Agenda and draft minutes
Housing and Homelessness Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) - Thursday 16 December 2021 5.00 pm, NEW
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Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting
Venue: Remote (Zoom)
Contact: Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer email DemocraticServices@oxford.gov.uk
Note: This meeting was held via Zoom and livestreamed to the Council's youtube channel
Substitutes are not allowed.
Councillor Lizzy Diggins tendered her apologies.
Declarations of interest
Housing Panel Work Plan PDF 12 KB
The Panel is asked to AGREE the proposed Work Plan for the Housing and Homelessness Panel, based on the current Council Forward Plan.
The Panel AGREED the proposed work plan subject to the addition of a detailed action plan in response to the Tenant Satisfaction Survey results as part of the report on the Council’s readiness for the Social Housing White Paper report in February.
Notes of previous meeting PDF 384 KB
The Panel is asked to AGREE the notes of the meeting held on 04 November 2021 as an accurate record, having raised any necessary amendments.
The notes of the meeting held on 04 November 2021 were AGREED as an accurate record.
Tenant Satisfaction Survey PDF 634 KB
The Housing and Homelessness Panel has requested a report giving an update on the results of, learning from and response to the Tenant Satisfaction Survey as part of its investigation into Tenant Engagement.
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.
Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager, presented the report on the results of the Tenant Satisfaction Survey and the Council’s response to the Panel.
The Tenant Satisfaction Survey was the first undertaken by the Council since 2015. Given the period since the previous survey and the low response-rate to the previous survey the Council had undertaken a census of all tenant and leaseholders. Normally, the Council would then compare its performance with peers, but few comparators had undertaken surveys since Covid, with those who had seeing significant variability in satisfaction. The Council’s own reduction to services and repairs was likely to have acted as a dampner to satisfaction.
In headline, 85% of respondees were satisfied with the Council’s service. Below that, however, there were a number of issues, including
- satisfaction with the Council as a landlord
- satisfaction with the standard of the home
- tenant’s views listened and acted upon
- satisfaction with the outcomes of anti-social behaviour
In addition to the numerical data provided, over 1700 comments had been provided as part of the survey giving a rich seam of information for the Council to understand the concerns and issues of its tenants and leaseholders. Members of the Housing team were in the process of following up comments made by those who gave permission to do so to discuss and seek to understand more. This information would continue to shape the improvement plans developed.
The key area for improving satisfaction related to the repairs service, which was the primary source of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The Council had been working with its repairs provider, ODS, to improve communications with customers around repairs, and undertaking immediate post-job satisfaction surveys. Those tenants providing a score less than a seven out of ten would get a follow up call to understand more about how the service could have been improved, with the feedback for individual operatives tracked to understand and improve issues detracting from their level of service. This survey was being developed with the input of both the Tenant Satisfaction Team and the Tenant Ambassadors. Technological systems and new supply chain approaches were enabling greater efficiency of existing staff to undertake work. The new portal, through the QL system, would enable tenants to report, view and track repairs. A proactive schedule of revisiting homes which had reported damp and mould to check on the adequacy of the previous work had already begun.
Results showing dissatisfaction with the quality of homes were of a deep disappointment to the Council and at present it was unclear what was driving the dissatisfaction. All Council homes met the Decent Homes standard. Understanding this was a priority for the Council. In the meantime, the Council was planning to invest £51m over the course of the forthcoming Medium Term Financial Plan, with a further £8.7m to improve energy efficiency. The extension in the Social Housing White Paper of responsibility for improving the local area also meant further investment in the Great Estates programme.
Communication between ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
Housing Performance Q2 PDF 228 KB
Attached is an update report on the activity and performance of the Council’s Housing directorate in the most recent quarter.
Richard Wood, Strategy and Service Development Manager will be attending to present the report.
The Panel is asked to consider the report and AGREE any recommendations it wishes to make to Cabinet arising from it.
Richard Wood, Strategy and Service Development Manager, presented the Housing Performance Q2 report to the Panel.
Within homelessness services the overall context of greater pressure on the system was an important component, with the Covid-related eviction ban ceasing, the service had seen increased pressure arising from the private rented sector. Despite the pressures, KPIs were holding up well, with recognition given to the hard work of the homelessness team. Homeless prevention measures were continuing to be invested in and were shown through the statistics to be effective. The rise in pressure on the homelessness service put a direct pressure on temporary accommodation, but the team had increased the speed at which placements were found, thereby enabling the target to remain within range. The Council had received a one-off uplift to its homelessness grant from central government and was planning to direct the increase towards addressing the rising demand from the private rented sector. This would be through direct pecuniary support for tenants, such as support with rent arrears, but also greater support with debt, addition or difficulties finding jobs. There would also be investment in providing infrastructure to support better tenant-landlord relations.
Rough sleeping numbers were above target, at 27 vs a target of 17. Seasonal factors did play a part in this result, with Q2 historically showing the highest number of rough sleepers, as did specific situational factors, such as the end of the ‘everybody in’ programme. However, numbers remained roughly at the level of last year and more than 50% below pre-pandemic levels. Changing weather in Q3 and the progress made in supporting those leaving accommodation under ‘everybody in’, as well as forthcoming changes such as the re-opening of Floyds Row and the launch of the new county-wide approach to rough sleeping, were expected to reduce these numbers in time. It was accepted, however, that the overall rough sleeper numbers were a factor of multiple local and national causes, and that a future KPI which focused on the Council’s own contribution to these figures would be preferable.
The Council’s development of affordable homes was above target, with 68 homes being delivered in the first six months of the year, an increase on the pace of previous years.
The Council had recently submitted a bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to support its programme of improving energy efficiency for Council tenants.
The Panel was provided with an update to its previously-requested performance dashboard, reflecting the requirements of the Social Housing White Paper. This had been delayed owing to the fact that the Social Housing White Paper had gone out to consultation shortly beforehand and was therefore liable to change. It was expected that the dashboard would be implemented within the next quarter.
In response, the Panel sought clarity over Floyds Row – its place as part of the county-wide alliance against homelessness, its readiness to support those leaving YHA accommodation, and its overall purpose as a rapid assessment and short term accommodation centre. The lease for Floyds ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
Dates of next meetings
Meetings of the Housing and Homelessness Panel are scheduled for:
02 February 2022
04 April 2022
The Panel NOTED the dates of future meetings.