Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities)
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Sandra Pentelow (0113 37 88655)  Email: Sandra.Pentelow@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

51.

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 of business added to the agenda.

 

52.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors A Gabriel, P Gruen and A Khan.

 

Councillors R Grahame and J Goddard were in attendance as substitutes.

 

53.

Minutes - 28 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2018.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED- That the minutes of the meeting held  be approved as a correct record.

 

54.

Best Council Plan Performance Report Quarter 2, 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 954 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources and Housing and Director of Communities and Environment, which presents a summary of the Best Council Plan (BCP) performance data for Quarter 2, 2018/19 in relation to progress against the delivery of the ambitions, outcomes and priorities contained within the BCP 2018–21.

Minutes:

The report of the Director of Resources and Housing and Director of Communities and Environment provided a summary of the Best Council Plan (BCP) performance data for Quarter 2 2018/19.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

·Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·James Rogers – Director of Communities and Environment

·Jill Wildman – Chief Officer Housing Management

·Lee Hemsworth - Chief Officer Customer Access ? Welfare

·Paul Money - Chief Officer Safer Leeds

·Cllr Debra Coupar – Executive Board Member

·Simon Costigan – Chief Officer, Properties & Contracts

 

Key issues identified in discussions with the Board included:

 

-Rent collection – Discussion focussed on the introduction of Universal Credits.  The Board was informed of the preparation work that had been carried out to assist those transferring to Universal Credits. With regard to direct payment to landlords, it was reported that there had not been an informed decision on this but the Council could apply for direct payment for those who were vulnerable or had rent arrears.

-Void properties – there were no long term void properties.

-Repairs – a high number of claims were still being made due to claim farming.  The Board was informed of preventative work being carried out to reduce claims and progress made with disrepair cases. General gathering of satisfaction data is being done by telephone after repair completion.

-Background checks for new tenants – it was reported that some information with regard to history of anti-social behaviour and rent arrears could be identified from applications.

-   Adaptations – Prioritisation for those undergoing palliative care.

-  Re-let times/exchanges – Various methods were used for arranging exchanges and there was a focus on properties that were under occupied.

-Rough sleepers – there had been a multi-agency approach which focussed on individuals and keeping them from returning to the streets.  Concern was expressed regarding rough sleepers on the outskirts of the city centre and using tower blocks entrances and hallways.  The Board were advised of the proposals within the 2019/20 budget to invest further in the concierge services for tower blocks.

-Contact Centre – concern was raised that not all customers are receiving call backs after leaving a message, further information was requested with regard to call back statistics.

- Financial Inclusion – The Board was informed of the work carried with the Beat the Odds Campaign which supported those at risk from gambling harm.

-Community Safety – The Board were advised of the increase in reporting of hate crime, which was attributed to previous under-reporting.  Enhanced safeguarding support was being provided to medium and high risk domestic violence cases and cases where there was repeat offending.

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  Note the Best Council Plan Quarter 2 2018/19 performance information and to consider if they wish to undertake further scrutiny work to support improvement work in in any of these areas.

 

 

55.

Financial Health Monitoring pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support and the appended budget report. This provides Scrutiny Board Members with financial health information for areas aligned with the Boards terms of reference.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support, provided Board Members with information with regard to the financial health of those service areas that fall within the remit of the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.

 

Information for Month 7 of the 2018/19 financial year was appended to the report.

 

The following were in attendance:

·Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·  James Rogers – Director of Communities and Environment

·  Michael Everitt - Head of Finance

·  Bhupinder Chana - Head of Finance - Technical

·  Kevin Mulvaney - Head of Finance

·Cllr Debra Coupar – Executive Board Member

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  Consider the attached Executive Board report in relation  to the financial health of those services that fall within the remit of the Scrutiny Board;

b)  Agree any specific scrutiny actions that may be appropriate.

 

 

56.

Initial Budget Proposals for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To consider a report from the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support which provides information with regard to the outline budget proposals for 2019/20.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support set out the budget proposals for 2019/20.

 

The proposals had been considered at the Executive Board meeting in December 2018 and would be re-submitted to Executive Board following Scrutiny considerations and prior to submission to Full Council for approval of the budget.

 

The following were in attendance:

·Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·  James Rogers – Director of Communities and Environment

·  Michael Everitt - Head of Finance

·  Bhupinder Chana - Head of Finance - Technical

·  Kevin Mulvaney - Head of Finance

·Cllr Debra Coupar – Executive Board Member

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  Considered the Executive’s initial 2019/20 budget proposals as set out in the attached Executive Board report;

b)  Consider any areas where early involvement of the Scrutiny Board may help inform future budget proposals or approaches.

c)  To advise the Executive Board that the Board welcomed i) the commitment to increase investment in concierge services in council high rise buildings, which will help to aid the teams providing intervention services, and ii) the Board’s ongoing commitment to  monitor the impact of Universal Credit on Leeds residents and on Council resources going forward. (minute 54 refers)

 

 

57.

Best Council Plan Refresh 2019/20 - 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support which provides information for consideration relating to the Best Council Plan refresh for 2019/20 – 2020/21.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support advised Members of an approach to refresh of the Best Council Plan for 2019/20 to 2020/21.

 

The following were in attendance:

·Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·  James Rogers – Director of Communities and Environment

·  Cllr James Lewis– Executive Board Member

·Cllr Debra Coupar – Executive Board Member

 

Following feedback, Members were informed that the following areas were likely to be further developed within the plan:

 

·Reflection of the aging population.

·The reflection of sustainable development in the revised plan.

 

RESOLVED – The Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities):

a)  Considered the appended Executive Board report and the initial proposals for the Best Council Plan for 2019/20 to 2020/21; and

b)  To advise the Executive Board of the Scrutiny Boards intention to continue focus on the impact of Universal Credit in the context of tackling poverty for individuals and families, both in and out of employment, which will support the strategic direction of the Council as set out in the refreshed Best Council Plan 2019/20 – 2020/21.

 

 

58.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2018/19 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Principal Scrutiny Advisor introduced the report of the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support which advised Members of the Scrutiny Board’s work programme.

 

Members were informed that the February meeting would have reports on the Housing Growth Programme, road safety issues, an update on the Anti-Social Behaviour Service and an update on cemeteries.

 

RESOLVED

a)  To consider the matters outlined in the report, particularly in paragraph 2.8 and 2.9, the appended information and matters raised during the meeting;

b)  Agree or amend the overall work schedule (as presented at Appendix 1) as the basis for the Board’s work for the remainder of 2018/19.

 

 

59.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Monday 25 February 2019 at 10:00am (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9:45 am)

Minutes:

RESOLVED- To note the date and time of the next meeting as Monday, 25 February, at 10:00am (pre-meeting at 9:45am).