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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: The Green Man

Contact: John Bardens (02083149976) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2017 pdf icon PDF 218 KB

2.

Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 201 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Slater is a member of the board of Phoenix Community Housing

 

3.

Responses from Mayor and Cabinet

4.

Housing delivery models - draft report pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee agreed the report and recommendations for the review and resolved to refer them to Mayor and Cabinet at the earliest opportunity.

 

Minutes:

John Bardens (Scrutiny Manager) introduced the draft report and referred to the draft recommendations from the Chair. The following key points were noted:

 

4.1       The Chair asked officers about previous work undertaken to identify potential housing sites in Lewisham and what sort of land this covered. Officers stated that previous work to identify potential sites was focused on HRA (housing revenue account) sites. Officers stated that there is also a council asset register.

4.2       The Chair asked officers a number of questions about working in partnership with other housing providers. Officers stated that the impact for the council and tenants of working in partnership would depend on the agreement that is reached. 

4.3       In relation to joint venture schemes, in the wake of Carillion collapsing, the committee asked what safeguards are in place when entering joint venture partnerships. Officer stated that with the joint venture scheme at Besson Street there was an extensive selection process which included detailed due diligence carried out by professional advisers.

 

 

Resolved: the committee agreed the report and recommendations for the review and resolved to refer them to Mayor and Cabinet at the earliest opportunity.

 

5.

Housing and mental health review update pdf icon PDF 306 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the report and resolved to receive an update from officers on information sharing and data protection at a later meeting.

 

Minutes:

Natasha Valladares (Strategic Housing) introduced the update. The following key points were noted:

 

5.1       The committee paid credit to officers for setting up the mental health and housing working group and for engaging a wide range of local partners. The committee said that it hoped that a directory of support in relation to mental health and housing could be in place before the local government elections.

 

5.2       The committee suggested that it would be good to develop an online tool through which people can report any concerns they have about tenants. The committee noted that more data and intelligence would help with identifying those at risk of homelessness who are experiencing mental ill health.

 

5.3       The committee asked about the relevant data protection issues with sharing information relating to mental health with local partners. Officers noted that in most cases to share health-related information beyond health partners you need to be clear about the information that you intend to share and receive the individual’s permission.

 

5.4       The committee noted that while sharing health information is an issue, the main issue is about whether a person is willing to be helped and referred to an organisation which provides relevant support. The committee noted that many people may not have had any previous contact with mental health services and may benefit just from being signposted to relevant organisations.

 

5.5       The committee noted its thanks to officers and congratulated them for getting a broad range of local organisations involved in the housing and mental health working group.

 

Resolved: the committee noted the report and resolved to receive an update from officers on information sharing and data protection at a later meeting.

 

6.

Supported housing pdf icon PDF 186 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the update.

 

Minutes:

Rachel Dunn (Housing Policy and Partnerships Manager) introduced the report. The following points were noted:

 

6.1       Officers outlined supported housing in Lewisham and the detail of the government's consultation on funding changes for supported housing.

 

6.2       The government has proposed a three pronged approach to funding supported housing, and announced that Local Housing Allowance rates will no longer be applied to housing costs.

 

6.3       The most significant change to the current method of funding is for short-term  housing,  with  a  ring-fenced  grant  to  local authorities  and  100%  of services commissioned locally according to a local plan.

 

Resolved: the committee noted the update.

 

7.

Proposed rent and service charge increases pdf icon PDF 851 KB

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the report and resolved to receive further information on the expenditure of tenants funds.

 

Minutes:

Tony Riordan (Principle Accountant) introduced the report. The following points were noted:

7.1       The committee queried by how much the council could increase rents by once the 1% a year decrease on social rents ends in 2019. Officers stated that increases are usually set at the CPI rate of inflation plus 1%. The council would be able to increase rents up to this level as long as the government doesn't set new overarching guideline.

7.2       The committee queried what tenants funds are used for. Officers stated that tenants funds are there to support the functioning of tenants associations. Lewisham Homes has an increasing number of these, which requires more funding.

7.3       Tenants associations have some reserves but have been running these down in recent years. Grants for tenants funds are paid quarterly and tenants associations will have a plan for spending this money throughout the year. The annual accounts or tenants associations are audited.

7.4       The committee requested further information on what tenants funds are spent on. Lewisham Homes agreed to respond.

Resolved: the committee noted the report and resolved to receive further information on the expenditure of tenants funds.

 

8.

Key housing issues pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee noted the update and resolved to update the Sustainable Development Select Committee on the progress with fire safety work since their referral to the committee on this issue.

 

Minutes:

Rachel Dunn (Housing Policy and Partnerships Manager) introduced the report. The following points were noted:

 

8.1       Officers provided an update on fire safety in tall buildings and their work with private and registered providers to test the safety of material in use in tall buildings. Officers stated that the last remaining private building to send a sample for testing has now done so. If it comes back positive officers will act immediately.

 

Resolved: the committee noted the update and resolved to update the Sustainable Development Select Committee on the progress with fire safety work since their referral to the committee on this issue.

 

9.

Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 186 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved: the committee agreed the work programme and resolved to request the necessary reports from officers.

 

Minutes:

John Bardens (Scrutiny Manager) introduced the report. The following was noted:

9.1       The Scrutiny Manager noted that the Chair has asked for an item on the housing strategy update to be included on the agenda for the next meeting.

9.2       The Chair noted that the Public Accounts Select Committee had contacted him to request that the committee scrutinise the council's housing options and Homesearch process. The committee asked officers to produce a report.

9.3       The committee requested a further update next year on the outcome of the work on mental health and housing working group.

Resolved: the committee agreed the work programme and resolved to request the necessary reports from officers.

 

10.

Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet

Minutes:

There were no referrals.