Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 20th June, 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 items excluded from the public domain.


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 interests.


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.


Apologies were received from Cllr Norma Harrington, Cllr Abdul Hannan and Cllr Zara Hussain.


Cllr Raymond Jones attended as a substitute for Cllr Zara Hussain.


Cllr Jules Heselwood attended as a substitute for Cllr Abdul Hannan.


Cllr Mary Harland asked that her apologies be noted for Item 7 (Performance Report).


Minutes - 21 March 2024 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2024.


The Chair invited the Principal Scrutiny Advisor to provide an update on issues relating to the minutes of 21 March 2024.


Minute 99 & 100: Further updates about the Community Committee Review and Green Spaces Play Strategy have been included in the draft 2024/25 work schedule as requested by members of the 2023/24 Scrutiny Board. The draft work programme is due for discussion elsewhere in the meeting.


Minute 101: Members were informed that the approved End of Year Statement has now been published on the committee webpage and it was confirmed that the Annual Report 2023/24 will also be published on that page following consideration by Council on 10 July.


RESOLVED: The 21 March 2024 minutes were approved as a correct record.



Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 341 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting the Scrutiny Board’s terms of reference.

Additional documents:


The accompanying report sets out the Board’s Terms of Reference as agreed by Council at its AGM on 23 May 2024.


It was noted that the agenda pack included:


-  Appendix 1: General Terms of Reference applicable to all Scrutiny Boards


-  Appendix 2: Article 6 of the constitution, which outlines Scrutiny Board remits and any special responsibilities. The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Inclusive Growth) is allocated special responsibility for crime and disorder.


-  Appendix 3: sets out the Scrutiny Board alignment with officer Delegated Functions and Executive portfolios 2024/25.


Members were asked to note the following changes that affect the remit of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities)


-  Responsibility for the contact centre now sits with James Rogers (Director, Communities, Housing & Environment) and is within Cllr Mary Harland’s Executive Portfolio. The contact centre has therefore also been transferred to sit within the remit of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities). 


-  The Scrutiny Board will also have responsibility for equalities so far as they relate to communities and service provision during 2024/25. The Scrutiny Board (Strategy and Resources) will retain responsibility for equalities so far as it relates to human resources within the Council.


RESOLVED: Members noted the report and the changes to the remit of the Scrutiny Board.



Co-Opted Members pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on the appointment of co-opted members to the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).


Members noted the general provision made within the Council’s Constitution regarding the co-option of members to individual Scrutiny Boards.


Members were advised that there are no specific legislative requirements for the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) to co-opt external representatives.


In previous years the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) has determined not to co-opt external individuals to the Board. Instead, expert witnesses have attended meetings for specific items of business as required. This is in part due to the breadth of subjects within the Board’s remit.


It was recommended that this approach does not change unless or until members reach a point where they determine co-option would add specific value.


RESOLVED: That the report be noted. Members determined not to co-opt any external members at this point.


Performance Report pdf icon PDF 444 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Communities, Housing & Environment that provides an overview of progress relating to key performance indicators identified by members as priorities within the remit of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).

Additional documents:


Those in attendance for this item were:

·  Cllr D Coupar (Executive Member Resources)

·  Cllr J Lennox (Executive Member Housing)

·  Cllr M Rafique (Executive Member Climate, Energy, Environment & Green Space)

·  Cllr F Venner (Executive Member Equality, Health and Wellbeing)

·  James Rogers (Director Communities, Housing & Environment)

·  Lee Hemsworth (Chief Officer Community Hubs, Welfare & business Support)

·  Paul Money (Chief Officer Safer stronger Communities)

·  John Woolmer (Chief Officer Environmental Services)

·  Adam Crampton (Head of Property Management)

·  Mandy Sawyer (Head of Housing, Neighbourhood Services)

·  Ian Strickland (business Development Manager)


Ian Strickland was invited to provide an overview of how the performance report had been compiled.


Ian noted that wherever possible year-end figures for 2023/24 had been included for each of the indicators and that information had been categorised according to the three pillars of the Best City Ambition.


Following a request in January 2024 for updates relating to each of the transformation projects within the directorate plan, Ian also highlighted where separate updates have been or will be provided to the Board.


Members were advised that the report also provided an update on Office for Local Government (OFLOG) indicators which fall within the remit of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).


It was noted that performance data for the contact centre had been included following changes to the Terms of Reference for the Scrutiny Board, agreed at the Annual General Meeting in May 2024.


It was agreed that consideration would be given to the presentation of performance information for future meetings, to ensure members can easily identify significant changes in outcomes.


In response to a query from the Chair about the percentage of residents who say they feel safe in their local area, Paul Money confirmed that the outcome of the 2024 WYCA survey of West Yorkshire residents is anticipated imminently. He advised the Board that he would expect trends to be very stable across the five West Yorkshire districts.


Further information was requested in relation to development of a new ASB Problem Solving Team and the Capable Guardian Service. Members requested clarity about the funding secured to provide these services and the way in which impact will be measured.


Paul Money confirmed that funding has been secured through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and WYCA. He noted that the capable guardianship scheme will involve uniformed patrols by officers from Safer, Stronger Communities in priority wards.


Cllr Golton requested more information about the evaluation criteria for WYCA funding.


In response to Board member queries Paul Money outlined work being undertaken to tackle the misuse of motor vehicles in communities across the city. He reiterated the importance of community intelligence to identify local perpetrators, with a view to enabling early intervention and targeted preventative activity.


Further information was provided about the additional powers available via the various public spaces protection orders that in place in Leeds, including through the vehicular nuisance PSPO.


It was noted that while a PSPO provides additional powers to tackle antisocial behaviour, they are part of a suite of tools available and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Radon Testing pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To receive an update from the Head of Property Management on the outcome of phase 1 testing to date to assess the risk of radon gas to residents in Leeds.

Additional documents:


Adam Crampton was invited to update the Scrutiny Board on the outcome of the initial programme of physical testing, which is designed to provide assurance with regard to the level of risk from radon gas in Housing Leeds homes. 


Individuals in attendance for this item were:

-  Cllr J Lennox (Executive Member Housing)

-  Adam Crampton (Head of Property Management)

-  Dawn Bailey (Chief Officer Public Health)


Adam noted that data available from the UKHSA identified that several areas in Leeds were potentially at risk of exceeding the action level for radon. As such in October 2022 Housing Leeds commissioned UKHSA to undertake an Advanced Postcode List Radon Gas Risk Assessment of homes under its management.


In response to a subsequent request to Scrutiny from Cllr Wayne Dixon, officers presented at report to the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) in July 2023 detailing the outcome of the Advanced Postcode List Radon Gas Risk Assessment and proposals for a programme of physical testing.


Members requested an update on the initial phase of testing at the start of the 2024/25 municipal year. Adam outlined the initial outcome of the testing programme and the steps taken to engage with residents.


The Scrutiny Board was informed that there has been a reluctance amongst tenants to take part in the testing programme despite extensive communication activities. 


335 homes have been contacted to seek participation in the testing programme. As at May 2024 109 homes have bene tested or are in the testing phase. No homes have returned levels above the action level. Two tests have been returned above the target level but below the action level – these have been submitted for retesting.


Leeds City Council is working with other local authorities in order to share best practice.

Members sought assurances about the geography and sample size for the testing programme. Adam confirmed that the geography was based on the risk assessment and the sample size is judge proportionate to the level of potential risk in Leeds. Should concerns be highlighted in the remaining testing programme the sample size would be increased accordingly.


Cllr Lennox recorded her thanks to Adam, Dawn and the team conducting the testing. She noted that the testing programme is providing reassurance, which is important given the public attention on the potential link between other building materials such as concrete and risks to health.


Given the level of take up, member queried whether there was consistency in the testing that has taken place across the different postcodes. Adam confirmed that take was broadly consistent across targeted areas.


Members sought further information about funding arrangements for the testing programme and were advised that funding is being provided via the HRA.


Members requested a further update in July 2025 following the completion of phase 1 testing. If testing highlights any matters that are statistically outstanding in comparison to the results to date members requested a further interim update.


RESOLVED: Members noted the outcome of the physical testing programme to date and requested that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Sources of Work & Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 365 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on potential sources of work for the Scrutiny Board and the draft work programme for 2024/25.

Additional documents:


Members were advised of potential sources of work for the Scrutiny Board to help shape consideration of the work programme.


Members were reminded that the work schedule is a live document and there will be opportunity for members to review it at every formal Scrutiny Board meeting.


The draft schedule collates requests from members of the 2023/24 Scrutiny Board and known items of business such as budget consultation and performance monitoring.


The Chair highlighted several additional items for the Scrutiny Board’s consideration:

-  Ground Maintenance Contract

-  Future of the Clean Neighbourhood Teams

-  Proposed changes to the Housing Allocation Policy

-  Proposed expansion of Selective Licensing

-  Adaptions & access to adapted homes

-  Consumer Standards update (2025/26)


RESOLVED: Members noted the report and the draft work programme. The Scrutiny Board supported the Chair’s recommendations regarding additional items of interest and requested that the Principal Scrutiny Advisor updates the draft schedule as required.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) will take place on 18 July 2024 at 10.30am. There will be a pre meeting for all members of the Scrutiny Board at 10.00am.


RESOLVED: Members noted that the next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board will take place on 18 July 2023 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all board members at 10.00am.