Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 10th November, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

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

Link: to View Meeting Recording

Items
No. Item

34.

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.

 

35.

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.

 

36.

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 formal late items.

 

37.

Declaration of Interests

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

Minutes:

Members did not raise any interests.

 

38.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Walshaw and Lay. Councillor Jenkins attended as a substitute for Councillor Walshaw.

 

39.

Minutes - 17 October 2022 pdf icon PDF 178 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2022.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held Thursday, 17th October 2022 be approved as an accurate record.

 

Matters Arising

Minute No. 30 – Reducing Poverty and Improving Financial Inclusion. The Chair of the Infrastructure, Investment, and Inclusive Growth (IIIG) Scrutiny Board has been made aware of the Board’s concerns regarding equal employment and skills opportunities for young people in the city, and persistent inequality of opportunity across the wards. This will be part of the IIIG Scrutiny Board’s discussion in February 2023 when they will focus on inclusive growth.

 

40.

Housing Activity Update pdf icon PDF 331 KB

To receive an update from the Chief Officer (Housing) on key areas of Housing Leeds activity during 2022/23.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Chief Officer (Housing) provided the Scrutiny Board with an update on key areas of Housing Leeds activity during 2022/23. Updates in the submitted report included:

·  Council housing tenancy management and rent collection

·  Council housing repairs and maintenance

·  Council housing voids and lettings

·  Developments in response to the Building Safety Act

·  The HRA Investment programme

·  An update on the plans for high-rise residential blocks requiring significant investment

·  Pressures on the Leeds Housing Register and homelessness

·  Changes to the wider regulatory framework

·  Housing Strategy

Appended to the report included the Housing Activity Report Quarter 1 2022/23.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

o  Councillor Rafique – Executive Member for Environment and Housing

o  James Rogers – Director of Communities, Housing and Environment

o  Gerard Tinsdale – Chief Officer, Housing

o  Mandy Sawyer – Head of Housing and Homelessness

o  Adam Crampton – Head of Property Management

 

The Chief Officer Housing introduced the report, and highlighted the following points:

·  Rent collection – the collection performance rate stands at 94%, similar to other core cities. The cost of living has seen an impact on tenants struggling to pay rent, and the service is open to engaging and supporting tenants. Enforcement action will be taken where efforts to cooperate are not successful.

·  Voids performance – the target for the service is no more than 1% of stock being void by the end of the financial year. There has been a reduction in the number of voids across the city. However, challenges in terms of a delay in buying materials and operatives being available remain an issue.

·  Repairs – demand remains high, with emergency repairs taking longer to complete and there still being a backlog. The service is focusing on engagement with tenants.

·  Investment strategy – the capital investment programme sets to deliver renewable heating and energy efficiency projects over the five-year period 2020-2025

·  High-rise blocks – options to remove 5 high-rise residential blocks for new modern housing to be developed. Residents will be rehoused from November 2022.

·  Homelessness – there is a supply and demand issue with social housing across Leeds, and less properties are becoming empty. Approximately 600 properties are lost per year through Right to Buy, and the waiting list remains high regarding the housing register. The average wait time to re-house people stands at 2 years.

 

The Board were provided with an overview on two key legislative changes – 2022 Building Safety Act and Social Housing (Regulation) Bill will place new responsibilities on Housing Leeds as landlord to meet new building safety and regulation requirements.

 

In response to Board Member’s questions, the following information was provided:

·  All tenants are contacted once every 3 years, with 44% of those receiving a face-to-face visit. Tenants who receive a face-to-face visit are prioritised based on vulnerability. There has been feedback from residents that home visits can be intrusive, and they are also resource intensive.

·  Officers acknowledge that there is a revenue cost associated with empty properties, and the service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 403 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2022/23 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services presented the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for municipal year and therefore the latest iteration of the Board’s work schedule for the remainder of the municipal year appended to the submitted report, as well as the Executive Board minutes from the meeting held on Wednesday, 19th October 22.

 

Members were informed of upcoming meetings and workshops scheduled to take place in December 22.

 

RESOLVED – To note the contents of the report and work schedule.

 

42.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

A remote, consultative meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) will take place on 1 December 2022 at 10.30am.

 

The next formal public meeting will take place on 5 January 2023 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for members at 10am.

Minutes:

The date and time of the next meeting is scheduled to take place Thursday, 1st December 22 at 10.30 a.m. and will be a remote consultative meeting. The next formal meeting is scheduled to take place Thursday, 5th January 2022 at 10.30 a.m.

 

The meeting concluded at 12:15 p.m.