Agenda, decisions and minutes

z (EXPIRED 07/05/15) Housing OSC - Now Community & Enterprise OSC
Wednesday, 10th September, 2014 10.00 am

Venue: Delyn Committee Room, County Hall, Mold CH7 6NA

Contact: Sharon Thomas 01352 702324  Email: sharon.b.thomas@flintshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

22.

Declarations of Interest (Including Whipping Declarations)

Decision:

Personal interest declared by Councillor Hilary Isherwood.

Minutes:

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 42 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2014 (copy enclosed).

Decision:

That the minutes be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2014 had been circulated with the agenda.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

24.

Tenancy Agreement Consultation pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the content of the report be noted and the final implementation stage of the new agreement, which will involve writing to all tenants, be supported.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Mr Peter Parkinson to the meeting and explained the process by which he was permitted to speak on the item.

 

The Neighbourhood Housing Manager introduced the report which gave an overview of the formal consultation process in relation to the Council’s intention to introduce a revision of its tenancy conditions and sought Members’ views on the proposal for charges to be incurred by either the Council or tenant upon failure to gain access to a property for a pre-arranged appointment.

 

The Choices Document, made available to Council tenants prior to the housing ballot, included an undertaking to update the Tenancy Agreement for reasons of transparency, to aid its understanding and to reflect changes in legislation over the past 20 years.  Consultation on the revised Tenancy Agreement had been launched at the tenants’ conference in February 2014, followed by detailed information sent to tenants, providing an opportunity to respond to the proposed changes.  In addition, 15 drop-in sessions had been held across the county as well as officers visiting rural areas and information publicised on the Council’s website and social media.

 

The report outlined the Council’s responses to feedback received and in particular to concerns around the legal rights of tenants.  It was explained that tenants’ right to choose an alternative landlord was covered in Section 32 of the Housing Act 1985 which also included the right for tenants to be balloted on any housing stock transfer.

 

Mr Parkinson was then invited to address the Committee.  He expressed his appreciation at being permitted to share his concerns about changes to the Tenancy Agreement which he had wanted to raise for some time.  He stated that his preference was to speak only to the Committee Members and expressed his disappointment that permission had not been granted for Mr Steven Clarke, Chair of the Wales Tenants’ Association to also speak on the item.  Mr Parkinson went on to question the provision to amend the Tenancy Agreement within the Choices Document which he felt related only to the housing ballot.  He went on to question the wording on tenants’ rights which he felt applied only to English law, changes in the provision of the Warden Service and the length of the consultation period on the Tenancy Agreement in view of the number of consultees.

 

In welcoming Mr Parkinson to the meeting, the Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance advocated the approach for members of the public to exercise their right to request to speak on items at Overview & Scrutiny Committees.  In recognising the progress made in terms of performance on the Choices Document and timescale to achieve the WHQS, he referred to the Council’s significant contribution in seeking an exit from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) subsidy system which was much welcomed in the current financial climate.  He referred to the outcome of the housing ballot, where 88% of tenants voting had voted against a stock transfer - the highest housing ballot turnout in Wales to date - and stressed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Improvement Plan Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 28 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the report be noted.

Minutes:

The Housing Regeneration & Strategy Manager introduced the report for the Committee to note and consider elements of the 2014/15 Improvement Plan Monitoring Report relevant to the Committee for the period April to July 2014.

 

He gave a short presentation on performance within each of the sub-priority areas, highlighting work which had been undertaken to improve performance and areas where improvement was needed, as outlined within each report.  It was noted that there were no areas with a red ‘RAG’ status within the report.

 

Councillor George Hardcastle asked about the impact of Welfare Reform on households to date, particularly those who had suffered debt problems.  The Housing Regeneration & Strategy Manager reported that the rollout of claims for Universal Credit accepted by Shotton Job Centre was being widened to include some other claimants.  A detailed update report on Welfare Reform was scheduled for consideration at the next meeting of Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

26.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 24 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Forward Work Programme be updated accordingly.

Minutes:

The Housing & Learning Overview & Scrutiny Facilitator introduced a report to enable the Committee to consider the Forward Work Programme which had been populated to include Members’ suggestions following the recent planning workshop.

 

It was agreed that to avoid any duplication, Members of the Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee would be invited to attend the next meeting on 15 October 2014 to consider the Welfare Reform Update.  Similarly, it was agreed that the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee would be invited to attend the meeting on 24 March 2015 for the item on Vibrant and Viable Places.

 

Councillor Mike Reece asked that a future item be scheduled on vans allocated to caretakers.  In response to a question, the Neighbourhood Housing Manager said that proposed changes to Housing officer arrangements would reflect working patterns and that Housing officers would meet with Members for their respective areas around the end of the month.

 

Following a further question on nuisance neighbours in private properties, the Neighbourhood Housing Manager provided explanation on the Council’s powers to take action where the issue affected Council tenants and/or the housing management function.  Any other matters would need referral to the Community Safety Unit.

 

Councillor Rosetta Dolphin asked when the review of garage sites would be considered.  The Housing Regeneration & Strategy Manager advised that this would be discussed under the Asset Management Plan item scheduled for the next meeting and the Council Housing Development item at the April 2015 meeting.  He reported that following completion of most of the site visits, a list for future developments had been prepared based on feedback (including that from Members).  He agreed to share this information with the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Forward Work Programme be updated accordingly.

27.

Members of the Public and Press In Attendance

Minutes:

There was one member of the public in attendance.

 

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