Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Leslie Hoskins and Cllr Lyn Milner. Cllr Bob Lane and Cllr Elizabeth Mulheran attended as their substitutes.
The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
The Chair congratulated Daniel Killian for his appointment to Director (Housing) in April 2021.
The Chair also congratulated Nicole Arthur and Lee Morson who took up their new posts today; their new posts were Service Manager (Housing Operations) and Housing IT Systems Manager respectively.
The Committee were presented with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as introduced within the Council’s Corporate Plan, for Quarter Four 2020-21 (January to March 2021).
The Director (Housing) guided Members through the document and pulled key statistical figures from the Performance Indicators that were listed in full, at appendix two to the report.
The Chair thanked the Director (Housing) for the positive figures and ask that the Committees congratulations be given to the Housing Income Team for winning the Kent Housing Group Extraordinary Team Award 2021.
The Director (Housing) fielded questions from the Committee regarding Housings performance and explained that:
In response to a Members concern, the Director (Housing) asked that Cllr Hayre send him the details of the case of a disabled resident moving into a property that had no disabled facilities; Cllr Hayre advised that Cllr John Caller had been dealing with it. The Director (Housing) agreed to copy Cllr Hayre into all correspondence.
The Committee was informed of the proposed Tenant and Leaseholder Decant Policy and their comments were sought comments prior to the policy being agreed by the Cabinet Member, Housing Services.
The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) guided Members through the report and gave a detailed overview of the policy; the decant policy covered both temporary and permanent decants including tenants and leaseholders and set out what the Council hoped to achieve from decant, how the process would be managed, how those affected by a decant would be engaged, what support would be provided and what home loss payments individuals could expect to receive. The policy took into account relevant legislation and guidance to ensure that home loss payments were set at the correct levels and that any decants were followed in a lawful process. A full copy of the Decant Policy could be found in Appendix 2 to the report.
The Chair thanked the Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) for her detailed overview of the report and appreciated that the Policy was good for the Council to have in place.
The Service Manager (Housing Landlord Services) and the Director (Housing) fielded questions from the Committee and explained that:
The Committee were informed of the proposed Electrical Safety Policy and their comments were sought prior to the policy being agreed by the Cabinet Member, Housing Services.
The Service Manager (Housing Operations) gave a brief overview of the report to Members.
The Electrical Safety Policy detailed how Gravesham Borough Council met the requirements for electrical safety under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Act 2004 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. In addition to that, the policy provided assurance that measures were in place to ensure compliance with those regulations and identified, managed and/or mitigated risks associated with electrical installations.
In response to Member questions, the Service Manager (Housing Operations) and the Director (Housing) explained that:
· The policy only reflected the responsibility of the Council as the social housing landlord; it did not apply to privately owned housing. It was important to keep the areas split and made sure that tenants knew what we expected of them and what they should expect of the Council
· There were provisions in place for disruptions cased by electrical work as sometimes whole families had to be moved outside properties while the team rewired the house; tenants and the Service Managers (Household Landlord Services) team were worked with closely during the process. Other aspects had to be taken into consideration such as if the resident was a hoarder and the property had to be cleaned before any electrical work could be carried out. Residents did not always see electrical safety as interesting as getting a new bathroom//kitchen and so educating residents was important. The team would also combine the electrical work with any other work that needed doing so that it could all be done at once while the family was moved out
· The Director (Housing) added that tenants would be able to count on the support of the Tenant Liaison Officers during the process of moving between properties
· The Council inspected Council owned properties every five years; if an electrician felt that the property had damaged electrical outlets or was not maintained properly etc then they could request an inspection sooner but as a general rule it was every five years
· The Director (Housing) added that the Council were not required to inspect each property every five years but the Council took the decision to mirror what was required in the private sector in order to lead by example. As such, the electrical testing programme was brought in house and the five-year rolling programme was implemented
· When a tenant moved out of a property, the whole property was retested from scratch and then the new tenant would be given the electrical safety certificate upon moving into the property
The Chair asked Cllr Pearton to contact the Service Manager (Housing Operations) after the meeting so that he could report instances where he had seen Council properties with damaged electrics.
Following concern raised by a Member, the Service Manager (Housing Operations) agreed to talk to the Electrical Manager tomorrow to see if ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
The Housing Services IT Manager provided Members with a presentation and a short video which demonstrated some of the functionality within the new Housing Management System and gave examples of what a Housing Officer would be able to report at a residents address.
The presentation was published and could be found through the below link:
The Chair thanked the Housing Services IT Manager for an informative presentation.
The Director (Housing) added some context to the demonstration that Members received:
Members raised several concerns regarding the personal safety of Housing Officers visiting properties where aggrieved tenants lived and the actual security of the business iPhones.
It was explained by officers that: