Venue: Virtual Meeting - Please use links on the Agenda Front Sheet to join the virtual meeting
Contact: Andy Ellis Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org 0208 132 1111)
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
The Chair, Cllr Elif Erbil welcomed everyone to the meeting and members of the Panel introduced themselves.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to the items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were received.
To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 3 September 2020.
Further clarification was given in relation to two items in the minutes.
1) A correction was noted that the Civica Housing Management System has a projected go-live date of February 2021, depending on Covid-19 and year end issues. It was confirmed that the new Housing Allocations Policy was implemented on 1 December.
2) The former Housing Advisory Board no longer operates. The Housing Advisory Group, which has membership from across the housing system held their first meeting recently. Unlike the previous Board, this group is not part of the formal constitution framework and has no political representation. It was confirmed that residents on the group are able to share opinions and recommendations with officers, in order to shape future policy decisions. The agenda for the first meeting of the group included the two items being discussed at scrutiny tonight, to allow residents views on the issues to be noted. Cllr Smith, as a former member of the Housing Board asked that his concerns relating to the remit and membership of the new group were noted.
3) With the necessary corrections addressed, the minutes were agreed.
To receive a presentation from Joanne Drew, Director of Housing and Regeneration
Joanne Drew, Director of Housing and Regeneration and Sarah Stevenson Jones, Resident Safety Director gave a presentation on Building Safety and Capital works and highlighted the following.
1) There are 5 key themes linked to the investment strategy: Improving building safety, eradicating anti-social behaviour with innovative design, replacing aged infrastructure, creating sustainable homes for the future and reducing maintenance and service costs with appropriate procurement.
2) Life cycle modelling is used to define the life-span of a range of different elements such as windows and roofs. A well-defined life cycle allows forward planning.
3) A stock condition survey can identify well performing areas and those that require attention, for example, fire alarms and lightening detectors.
4) As part of the life-cycle modelling, statutory requirements and historical repair costs are considered along with the important feedback provided by residents.
5) To ensure the correct work is undertaken at the most appropriate time, a 5 year, 10 year and 30 year programme is developed, forming the asset investment model. A programme design for estates and buildings is followed by an internal scope challenge, involving stakeholders and resident engagement on the proposals.
6) Capital investment and affordability should be considered. Investment in building improvements needs to be recovered, in part, from leaseholders. In the current period of uncertanty caused by the pandemic and the financial climate, capital investment needs to be balanced with leaseholders ability to pay.
7) Over the next 5 years, there is an investment plan, totalling in excess of £200m, which will include building safety work in advance of the new regulations.
8) All new contracts are subject to a competitive tendering exercise to ensure value for money, with a greater emphasis on quality control when considering tender submissions. Smart decisions are made in relation to the quality, performance and life expectancy of products as opposed to cost. To ensure robust quality monitoring on main contracts is undertaken, external Clerk of Works will be used.
9) There are no buildings in the Council’s housing stock with Aluminium Composite Material within the external walls. In addition, there are no buildings over 6 storeys with High Pressure Laminate remaining, however, remediation work will take place on 4 blocks below 4 storeys. Work will commence next year to address balcony finishes and timber cladding systems across low rise homes.
10)12 high rise blocks will be retrofitted this year as part of the High Rise Residential Blocks Retrofit and Safety programme. The remaining blocks will be retrofitted over a 4 year time-scale.
11)Plant rooms and communal risers will form part of the work to demonstrate enhanced safety.
12)There will be additional safety programmes carried out to include, fire doors, in-flat fire detection and sprinkler installation in specialised housing schemes.
13)Resident engagement forms an important part of the developments being carried out. A new resident engagement strategy is being planned and part of this will be improved communications.
14)There will be improvements to the Council website to include advice ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
SOCIAL HOUSING WHITE PAPER
To receive a presentation (combined with Item 4 above) from Joanne Drew, Director of Housing and Regeneration.
Joanne Drew, Director of Housing and Regeneration and Sarah Stevenson Jones, Resident Safety Director gave a presentation on the Social Housing White Paper and highlighted the following.
1) The Government have now published the Social Housing White Paper, which contains what all social housing residents should expect from social housing providers. There are 7 themes or charters comprising the White Paper.
2) In addition, the White Paper sets out what the government will do to ensure landlords live up to the new charter and it means Local Authorities must be transparent about its performance and decision making. This will ensure that tenants and the Regulator of Social Housing can hold them to account.
3) The 7 Charters outlined in the White Paper, relate to safety in your own home, landlord performance, improved complaints handling performance, to be treated with respect, landlords engagement with residents, a good quality home and neighbourhood and support for first steps towards homeownership.
4) Enfield Council are well positioned to respond to ‘Safety in your own home.’
5) ‘Landlord Performance’ will be increasingly in the spotlight and will include issues such as how anti-social behaviour is dealt with, which is extremely important for residents.
6) Within the scope of the White Paper it is important to note how effectively the Council respond and deal with complaints, rather than the number of complaints themselves.
7) Charter 4 is a key part, which relates to how we will listen to residents and respond to their views.
8) Under Charter 5, the Ombudsman will have the power to refer any systemic complaints to the Regulator of Social Housing if appropriate.
9) The review of the Decent Homes Standard and ensuring neighbourhoods are safe form part of Charter 6.
10)Charter 7 outlines the government’s commitment to provide social housing tenants greater opportunities to buy their own home. Half of the homes provided via the Affordable Programme will be for affordable home ownership. A new Right to Shared Ownership will provide an opportunity to purchase a minimum stake of 10% in their home, with provision to purchase further shares in the future. It is important in Enfield to have a wide variety of housing products to meet the need.
The Chair thanked Officers for their presentation and asked for questions and comments from Members of the Scrutiny Panel.
11) It was noted that to engage with residents, focus groups, work-shops and ‘Housing News.’ would all be utilised and the Resident Engagement Strategy would be refreshed. Officers will also be working with the Customer Voice.
12) A suggestion was made that there should be more collaboration between landlords and residents to prevent referrals to the ombudsman. In response, it was noted that in order to resolve complex complaints, resident panels could hear the final stage complaint, a process which works well in other boroughs.
13)Once the pandemic has passed, it may be beneficial to encourage the formation of more resident’s associations to improve the sense of community.
14)The Right ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To receive and agree the work programme for 2020/21
The work programme for 2020/21 was agreed.
DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS
To note the dates of future meetings as follows:
Thursday 11 February 2021
Thursday 15 April 2021
The dates of future meetings were noted.