Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Suite. View directions

Contact: Committee Section 

Items
No. Item

48.

Apologies

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Lee Croxton, Councillor William Lambert and Councillor Makhan Singh. Councillor Brian Sangha, Councillor Gary Harding and Councillor Steve Thompson appeared as their respective substitutes.

 

 

49.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held 14 February 2018 were signed by the Chair.

 

50.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

 

51.

Partnership Review – Housing Associations pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To provide Members of the Overview Scrutiny Committee with additional detail and background information regarding the Housing Associations partnership for review.

 

Please note: It was agreed by the Committee at the last meeting (15 February 2018) that this item be put back on the agenda for Thursday, 08 March 2018 so the Housing Strategy & Development Manager could be invited along to answer questions in detail.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was agreed by the Committee at the last meeting (15 February 2018) that this item be put back on the agenda for Thursday, 08 March 2018 so the Housing Strategy & Development Manager could be invited along to answer questions in detail.

 

 

The Housing Strategy & Development Manager provided responses to the questions Members posed at the last meeting:

 

1.         Members wanted further information/clarification about the processes that are in   place for tenants who transfer from a housing association property to a GBC        property.  Members were keen to explore the process by which these transfer take place in more detail.

 

 

Process for Transferring

 

All tenants irrespective of who the landlord is, apply for a transfer in the same way.  All are required to complete the Council’s common housing register application form with applications being assessed in line with the Council’s Allocations Policy.  Both Housing Association and Council properties available for rent are advertised on Kent HomeChoice and applicants registered with the Council are able to bid on properties they are eligible for.

 

Target for Turnaround

 

Housing Associations determine their turnaround targets individually and the Council’s targets are agreed with the Cabinet Member.

 

Targets achieved can be subject to local circumstances and housing stock profile.  For example the majority of Housing Association stock is fairly new compared to the majority of the Councils stock and therefore do not often require major works prior to being relet.  Certain types of properties also take longer to relet for example sheltered housing properties.   This may be due to the properties not being accessible and/or adaptable or the criteria to access sheltered housing

 

 

2.         Members wanted clarification on what constitutes an affordable rent and how this is          actually set.

 

 

Affordable Rent is up to 80% of the local market (including any service charges) or the Local Housing Allowance rate, whichever is the lower weekly sum.

 

Market Rent levels are provided via a Property Assessment Report which looks at the monthly rental income of similar properties in the surrounding area of the proposed Affordable Rent homes.  Right Move Data Services provide this information to some of our HA partners and we access the data for our own Affordable Rent properties through our partners.

 

The Local Housing Allowance is set by central government and is the housing benefit element you would get for a property. The maximum an individual can receive per week is as follows:

 

1 bed unit - £124.02

2 bed unit - £153.00

3 Bed unit - £173.00

 

There is concern that households may be worse off under Universal Credit and more truly affordable housing is needed.

 

The Housing Strategy & Development Manager confirmed that Gravesham’s affordable housing policy requires 30% affordable housing on new developments of 15 dwellings (or sites of 0.5 hectares) or more in the urban area and 35% affordable housing on new developments of 3 dwellings (or sites of 0.1 hectares) or more in rural areas.

 

3.         Councillors wanted to discuss in more detail the way in which the properties  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Member Training & Development Plan 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To provide Members of the Overview Scrutiny Committee with an updated Member Training and Development Plan for 2018-19

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee Services Officer (Scrutiny) provided Members of the Overview Scrutiny Committee with an updated Member Training and Development Plan for 2018-19 – attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

The Committee Services Officer (Scrutiny) advised the Committee of the following:

 

  • The Data Protection Training will cover the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

  • The IT and Digital Strategy Training has been postponed twice due to bad weather -once on 11 December 2017 and again on 1 March 2018 – the training will now go ahead on 16 April 2018

 

The Committee raised the following areas regarding Member Training:

 

  • The Data Protection training should take place before end May 2018.
  • Add a briefing session for all Members on the revision to the national planning policy framework and implications on the local plan - suggested date: September / October 2018.
  • First Aid Training / AED Training for members needs to be refreshed
  • Include Diversity Training
  • Look at including ‘social services training’ e.g. where take an issue that is outside of GBC direct management like domestic abuse.
  • Look at including training on KCC Kent Highways.
  • Move the Treasury Management Training to May / June 2019 (after Borough Elections) to save cost /help new members.
  • Include training on presentation skills, speech writing, interacting with the public (after Borough Elections in May 2019).
  • Add Training on Council Procedural Rules (e.g. rules of debate etc.) – (after Borough Elections in May 2019)
  • Look at more disability awareness training courses, especially if more members with disabilities join the council in May 2019.

 

The Committee raised the following issues regarding training that had taken place to date:

 

  • Microphones need to be used at all sessions - Members made the point that the whole system in the chamber needs to be updated/modernised (especially microphones) as it is not fit for purpose (the Committee highlighted that they wanted this point fed back to Cabinet) 
  • Slides / Presentations need to be larger
  • The Chair thought it was unacceptable that Cllr Harding has been given an old laptop for his speech to text software - a more modern laptop would produce better results and should be provided (The Chair will follow up on this issue)

 

The Committee agreed that the amended training plan should be cleared with the Scrutiny Chair and Vice Chair before going to Cabinet.

 

Resolved that subject to the inclusion of additional training items, adjustments to the training plan and comments being fed back to Cabinet, as detailed above; the Committee accepted the training plan and agreed that it be presented to Cabinet for approval.