Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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Venue: Remote (Zoom)

Contact: Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer  email

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No. Item



Substitutes are not allowed.


Stephen Clarke tendered apologies for the meeting.


Declarations of interest




Housing and Homelessness Panel Work Plan pdf icon PDF 99 KB

The Panel is asked to AGREE the proposed Work Plan for the Housing and Homelessness Panel.




The Panel AGREED the proposed work plan. It was NOTED that the Scrutiny Committee had agreed to consider the Allocatoin of Homelessness Prevention Funding owning to the delay of the report going to Cabinet.


Notes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 378 KB

The Panel is asked to AGREE the notes of the meeting held on 16 December 2021 as an accurate record, having raised any necessary amendments.




The notes of the meeting held on 16 December 2021 were AGREED as an accurate record.




Allocation of Homelessness Prevention Funds

The main Scrutiny Committee has agreed that this item should be deferred to align with the amended timetable for its consideration at Cabinet.



As above, it was AGREED this item would be deferred and passed to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration owing to the delay of the report going to Cabinet.


Social Housing White Paper Readiness and Tenant Satisfaction Survey Response pdf icon PDF 525 KB

Further to its previous discussions of the Social Housing White Paper and the Tenant Satisfaction Survey, attached is a report on the progress made towards being ready for the Social Housing White Paper and an update on the progress being made to actions following the Tenant Satisfaction Survey.

Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager, will be available to present the report.

The Panel is asked to consider the report and raise any issues for possible recommendations to make to Cabinet when the write up of its findings on Tenant Engagement is completed.


Additional documents:


Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager, presented to the Panel the report on the progress of the Council regarding the progress of its response to the Tenant Satisfaction Survey and readiness for the Social Housing White Paper. 

Actions to improve the repairs service were on track. An SMS reminder and notification system was expected to go live in July, and a live dashboard to track underperformance in different areas had been designed and scoped, with an expected go-live of November. Dynamic Resource Scheduling was being used for half of operatives, with full take up expected by July. Just in time delivery was now in place through a contract with Grafton. A solution to enable follow-up visits to be booked whilst the operative was on-site was also being used by half of operatives with full take-up expected by July. The reporting, viewing and tracking portal for tenant repairs was slightly delayed because of changes made in the background by Microsoft, with expectation it would be running by October. Much progress had been made on damp and mould re-inspection visits, with all cases within the last two years checked on and prioritisation of cases occurring when reported. EDI and customer care training had been planned and was being rolled out to all staff. ODS had appointed a project manager to develop a Customer Service Strategy.

Following this, members asked about the certainty of estimated time frames, particularly in relation to QL-related issues. The time frames provided were felt to be robust, but the work was reliant on a small number of individuals within the Council, making unexpected work for them more likely to cause delays. The Council’s awareness of mould and ventilation issues for highly efficient houses was queried. It was confirmed that this issue formed part of the consideration of which interventions to use for the Council’s retrofitting programme.

To address feedback by tenants that the quality of the home was a concern for a number the Council was undertaking a long-term £51m improvement programme. A stock condition survey would be undertaken to identify works required, with the contractor being appointed by April 2022. The Great Estates work, with a budget of £1.1m would also continue.

Interest was expressed by Councillors in being able to contribute ideas to the Great Estates programme, but many felt they were being held back by a lack of knowledge how the programme worked. It was AGREED that this topic would be referred to Democratic Services to be added to the list of topics for all-member briefings post-election. The briefing would be based on the recent report submitted to the Leaders meeting on the process for Great Estates sign-off.

With a view to readiness for the implementation of the Social Housing white paper the Council was in the process of recruiting an engagement team to deliver the engagement plan. The recruitment was expected to be complete by June, subject to budget sign-off. Better data capture and a customer portal to enable better digital access were expected to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Tenant Involvement Presentation

A verbal presentation will be given by the Tenant Involvement Team to provide its summary perspective on the issues raised throughout the Tenant Engagement and Empowerment set of papers. Simon Warde, Tenant Involvement Manager, and Wendy Hind, Tenant Involvement Officer, have been invited to make this presentation.


Simon Warde, Tenant Involvement Team Manager, and Wendy Hind, Tenant Involvement Team Officer, provided a verbal briefing on the practical issues around supporting tenant involvement.

The growth in interaction between landlords and their tenants as required by the Social Housing white paper would mean a significant increase in the number of tenant ambassadors. The process of publicising opportunities and identifying suitable individuals was one which takes time and planning. Likewise, matching to suitable opportunities and providing training and equipment was also a practical challenge. A large number of the groups require specialist knowledge, for example on fire safety, or procurement, and volunteers need to be brought up to speed. Equally, at times it has been necessary to pay for basic broadband or find spare hardware to lend to ambassadors. This provision was, however, rather ad hoc and inconsistent, and it was suggested that having an external company provide a standard ‘offer’ would be preferable.

The possibility of incentivisation for volunteers was explored. A big issue was their inclusion within benefit calculations, which made it complicated. Many did not necessarily want to be ambassadors for financial gain or reward. However, the Panel did feel it was necessary that people’s work should be recognised as opposed to remunerated. Ideas included free leisure centre access, or invitations to the Lord Mayor’s reception, a specific event on their behalf, or long-service recognition.

Tenant ambassador, Dave Simons, felt that his involvement as a tenant ambassador over the past three years had been exceptionally rewarding, an experience shared across the tenant ambassadors. Digital support was valuable as it coincided with his private life. Civic recognition, such as the Mayor’s Ball, would be welcomed.


Tenant Engagement and Empowerment - Final Question and Recommendation Forming pdf icon PDF 93 KB

A final opportunity for the Panel to raise any final questions on the theme of Tenant Engagement and Empowerment.

The Panel is then asked to AGREE any recommendations it wishes to make as part of its report to Cabinet. The attached document provides the list of recommendations made to date.


The Panel AGREED to send in any additional recommendations to the Scrutiny Officer by e mail for inclusion within the draft document.


Dates of next meetings

Meetings of the Housing and Homelessness Panel are scheduled for:


04 April 2022


NB The above meeting is not expected to be cancelled on the grounds of purdah.




The Panel NOTED the dates of future meetings.