Agenda and minutes

Housing Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 28th March, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Crowndale Centre, 218 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1BD. View directions

Contact: Gianni Franchi  Email: gianni.franchi@camden.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

To consider any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Richard Cotton, Sabrina Francis, Larraine Revah and Abi Wood, who was being substituted by Councillor Lazzaro Pietragnoli.

2.

Declarations by Members of Pecuniary, non-pecuniary and any other interests in respect of items on this agenda

Minutes:

There were none.

3.

Deputations

Minutes:

There were none.

4.

Announcements

Minutes:

There were none.

5.

Notification of any items of business that the chair decides to take as urgent

Minutes:

The Chair agreed to accept item 9 ‘Caretaking and Estate Cleansing Review – outcomes and recommendations’ as being late and urgent for the reasons set out in the supplementary agenda.

 

 

6.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 14th January 2019

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 14th January 2019.

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 14th January 2019 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.

7.

Estate regeneration ballots pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Report of the Director of Development

 

This report sets out the Council’s proposed approach to estate regeneration ballots. The Council is currently working with residents of Wendling and West Kentish Town Estates to develop options for possible regeneration of their estates. Part of the consultation with residents over the next few months will include discussion of our approach to ballots. The intention is that any changes to the proposed approach to ballots set out in this paper as a result of consultation with residents will then be agreed at Cabinet prior to any ballot.

 

Any changes that are made will have to remain consistent with the GLA’s ballot guidelines. 

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Development

 

Jeremy Shapiro, Head of CIP Programme Office, took the scrutiny committee through the report highlighting that the paper sets out the Council’s proposed approach to estate regeneration ballots. The Council was currently working with residents of Wendling and West Kentish Town Estates to develop options for possible regeneration of their estates. Part of the consultation with residents over the next few months would include discussion on the Council’s approach to ballots. The intention was that any changes to the proposed approach to ballots set out in this paper as a result of consultation with residents would then be agreed at Cabinet prior to any ballot. Also any changes that were made would have to remain consistent with the GLA’s ballot guidelines.

 

Jeremy Shapiro then gave the following key responses to Members questions:

 

·         Officers had been and would be working with the local community to seek their input in relation to the options that would eventually be submitted as the final tenant’s ballot. This would require a high degree of community engagement with all the people living on the respective estates.

·         When it was clear that a person would need further support to enable them to contribute to this process, then appropriate assistance or signposting was being offered to them. This would include providing them with information in community languages. Any equality related issues would be picked up in the Equality Impact Assessment that would be attached to the report going to Cabinet with the final ballot proposals.

·         The GLA had brought in the need to allow tenants to have a ballot on estate regeneration schemes which involved demolition so the community felt that they had the ability to halt such proposals. Camden had a long history of working with tenants regarding such schemes and would not have sought to progress any without community support.

·         The ballot would be a paper based vote that would take place over 21 days, with a yes no answer. The ballot would be based around the landlord offer, with further work following a positive vote to develop the proposal to planning submission stage. The GLA guidance noted that a further ballot might be necessary if the proposals change significantly from the balloted landlord offer, but there is room for interpretation around what would constitute a significant change. Camden would be consulting with the GLA throughout the process.

·         As yet very few local authorities had run an estate regeneration ballot, but where this had happened it was clear that in order to achieve a positive outcome a great deal of community engagement needed to be undertaken, so that tenants understood what they were voting on, along with what happened next. This would include information regarding what would happen to an estate should the proposals be turned down in a ballot. Here the Council could still decide to provide resources to fund specific work, but not to the extent of the regeneration proposals. Also such an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

The Hackitt Review and Camden 2025 Resident Safety Programme pdf icon PDF 666 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Better Homes/leader of the Council

 

This report is about the importance that Camden attaches to the safety of residents of Council homes, the occupiers of Council buildings and users of Council services.  Camden 2025 commits the Council to achieving the highest standard of safety in all Council homes. The report sets out the Council’s work to date to deliver this commitment and the on-going work required to embed resident safety in the way we do things; the Council is also planning its response to the Government’s Hackitt Review and the prospect of a new statutory safety framework.

 

This report recommends that the Council should co-produce a Camden resident safety charter through a community conversation with residents and considers the implications for the Council of the final Hackitt Review report on building safety.

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Cabinet Member for Better Homes

 

Dominic Johnson, Head of Safer Homes, took the scrutiny committee through the report highlighting that the paper was about the importance that Camden attached to the safety of residents living in Council homes, the occupiers of Council buildings and users of Council services. Camden 2025 committed the Council to achieving the highest standard of safety in all Council homes. The report sets out the Council’s work to date to deliver this commitment and the on-going work required to embed resident safety in the way it did things; the Council was also planning its response to the Government’s Hackitt Review and the prospect of a new statutory safety framework. Also this report recommended that the Council should co-produce a Camden resident safety charter through a community conversation with residents, and considered the implications for the Council of the final Hackitt Review report on building safety.

 

Dominic Johnson then gave the following key responses to Members questions:

 

·         The Council would implement the guidance issued by the Government in relation to all issues arising from the Hackitt Review. This would include any action necessary following changes made to the building safety code. If no guidance was issued on retrospective action then the Council would take a risk based approach to undertaking any retrospective works.

·         Once new legislation had been passed and guidelines issued there would be a transitions period that would allow landlords to become compliant. Future building developers (including private sector) would then be required to follow any new guidelines that were issued before a development was progressed.

·         These guidelines had originally been anticipated to be available in April, but the Government’s timeline had now slipped. 

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the report be noted.

 

 

9.

Caretaking and Estate Cleansing Review - Outcomes and recommendations pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Better Homes

 

This report outlines the work undertaken to date reviewing the Caretaking Service. The review considers whether an updated caretaking model is required to meet current resident’s needs. This approach will help the Council to deliver on Camden 2025 assisting with the delivery of “safe, open and strong communities.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

Cleaning remains a major part of the service and is a key priority for residents. However, there are a range of other demands on caretakers such as increased anti – social behaviour, rough sleeping and monitoring resident safety requirements. It is considered that this broader scope of work requires a re-evaluation of the caretaker role.

 

The report seeks the agreement of Cabinet to continue the review of both the insourcing of the external cleaning service and a reorganisation and modernisation of the Caretaking Service to fully meet Camden’s residents’ needs. This will lead to the development of proposals for decision by the Cabinet Member for Better Homes.

 

Reason for urgency and lateness

 

This report could not be made available for the publication of the agenda for this meeting due to late changes and developments, which needed to be added to the document. Nonetheless, this report needs to be considered by the scrutiny committee on 28th March 2019, to enable the committee to forward any comments to the Cabinet on April 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Cabinet Member Better Homes.

 

Mary McGowan, Director of Housing Management, took the scrutiny committee through the report highlighting that the paper outlined the work undertaken to date reviewing the Caretaking Service. The review considered whether an updated caretaking model was required to meet current resident’s needs. This approach would help the Council to deliver on Camden 2025 assisting with the delivery of “safe, open and strong communities.” The report recognised that cleaning remained a major part of the service and was a key priority for residents. However, there were a range of other demands on caretakers such as increased anti – social behaviour, rough sleeping and monitoring resident safety requirements. It was considered that this broader scope of work required a re-evaluation of the caretaker role. The report also sought the agreement of Cabinet to continue the review of both the insourcing of the external cleaning service, and a reorganisation and modernisation of the Caretaking Service to fully meet Camden’s residents’ needs. This would lead to the development of proposals for decision by the Cabinet Member Better Homes.

 

Mary McGowan then gave the following key responses to Members questions:

 

·         The final decision on the proposal for the external cleaning service and the re-organisation and modernisation of the Caretaking Service would be taken by the Cabinet Member Better Homes, before the summer. The proposed approach would be shared with the DMCs at their June cycle of meetings so they were aware of the final arrangements. Officers would send the final report to all Members of the scrutiny committee so that they were aware of the proposed approach.

 

ACTION BY: Director of Housing Management (SC)

 

·         Should the Council agree to the proposed approach for the service then appropriate benchmarking performance management arrangements would be developed, to ensure the service was delivering the required standards.

·         The proposed approach for the Caretaking Service, would enable caretakers to fully undertake the new roles as they would cover fewer estates than they did now so they could focus on the role in hand, have a higher level of community visibility, enable them to get to know the people living on the estate, and through that better understand their service needs.

·         The current service was fully funded by the HRA. Taking an element of the service back in-house would not lead to any increased service charges. If the service model was changed then this may lead to some increase in service charges.

·         The Council had undertaken an extensive consultation process with the DMCs, individual tenants, residents, Trade Unions and staff regarding the possible way forward for the service, and the outcomes arising from this process were broadly the same. The report provided information on the results of this consultation process, and recommended a way forward for the Cabinet to consider.

·         Further work had been done regarding why the 35 – 44 year old age group were least satisfied with the work of caretaking staff. Here it was recognised that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Responsive Security Patrol update pdf icon PDF 406 KB

Report of the Director of Property Management

 

This report provides an update on the Responsive Security Patrol (RSP), the plans for CCTV on housing estates and the joined up work carried out between Property Management, Housing Management and the Community Safety teams to tackle anti-social behaviour.

 

Tackling anti-social behaviour and developing the RSP supports the call to action in Camden 2025 that the borough should be safe, strong and open, and everyone should be able to contribute to their community.

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Property Management

 

Gavin Haynes, Director of Property Management, took the scrutiny committee through the report highlighting that the paper provided an update on the Responsive Security Patrol (RSP), the plans for CCTV on housing estates and the joined up work carried out between Property Management, Housing Management and the Community Safety teams to tackle anti-social behaviour.

 

Gavin Haynes and Graeme Dyson, Security Consultant, then gave the following key responses to Members questions:

 

·         The Council would be upgrading the CCTV system across the borough. This wireless network would be installed alongside existing hardware to prevent disruption to CCTV coverage. When this wireless system had been fully installed and tested, work could be started on moving over the existing cameras onto the new network. During this time no new cameras would be installed, rather should an issue arise when CCTV surveillance was required the Council would put in place Rapidly Deployable Cameras (RDCs), which work via 4G and were not dependent on any wireless network.

·         The Council had a pool of 13 RDCs which provided very high quality images even in low levels of light.

·         Housing, community safety and caretaking staff worked in close partnership in dealing with anti-social behaviour issues, and community concerns regarding anti-social behaviour should be forwarded to these teams to investigate and determine the best approach to tackling the issue.

·         Community Protection Notices (CPN) could be used to tackle environmental or community safety related anti-social behaviour. The ability to issue a CPN by a Community Safety Officer and the Responsive Security Patrol would provide them with extra powers to help them tackle anti-social behaviour. Which could lead to the Police intervening should a person be in breach of a CPN.

·         Officers were looking at putting into place a dedicated phone number for people to report anti-social behaviour issues, rather than using the Council’s general phone number. Also officers were developing an App that could be downloaded to be used, and residents could also email officers directly.

·         Officers were working closely with colleagues in other teams and other public service agencies in relation to supporting rough sleepers off the streets. On occasions this could involve working closely with the Police to help deal with anti-social behaviour being committed by rough sleepers.

·         Officers would look into sharing information with the local community regarding the good work they were doing in tackling anti-social behaviour. This would help reassure the local community that Camden took this issue seriously and its‘s services were effective in tackling anti-social behaviour. 

 

 

RESOLVED -

 

THAT the report be noted and that officers be recommended to publicise the good work being undertaken by the Council in tackling anti-social behaviour.

 

                                    ACTION BY: Director of Housing Management (MM)

 

11.

Update from Cabinet Member for Better Homes pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Better Homes

 

To consider the report from the Cabinet Member for Better Homes

 

 

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Cabinet Member Better Homes.

 

Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet Member Better Homes, then gave the following key responses to Members questions:

 

·         Information would be shared with tenants and residents regarding the implementation of the proposed whole Landlord Service change in a planned way, so that there would not be a long time lag from when the service went live.

·         Officers had now gone live with the recruitment drive for new Neighbourhood Housing Officers, and they had produced a short social media advert based on the story of Maggie, that explained how the service had changed and what it would now be doing. Officers agreed to provide this social media advert to scrutiny committee members.

 

ACTION BY: Director of Housing Management (MM)

 

·         The STAR Survey would be undertaken this year during the summer and tenants and residents views would be sought on a number of different housing matters including repairs and maintenance. This information would be analysed by officers and comparisons made against past information to see how housing services were doing.

·         Officers and staff from Thames Water had undertaken a number of information sharing sessions with tenants to help them understand the changes that were taking place regarding future billing. These had largely been successful and it was hoped that very few issues would now arise when the new charging process started.

 

The Chair then thanked Councillor Apak for his report and his support for the scrutiny committee over the year

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the report be noted.

12.

Work Programme and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Report of the Director of Housing Support Services

 

This report suggests a possible work programme for the scrutiny committee

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Housing Support Services.

 

The scrutiny committee felt that it would be useful to have an informal meeting to discuss the development of the committee’s work programme in May/June 2019.

                                   

ACTION BY: Councillor Douglas Beattie

 

The scrutiny committee noted that the decision making regarding the future proposals relating to the Homelessness Reduction Strategy, Caretaking Review and the Landlord Services Review would be taking place before the next meeting of the scrutiny committee.

 

The members wished to add to the proposed list of future topics for consideration the performance of housing associations, specifically around designing out crime on their estates, and around housing management services. This could be linked with the report back from the Clarion Housing Association, which was already on the scrutiny committee’s work programme.

 

Members also wished to add the housing management performance of Savillis in relation to the properties they managed on the Maiden Lane Estate.

 

The scrutiny committee recognised that these issues could be discussed at the informal work programme setting session.

 

Hayley Norris and Vic Seedman agreed to continue as Co-opted members for the next municipal year, and that the Chair would ask Bob O’Toole if he was willing to continue.

                                   

ACTION BY: Councillor Douglas Beattie

 

The Chair then thanked Members of the scrutiny committee and officers for the work they had done over the year in supporting the scrutiny process.

 

 

RESOLVED –

 

THAT approval be given to the actions indicated above.

 

 

 

 

 

13.

Dates of Future meetings

Dates for the 2019/20 programme as per below (all at 6.30pm)

 

Tuesday, 16th July 2019

Monday, 9th September 2019

Thursday, 7th November 2019

Monday, 9th December 2019

Monday, 13th January 2020

Tuesday, 31st March 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

THAT the programme of meeting dates for the 2019/20 Municipal year as set out below be noted:

 

Dates for the 2019/20 programme as per below (all at 6.30pm)

 

Tuesday, 16th July 2019

Monday, 9th September 2019

Thursday, 7th November 2019

Monday, 9th December 2019

Monday, 13th January 2020

Tuesday, 31st March 2020

 

14.

Any other business that the chair considers urgent

Minutes:

There were none.