Agenda and draft minutes

Tenant Scrutiny Board - Friday, 19th February, 2021 1.00 pm

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

Contact: Ian Parr 0113 3783330  Email:

No. Item


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.




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.)




Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Stanley Burton (SBu), Maddy Hunter, Peter Middleton and Peter Greenwood


Minutes -

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 20th January 2021


RESOLVED – The minutes of the previous meeting held on 20th January 2021 were passed as a true record.


Welcome and introductions


JG opened the meeting and attendees introduced themselves.



Chair's Update

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


JG informed the panel he will be attending the next meeting of the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board on the 25th of February


JG and IM hosted a workshop at the Northern Housing Consortium tenants’ panel conference. The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) is a not-for-profit membership organisation encompassing 96% of local authorities, housing associations and ALMOs in the North of England. We shared how tenant scrutiny is conducted in Leeds and our work on the first stage of the review into Tenant Engagement, followed by a question and answer session. It was interesting to hear that Community Gateway Housing Association have launched their own digital engagement site very similar to our own “Your Voice Leeds”.


JG had a meeting with Councillor Debra Coupar, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Housing and Communities to discuss progress to date and the board’s intention to produce a report on stage 1 by the end of April. Councillor Coupar expressed her thanks to all of the board for their work, especially given the challenges Covid-19 has presented.



Joint working with Customer Access - Roisin Donnelly

Sharing and responding to feedback


RD explained her role and gave an overview of how the service analyses and interprets customer insight data to improve customer. Customer insight can come from many sources including calls to the contact centre and housing offices along with the reasons for calling; website visits; complaints; and surveys, among many other sources. By analysing the contact made, new issues can be identified and activity put in place to address them. Examples of changes made in response to this insight include improved website content, extra staff training, social media posts responding to an emerging issue, or changes to processes for a better customer experience.


Since customer feedback is so useful it is important that it is gathered frequently and from a variety of sources. Regular surveys of customers are undertaken across different services such as when repairs are undertaken, as well as ad-hoc surveys to identify new issues. Surveys are a useful tool as they provide immediate feedback in a standard format that can be compared with others in the same time period as well as to track changes over time.


To improve the gathering of customer insight the service has recently started using a new system known as ‘CATS’. The system enables staff to log any customer contact and assign actions where necessary. The system can identify trends in call volume and the type of issues raised, allowing for better performance reporting and improved service responses to complaints. RD offered to arrange a demonstration of the CATS system for panel members if they wish to see it in operation.


JG questioned how the information is reported to individual teams. RD replied that the system can be accessed by any managers and teams as necessary so they are able to see their data first-hand, and all teams work closely with the Customer Insight team to assess data and develop responses.


RI asked how complaints are handled with the CATS system, RD responded that there is still a separate and defined system for formal complaints handling where each complaint is assigned an investigating officer.  Issues that are not necessarily formal complaints can still be monitored using CATS and can be followed up as appropriate.


RD explained that further to the Council’s own complaints system there has recently been a new Housing Ombudsman complaint handling code published. As a result, the Customer Insight team has developed a number of actions in response – a summary of which is available to tenants on the council’s website. 


RD summarised next steps are to continue the development of the CATS system, to work with Customer Access to identify areas of improvement, to implement any necessary improvement to services, and to continue to review and develop the complaints handling code.


JG noted he had received contact about joining the Housing Ombudsman’s tenant complaints panel and expressed interest in joining. IM agreed it would be good for Leeds to have representation on the panel and offered to send information out to the panel members.


JW asked if the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Social media and email campaigns - Andrew Holroyd

How we engage with residents


AH explained his role within the Information Team. AH told the panel about how social media such as Facebook and Twitter is used by the team to share news and important information quickly and effectively to a broad range of tenants. Using a variety of platforms ensures the widest reach and allows for maximum engagement with tenants who able to comment and give their own opinions on a post.


It has been identified that frequent social media posts increase the feelings of engagement between tenants and council services, and staff are being encouraged to post and promote more positive work in the community. Examples of posts include signposting to services and useful links, as well as corporate messages. JG asked what is meant by corporate messages, AH responded it includes messages from the government and the NHS about coronavirus and other important citywide issues. Further messages have included warnings about tenants being targeted by disrepair campaigns which are often detrimental to tenants.


As well as social media, regular monthly emails are used to share information to around 30,000 tenants with an email address.  It can be identified how many emails are opened as well as which links are clicked, which is useful to identify topics of interest and how best to format emails, what time of day to send etc. Emails are also used to share specific messages in particular areas of Leeds if needed.


Letters and leaflets are used to target specific areas or blocks as was done with the high rise engagement project which contained information specific to that block. Posters are also used and can be placed on noticeboards to attract attention in a more visual manner which can be an effective way to convey information across a language barrier. This method has been used to communicate the safer use of lifts during COVID-19.  Information has also been sent with quarterly rent statements for example, letting people know about ways to resolve and manage condensation. The annual report is published annually, in digital formats, and has been adapted to be more concise and visually appealing to increase engagement.


JG asked if all tenants receive digital communications, AH replied that digital communications cannot be sent if an email address or mobile phone number has not been supplied, however options are considered to ensure communications reach as far as possible. AH noted that emails have a high level of engagement according to the statistics of the number that are opened.


JG asked if there is ever any sensitive information that is posted online and if there are any mechanisms to prevent it. RD replied there is a disclaimer advising people not to post any sensitive data, but it is rare that anyone does this as most social media users are aware of the risks of doing so and the team will then encourage direct communication to be able to take a query forward.


SB asked how social media feedback is collated, AH replied that feedback is gathered and shared  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.


Initial thoughts

What does the board like and what is not so good?


Due to time constraints, JG suggested removing this item from the agenda, panel members were in agreement.



Your Voice Leeds update


RI informed the panel she had met with PG to discuss engagement with the Your Voice Leeds Site. The site in general is achieving higher numbers of hits for individual projects, however the Tenant Scrutiny board page receives relatively fewer interactions. RI offered to provide more statistics at the next TSB meeting.  IM shared that there were some really good outcomes emerging from the consultations on Your Voice Leeds, but that for the TSB review, there has been less interaction.  This shouldn’t though detract the board from learning about the wider benefits and opportunities for tenant engagement as a whole.



Forward planning

-  Further actions for stage 1

-  Stage 1 timetable


JG informed board members that the next meeting would include panel feedback on Your Voice Leeds and suggestions about how to maximise it’s future use. JG suggested the board also consider how the service uses feedback about tenants who aren’t online and who use non-digital forms of engagement.


JG told the panel that the April meeting will not be attended by any guests or officers due to the need to commence the writing up into a report the first stage of the review.


JG asked members to review the webpages and engagement materials of other councils and housing associations, and if they would prefer to offer feedback individually or within an extra meeting. Panel members agreed they would prefer an extra meeting, date to be confirmed.



Date and time of next meeting

Friday 19th March, 1.00 pm – 3.00pm


The next zoom meeting is scheduled for Friday 19th of March at 12:45 for a 1.00pm start