Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 22nd February, 2024 10.30 am

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

Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642)  Email:

Link: to View Meeting Recording

No. Item


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).


There were no appeals against refusals of inspection of documents.



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.


There were no exempt items.


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.)


There were no late items.


Declaration of Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any interests in accordance with Leeds City Council’s ‘Councillor Code of Conduct’.


There were no declarations of pecuniary interests.


However, Cllr N Harrington requested that it be noted she is a trustee of Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) and Cllr S Golton asked that it be noted he is appointed as a Council representative to Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL).


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.


Apologies were received from Cllrs P Grahame and A Maloney.


Minutes - 25 January 2024 pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2024.


RESOLVED: The minutes of the 25 January 2024 were approved.


Matters Arising


Regarding minutes 76 and 77, it was noted that the response of all five scrutiny boards to the budget proposals was submitted to the Executive Board on 7 February 2024. The report was also included in the document pack submitted to Council on 21 February 2024.


The Chair also confirmed that he had attended the Executive Board meeting on 7 February 2024 to make representations relating to the Scrutiny Board’s recommendations regarding the accessibility and safety of parks and greenspaces.



Housing Activity Update pdf icon PDF 331 KB

To receive an update from the Chief Officer for Housing on key areas of Housing Leeds activity during 2023/24.

Additional documents:


The Chair introduced the item noting that the accompanying report updates the Scrutiny Board on key areas of Housing Leeds activity during 2023/24 – including housing rent collection, council housing voids, housing repairs and maintenance, complaints and damp, mould and condensation.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Dennis Moody (Chair, Tenant Scrutiny Board)

·  Cllr Jess Lennox (Executive Member for Housing)

·  James Rogers (Director, Communities, Housing & Environment)

·  Mandy Sawyer (Head of Housing and Neighbourhood Services)

·  Adam Crampton (Head of Property Management)

·  Kerrie Murray (Head of Homelessness)

·  Craig Simpson (Head of Leeds Building Services)


Mandy Sawyer provided introductory comments, noting that the report reflects improvements in relation to several key performance indicators for Housing Leeds.


She highlighted the ongoing prioritisation of tenant concerns about damp, mould and condensation. She advised the Scrutiny Board that further improvements to advice and support services are being introduced following the recommendations of Leeds Tenant Scrutiny Board - this includes providing access to a practical awareness video.


Dennis Moody welcomed the fact that the Council accepted the recommendations of the Tenant Scrutiny Board about damp and mould.


Members sought clarity about the process that is followed in instances where damp, mould or condensation are reported. Adam Crampton set out the assessment process, along with timescales for dealing with the hazard in the first instance while the root cause is being established.


Concern was expressed about increased pressure on homelessness services. Board members were informed that there is a particular increase in the number of households who are unable to remain with family members, which may be attributable the cost-of-living crisis.


As a consequence of increased pressure, it was noted that there are more households living in temporary accommodation than the last time figures were reported to the Scrutiny Board. Kerrie Murray informed the Board that there is an increase of around 15 families a quarter moving into temporary accommodation.


Kerrie provided an overview of work to increase provision for both families and single households. 1500 people contact the service each week and around 150 of those are seeking temporary accommodation. The service continues to adopt a preventative approach to homelessness and therefore intervenes in cases very early. This approach was supported by Scrutiny Board members.


Members were reminded that consultation on changes to the local lettings policy is underway in response to pressure on the housing register. It was noted that Scrutiny Board members attended a working group in January 2024 on this process.


Mandy assured members that the Council would provide a robust response to the new requirements of the 2023 Social Housing (Regulation) Act, which is being overseen by the Regulator of Social Housing.


Clarity was sought about the procedures that are followed in instances where a tenant cannot pay their rent. Mandy provided an overview of the support that is provided to tenants and underlined the importance of engaging with the tenant before initiating a formal process.


She informed members that over 3,600 households have been supported to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.


Ensuring the Resilience of the Third Sector in Leeds pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive an update on progress towards ensuring the future resilience of the third sector in Leeds.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr Mary Harland (Executive Member)

·  James Rogers (Director, Communities, Housing & Environment)

·  Paul Money (Chief Officer, Safer, Stronger Communities)

·  Samantha Powell (3rd Sector & Migration Partner Manager)

·  Hannah Bailey (Chief Officer, Voluntary Action Leeds)

·  Pip Goff (Director, Volition part of Forum Central)


The Chair introduced the item, reiterating the value of the 3rd sector in Leeds and its integral role in supporting sustainable communities.


Cllr Harland reflected upon the diverse benefits the third sector delivers for the city and its citizens. She acknowledged the challenge of the third sector being asked to meet increased demand at a time of increased financial constraints.


Pip Goff thanked Samantha Powell for the collaborative approach to developing the accompanying report. She reiterated the huge challenges for the sector with multiple costs pressures facing organisations of all sizes. She noted that the third sector is now working in spaces that may have been occupied by local authority or health partners in previous years and she stressed the importance of identifying ways in which to work collaboratively in future.


Hannah Bailey echoed Pip Goff’s comments, noting that the challenges facing the third sector are reflective of national trends. She highlighted that cost pressures facing organisations are compounded by increased demand from citizens who are themselves facing a ‘cost of living crisis.’


The Scrutiny Board was provided with examples of successful collaboration between the third sector and public partners – for example Voluntary Action Leeds and Forum Central working with the Council to deliver the most recent Welcome Spaces Programme in the city. However, members were also asked to note that there has been a 25% reduction in the number of volunteers in the city and a reduction in the number of small and medium sized organisations.


Hannah went on to welcome the development of Leeds Third Sector Strategy 2023 – 2028 and the launch of Leeds Volunteer Strategy - as key documents produced for the sector with wide support from strategic partners.


It was agreed that there is a challenge for city partners in retaining the vibrancy of the third sector in Leeds at a time when the role of public organisations is reducing. It was acknowledged that this poses a significant challenge but also provides opportunities for bold, creative solutions.


The Scrutiny Board welcomed the report and noted the valuable role the third sector plays in supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable citizens, as well as supporting minority communities.


The Board noted that the State of The Third Sector reports reflects the resilience of the sector. However, members recognised the need for greater long term planning to promote stability and sustainability. Pip highlighted the challenge for many third sector organisations of having to engage in short term contracts.


The Board questioned whether there would be value in the Council supporting the third sector to produce further information about the sector’s performance, potentially through a visible, regular ‘health check’ on the sector. The potential value of introducing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 89.


Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2023/24 municipal year.

Additional documents:


Members considered the draft work programme for 2023/24.


The Executive Board minutes from the meeting on 7 February 2024 were also appended to this item for consideration so far as they relate to the remit of the Scrutiny Board.


Members were asked to note the arrangements for a remote working group which will consider the Regulation of Social Landlords.



RESOLVED: The Scrutiny Board noted the draft 2023/24 work programme.  


Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) will take place on 21 March 2024 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all Scrutiny Board members at 10.00am.


The next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing  & Communities) will take place on 21 March 2024 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all boardmembers at 10.00am.