JG thanked the board members for their continued support and input in response to the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic, and recognised members’ contributions despite their own trying personal situations.
JG made reference to the previous meetings presentations from Yvonne Davies, Mandy Sawyer, and Ian Montgomery and had since spoken with members’ to ask for their feedback. JG noted that some members felt that there may have been more benefit to hearing from Yvonne after Mandy and Ian had given their presentations so the board could have put the relevant issues in context. Concerns had also been raised about there being less time for discussion between members, and some members had got the impression from Ian Montgomery that online meetings would become the norm even after the coronavirus pandemic and the only means by which TSB members could be involved. KM clarified that this wasn’t the case and whilst the pandemic has necessitated a shift to using online technologies, with primarily the HAPS and the TSB, this hasn’t been applied to all involved forums. KM explained that he felt there will always be a need for conducting some meetings face to face, but currently it is about finding a balance between what is appropriate and what is safe in line with government recommendations, but there is no definite date as yet when any face to face meetings may be allowed, although steps being taken to remobilise services, with risk assessments being introduced alongside unions to ensure safety for all and allow officers some scope to go out into the community to deliver goods and assess projects..
Regarding the plan for the upcoming review, JG suggested that it be split into three manageable tasks:
1. How the Involved Forums work
2. How Housing Advisory Panels support the wider community
3. How the service engages and supports tenants.
JG suggested that it would be beneficial to first review the involved forums, and from there move onto the Housing Advisory Panels, and finally engaging with tenants, as by leaving this until last would allow for the most time to pass and therefore fewer restrictions from Coronavirus. The other forums are currently able to meet online in some capacity whereas accessing and understanding how tenants are engaged and supported by the service would require more in-person interaction.
JG suggested that before the review begins he would need to have a meeting with the Chairs of the various panels and forums to explain the scope, and reassure them that the Board is working with them and would like to work alongside panels with their input. SBa added that it should be emphasised that the board is representing the views of tenants and not of the council.
JG expressed the need for the board to gather evidence from HAP documents to be able to formulate their recommendations, however without access to offices it would be difficult to get any printouts sent to members, highlighting the need to be comfortable viewing documents on-screen. JG gave examples of areas where he felt the members needed to focus on including duplicating presentations to forums, the lack of diversity among involved tenants, how resources are used and whether these represented value for money.
KM reminded the board that the scoping document needed to be finalised and agreed first, with outcomes and metrics in place so it is clear what criteria are the review is working to.
JG raised the issue of how evidence might be sent to panel members, given we are still unable to print and post out documents. KM explained this would need to be explored further but would likely require things being circulated electronically for the time being. JG offered to speak to Ian Montgomery about the possibility of loaning a tablet to members who do not have one.
JG proposed that the timetable, as it stands, lasts up to March 2021 but in the present situation that may be subject to change. As it stands the Board will not meet in August, with the next meetings to be held on the 4th of September, followed by the 17th of September. From October onwards the meetings will revert to one meeting each month.