Agenda and draft minutes

Tenant Scrutiny Board
Friday, 26th April, 2019 1.15 pm

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

Contact: Keith Mack 0113 3783195  Email: keith.mack@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

79.

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.

80.

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.

 

JG updated the board about a previous late item – the request for a breakdown of the increased service charge for those living in high rise blocks. KM told the board there had been a partial response, detailing that the charges would cover the communal cleaning and repairs for the blocks. KM offered that he will ask for a more comprehensive breakdown and update the board with any response at a future meeting. JG suggested that the service charges are the same for everyone, and that the total charge may not be based on an exact calculation but are more of an arbitrary figure.

 

DL confirmed that all high rise tenants pay the same higher rate service charge as each other, and all low rise tenants pay the same lower charge as each other, the difference in cost due to high rise blocks receiving more services than low rise. DL explained that despite there not yet being a breakdown of the cost, the amount raised from the charges does not meet the total costs incurred by the council for those services, therefore tenants are still receiving value for money.

 

81.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Michael Healey, Rita Ighade, Roderic Morgan

 

JG informed the board that in a recent conversation with MH, MH has decided to step down from the board due to health reasons. JG expressed his thanks to MH for his contribution, and told the board that he will send the card signed by members at the meeting to MH at the next opportunity.

 

JG told the board of his view that due to her work commitments consistently conflicting with meetings over the last ten months, RI should no longer be a member of the board. JG proposed that with agreement from the board, a letter would be sent to RI to ask if she will be able to attend any future meetings, or else to terminate her position on the board.

 

The issue of RM’s position on the board was raised. JG told the board his inability to attend over the past three months is due to his obligation to attend the job centre at the same time on Fridays, but that a letter from JG confirming RM’s attendance at the board may be suitable evidence to allow RM to attend the meetings again, and JG will follow up to see if this is possible. Failing this, RM’s position may be similar to that of RI. JW confirmed that RM had mentioned a letter could help his situation, and JG confirmed that he will follow it up with RM.

 

82.

Minutes - pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 15th March 2019.

Minutes:

JG opened the meeting and welcomed the attendees. A round of introductions were made for the benefit of the guests.

 

RESOLVED – The minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 March 2019 were passed as a true record

 

83.

Draft Minutes of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) held on 13th March 2019 pdf icon PDF 320 KB

For information only.

Minutes:

Information only item.

 

JG informed the board that since the previous meeting he has observed a meeting of the high rise strategy group, and of the repairs and investment group, and will also be observing a HAP meeting. This is with a view to observing the best practice of other tenants’ forums before the upcoming TSB review meeting in May.

 

84.

Recruitment Update pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Members are asked to note the update provided and discuss any further comments around this area of work.

Minutes:

KM updated the board on the current recruitment efforts, highlighting Andrew Bates’ presence at the meeting to observe, and advising that should he become a member the roster of members would be at the maximum of twelve. However, given the update of MH’s resignation from the board, and with further updates to follow concerning RM and RI, he acknowledged that there may soon be more available places on the board, which will be filled as a part of the ongoing recruitment process. If the board decide at the next meeting to alter the timing or location of the meeting, this may provide some flexibility in recruiting new members

85.

Updated responses to ASB Inquiry pdf icon PDF 464 KB

The Head of Anti-Social Behaviour and a Senior Manager from Housing Leeds will be attending to provide an update on previous responses to the recommendations made during the ASB Inquiry. Members are asked to note the update provided at the meeting and discuss any points they wish to raise with the officers in attendance.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

JG outlined the previous 2017/18 investigation into anti-social behaviour in Leeds, noting that the board’s recommendations are included in the meeting pack. The report was finalised and presented just prior to the announcement of a review of the entire ASB service, so the updates will outline the changes made by the service itself and as a result of the scrutiny report. JG introduced Harvinder Saimbhi, Head of LASBT Service and David Longthorpe – Head of housing management for Resources and Housing – to the board.

 

HS began by explaining that the scrutiny report directly helped to inform the current LASBT service review, and had demonstrated that some areas required a lot of work to improve. Many of the board’s recommendations were also highlighted as key areas of development in the review, and so have been fully or partially accepted by the ASB team.

 

Recommendation 1 - That the Anti-Social Behaviour team carry out an initiative such as a ‘Noise Action Week’ to provide a wide range of information about noise, around prevention in the first place and how to deal with this if it does occur.

 

HS confirmed that this is a key area for LASBT as over 60% of the complaints made are due to noise disturbance. The suggested ‘Noise Week’ was received successfully by tenants and staff. Advertising took place via social media and the distribution of a pamphlet with advice about dealing with household noise. The pamphlet was distributed to students via the students’ union and staff speaking at events. DL added that housing staff utilised the week to identify local hotspots such as high rise blocks, and a door to door campaign to deliver the information to tenants took place. Staff protocol for the management complaints was also reinforced, and renewed efforts of picking up issues at new tenant visits and at annual home visits also.

 

The review highlighted potential issues with the out-of-hours noise service. A month-long period can see around 1,000 individual complaints made, so analysis of the reports seeks to find the hotspots for noise reporting so the team might be better positioned to deal with them. A new IT system will be put in place to log reports, and allow for easier online reporting, while a triage service will be put in place to assess risk factors/vulnerability so responses can be prioritised. The timing is also being reviewed, as it may be worthwhile beginning the out-of-hours service later and working further into the morning.

 

JG raised the issue of laminate flooring in high rise blocks as a significant cause of noise. The report highlighted that the type of flooring tenants in high rise blocks are permitted to have is not dictated in the tenancy agreement. SB agreed that laminate flooring is particularly an issue where tenants have children running around, but that LASBT has recently been involved in such a case and as a result the flooring in the residency has been changed. SI added that the new tenancy agreement now specifically  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

TSB Workplan pdf icon PDF 306 KB

Members in attendance are requested to note the 2018/19 municipal years’ work programme.

Minutes:

JG reiterated to the board members that the May meeting will be used as a workshop to develop the direction of the Tenant Scrutiny Board, so from there it may be decided what the next area of scrutiny may be. JG confirmed that the meeting time would be the same as the current meeting – 1pm to 3pm. JG asked the members to submit any ideas they have for the meeting to KM or IP, which can then go on to the meeting agenda.

 

JG advised of the outcome of a vote in the pre-meeting, in which members had decided the same format of the current meeting should be utilised, and that KM should act as a joint chair with JG.

 

JG reminded members that they should express their interest in becoming the chair or vice chair of the board by the 7th of June, with expressions submitted to KM or IP. KM handed around expression of interest forms to all in attendance, and explained the layout of the forms to members. The same forms will also be sent to all members via email where members have email addresses.

 

JW informed the board that on the 10th of May the Leeds Tenants’ Federation will be launching the new homeless charter and that she will be in attendance.

 

KM updated the board that all members have now submitted a consent form to share contact details, so KM will now be able to circulate a list of members’ details so they can contact each other outside of meetings. SB questioned if it is appropriate for members to discuss meeting details outside of the meeting. JG replied that it can be an issue that only the chair has the contact details of the members, and there is nothing to stop members discussing anything outside of the meeting.

 

KM added that the May meeting of the board could identify more informal ways of working, and gave the example that if an investigation into a matter relating high rise blocks was to happen, it would be useful for the members to speak to others that live in a high rise block. Better relationships might also be forged between members, which would be more positive for the cohesiveness of the group.

 

JG suggested that the matter be put onto the agenda of the May meeting. KM added in response to a point made by SB about the policy of other forums that many Housing Leeds groups are now communicating with each other using a group chat via WhatsApp with no reported problems and complete transparency.

87.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Friday 17th May at 1pm

This meeting will take place at Navigation House GFW Boardroom.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – The next meeting will take place on the 17th of May.

(Pre-meeting for all board members at 1:00pm)

 

THE MEETING CLOSED AT 3:00 PM