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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE

Contact: Ayshe Simsek, Acting Democratic Services & Scrutiny Manager 

Media

Items
No. Item

128.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 

 

By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.

 

The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader referred to the notice of filming at meetings and attendees noted this information.

 

129.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Brabazon.

 

130.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of Urgent Business. (Late items of Urgent Business will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items of Urgent Business will be dealt with under Item 18 below. New items of exempt business will be dealt with at Item 23 below).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There  were no items of urgent  business put forward.

131.

Declarations of Interest

A Member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A Member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Chandwani and Councillor Bull declared a personal and prejudicial interest in item 15, Annual leasehold Service Charge - Review of Management Fee as they were both leaseholders in the borough.

 

132.

Notice of Intention to Conduct Business in Private, any Representations Received and the Response to any such Representations

On occasions part of the Cabinet meeting will be held in private and will not be open to the public if an item is being considered that is likely to lead to the disclosure of exempt or confidential information. In accordance with the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 (the “Regulations”), members of the public can make representations about why that part of the meeting should be open to the public.

 

This agenda contains exempt items as set out at Item [19] : Exclusion of the Press and Public.  No representations with regard to these have been received.

 

This is the formal 5 clear day notice under the Regulations to confirm that this Cabinet meeting will be partly held in private for the reasons set out in this Agenda.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no representations received at the agenda publication stage in relation to the exempt items on the agenda.

 

133.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 602 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 10th of December 2019 as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

To approve the Cabinet minutes for the 10th of December 2019 as an accurate record of the meeting.

 

134.

Deputations/Petitions/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Standing Orders.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

A deputation had been received from Mr Stuart McNamara and Mrs Victoria Alvarez in relation to item 9 of the Agenda – the Cabinet Response to the Scrutiny Panel Review on Wards Corner.

 

Ms Victoria Alvarez, representing the Latin Village, was invited by the Leader to put forward her deputation to Cabinet. Ms Alvarez was joined by Mr Patrick Rey.

 

Mr Rey introduced the deputation and spoke for the traders of Latin Village in his capacity as a leader of the campaign to Save the Latin Village.

 

Mr Rey expressed that the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel had listened to the voices of the traders at Wards Corner and had considered evidence over many months, deliberated and reached its conclusions carefully. The traders felt heard by the Scrutiny Panel and praised the Planning Officer, who reviewed whether Grainger had complied with Section 106 planning obligations when it was appointed the Market Operator, Quarterbridge. Citing the Planning Officer’s report in which he wrote Grainger had breached the Section 106 agreement, Mr Rey queried why the draft response to the Scrutiny Panel claimed there was no breach.

 

The deputation asked Cabinet to fully consider and respond to the questions the traders had raised with action. Mr Rey claimed the proposed responses to the recommendations gave the traders no confidence that Cabinet had considered the concerns of the traders.

 

Mr Rey continued to praise the Scrutiny report and its contents. He claimed the Scrutiny process had allowed all parties to be tested and queried whether Cabinet accepted the facts found within the report.

 

Mr Rey sought for Cabinet to agree that Haringey had a responsibility to protect the market, its traders and the community it serves.

 

Mr Rey noted the Council and traders wanted a mutual future where the traders and Market were secure. However, they were not confident this would be realised with Mr Rey claiming there had been harassment by the Market Manager. He further claimed several traders faced eviction from the Market because of alleged breaches of their Market agreements with MAM.

 

Mr Rey questioned what precisely the draft response offered traders in terms of the future. He stated real commitment meant supporting traders now and fully committing to community involvement and oversight of the next Market facilitator. Cabinet were requested to support those commitments.

 

The deputation asked for round table discussions and for Cabinet to support the Community Plan that had been proposed. Cabinet were also asked to demand the dismissal of the current Market Operator and to engage in the recruitment process for this position.

 

Mr Rey closed by asking Cabinet to reconsider its response to the Scrutiny report and answer questions raised in the deputation.

 

Following the deputation, the Leader invited Cabinet Members to ask questions.

 

Councillor Bull queried whether there had been any conversations with the owners of the site, London Underground Limited, and what representations had been made to them. The deputation responded that they had tried for years to meet the owners of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.

135.

Matters Referred to Cabinet by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Cabinet to consider the  Scrutiny  Reviews  on Wards and further consider the response to the  Scrutiny recommendations.

 

The Scrutiny Review to be introduced by Cllr das Neves  Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Response to the Scrutiny recommendations – Cllr Charles Adje – Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader advised the meeting that the Cabinet would consider the Scrutiny Review on Wards Corner which the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny would present and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration would present the Cabinet response to the Scrutiny recommendations.

 

136.

Scrutiny Panel review on Wards Corner - Non Key pdf icon PDF 317 KB

[Report of  the Director for  Housing Regeneration and Planning. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for  Finance and Strategic Regeneration]

 

To note the Scrutiny Review on Wards Corner and to consider the Cabinet response to the recommendations.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair invited Councillor das Neves to introduce the Scrutiny Panel Review on Wards Corner.

 

Councillor das Neves addressed Cabinet and noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had brought forward a review of Wards Corner which was the culmination of many months of work with 36 hours of evidence heard by the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel. The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny continued to articulate the 14 recommendations put forward by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which were contained at pages 57 to 59 of the agenda pack.

 

The Leader invited the Cabinet to put forward questions to the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny. There were questions from Councillors: Bull, Chandwani and Ibrahim on the Scrutiny Review recommendations and the following responses were provided by Councillor das Neves with assistance from Councillor Ruth Gordon, who had been the Chair of Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel in 2018/19 where the main evidence for the review had been gathered.

 

  • With regards to the considerations behind recommendation 2 which sought a review of the Constitution, Part 4 Section G, Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, and asserted that there should be a presumption of officer attendance at Scrutiny meetings, it was noted that the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel had not been able to hear first- hand evidence from the Town Centre Manager who was a fourth tier officer in the Council. The Cabinet noted that Officers below tier three could only attend Scrutiny meetings at the discretion of the Director. Therefore the Committee had added this recommendation for Standards Committee to consider changes to the Constitution. The Leader interjected to highlight that it was correct and important to adhere to the current rules of the Constitution. This document was clear on which Officers Scrutiny had right to question and which Officers were able to attend Scrutiny as part of their job description.

 

  • In further follow up questions, Councillor Gordon, expressed that any proposed changes to the Constitution, on this aspect, would of course need to involve trade unions and this was set out in the recommendation. It was further clarified that this recommendation was included to highlight that there was discretion to allow this officer to attend which was not applied. Councillor Gordon outlined that the Scrutiny Panel had been receiving information at their evidence gathering meetings on the issues that had occurred at the Market Traders Steering Group meetings over an 18 month period and wanted to verify this with an officer present at these meetings. They further requested the notes of this meeting which were not forthcoming and still felt that it was appropriate for a fourth tier officer to attend and provide this information. The Leader interjected to emphasise that the Councillor was referring to a particular officer and this was inappropriate to do so in this meeting given this issue had already been raised in the Scrutiny review process. Therefore, it was inappropriate to raise this issue at this meeting and more appropriate for the Councillor to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.

137.

Welcome Strategy pdf icon PDF 157 KB

[Report of the Director of Adults and Health. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health.]

 

The  report will set out the  Council’s strategic response to migration and integration building on its current approach.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health introduced this report which set out the Council’s strategic response to migration and integration building on its current approach.

 

The Cabinet Member was pleased to present the Welcome Strategy and paid special thanks to the community voluntary sector organisations who participated in the process. The Council would be working with them to set up a Board and to create an action plan that could then be monitored to measure progress.

 

The Cabinet Member closed by stating that, despite the uncertainty for migrants entering into the borough, the Council wished to send a message that it, and the borough, welcomed new migrants and wanted to work with them. There already existed the Connected Community Project and the Welcome Strategy was the next step.

 

The Leader invited Councillors to ask questions on this report. Councillor Palmer placed on record her dissatisfaction with not being able to ask questions in relation to item 9.

 

In response to questions from Councillor Palmer and das Neves, the following information was provided:

 

  • The Cabinet Member confirmed that the review of the current practices in how the Council supported migrant residents would include all the agencies that enforced migration law within the borough.

 

  • Regarding the timescale of that review, the Cabinet Member informed that, given its comprehensive coverage, it would take time to complete. For that reason, it was considered necessary to have a Welcome Advisory Board which the Cabinet Member envisaged would be cross party and noted the Liberal Democrats had co-sponsored the Welcome Strategy motion at Full Council in November 2018. The Council had already begun to talk with community monitory organisations about membership of the Board. The Board would be looking at: what were the Council’s priorities; what should be worked on; and any medium to long term goals. An overarching issue for migrants had been the United Kingdom’s expected exit from the European Union which had created uncertainty. The Council needed to develop an approach that was flexible and able to react to any changes as and when required.

 

 

  • The Cabinet Member was not able to provide the complete list of organisations that the Council had so far worked with regarding the Welcome Strategy but would arrange for that information to be made available.

 

  • The Cabinet Member confirmed there had been a round table meeting organised through the Selby Centre which was attended by over 50 individuals from different organisations. There had also been separate smaller meetings with different organisations looking at migration issues such as cases where migrants had no recourse of public funds and issues surrounding settled status for European migrants. Draft versions of the strategy had been circulated to various organisations and community groups who had in turn provided input and subsequent revisions were made. To further embed the work of the community into the work of the Welcome Strategy, the Welcome Advisory Board was set up to ensure that their contributions would continue.

 

138.

Report on the Council’s Housing Delivery Programme pdf icon PDF 156 KB

[Report of the Director for Housing, Regeneration and Planning. To  be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal.]

 

The  report will request  Cabinet’s approval for a number of sites in Haringey to enter  the Council’s delivery programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal introduced the report which sought approval to include nine Council-owned sites in the Council housing delivery programme in order that their feasibility and capacity for the delivery of new Council homes can be determined.

The Cabinet Member referred to the relatively restricted levels of Government grant for building Council homes, and the need for the Council to make the best use of land owned by the Council to support this programme. The identified sites would support the Council’s initial programme to deliver a thousand new homes by 2022 and would also enable putting in place a pipeline of sites to support a long-term sustainable programme of Council house building. The Cabinet Member advised that this type of action would become a core part of what the Council did to support the required increases in housing needed to further help the 10,000 households on the Council’s waiting list for a decent affordable home.

 

In response to questions from Councillors: Chandwani, Palmer, das Neves, Gordon and Cllr Rice the following information was provided by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal:

 

  • In relation to the sites used by community organisations, set out at paragraph 6.10, there was previous awareness of their potential addition to the Council’s housing development programme. There had been ongoing conversations, over a number of years, before this programme had been initiated and an understanding of their potential for housing site development. The Cabinet Member could not comment on the enthusiasm of the community organisation related site holders for these potential decisions but had no reason to believe that they were not aware and informed of the potential progress with these sites.

 

  • In relation to consultation, it was important to note that this report initiated the start of the engagement and consultation process with stakeholders and the community. The Cabinet Member gave assurance that this was being undertaken in an open and transparent manner to avoid misunderstandings and ensure residents and community stakeholders were continually aware and involved in plans. This report initiated the conversation with stakeholders and councillors and set out to the public that the Council would be starting consultations.

 

  • The Cabinet Member explained that, where sites already contained housing, this factor would be included in the feasibility work completed. If it was found that the site was suitable for housing development, there would then still be further consultation with residents and stakeholders. Overall, any decisions relating to demolition would require a section 105 consultation and if it involved building a large number of new homes, then there would need to be an estate ballot.

 

  • The Cabinet Member was aware that that some ward councillors had not received an email about a meeting on the sites contained in the report but this had been rectified and invites had been sent to councillors in all wards affected since publication of the report. The Cabinet Member was keen to enable councillors and residents to receive information at the same  ...  view the full minutes text for item 138.

139.

Council Tax Premium  on Long Term Empty Properties pdf icon PDF 159 KB

[Report of the Director  of Finance. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration.]

 

 To recommend  that Full Council agrees to increase the Council Tax Premium on Properties empty for more than five years  in 2020 and 10 years in 2021.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategic Regeneration introduced the report which requested Cabinet recommend that Full Council agrees to increase the Council Tax Premium on Properties empty for more than five years in 2020 and 10 years in 2021.

 

The Cabinet Member detailed that the Administration’s manifesto was clear that it was committed to redistributing the burden of Council Tax. This included exploring and evaluating the scope of the existing discretionary reliefs the Council provided in the borough to ensure that it was targeting support at those residents in particular need.

 

The Cabinet Member noted that, since 2013, Councils had been given the discretionary power to charge a premium on dwellings deemed to be ‘long-term empty’, i.e. properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years. After implementing the last permissible change from 1 April 2019, the amount of Council Tax premium for such properties is currently 100%, so that the payer was liable to pay a total 200% Council Tax. The legislation again had recently been changed to give Councils the power to increase the premium on 1 April 2020 from 100% to 200% on properties empty for more than 5 years with a further increase on 1 April 2021 from 200% to 300% for properties empty for more than 10 years.

 

The Cabinet Member informed that some of the Council’s neighbouring boroughs, such as LB Enfield, LB Islington and LB Barnet currently charged the maximum existing premium of 100% (as did this Council)and were also considering increasing this following the change in legislation. Therefore, the proposal was likely to mean Haringey is aligned with its neighbouring boroughs. In this financial context, the Cabinet Member proposed it was correct to increase the premium payable on long-term empty properties.

 

The Cabinet Member closed by noting the proposal would create additional income for the Council and contribute to the delivery of vital services and support for the most vulnerable residents.

 

In response to a question emanating from a Freedom of Information request concerning the number of homes within the borough which were considered long term empty, the Cabinet Member invited Councillor Palmer to provide further details of that request and would look into the matter. The Cabinet Member assured that the Council did collect tax premium on any long-term empty properties.

 

RESOLVED

That the Cabinet recommends to Full Council:

  1. Increasing the premium charged on long-term empty dwellings, empty for more than 5 years, from 100% to 200% this would take effect from 1 April 2020.

 

  1. That from 1 April 2021 there is a further increase from 200% to 300% for properties empty for more than 10 years.

 

Reasons for Decision

Since 2013, Councils have been given the discretionary power to charge a premium on dwellings deemed to be ‘long-term empty’, i.e. properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years. After implementing the last permissible change from 1 April 2019, the amount of Council Tax premium for such properties is currently 100%,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 139.

140.

Contract extension for Haringey young people sexual health and women's contraception service pdf icon PDF 457 KB

[Report of the Interim Director of Public Health . To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health.]

 

The  report will seek an extension of the option to send the existing contract  as agreed by Cabinet for an additional 1+1 years for delivery of a dedicated Haringey young people sexual health and Women’s contraception services. The total contract term inclusive of the 1+1 year option to extend is 5 years.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health introduced this report which sought agreement from Cabinet to extend the existing Haringey Community Sexual Health services - Young People and Long Acting Reversible Contraception contract to Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. It sought to provide a community sexual health service focusing on young people’s sexual and reproductive health, comprising health promotion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and access to contraception. The service also provided open access to Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) methods for women of all age groups. 

 

The Cabinet Member highlighted that patient feedback from young people on the local dedicated service had been very positive. With 96% of patients attending the service responding that they were extremely likely or likely to recommend the service to someone, who needed similar care or treatment and 99% saying that the treatment and care they received was very good and also helped them achieve what mattered to them.

 

The Cabinet Member closed by noting that, given the positive performance indicators and feedback from the Council that these services had been operating successfully, the Cabinet Member was pleased to recommend that Cabinet extend the contract.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Palmer, Officers noted there were a range of different services available to all service users, including specialist providers for the Trans community. Councillor Palmer welcomed this but also noted it was important to engage with members of the Trans community to ensure inclusivity by asking what services were right for them.

 

RESOLVED

To agree to the extension of the contract to CNWL for the provision of Community Sexual Health services - Young People and Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). As allowed under Contract Standing Orders 10.2.1 (b) for a period of up to 2 years from 3rd July 2020 to 2nd July 2022. The maximum value of the 2-year extension is £2,000,000, with a maximum contract value of £5,046,939 for the life of the contract.

Reasons for decision

In 2015/16, as part of the wider London sexual health transformation Programme, London Borough of Haringey initiated a review of locally commissioned services to scope their viability and effectiveness and ensure they were designed to meet the changing sexual health needs of local residents.

To gather a better understanding of the sexual and reproductive health needs of the Haringey population, the Council completed an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) and commissioned ‘Haringey Public Voice’ (Healthwatch) to conduct a survey on user experience relating to the existing services and to collate feedback on future models of service provision. The results showed that;

  • A significant number of Haringey residents (primarily <25years and women) chose to access contraception and sexual health/sexual reproductive health (CaSH/SRH) services ‘in area’ in Haringey as opposed to choosing to go ‘out of area’ compared to neighbouring boroughs1. (EQIA - London Sexual health transformation Programme 2015). Out of a total of 17,400 attendances into CaSH services by Haringey residents in 2015/16 – 13600 attendances (78%) were through the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 140.

141.

Award of contract to a Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) provider from PBS framework pdf icon PDF 180 KB

[Report of the Director for Adults and Health. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Adults and Health.]

 

The report will seek agreement to the award of contract for a PBS provider to provide wrap around care and support to residents who will be living at 10 Linden Road and property management of the property.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health introduced this report which sought agreement to the award of contract for a PBS provider to provide wrap around care and support to residents who would be living at 10 Linden Road and property management of the property.

 

The Cabinet Member was delighted to present this report, which marked the closing phase of the project to bring Linden House back into use. This project offered four Haringey residents with very complex needs the opportunity to live as independently as possible in a building designed to meet their needs with a service which would be flexed as required.

 

The Cabinet Member closed by noting that, whilst building works on the premises continue apace, there had been a focus on working with the four identified residents and their families to support them to make a successful transition to their new homes. The award of contract to the successful bidder would make this transition a reality over the coming weeks.   

 

In response to a question from the Leader, the Cabinet Member confirmed that, where other individuals in long term care sought to live more independently, this contract would significantly assist in providing them with that transformative opportunity

Further to considering exempt information at item 20,

RESOLVED

  1. To approve the award of a ‘Call-Off’ contract to deliver PBS Service to successful tenderer (identified in the exempt report) for a period of (4) four years with an option to extend for further period/periods of up to 12 months years, commencing from 1st April 2020 to at the maximum cost of £7,000,000 (inclusive of LLW).
  2. To approve variation of hourly rate increase for PBS Keyworker to bring in line with LLW inclusive rates. The current and new proposed hourly rates are set out in Appendix 2 - Part B (exempt information) of this report.

 

Reasons for decision

All five framework participants were invited to tender. The tenderers’ proposals were evaluated using a 50% quality and 50% price weighting and, on this basis, the recommended Provider is deemed to be the most economically advantageous tender representing the best value option to deliver the required service.

Alternative options considered

An option not to proceed was considered but rejected on the grounds that there is a pressing need for local provision for this cohort of vulnerable people.

The needs of the people who will live at Linden Road are highly complex and they will each have spent considerable periods of time in long stay Assessment and Treatment Units in hospitals. In light of this, the future care and support offer must be able to meet their individual needs and to respond to their highly challenging and individualised behaviours. Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a person-centred approach to supporting people who display or are at risk of displaying behaviours which challenge. It involves understanding the reasons for the behaviour and considering the person as a whole - including their life history, physical health and emotional needs – to implement ways of supporting them.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 141.

142.

Annual Leasehold Service Charge - Review of Management Fee pdf icon PDF 203 KB

[Report of the Director for Housing, Regeneration and Planning. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal.]

 

An update on the management, including the introduction of a further management band fee , which Cabinet will be asked to approve.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

[The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and the Cabinet Member for Local Investment and Economic Growth, recused themselves from the meeting following their earlier declarations of interest – 20.37]

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal introduced this report which provided an update on the management, including the introduction of a further management band fee, which Cabinet were asked to approve.

 

The Cabinet Member noted that administration was committed to providing high quality services and to ensuring that, where these were paid for by residents, all charges were fair and equitable and there were no unjustifiable unintended impacts of charging policy. As part of this the Council had been reviewing areas where existing charges may fail to meet that test.

 

The Cabinet Member highlighted there was a change to the banding of leaseholder charges in 2019/20, to reflect the costs of a new cleaning and inspection service. This had significant impacts on some leaseholders, in particular those in converted street properties, who were just under 10% of leaseholders and faced an increase of over £100 per year. The Cabinet Member considered that the scale of increase in charges those leaseholders faced was inequitable and placed an unfair proportion of the burden of these new charges on this group. Therefore, a new charging band was being proposed, specifically for these properties, to eliminate that inequity.

 

The Cabinet Member emphasised that this re-banding did not affect the level of overall service charges for leaseholders as a whole but sought to spread these costs more equitably. As a result, the three quarters of leaseholders who live on estates would now face a small increase of around £2 per year in their charges, while those who faced a manifestly unfair increase in their charges will have far more reasonable bills.

 

The Leader noted that the change to the service charge was expected to benefit the vast majority of tenants, with over 1,200 leaseholders seeing a decrease in their bills.

 

Further to consideration of exempt information at item 21,

 

RESOLVED

  1. To approve the introduction of an additional fourth band of leasehold management fee for converted street properties as set out in paragraphs 6.8 to 6.14.
  2. To note the proposed management fee charge for each of the four bands as set out at the final column of the table at 6.13

 

Reasons for decision

A new band of leasehold management fee will ensure that the charges paid by leaseholders for the management of their homes better reflect the service they receive. It will also ensure that service charges are reasonable and reflect the requirements of section 19 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Alternative options considered

A flat rate management fee: This would mean that one fee is applied to all leaseholders irrespective of the type of service received. Although some landlords use this mechanism, it would not be appropriate to implement a flat rate management fee because this would not reflect the different costs of managing different types of property owned by the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 142.

143.

Local Government Ombudsman Finding - NON KEY pdf icon PDF 201 KB

[Report of the Assistant Director for  Corporate Governance. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Corporate and Civic Services &Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal.]

 

To consider  the report of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in relation to Housing Benefit  and Council Tax  and confirm the actions that the Council  has taken or  has to take , under requirements of the Local Government Act 1974, Section 31(2) (as amended).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

[The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and the Cabinet Member for Local Investment and Economic Growth returned to the meeting – 20.44.]

 

The Cabinet Member for Corporate and Civic Services and Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal jointly introduced this report. Cabinet were informed that the Ombudsman had made a report finding fault with the Council in relation to a complaint made by Ms X and had asked the Council to take certain steps to remedy that fault. The complaint related to the way the Council dealt with her housing benefit and subsequent homelessness. This report summarised the Ombudsman’s report and the steps that had been taken to date. It also proposed further steps to be taken by the Council in response to the report.

 

The Cabinet Member for Corporate and Civic Services informed Cabinet that she had requested the Council carry out random checks every three or four months to make sure that people were following the correct procedures.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal drew Cabinet’s attention to the compensation payments recommended by the Ombudsman to Ms X. The Cabinet Member noted that since May 2018, there had been a significant improvement in the service, specifically in benefit calculations.

 

In response to a question from Councillor James, Officers confirmed that lessons had been learnt and that the Council had carried out a number of checks, as per the Ombudsman recommendations. The Council had sampled 154 cases and found only 1 minor error in a case. The Council was also doing thorough checks and would be going through the full caseload of over 2,000 cases before 31st March 2020 to ensure all was as it should be.

 

RESOLVED

  1. To accept the findings and recommendations of the Ombudsman in the report shown at Appendix 1.

 

  1. To authorise officers’ compensatory payments to Ms X totalling £5,587.94, as set out in paragraphs 4.7 and 4.10 below.

 

  1. To adopt this report as the Council’s formal response under s.31 Local Government Act 1974, to be communicated to the Ombudsman.

 

  1. To adopt this report as the Cabinet’s formal response as required by s.5A Local Government and Housing Act 1989, for distribution to all members and the Monitoring Officer.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

Overview

 

The Ombudsman’s report is dated 7th October 2019 but was not published until 7th January 2020. This is because publication was delayed due to purdah around the general election held on 12th December 2019.

 

As set out in the Ombudsman’s report, Ms X has been found to have suffered injustices as a result of faults on behalf of the Council. In summary:

  • Ms X’s housing benefit was calculated incorrectly and communicated to her landlord, leading to Ms X feeling pressured to leave the property.
  • Ms X was also not immediately offered alternative accommodation on the basis of priority need or protection for her possessions that required storage, leading to her being placed in unsuitable accommodation for approximately 6 months and having to pay for storage of her  ...  view the full minutes text for item 143.

144.

Minutes of Other Bodies pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To note the minutes of the following:

 

Corporate Parenting Advisory Committee 15 October 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

 

To note the minutes of the Corporate Parenting Advisory Committee meeting held on the 15th of October 2019.

 

145.

New Items of Urgent Business

To consider any items admitted at Item 3 above.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

None

146.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

Note from the Acting Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager

 

Items 20, 21 to 22  allow for consideration of exempt information in relation to items 14,15 and 6.

 

TO RESOLVE

 

That the press and public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting as the items below, contain exempt information, as defined under paragraph 3 and 5, Part 1, schedule 12A of the Local Government Act:

 

·         Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

·         Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.

 

Minutes:

 

That the press and public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting as the remaining items contained exempt information as defined under paragraph 3 and 5  of  Part 1 schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

147.

Award of contract to a Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) provider from PBS framework

To consider exempt information pertaining to item 14.

Minutes:

As per item 141.

 

148.

Annual Leasehold Service Charge - Review of Management Fee

To consider exempt information pertaining to item 15.

Minutes:

As per item 142.

 

[Cllr Bull and Cllr Chandwani recused themselves from the exempt proceedings]

 

149.

Exempt Minutes

To agree the exempt minutes  of cabinet held on the 10th of December 2019.

Minutes:

 

To approve the exempt minutes of the meeting held on the 10th December 2019.

 

150.

New Items of Exempt Urgent Business

To consider any items admitted at Item 3 above.

 

Minutes:

None