Agenda and draft minutes

Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 7th November, 2017 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Christian Scade, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

29.

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 Chair referred Members present to agenda Item 1 as shown on the agenda in respect of filming at this meeting, and Members noted the information contained therein’.

30.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted apologies for absence had been received from Cllr John Bevan, Cllr Gail Engert (substituted by Cllr Clive Carter) and Cllr Martin Newton.

31.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

32.

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:

None.

33.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

34.

Minutes - 2 October 2017 pdf icon PDF 575 KB

To approve the minutes of the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 2 October 2017. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED:

 

(a)  That the clerk be asked to check the accuracy of the minutes, especially issues relating to service charges highlighted at minute 22.

 

(b)  That the minutes be checked, redrafted and reported back to the next meeting on 19 December 2017.

35.

Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 455 KB

This report is for information and relates to the quarter one budget monitoring position as reported to Cabinet on 12 September 2017.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rita Bacheta, Senior Business Partner, introduced the report as set out and commenced her presentation by providing an overview of the budget monitoring position for Corporate Plan Priorities 4 and 5.

 

The Panel was informed, as of 30 June 2017 (Quarter 1), Priorities 4 and 5 were projecting an overspend of £0.959. It was noted the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) was projecting an overspend of £0.4m.    

 

Ms Bacheta provided further information on the overspend of £0.17m for Priority 4, the overspend of £0.80m for Priority 5 (General Fund), and the £0.4m overspend for Priority 5 (HRA).

 

The following points were noted in relation to Priority 4:

 

-       An overspend of £0.25m was largely due to an unmet saving which had extended employment of a team of commercial property valuers from March 2017 to March 2018. The Panel was informed that the majority of these posts would no longer be required once the HDV was established and when some commercial properties had been transferred.

 

-       It was noted that the overspend in this area had been offset by £0.08m from an overachievement of planning income and an additional contribution from NWLA to staff costs.

 

The following points were noted in relation to Priority 5 (General Fund):

 

-       There was a projected £0.60m overspend in in-borough private sector leases; £0.70M overspend in bed and breakfast accommodation and a £0.40m underspend in supplier managed private sector leases.

 

-       It was noted the service had identified a number of actions in order to reduce the projected overspend by year end. For example, the Panel was informed that officers were in dialogue with providers in order to deliver further shared facility hostels in 2017/18. Officers also explained they were in dialogue with providers to deliver further shared facility hostels in 2017/18. Work was also underway with various landlords to ensure retaining existing and sourcing future leased accommodation. It was also noted that there were various options being explored to increase supply and acquisitions.

 

In terms of the HRA, the following points were noted:

 

-       The income shortfall related primarily to income receivable from garage lets. It was noted officers were in the process of drawing up an action plan to address this.

 

-       Waste management costs had increased due to contract inflation. However, it was noted this had been offset by a lower than anticipated charge in landlord insurance costs. The Panel was informed that these charges would be reflected in Tenant and Leaseholders’ service charges.

 

-       Outstanding debt remained in relation to water rates. It was noted the contract with Thames Water continued to create financial pressures for the HRA. This was because the HRA had to bear costs of non-payment of bills which could not be passed back to Thames Water.

 

During the discussion, the Panel was informed of a recent court case which had ruled against Southwark Council for a longstanding agreement with Thames Water. The Panel was informed Southwark had collected water charges along with tenant’s rents. As a result,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Temporary Accommodation Reduction Plan pdf icon PDF 185 KB

This report sets out the Council’s developing plans to reduce the costs of temporary accommodation, bringing the budget into line with the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Denise Gandy, Executive Director of Housing Demand, Homes for Haringey, and Alan Benson, Head of Housing Strategy and Commissioning, Haringey Council, introduced the report as set out.

 

Ms Gandy commenced her presentation by informing the Panel that local authorities had a statutory duty to provide Temporary Accommodation (TA) to homeless households in line with the Housing Act 1996. It was noted that TA could take the form of nightly paid self-contained flats, accommodation on longer leases sourced from private landlords or Registered Providers and accommodation within the councils own stocks. The Panel was informed nightly paid accommodation was most expensive, with an average cost of £44 per night against an average cost of £35 for a longer-term lease.

 

In response to questions, the Panel was informed there had been a number of significant improvements in work to better manage demand. The following points were noted:

 

-       The steady increase in the number of homelessness preventions achieved.

 

-       The fact homelessness prevention work had been effective. It was noted that a recent review had highlighted that over the last 5 years only 10% of households had returned for assistance.

 

-       Homeless acceptances had decreased from a peak of 762 in 2013/14 to 683 in 2016/17. It was noted this was in contrast to the general London picture of increasing acceptances.

 

-       In terms of year to date 90% of decisions had been made in 33 working days compared to 45% in 2016/17.

 

-       The number of cases “under investigation” had been maintained at less than 50, from over 200 for much of 2016/17.

 

-       To date in 2017/18, the council had accepted a full housing duty to 45% of applicants, reduced from over 60% in 2016/17.

 

-       The average in-flow into TA had reduced from 79 months to less than 50.

 

-       An increasing number of Assured Shorthold Tenancies had been secured in order to prevent homelessness.

 

In response to questions, concerning initiatives to prevent homelessness, the Panel was informed that in 2016 Homes for Haringey’s Housing Demand team underwent a restructure. It was noted that this had helped to significantly improve performance on homelessness prevention and decision making. It was noted that further changes were planned in order to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act.

 

Despite these improvements, the Panel was informed the budget situation remained challenging. The following points were noted:

 

-       Although the number of households in TA was reducing the cost of providing TA remained high. 

 

-       There was a projected overspend of £800,000.

 

-       There was a need to achieve strong prevention performance and to deliver new sources of supply.  

 

The Panel was informed that the TA management fee had been replaced with a Flexible Homelessness Support Grant. It was noted this had created ring fenced funding which was available to invest in initiatives to reduce homelessness. 

 

In response to questions, Mr Benson informed the Panel that the Council was investigating a range of options to increase the supply of homes to meet the need for TA.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Haringey Development Vehicle - Verbal Update

To receive a verbal update from Dan Hawthorn, Director of Housing and Growth.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel was informed that apologies for absence had been received from Dan Hawthorn, Director of Housing and Growth. As a result, the following update was tabled at the meeting:

 

“Following the judicial review hearing at the end of October, the Council is awaiting the court’s judgement. It is still the Council’s intention to sign the HDV legal agreement when it is legally appropriate to do so.”

 

During the discussion that followed, the Panel agreed it was important that they received a copy of the revised Members’ Agreement as quickly as possible.

 

AGREED:

 

(a)  That the update on the Haringey Development Vehicle be noted.

 

(b)  That, once updated, the Panel should receive a copy of the revised Members’ Agreement.

 

38.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 168 KB

This report gives details of the proposed scrutiny programme, including planned project work, for the remainder of the municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Christian Scade, Principal Scrutiny Officer, provided an update on the proposed work programme for the remainder of the 2017/18 municipal year.

 

During the discussion a number of issues were considered in relation to High Road West, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule, and Hornsey Town Hall. It was suggested any scrutiny work in relation to Hornsey Town Hall should be led by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

AGREED:  

 

(a)  That the areas of inquiry outlined in Appendix A of the Work Programme Update be approved and recommended for endorsement by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

(b)   That the Chair of the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel and Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meet to consider how to scrutinise issues in relation to Hornsey Town Hall.

39.

New items of urgent business

To consider any items admitted at item 3 above.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

40.

Dates of Future Meetings

To note the dates of future Panel meetings:

 

-       19 December 2017

 

-       13 March 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair referred Members present to item 12 as shown on the agenda in respect of future meeting dates, and Members noted the information contained therein’.