Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities)
Thursday, 5th March, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642)  Email: becky.atherton@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

89.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no appeals.

 

 

90.

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:

There were no exempt items.

 

 

91.

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:

There were no late items.

 

 

92.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

 

93.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors A Gabriel, J Bentley and P Grahame. Councillor R Grahame was in attendance as substitute.

 

 

94.

Minutes - 6 February 2020 pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 6 February 2020.

Minutes:

Matters arising

 

Minute 83 – Minutes of previous meeting. The Chair noted that further discussions had taken place prior to the meeting with Councillor A Lamb and relevant officers in regards to river cleanliness. The Board felt that the matter required further consideration, and therefore would recommend to the successor Board that an inquiry be conducted on a West Yorkshire basis.

 

Minute 84 – Fuel Poverty Update. Members were advised that the Shakespeare Shakespeare Court, Grange and Towers external wall insulation programme had commenced, but was not yet complete. Therefore, it was requested that the minute be amended to reflect the current stage of construction.

 

RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held 6 February 2020 be approved as an accurate record, subject to the amendment as set out above.

 

 

95.

Housing Repairs Update Report pdf icon PDF 404 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Resources and Housing updating members on progress following the recommendations of the Board’s Working Group in September 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources and Housing submitted a report that provided an update on progress following the recommendations of the Board’s Working Group in September 2018.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  Jill Wildman, Chief Officer for Housing

-  Adam Crampton, Head of Property Management

-  Robert Goor, Responsive Repairs Service Manager

 

The following documents were appended to the report:

 

-  Chartered Institute of Housing – Working Together to Rethink Repairs and Maintenance (Summary)

-  Scrutiny Working Group – Environment, Housing and Communities Housing Repairs meeting notes 26 September 2018

 

The Head of Property Management and the Responsive Repairs Service Manager provided a PowerPoint presentation, including the following:

 

·  Progress against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Housing Responsive Repairs and Voids (RR&V), along with context to performance below target;

·  Update regarding the RR&V Delivery Strategy approved by Executive Board in October 2019, incorporating the focus on developing local plans to address local needs, and a complete review of the whole voids and lettings process;

·  Contribution to the carbon neutral target – rethinking repairs and driving environmentally friendly tenant behaviour, to also reduce fuel poverty.

 

Members discussed a number of matters, including:

 

·  Introduction of more online self-service. As part of the ‘Rethinking Repairs’ project officers outlined an ambition to provide service users with an improved online self-service facility to book repairs at their convenience.

·  Reuse and recycling of unwanted items. Members requested an update on initiatives to reduce waste by reusing and recycling items left in homes at the end of tenancies, and were advised that the team were working closely with the third sector;

·  Appointments kept and customer journey. Members sought clarity regarding a target for improvement against the RR3 Appointments Kept KPI. The Board was informed that although measures were taken to ensure that such targets are met, the primary focus of the new strategy is to improve the whole customer journey, which will include redesign of the internal process in advance of appointments, to ensure that appointments are not only kept, but are also productive;

·  Flexibility around reporting repairs and appointment slots. It was suggested that support for reporting repairs be made available at community hubs across the city, particularly to assist residents with English as a second language. Members also noted that broad appointment slots up to a six hour period can have a negative impact on the most deprived communities in the city who are unable to work during this time;

·  30 day target for re-letting void properties. Members commented on the restricted efficiency of a 30 day target for re-letting void properties, and suggested that a shorter target would save Council funds and reduce waiting lists. However, they also noted the opportunity this time provides to deliver energy efficient measures such as improved insulation and low energy light bulbs.

·  Tenant contents insurance. In response to a query, Members were advised that the Council offers a contents insurance scheme for tenants, which is recommended at the outset of each tenancy.

·  Audit processes. Members were advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Reducing Repeat Customer Contact - Recommendation Tracking pdf icon PDF 431 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Communities and Environment which updates members on progress against the recommendations that emerged from the 2016/17 Inquiry by the then Citizens and Communities Scrutiny Board.

Minutes:

The Director of Communities and Environment submitted a report that updated members on progress against the recommendations that emerged from the 2016/17 Inquiry by the then Citizens and Communities Scrutiny Board.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  James Rogers, Director of Communities and Environment

-  Lee Hemsworth, Chief Officer for Customer Contact and Welfare

-  Adam Crampton, Head of Property Management

-  Robert Goor, Responsive Repairs Service Manager

 

The status of the remaining recommendations were agreed as follows:

 

Recommendation 1: 2 (Achieved)

 

Recommendation 3: 1 (Stop monitoring)

 

Recommendation 4: 1 (Stop monitoring)

 

Recommendation 5: 2 (Achieved)

 

Recommendation 10: 2 (Achieved)

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

 

a)  Noted the contents of the report;

b)  Agreed the position status of the recommendations as set out above;

c)  Agreed to close the inquiry.

 

Councillor D Collins left the meeting during discussion of this item at 11:50 a.m.

 

 

97.

Community Hubs Update Report pdf icon PDF 425 KB

To receive an update report from the Director of Communities and Environment as to the progress and development of Community Hubs.

Minutes:

The Director of Communities and Environment submitted a report that set out the progress and development of Community Hubs.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  James Rogers, Director of Communities and Environment

-  Lee Hemsworth, Chief Officer for Customer Contact and Welfare

 

The status of the remaining recommendations were agreed as follows:

 

Recommendation 2: 2 (Achieved)

 

Recommendation 3: 2 (Achieved)

 

In relation to Recommendation 3, members relayed concerns raised by residents about the absence of suitable provision for private and confidential conversations to take place within mobile community hubs. The Chief Officer acknowledged the concerns at this early stage of implementation and assured Members that operational issues with the mobile provision would be carefully monitored going forward.

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

 

a)  Noted the contents of the report, along with Members comments;

b)  Agreed the position status of the recommendations as set out above;

c)  Agreed to close the inquiry.

 

 

98.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2019/20 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which invited Members to consider the Board’s schedule for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year. Copies of the Board’s work schedule were appended to the report, as well as a note from the Joint Scrutiny Working Group held 27 January 2020 and the draft minutes of the Executive Board meeting held 12 February 2020.

 

With no scrutiny matters to be considered at the meeting scheduled for 16 April 2020, the Chair confirmed the meeting was cancelled.

 

Members were advised that the ‘Approach to the Disposal of Green Spaces’ formal scrutiny statement had been sent to the Director of City Development for clearance.

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

 

a)  Noted the contents of the report and appendices;

b)  Noted that the formal scrutiny statement ‘Approach to the Disposal of Green Spaces’ would be circulated electronically to Members for approval in due course;

c)  Agreed for the meeting scheduled for 16 April 2020 to be cancelled.

 

 

99.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

16 April 2020 10.30am (pre-meeting for all Board members at 10am).

Minutes:

As per Minute 98, the meeting scheduled for 16 April 2020 will no longer take place.

 

The Chair thanked Board Members for their attendance and contributions throughout the municipal year. The Chair also noted that Councillor P Gruen would not be returning to the Council following the election in May, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

 

The meeting ended at 12:05 p.m.