Joint Rent Group

 Thursday 6 June 2022, 10.30am via zoom.

 

Attendees:

Harry McCormack (tenant volunteer), June Todd (tenant volunteer), Frances McGonagle (tenant volunteer),Cllr Craig Edward ( Housing Convener), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Dev Co-ordinator), Nicola Pettigrew ( Housing Operations Manager), Martin Feeney ( Building Services Manager), Alan Young ( Housing Asset Manager), Janice Rainey ( Finance Business Partner) , John Kerr ( Homelessness & Housing Dev Manager) and Jane Mack (Snr Housing Dev Officer, Tenant Participation).

Welcome and Apologies

Apologies received from Laura Ann Paton (HRA Accountant).

All were welcomed to the meeting and introductions made for benefit of new Housing Convener, Craig Edward. Frances McGonagle left meeting at 11am due to a meeting overlap but left a number of questions in the zoom chat.

Updates on outstanding actions

RG046 – update provided that Business plan assumes all kitchens and bathrooms are renewed as planned and numbers will fluctuate. Craig asked for clarification on how the spikes in costs, as being experienced now, are managed – Alan advised that the Business Plan is reviewed annually and inflation factored in. Budget monitored through the year and when prices do increase need to then reduce outputs or increase the budget. Budget managed to keep rents affordable so can’t just increase the budget – need a balance.

John advised that have started a working group to review the Capital programme and will include the JRG members. Kitchens and bathrooms assumed will be tenant priorities but need to make sure we are staying on track. Reviewing what the priorities are will be key to this review of the Capital programme.

Action : John agreed to keep the JRG informed of progress of the review of the Capital programme and include JRG members when considering tenant priorities.

JRG047: Martin confirmed that are fitting additional sockets in voids and do use the safest ones. John confirmed that socket provision will also be considered as part of review of Capital programmes to decide on standard for all properties. Jane highlighted a recent case at West Court where young new tenant wasn’t offered additional sockets until Frances got involved so message to staff didn’t seem to have trickled down – Jane to email Martin the details for him to action.

JRG051- update on jobbing repair breakdown to be provided for next meeting. Janice clarified that budget based on estimates and will depend on demand as well as other factors and won’t know split for this year – confirmed that is was to understand the  split between voids, emergencies, routine and cyclical repairs so can be for previous year.

JRG052 – Alan more comfortable now publishing some of the project details as they up to date – agreed no point publishing information that can’t be fulfilled – point is to improve the information tenants have so want it to be reliable as possible.

JRG053 – Janice will work with Laura Ann and have this available for next meeting – confirmed specifically want to look at the void budget line to help build understanding of the Revenue Budget Matrix.

JRG055 – Martin confirmed that is being worked on and been delayed but will hopefully be operating in next few weeks- around mid-July.

JRG058 – Nicola confirmed that review of the relet standard was being included in the wider review of the void process. Once void working group have any proposals will be shared with the JRG. Was confirmed that are doing joint inspections of properties ( Housing officers and repair staff ) as part of a scoping exercise as well as looking at what void work other landlords include, Nicola also advised that when termination notice is given pre-inspections are taking place and any damage recharged.

JRG059 – Nicola had confirmed in the written update circulated ahead of the meeting that new tenants were given a copy of the relet standard then they signed up and via the zoom chat Frances had asked for confirmation of when this had been restarted and Nicola confirmed it was since the JRG meeting in March (24/3).

JRG060 – Janice confirmed would be available for next meeting. Stefan reminded the meeting that this action came from discussion about void spending and it’s significant increase and part of the explanation given was that properties were coming back in poor condition so needed more work done. Relates to JRG063 too.

JRG061 – Range of actions being progressed and Nicola will share the action plan with timescales.

Update on Capital programme provided for period 12 –
copy circulated ahead of meeting

Alan confirmed that the year-end spend was fairly close to the budget but numbers reduced which is a reflection that costs gone up so less units able to do for the money and reflects the discussion earlier in the meeting about rising costs – timber and fuel costs affected in particular. Labour shortages have also impacted on all the programmes of work. Any underspend gets incorporated to the next year. Window programme affected and been able to use additional contractors but still been issues. Plans looking better and will need to be managed over the next few years. Need to prioritise those missed from previous year so has a knock onto ones planned for current year. Trying to bring on new contractors to assist programmes and increase capacity. Craig raised that keen to ensure we deliver more than the bare minimum and focus on enhancement work – Alan confirmed that WDC have a programme that delivers more than just statutory basic – is still a juggle of resources to get things done.

Any other issues

Jane reminded members of a previous commitment to provide an annual update on the Owner’s Charter and asked if that could be made available for the next meeting.

Also previously committed to sharing a review of the Tenancy Sustainment Budget and its effectiveness and Nicola agreed it could be provided for the next meeting.

Date of next meeting

Discussed the timing of these meetings as they now clash with the Regional Tenant Network meetings which start at 11 so all present happy to change meeting time to 9:30 am to accommodate Frances and June.

Jane to amend calendar invites for rest of year meetings.

Full JRG Thursday 26 May at 9:30am.

 

 

Joint Rent Group

Thursday 25 April 2022, 10.30am via zoom

 

Attendees

Harry McCormack (tenant volunteer), June Todd (tenant volunteer), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Dev Co-ordinator), and Jane Mack (Snr Housing Development Officer, Tenant Participation).

Welcome and Apologies

Apologies received from Frances McGonagle (tenant volunteer)

Review of Capital programme provided for period 10

Reviewed information provided at 24/3 meeting and happy with update re slippage. Stefan was also able to provide more detail on the significant increase in costs of heating upgrades – Alan had confirmed there been a spike in costs as well as increase in the number of boiler renewals that have been referred to them – Stefan advised that this due to global shortage of microchips for control panels so instead of being able to repair need to replace the boiler. Replacements gone from 400 to 1000.

Review of voids budget details, relet standard and satisfaction levels

Amount spent on voids is significant which is where tenant interest in area came from as well as concerns re VFM. The void budget has gone up significantly and explanation given is that more void work is needed to bring the properties up to relet standard. Discussed scenario if increase in wilful damage should result in increase in recharges – want to see evidence of this. Important to identify recharges so they can be pursued and become an income (if the recharge gets paid). Action from last meeting was for Laura Ann to identify the level of void works that have been recharged in year-end data as well as over last few years and provide information for next full JRG – agreed also to ask for void budget over last few years to give better context.

Action: Jane to ask Laura Ann to also provide void budget levels for last five years along with the recharges

Questions about the backlog in voids and main reasons for delays were posed and Stefan advised that voids are closely monitored weekly – 350 current voids – used to be approx. 140 when void performance was good. Problems now are more about capacity and some demand issues making some properties harder to relet.

Review of remaining outstanding items on JRG action plan and any updates

Tenants happy with the updates given but very frustrated with the lack of updates on some of the outstanding actions – do appreciate some actions being delayed but at least an update should be given. Makes meetings more productive and if they giving up their time want to make sure it’s worthwhile.

Action: Jane to raise WDTRO concerns.

Date of Next Meeting

  • Full JRG Thursday 26 May at 10:30am.

Joint Rent Group

Thursday 24 March 2022, 10.30am via zoom

Attendees

Frances McGonagle (tenant volunteer), Harry McCormack (tenant volunteer), June Todd (tenant volunteer), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Dev Co-ordinator), Nicola Pettigrew ( Housing Operations Manager), Martin Feeney ( Building Services Manager), Alan Young ( Housing Asset Manager) Laura Ann Paton ( HRA Accountant) and Jane Mack (Snr Housing Development Officer, Tenant Participation).

Welcome and Apologies

Apologies received from Cllr Docherty, Georgia McCambley (tenant volunteer), John Kerr and Janice Rainey.

Update on Capital programme provided for period 10

Question asked about the increase in slippage from last update and this was clarified as being mainly due to delays on the new build programme - particularly due to delays in redevelopment of Clydebank East site and once planning permission through costs will be incurred. £1.8 m of slippage is on capital improvement side and Alan confirmed that will be added into 22/23 plans with the slippage work being prioritised.

Question asked about the significant increase in costs of heating upgrades – Alan confirmed there been a spike in costs as well as increase in the number of boiler renewals that have been referred to them when boilers can’t be repaired. Budget for 22/23 been increased to reflect this increase.

Focus on voids – budget details, relet standard and satisfaction levels ( copy of info and relet standard circulated ahead of meeting)

Jane talked through the void budget information provided in relation to the amounts in the revenue and capital budget as well as the number of voids brought to relet standard in 6 month period 01/4/22-30/9/21 – 354 properties. Can’t do a straight division as will be delays in some work being recharged but roughly works out about £8k a void though some will have far less spent on them and some far more.

Satisfaction information on the relet standard shows that 90% of respondents are satisfied, up from 80% previous year. Most negative comments are in relation to the length of time it takes from being made offer to seeing the property as well as new tenant repairs.

Nicola also updated on the void working group who are reviewing the processes involved with Repairs and identifying issues that will be addressed in an action plan. Staff are looking at the relet standard, reviewing properties being returned and at what other landlords’ re-let standard is. Also looking at adapting the surveys to create more detailed info from them to help them tackle problems. An internal “Fit for Future” review has also taken place where independent staff have review the void process and have produced a report with recommendations. Housing officers continue to work on functional basis and this has helped the focus on voids and been extended to September.

Martin advised that as part of Building Services restructuring and to assist focus on voids, they now have a voids co-ordinator – additional resource and focus is on ensuring Value for Money.

Question asked about what being done to reduce number of forced entries and the costs – Nicola advised that been reinforced with HOs to get into property before it’s terminated and make arrangements for receiving the keys and is being done consistently. Some lock changes will still be needed when a tenant abandons but this being monitored weekly and will scrutinise when they are done and explore why to monitor and ensure able to respond as quickly as possible if process not being done correctly. Local Offices now also open for appointments to make it easier for keys to be handed in and avoid cost of forced entries.

Question asked about new tenants not being given a copy of the re-let standard when they sign up for a property which used to happen – Nicola not sure but will ask and also been picked up by the Fit for Future review.

Once the action plan is created will be shared with JRG – very early stage just now and will include a whole range of work but Nicola happy to feed into the JRG.

Stefan also pointed out that getting a copy of the relet standard was also important for tenants to be able to answer the satisfaction question realistically on whether they satisfied with the relet standard or not and for the survey information to be meaningful.

Stefan also raised issue of VFM if the condition of properties being terminated was poor and what happens about recharging for wilful damage etc. Was confirmed that separate orders were raised for recharges and the Central Admin team send out the recharge bills. Void budget was increased due to an increase in repair work needed due to the condition of properties. A value is apportioned to recharge repairs but will only see it as an income when it gets paid.

Action: Nicola to keep JRG updated on review of re-let standard and the public consultation.

Action: Nicola to feedback to JRG about the process being followed to ensure new tenants are aware of the current re-let standard.

Action: Laura Ann to identify the level of void works that have been recharged in year-end data as well as over last few years and provide information for next full JRG.

Action: Nicola to share progress of void working group, including timescales for actions (realistically about September).

Review of remaining outstanding items on JRG action plan and any updates (copy of updated action plan circulated ahead of the meeting)

Action: Jane to contact John about updates on his outstanding actions.

Some breakdown of Jobbing Repairs budget been provided but Martin advised was difficult to break down. Previous work was done on repair categories by Janine and Laura Ann not aware of that but agreed to look at it with Martin. Request for breakdown of jobbing repair budget was because it’s the biggest budget line in the HRA and JRG want to understand more about how the budget is set.

Action: Laura Ann and Martin to look at breakdown of the jobbing budget and feedback to a future JRG.

Budget matrix discussion using the void budget as example rescheduled to May’s meeting when Janice Rainey will be present.

Action: Copy of Asset Register shared on screen – second section difficult to read so Jane to contact John to get a printable version to be shared.

Any other queries or issues to be raised

Harry raised question in ‘chat’ re containers in Tullichewan and Alan provided an update.

Date of Next Meeting

  • Tenants – 21 April and Full JRG 26 May, both at 10:30am

Joint Rent Group

Thursday 17 February 2022, 10.30am via zoom

 

Attendees

Frances McGonagle (tenant volunteer), Harry McCormack (tenant volunteer), June Todd (tenant volunteer) and Jane Mack (Snr Housing Development Officer, Tenant Participation).

Welcome and Apologies

Apologies received from Georgia McCambley (tenant volunteer) and Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Dev Co-ordinator).

Discuss update on Capital programme provided for period 8

Happy with new template and the monitoring arrangements in place.

Discuss repairs performance update Q3 2021/22

Concern about level of cancelled jobs discussed as these are a waste of resources and means tenant needs to start whole process again. Suzanne had said at 27/1 meeting that she’d check if possible for a text to be sent to the tenants before the job is cancelled and tenants would like this to be pursued and outcome reported back to them.

Action: Jane to contact Suzanne and add to action sheet.

Discuss JRG action plan and updates

Two actions being pursued by Better Homes Group and tenants would like timescales for these and when updates can be given to the JRG.

Also query re the number of sockets that should be provided in a property to meet SHQS.

Acton: Jane to contact John and raise request.

Action: Jane to get clarification from Alan Young on number of sockets.

Discussed focus on voids at next meeting and tenants would like to know current satisfaction levels for new lets and if there is an option to give comments and if so is there an assessment on the comments done to identify issues.

Action: Jane to raise with Stefan.

Any other queries or issues to be raised

Want to make sure have information available ahead of meeting with paper copies to tenants so they can prepare for the meeting.

Action: Jane to remind officers to provide in advance

Date of Next Meeting

  • Full JRG 24 March 2022 at 10.30am

Joint Rent Group

Thursday 27 January 2022, 10.30am via zoom

 

Attendees

Frances McGonagle (tenant volunteer), Georgia McCambley (tenant volunteer), Harry McCormack (tenant volunteer), Janice Rainey (Finance Business Partner), Alan  Young ( Housing Asset & Investment Manager), John Kerr ( Housing Development Manager), Suzanne Marshall ( Housing Operations Co-ordinator), Suzanne Bannister ( Client Services Officer –Repairs), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Dev Co-ordinator) and Jane Mack (Snr Housing Development Officer, Tenant Participation)

Welcome and Apologies

All welcomed to the meeting and apologies received from Councillor Docherty, June Todd, Nicola Pettigrew (Suzanne M attended in her place) and Martin Feeney ( Suzanne B in his place).

Repairs performance update Q3 2021/22

Performance information shared on screen and Suzanne talked through the figures and current situation.

Average time to complete emergency repairs has gone up due to increased number of emergency repairs but been identified that some repairs being incorrectly categorised as emergencies and Suzanne has carried out briefing with staff to reiterate the categories and so performance should improve. Right First Time also missed target again because too many repairs being incorrectly classified. Satisfaction with Repairs has improved and more surveys are being carried out by text as well as operatives handsets.

‘No access’ figures are still high and doing a pilot in February to organise for all emergency operatives to actually phone tenants when they are on the way.

Number of live repairs and backlog repairs (reported before 26/04/21) are being reduced and being monitored and managed on a weekly basis. Most of the remaining backlog repairs are due to a shortage of scaffolding.

Question asked about number of repairs where it is the operative that doesn’t attend but Suzanne sure that should not be happening as have 8 planners now in place so all operatives should be turning up. Stefan asked for clarification where a repair is cancelled due to no access if the tenant gets a text telling them that? – Suzanne advised that they don’t at the moment but will check if that could be introduced. For non-emergency repairs try 2/3 times before cancelling down the repair.

Update on rent setting consultation 2022/23

Jane advised that outcome from survey had been close but Option 2 had most votes with 35.7%, Option 3 next with 32.7% and then Option1 with 31.6%. 1089 tenants had responded to the survey which gave a response rate of 11% which is still a good response rate but down from the previous year – 1344 responses with a 13.8% response rate. With all options equally a 2% rent increase some tenants might not have taken part as not changing the outcome of the rent charge. Covid restrictions too could have affected response rate.

Update on Capital programme – copy of update circulated ahead of meeting

Template size been increased and all agreed that it was easier to read and Alan to use this sizing from now on.

Review of HRA Asset Register

Copy of Asset Register shared on screen and John talked through the information. Looking to develop a strategy for vacant sites and want to include the JRG and WDTRO in discussions – looking to maximise use of vacant sites to build were possible but also to partner with biodiversity officer and change some grassed areas into more interesting and biodiverse areas that can look more attractive.

John explained that under surplus assets was listed Queens Quay as nil receipts – upfront grant received to help facilitate social housing being built and site C being developed by WDC.

Issues arising from external audit report for 2020/21 -Review of rent model

John wanted to flag issue as will also bring to the WDTRO. Rent model last looked at in 2011/12 and was set to be reviewed in 10 years so over-due a review. Following last review, rents were harmonised in relation to size and property types. More new builds now and property types since then so John and Janice are looking at the current model and will assess if it still covers all our property types.

JRG action plan –discussion re timescales -  copy issued ahead of meeting

Action plan discussed and updated with the commitments from officers. March meeting to focus on the financial breakdown of the voids and the revenue matrix in relation to voids.

In relation to increasing socket provision to reduce fire risks, Frances advised that at a recent visit to her home by a BSO, they had been unaware of providing additional sockets or the sockets with USB connectors and Suzanne committed to speaking to the officer and clarifying situation to all staff.

Date of Next Meetings

  • Tenants JRG 17 February 2022, 10:30am
  • Full JRG 24 March 2022, 10:30am