment that he was confident with the detail of the full contract agreement for the complex which had been managed by a former staff member.
Daren Turner, Director of Housing and Investment confirmed that the overall delivery of the project was covered under the contract agreement, there were just a few snagging issues which were being chased to avoid penalties being applied. Under the retention policy, a legal view had been sought to the effect that a reasonable period of time should be given for the contractor to respond to snagging issues, in order to follow due process.
1. A Post-Implementation Report of De Wint Court be added to the work programme to be presented to Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee after ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Yvonne Fox, Assistant Director, Housing Management:
a) presented Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee with a quarter 2 report on Performance Indicators for the 2022/23 financial year (April 2022- September 2022), as detailed at Appendix A
b) explained that over the last 12 years the Council had been working with the Lincoln Tenants Panel to improve external scrutiny and to meet the standards implemented by the Tenant Services Authority.
c) highlighted that in total there were 21 measures and of those, against agreed targets, 7 were on or exceeding targets for the year (year-end), and 13 had not met the normal targets set
d) reported that of the 13 measures that did not meet target, 8 of these were within 5% tolerance of their respective targets (amber rating), and one measure didn’t have a target (complaints replied to in line with corporate policy)
e) 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)
f) provided the committee with some key figures in relation to performance targets as follows:
- Rent collection was ahead of the 96.5% target. Tenancy Services continued to prioritise the collection of rent to maintain the income stream. The financial pressures tenants were facing were increasingly apparent, and the new Sustainment Team were working with tenants who were struggling financially.
- The percentage of all priority repairs carried out within the time limit of 1 day was slightly below the target of 99.5%. Since April there were 10 priority repairs completed outside the 24-hour window. Housing Repairs Service (HRS) were continually monitoring the volume of priority repairs and ensuring tickets were closed down when repairs were made safe. The repairs service was experiencing issues with repairs booked in on the Dynamic Resource Scheduling System (DRS) and its links to the Universal Housing IT system (UH) which was being logged manually until the replacement system was in place
- arrears as a % of the rent debit was currently marginally above target in the month of August with 4.76% achieved. Arrears were normally at their highest at this time of the year with a reduction due at the end of Q3 and Q4 due to the rent-free weeks. Increased numbers of tenants were migrating over to Universal Credit (UC) which increased arrears. The heightened costs of living had also put pressure on households. The national period of mourning almost meant a hiatus in arrears collection which impacted on collection.
- There was a dip in performance for repairs completed right on first visit in the month of August. Further codes were being added to the system to determine the need for further visits i.e., the need for a secondary trade, insufficient time to complete on the first visit.
- In terms of % of non-decent homes, at the end of the quarter we had 125 non decent properties which excluded refusals. We had seen a ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
Donna Lyons, Resident Involvement Manager, presented the Tenant Involvement Strategy 2022-25 for information, together with the Action Plan for the strategy which included a Lincoln Tenants Panel Assessment of progress to date.
She reported that LTP would continue to assess progress on the strategy and Action Plan using a gold, silver, bronze star/red flag rating system. There were currently no red flags against any of the objectives within the agreed Action Plan.
Councillor Hewson, Chair, received confirmation that the Panel was represented by a LTP member with disabilities.
Mick Barber, Chair of LTP, confirmed that he was actively attempting to recruit a lease holder to coordinate the marketing of the strategy to get more people involved.
RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted with thanks.
The Democratic Services Officer:
1. Additional items be added to the work programme as follows:
· PIR De Wint Court- post April 2023
· Planned Scheduled Investment Programme Update- beginning of next Municipal Year
· Draft Downsizing Initiative – next scheduled meeting – 2 February 2023.
2. The work programme be noted.