Agenda and minutes

Tenant Scrutiny Board
Friday, 4th October, 2019 1.00 pm, MOVED

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

Contact: Keith Mack 0113 3783330  Email: keith.mack@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

27.

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.

28.

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.

29.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Peter Middleton, Roderic Morgan

 

30.

Minutes - pdf icon PDF 334 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2019

Minutes:

RESOLVED – The minutes of the previous meeting held on 19th July 2019 were passed as a true record.

 

31.

Chair's Update pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To receive an update from the Chair on EH&C scrutiny activity, not specifically included on this agenda, since the previous Board meeting, (Draft Minutes of the meeting conducted on 11th July 19).

 

Minutes of the meeting held on 12th September 19 were not available at time of collating todays agenda (Next scheduled meeting will be on 17th October 19)

 

Minutes:

JG told the board that the latest minutes from the Environment, Housing, and Communities board (12th September 19) will be included with the next meeting pack.

JG informed the board that he will be attending the next EH&C Scrutiny meeting on 19th October regarding the Council’s response to the Grenfell tragedy and will update the Board in the November meeting. JG will also be attending the Tpas National Tenant Scrutiny Conference in December, and will update following the conference.

 

32.

Chief Officer update pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Simon Costigan (Chief Officer Property and Contracts) will be in attendance to give an overview of the service and make suggestions for the Boards next area of inquiry.

Minutes:

Simon Costigan attended to provide an overview of the repairs service. SC told the board as chief officer of Property and Contracts, he is responsible for the management of Capital Works, responsive repairs, investment strategy, and for the PFI stock. Repairs is a high priority for most tenants, and there are changes to be implemented as a result of the STAR survey results. The STAR survey has shown which areas have seen a drop in satisfaction and which demographics are more or less satisfied than others, so steps can be taken to ensure satisfaction remains high. Many factors can impact satisfaction, and though not all of them can be addressed at once, it is important to target change that can satisfy as many people as possible. SC noted that there are differences in the performance between the contractors Mears and LBS, and many aspects between them are compared but they do not always work to the same benchmarks.

 

The repairs service currently has an asset based approach to works, for example replacing all roofs in one timeframe, followed by windows and so on. SC suggested that this approach is revisited, with an understanding that the council stock are people’s homes, and there should be larger focus on the tenant’s priorities. Addressing tenant concerns such as fencing and the environment among other things might mean delaying some larger planned maintenance, but would increase the satisfaction of the tenants or improve their quality of life. This goal is not achievable straight away and requires consultation with tenants to hear what their concerns are, and how the works might be planned moving forwards.

 

The 116 high rise blocks across the city also require maintenance, with new investment required to achieve all the current aims. Work has already begun on installing new sprinkler systems in all blocks. Some of the outdated heating systems require updating too as the storage heaters are not the most efficient compared with newer systems. There is a higher demand for electricity than when the blocks were first built and so the infrastructure also needs adapting to meet tenants’ needs. All of these works should be delivered in the context of the current climate emergency, with improving energy efficiency a key factor in reducing carbon emissions in the city. Two blocks have been earmarked for demolition and rebuilding as this would be more cost-effective than carrying out all necessary infrastructure updates within the current building.

 

All property upgrades require the Property and Contracts team to be more IT literate, incorporating online bookings for repairs, advance notice of when a contractor will be attending a job, and live requests for stock/materials, made by contractors, to be delivered to the site where necessary. How the customers are engaged is an important part of the process, which SC will be discussing with VITAL in another meeting. SC finally told the board that the areas of the city covered by Mears and LBS is due for review before March 2021, and there is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Chair of Environments, Housing & Communities Scrutiny Board pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Cllr. Barry Anderson, chair of the EH&C Scrutiny Board will be in attendance to update the board regarding the forthcoming work programme for the EHC Scrutiny Board and suggest possible themes for the next TSB inquiry.

Minutes:

Councillor Barry Anderson introduced himself to the board members and outlined some potential suggestions for the next area of scrutiny for the board. The suggestions for possible areas of scrutiny given were;

 

·  The effectiveness of the Housing Advisory Panels (HAP’s) in delivering local priorities, and whether more funding is required to allow them to do so. BA suggested that an inquiry could establish how could HAPs accomplish more, and which bids are appropriate. Suggesting that some bids might be funding works that other funds should be paying for so the board might want to consider if the HAP project criteria currently sets the right expectations?

 

·  Whether the repairs strategy meets the needs of local communities, and how the repairs service has, or could better respond to the council climate emergency? How much value for money there is in the responsive repairs service, and looking into how many appointments are missed or cancelled by the service?

 

·  The effectiveness of estate walkabouts, questioning whether officers and councillors are regularly attending and how they are being advertises and promoted to local tenants to ensure they are aware of the estate walkabouts taking place, how to take part and if they understand how they can contribute.

 

·  An inquiry into fly-tipping and its causes, are tenants being made aware of the council collections for bulky waste effectively. BA noted that some tenants have a free bulky collection service but this wasn’t available to all.

 

·  How the issue of adequate car parking on estates can be resolved noting there has been a long standing problem of car parking at some locations but noting that this was an expensive problem to resolve and had resulted in bids being made to the HAP’s who could not justify such expenditure.

 

·  Whether tenants are happy with the service when contacting housing via the corporate contact centre and whether calls could be answered more quickly, avoiding the need for repeated calls.

 

JG asked if BA could explain the HAPs to those that may not be familiar. BA explained that the HAPs are local tenant and councillors groups who represent their area and are able to fund community projects in their area, with Housing revenue account funds allocated on the basis of on the number of council tenants in the HAP area. The HAPs follow a similar framework but each of the 11 HAPs have different funding priorities, BA, by way of example explained that the Outer North West HAP had one priority to increase their work with schools and young people in the area. HAP spending is monitored and tracked, with the meetings open to anyone who might wish to observe. BA suggested that the HAPs should be more closely linked with the community committees, but some tenants are of the opinion that the committees have differing views and have become disengaged.  BA suggested that there is scope for having fewer HAP areas, and that more match funding or other outside contributions will help the HAP money go much further.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Tenant Scrutiny Board workplan pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Confirmation of dates of meetings for the forthcoming year and the future workplan (which will be dependent on what investigation the board wishes to undertake)

 

Minutes:

JG informed the board that due to officer availability the meeting dates have been altered, so the next meeting of this board will be held on the 25th of October, and the following meeting will be held on the 29th of November.

 

JG informed the board of his intention to begin the new investigation in November, so members should submit their ideas for enquiry to KM or IP within 10 days (by Monday 14th of October). The ideas can then be collated and a decision made.

 

JG will be attending VITAL to seek their input. KM explained to members who may be unaware the make-up and function of VITAL as a tenant board.

 

35.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Please note revised date. The next meeting is now scheduled for 1.00pm Friday 25th October 2019, Committee rooms 6/7 Civic Hall.

Minutes:

The next meeting will take place at the Civic Hall on Friday the 25th of October, from 1pm - 3pm.