Council meetings

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Remote - Via Microsoft Teams - the public are welcome to observe via the Council's website at

Contact: John Bardens (02083149976) 


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2020 pdf icon PDF 366 KB


Resolved: the minutes of the last meeting were agreed as an accurate record.


Resolved: that the minutes of the last meeting be agreed as an accurate record.


Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 210 KB


The following interests were declared:

·         Cllr Olurotimi Ogunbadewa is a board member of Phoenix Housing

·         Cllr Aisling Gallagher is a Lewisham Homes tenant.

·         Cllr Silvana Kelleher is a Lewisham Homes tenant.



Responses from Mayor and Cabinet


There were no responses to consider.


There were no responses to consider.


Budget cuts pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:


Resolved: the committee noted the report.


Kevin Sheehan (Executive Director for Housing, Regeneration and the Public Realm) introduced the proposed budget cut, C-10 Housing Services Review.

The meeting was adjourned at 19:15 due to technical problems with the webcast.

The meeting and webcast restarted again at 19:42.

1.1  The proposed budget cut for the housing service, C-10 Housing Services Review, will be achieved through action in four areas: doing more work online and over the phone and significantly reducing administration costs; investing in IT and rolling out an integrated housing IT system; investing in IT for private sector licensing and transferring the administrative burden back to landlords; and working across silos to target resources more effectively.

1.2  This will result in the current housing service’s workforce of 148 posts being reduced by 10 to 15 posts over the next two years. The council will look to use the natural staff turnover and other mitigations such as redeployment. There will be formal consultation with staff and trade unions.

1.3  The committee expressed concern about the potential impact of the proposed budget cut on the service at a time when an increasing number of resident may need to use it.

1.4  The committee also noted that a significant number of residents will not be able to access services online and queried how the council is going to work with third sector to meet the needs of resident who need extra support. 

1.5  The investments in efficiencies that the council has made will allow services to be provided as effectively as they have been in the past. In many cases the service will be more accessible and quicker for residents. There is also flexibility in the grant regime during the Covid pandemic which can be used to address particular challenges that might come up.

1.6  The council also recognises that homelessness isn’t just a housing issue and that it will need to be more holistic in dealing with clients in the future.

1.7  The Chair explained at 19:52 that there had been a technical problem with the webcast and that the meeting had been adjourned. Because of this the Chair asked the Executive Director to repeat his introduction to the budget cuts.

1.8  The council is facing a very challenging financial position following ten years of austerity policies by the government. The council has had 11 years of cuts to its budget and this is likely to continue.

1.9  The Local Government Association estimates that there is a £4bn shortfall in local government funding nationally.

1.10      The council has a statutory responsibility to produce a balanced budget. This is particularly challenging following the Covid-19 pandemic and the resources the council has had to spend to support the most vulnerable residents.

1.11      The council needs to make cut of £40m over the next three years. £28m of this needs to be made in the first year, 2021/22. The housing service’s proportion of this is £600k over the next two years.

1.12      The Covid-19 pandemic has created considerable financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Allocations consultation pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved: the committee noted the report.


Rachel Dunn (Service Group Manager - Partnerships and Service Improvement) introduced the item and delivered a presentation providing a background to the consultation and proposed changes.

1.1  The council’s housing allocation’s policy has been reviewed and is currently being consulted on. The major changes being proposed include: two new rehousing reasons to be added to priority band 2 in a new banding structure (homelessness with urgent need, and overcrowded by 3 bedrooms); the introduction of a new band 4 for overcrowded by 1 bedrooms (48% of the register); to increase overall lets; reduce the number of refusals; and increase the number of bids per week.

1.2  So far the consultation has received 446 responses: 26% of these are from people currently living in temporary accommodation and 33% from people currently living in social housing.

1.3  Key consultation activity to date has included messaging on the council website; emailing housing register applicants; texting temporary accommodation and hostel residents; and working with other organisations to try to hear from hard-to-reach groups.

1.4  Due to the challenges of consulting during the Covid-19 pandemic the consultation period has now been extended by 4 weeks in order to proactively work with community organisation and facilitate specific sessions and focus groups with hard-to-reach groups.

1.5  The committee asked about how the council is specifically targeting young people and other hard-to-reach groups and what platforms they are using to do this?

1.6  The council has been advertising and promoting the consultation in various forums. The council would have carried out more events to reach hard-to-reach groups if it hadn’t been for the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the consultation has been extended for this purpose and the council has been working with community groups to identify those who might not be able to engage online.

1.7  The committee also queried how suitable offers are determined; whether mutual aid groups and similar organisations had been engaged with; what is being done to meet the housing need for larger 4 and 5 bedroom homes; what is being done to reduce the number of unsuitable offers; how income can be taken into account in the allocation process; and how people’s expectations are being managed about the availability of and waiting times for social housing.

1.8  Officers provided an explanation of how suitable offers are determined. It was confirmed that more than 100 community organisations had been engaged with and that officers will look into engaging with mutual aid groups too. Officers confirmed that the council would purchase larger 4 and 5 bedroom properties if they were available and affordable. It was noted that the council is also building some larger homes itself.

1.9  It was also noted that the council is intending to manage the expectations of people on the housing register by providing information about the realistic waiting times and is also looking to develop a calculator tool to help people understand where they are in the waiting list.

The committee agreed at 21:15 to suspend the relevant standing order to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 319 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved: the committee agreed the work programme.


Resolved: the committee agreed the work programme.