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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.
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.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Peter Middleton, Roderic Morgan
To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 21st December 2016.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 December 2016 be approved as a correct record.
To receive an update from the Chair on scrutiny activity, not specifically included on this agenda, since the previous Board meeting.
The Chair gave his apologies for cancelling the previous meeting in February due to unforeseen circumstances.
The Chair has attended two Environment and Housing Scrutiny Board meetings. The Chair gave a brief overview – the January meeting had a discussion on the implications of the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, quality of the private rented sector housing, issues with right to buy and void turnaround times of Council properties. The Chair also noted a report by Mandy Sawyer around governance of Tenant Scrutiny Board and its relationship with the Environment & Housing Scrutiny Board. The Chair spoke to the board about work carried out since 2014 and the two reports published and outlined the improvements their work has had on tenants. The Chair noted that Environment & Housing Scrutiny Board are now setting up a working group, with a view to establishing a closer working relationship with Tenant Scrutiny.
Februarys Environment & Housing Scrutiny Board was around Anti-Social Behaviour, begging and the future of CCTV in the City and progress on funding this in the future. There was also discussion around Pub Watch in the City.
The Chair reported he had met with Councillor Khan on 24th February which touched on the East Leeds repairs inquiry and also recruitment to the Board.
The Chair explained the process for recruitment to the Board. It was noted there was a number of formalities:-
· Interested parties sent an application form and information pack
· Checks are carried out to ensure no serious tenancy breaches are ongoing
· The applicant is invited to have an informal discussion about the Board through the Scrutiny Officer
· The applicant is invited to observe one of the Board’s meetings and after that meeting a small group will meet to discuss the person and what they can offer to the Board.
· The Chair, Scrutiny Officer and one Board member would form part of the interview panel.
The Chair noted the key points the Board must consider during recruitment,
1. That it is fair, robust and hold up to challenge.
2. That recruitment addresses any imbalance in the make-up of the board in regard to equality characteristics and also the area of Leeds the tenant comes from. These must take preference in any recruitment so that the Board reflects the wider profile of the city.
As part of the inquiry the Board has requested attendance of the Chief Officer to attend today’s meeting to provide an overview in relation to the management of the repairs service in East Leeds.
The Chair introduced Simon Costigan (SC), Chief Officer Property and Contracts. The Chair explained the background to how the Board decided on this inquiry and also the progress which has been made on it.
SC gave an overview of his role. He explained that he is responsible for the management and delivery of the repairs service across the whole city, delivery of the capital programme, PFI project management and also disrepair.
SC gave an account of Leeds Building Services. Construction Services originally sat within the East North East ALMO as an in house repairs service. When the ALMOs returned back to the Council this created a situation where there were two internal service providers, one being Construction Services providing an in house repairs service to their housing stock and Property Maintenance which had remained in the Council and did repairs to Councils assets across the city as well as delivery of some of the capital programme to housing stock. Because 70% of Property Maintenance’s work was carried out to council housing a decision was made to bring both providers together and create one service, hence Leeds Building Services.
Currently the service is going through a reorganisation. Leeds Building Services employ 400 operatives and 120 management and support staff. As an internal provider they provide a repair and maintenance service through directly employing Council staff which generates a rate of return which helps the council deliver its own economic and financial structures, which means Leeds Building Services make a profit which then is reinvested into Council services.
The Chair thanked Simon for this information and noted that a series of questions would be asked.
The Board has received performance information in last year which showed the responsive repair service in East Leeds was not meeting targets. Can you shed any light on this?
SC explained when the two organisations were combined the repairs activity was below target. This was down to the different mechanisms for reporting performance. So Construction Services had one set of measures and Property Maintenance had another and when combined the average was low. SC explained that better measures have now been introduced which now means that the service is now meeting its targets on a number of indicators.
The Chair asked if there is a divide between the two former services as during the Board’s visit to the Seacroft depot the two services work within the same office. SC explained part of the reorganisation is to bring the two services together with one management team being in place. This working is also because of the different work they have carried out previously and an example was given where an electrician within the former Property Maintenance team could come out to Civic and carry out repairs on certain pieces of specialist equipment which they have installed, where as an electrician going out to carry out repairs at a Council property would not be able to do this and so there is some work to do on training in ... view the full minutes text for item 52.
The Board has previously commissioned two surveys to be carried out in order to gather evidence from a wide range of people around the East Leeds Repairs Service.
This report gives an update on the progress so far on the surveys.
LW explained at November’s meeting it was agreed the Board would consult with Councillors and involved tenants living in East Leeds by means of an online survey. Further to this an update was provided on the responses received.
Key themes arising from the responses include:
· Mixture of both positive and negative feedback
· Too long to carry out some types of repairs was a common theme.
· The number of repeat contacts required with some type of repairs was a concern, and perceived lack of communication between Leeds Building Services and the tenant was poor which lengthened the time taken to complete the repair.
Other comments from Councillors included:
· Poor communications
· Worse since coming back from the ALMOs
· Lack of respect for tenants
· Example of a tenant with damp who had numerous visits by officers and maintenance staff and the damp is still there
· A comment that if a private company was given this job by a private customer and they carried out to the standard of some of LBS repairs you would not pay them
TENANT REPRESENTATIVE RESPONSES
· Majority of tenants who responded had received a repair in the last 12 months
· Majority of tenants who responded stated they were satisfied with the overall quality of their home
· Majority of tenants were satisfied with the way Housing Leeds deals with their repairs, however of the remainder was split equally between neither or dissatisfied responses.
· Ease of reporting a repair was split between majority being satisfied but a third were dissatisfied
· Majority of tenants were satisfied in the accuracy of the repair ordered.
· Speed of completion of work was split between satisfied and dissatisfied
· Half of those who responded were happy with the quality of work, but a quarter were not satisfied and a quarter gave no opinion on this
· Around half were satisfied their repair was done right first time but just under half felt dissatisfied
· On the question of insulation and how good it is at keeping the property warm, 52% stated it was good, 29% thought it was poor and the remainder felt it was neither.
Comments from the tenant representatives survey were:-
· The main issue is reporting a repair but this has improved
· Outside paintwork has been hanging off the facia boards for the past 14 years at least.
· Reporting online repairs is easier than waiting to get through on the phone
· I have reported mould in my house a long time ago and up to now nothing has been done regarding this.
· How silly it's getting now with the repair side when they have make three time trip for repair and three month it takes
· I was concerned when my wet floor shower would not drain. An electrician followed by a plumber followed by another electrician followed by a plumber who told me it needed drain experts. Three weeks later the flat drains became blocked again a plumber attended who asked for a drain expert to be called. The problem turned out to be a ... view the full minutes text for item 53.
The Board is requested to receive an update to the election process for Chair of Tenant Scrutiny Board.
At this point in the meeting the Chair stood down from this position within Tenant Scrutiny Board and the Scrutiny Officer took lead for this item.
SG explained as part of governance of the Board there was a requirement each year to hold an election for Chair. Each member had been provided with a letter in their agenda packs prior to the meeting explaining the situation and offering them an opportunity to stand for Chair if they wished. SG asked members to confirm that they had received this which was confirmed by all in attendance.
SG explained one expression of interest for the Chair role has been received and asked if there was anyone else who wished to put their names forward for the Chair role to do so now. No other members came forward and it was announced that John Gittos has expressed interest and so a vote was required to elect him to Chair.
RESOLVED The Board voted by show of hands unanimously 6-0 to elect John Gittos to the role of Chair for a further 12 months.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
Wednesday 26th April 2017 at 1:30pm (pre meeting for all Board Members at 1:00pm)
Wednesday 26th April 2017 at 1:30pm (pre meeting for all Board Members at 1:00pm)
THE MEETING WAS CLOSED AT 3:15PM