Agenda and draft minutes

Tenant Scrutiny Board
Wednesday, 14th February, 2018 1.15 pm

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR. View directions

Contact: Sharon Guy 0113 3783195  Email: sharon.guy@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

65.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:

 

   No exempt items have been identified.

Minutes:

None.

66.

Late Items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

None.

67.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies received from Olga Gailite, Michael Healey, Peter Middleton, Maddie Hunter, Rita Ighade.

 

68.

Minutes - 17th January 2018 pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 17th January 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2018 be approved as a correct record.

69.

Chair's Update pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To receive an update from the Chair on scrutiny activity, not specifically included on this agenda, since the previous Board meeting.

Minutes:

The Chair updated members there would be a change to administration of the Board. The Chair explained he had spoken to other members not in attendance today for their views in advance of the meeting. The Chair expressed that he and the Board were disappointed that the changes are happening with immediate effect rather than waiting until the conclusion of the current inquiry.

 

The Board noted that when the previous changes to administration took place, a probationary period was agreed whereby the new arrangements were reviewed to see if they were working well.

 

The Chair noted in his meeting with the Head of Neighbourhood Services a commitment was made that support would continue to the Board and that their independence would remain in place. The Board felt assured by the fact they were told by the Head of Neighbourhood Services that a new Manager would be starting in the Tenant Engagement Team who could then assume the role of the outgoing Scrutiny Officer.

 

Members present also expressed that recruitment to the Board needed to take place before a new inquiry commences.

 

RESOLVED – That the Board agreed to the administration changes subject to a review in July 2018 to ensure it is working well.

 

The Chair on behalf of himself and the Board thanked Sharon Guy as Scrutiny Officer for her work with the Scrutiny Board over the past few years.

70.

Update on East Leeds Recommendation Tracking pdf icon PDF 209 KB

The Board is requested to receive an update on East Leeds Responsive Repairs Service recommendations and raise any questions with the Manager in attendance for this item.

Minutes:

Rob Goor introduced himself as Responsive Repairs Service Manager and explained he was attending on behalf of Simon Costigan, Chief Officer who was unable to attend the meeting due to another commitment. RG went through the recommendations and gave feedback on progress so far.

 

Recommendation 1 That Housing Leeds provide dedicated repairs training for new staff as part of their induction and regularly review training needs of existing staff. In addition, that Housing Leeds supports the Contact Centre’s training programme.

 

RG explained the service has invested heavily in training for frontline visiting staff which means that more complex repair types can be resolved better, for example for damp related repairs. Better repair equipment has also been provided to surveyors to diagnose problems.

 

Two Officers were also located at the Contact Centre from April to January to help train officers. Processes were developed which means that repairs are better dealt with and more efficiently.

 

It was asked by a member why they are not there now and what would happen because of the high turnover of staff at the Contact Centre – RG explained that the Officers who were taught would pass this knowledge on and also new guidance has been developed which means repairs can be ordered more effectively.

 

RG explained that the repairs ordering process now needs to be improved in other parts of the service which raise repair orders, for example the Housing Office or Community Hubs, as the Contact Centre only raise about 40% of the total number of repairs. RG noted that when benchmarking has been carried out as to the ways that tenants can report repairs, that Leeds has a lot more ways to report than other organisations which can be a good thing but a balance needs to be found to ensure consistency in quality.

 

RESOLVED - The Board resolved recommendation 1 is closed.

 

Recommendation 2 – Implement and roll out the Total Works system.

 

RG explained that Total Works became operational in July 2017 and all operatives are using the system which is reducing back office administration. The Chair noted in his discussion with Officers that the system has a few issues, which RG said is an honest appraisal of the system but he acknowledged it’s partly down to Total Works but also how it has been adapted to how East Leeds want. RG noted visits have been carried out to other organisations who are using Total Works to identify improvements.

 

It was asked by the Board if the number of repairs being carried out per day has increased since the system was introduced, as this was explained at the visit to Leeds Building Services as something which would occur with the new system. RG noted that he couldn’t answer this with certainty, but processes still need to be improved to improve efficiency. During the inquiry members were informed the Total Works system would reduce the number of visits to stores. The Chair asked if this had occurred, and RG confirmed this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Surveys Update pdf icon PDF 207 KB

The Board is requested to receive an update to the survey on Anti-Social Behaviour and ask any questions as appropriate.

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer gave an update on the survey which was sent to involved tenants and residents groups across Leeds by email. It was noted that we are still receiving replies through the post.

 

In summary, the feedback presented was mixed, with some comments stating the time to deal with the ASB complaint was poor.

 

A final update on the survey will be presented to the Board at March’s meeting.

72.

Update on Leeds response to Grenfell Tower pdf icon PDF 227 KB

The Board has been made aware from previous meetings that Environments, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board carried out an inquiry after the Grenfell Tower fire based on a recommendation from the Council’s Executive Board.

 

As part of the inquiry, the Environments, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board invited the Chair of Tenant Scrutiny Board to sit on the Board as part of the inquiry.

 

The Board is requested to receive an update to the inquiry from the Chair of Tenant Scrutiny Board and ask any questions as appropriate.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair gave an overview of the Environment, Communities and Housing Scrutiny Board inquiry into the Leeds response to the fire at Grenfell Tower. It was noted that the report is contained in the meeting pack. He explained that both Chief Officers of Housing Leeds attended the working group, along with a member from VITAL (Voice of Involved Tenants Across Leeds) and the Leeds High Rise Strategy group.

 

The Chair updated the Board on the areas of the report based on his attendance at those meetings.

 

Fire checks were explained as being done by the cleaners which they received extra training on fire safety. It was noted checks form part of their existing workload. The checks are done daily, including weekends with forms to complete. In enhanced blocks this is done twice a day. However, some tenants had been told by cleaning teams they don’t have enough time and so there was some concerns around this.

 

The Scrutiny Officer gave a definition on Enhanced Blocks, explaining these blocks have a more intensive housing management approach to them. A query was asked as to how we know these checks are being done. One suggestion was using hand held technology – currently cleaners are filling in paper forms means this can lead to delays on getting information to Housing Offices, and technology would help mean this is done more efficiently and quicker. An example could also include having barcodes on the wall of each floor which could be scanned which would record the date and time of the check.

 

Another issue was the possibility of getting tenants more involved in fire safety and cleaning checks. However, the working group felt this should not be in place of Council staff.

 

Parking was an issue in some blocks especially at night which means emergency services cannot get close enough to the block. Chutes were discussed as sometimes being too small or inadequate and checks were being done on these.

 

Bulky waste was raised as an issue during the inquiry, but it was noted that this was also picked up in Tenant Scrutiny Inquiry of Environment of Estates inquiry. Some blocks have areas where bulky items can be kept however this is not the case in all blocks, and some blocks have had increased collections to help alleviate this problem. The Council is carrying out a project to look at this area of work.

 

The Chair gave an update about sprinklers, and that work in sheltered high rise blocks to install these have been completed. Work has now begun on other high rise blocks in the City, beginning with Cottingley Heights and Towers.

 

There will be another meeting in July to give a further update on progress for this report by that Board.

73.

Mobile Working Update pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Mobile working for Housing Officers formed part of the recommendations for the Annual Home Visit inquiry carried out by the Board in 2015/16. The Board were presented with an update in December 2016, and this report gives a further update on mobile working.

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer gave an update to mobile working, which came out of the Annual Home Visit inquiry. The update informed members that a new Housing Management system is being introduced which has meant that further development on the current mobile working system is suspended until the new system is introduced.

 

The current mobile working will continue as usual where it has already been implemented.

 

It was explained the service bought more MiFi units than were needed and these have been distributed to other areas of the Council, including Sheltered Housing Officers so they can conduct mobile working at schemes. This has created a saving in the budget for this as other areas of the Council have made a contribution to the ongoing costs.

74.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Wednesday 14th March 2018 at 1:15pm

(Pre meeting for all Board members at 1:00pm)

Minutes:

Wednesday 14th March 2018 at 1:15pm

(Pre meeting for all Board members at 1:00pm)

 

THE MEETING CLOSED AT 3:00 PM