Agenda item

Agenda item

Scrutiny reports

Scrutiny Committee will meet on 7 June 2023 and the Housing and Homelessness Panel met on 24 April 2023.  The following reports are expected and will be published as a supplement, together with any other recommendations from those meetings:

·         Housing Management System Implementation

·         Tenancy Agreement

·         Recommendations of the Child Poverty Review Group


The Chair welcomed Councillor Lucy Pegg as Chair of Scrutiny for the 2023/24 Council year.

The Scrutiny Committee had met on 7 June 2023 and the Housing and Homelessness Panel had met on 24 April 2023.  Councillor Pegg presented the reports and recommendations from those meetings relating to (i) the Housing Management System Implementation; and (ii) the revised tenancy agreement for Council tenants. 

In relation to the Housing Management System Implementation, Scrutiny had had a wide-ranging discussion which had included lessons learned; timescales going forward and whether any further delays or issues were anticipated; procurement; budgets; disaster recovery; and software implementation processes.  One recommendation had been made, which related to ensuring that there was a contingency plan when reaching a critical point in future projects, so that project implementation could be reverted back to an earlier ‘working’ status if issues and/or errors arose.  Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies, responded that the recommendation was accepted as a general principle, but commented that it had not been practical to do this in this particular case due to the inter-connectivity with other systems.

In relation to the Tenancy Agreement, one recommendation had been made which related to the Council considering every three years if it would be appropriate to revise the tenancy agreement (rather than every five years as currently).  Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, responded that the recommendation was accepted. 

Councillor Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, Chair of the Child Poverty Review Group, presented its recommendations.  These had initially been brought to Cabinet in June 2022, but had been deferred to allow for further consideration and a more detailed response from Cabinet Members, which was now included.

Councillor Djafari-Marbini drew particular attention to recommendations 16 and 17, which related to the Council producing a Poverty Strategy within the next eighteen months and the Council agreeing (subject to securing funding) to hold a poverty truth commission.  Councillor Djafari-Marbini highlighted that these actions would have potential to add value to the work which was currently being undertaken.

In relation to recommendation 11, which related to the Council agreeing a cross-party motion committing to formally adopt the socio-economic duty and using its influence to encourage local partner institutions to do the same, it was noted that a motion to this effect had been passed by Council on 3 October 2022. However, Councillor Djafari-Marbini commented that almost a year had now passed since that original recommendation had been made.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader, acknowledged that it had taken some time to pull together all of the responses, but highlighted that the work which sat behind the responses had been continuing in the interim.  It was noted that the Council motion had sought further reports to Cabinet on options to implement the socio-economic duty and options to develop a Child Poverty Strategy which would provide an opportunity for these to be further considered.

Councillor Brown thanked the Child Poverty Review Group for the thorough and detailed work which it had undertaken, which was important in informing the work undertaken by the Council to tackle poverty (and in particular child poverty) across the city.  This work was of particular importance given the current cost of living crisis.

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