Pre-Housing and Communities Committee Forum –open to all tenants and TRA representatives

Note of zoom meeting on Monday 1st November 2021


Present

Cllr Diane Docherty (Housing Convenor) - chaired meeting, Frances McGonagle (Littleholm TRA + WDTRO), Ruth Dickinson (Willox Park TA), Mary Paton (Willox Park TA), June Todd (WDTRO), Georgia McCambley (Central Radnor Park TRA), Joanne Geddes (Central Radnor Park TRA), John Kerr (Housing Development & Homelessness Manager), Jane Mack (Snr Development Officer-Tenant Participation), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Development Co-ordinator), Laura Ann Paton (HRA Accountant), Hannes Thijs ( Housing Development Officer-Tenant Participation)

Apologies

Harry McCormack and Janice Rainey (Finance Business partner)

Councillor Docherty wanted tenants to know that there was a committee paper going to full Council on High rise properties and explained that was going to full Council rather than Housing & Communities Committee (HACC) as had been raised as a specific question from an elected member. The report is about developing an enhanced living standard in high rise buildings and an update will be provided to the February HACC. At a recent Council meeting also agreed that all repairs to fire doors in flats and any lighting issues would be classed as emergencies and so target to complete repair would be 24 Hours. WDTRO members indicated that they were happy with Councillor Docherty’s update and the actions taken.

Item 7. More Homes West Dunbartonshire- West Dunbartonshire Council Affordable Housing Supply Delivery Plan

Key points from discussion

John Kerr gave a summary of the new build programme and advised that had received confirmation that the new grant rates are now in place.

Clydebank East development been delayed at planning stage and more work to be done before it goes to planning committee in December.

Question asked about Willox Park plans and John confirmed that would all be sheltered housing that would be developed there.

Item 8 More Homes West Dunbartonshire –Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) – Annual update report

John gave update on plans which includes Housing Association and private house building to increase range of housing options for people. Seeking to maintain current progress of new builds and fits in with Scottish Government targets for new builds.

No questions raised and tenants happy with progress.

Item 9. Better Homes West Dunbartonshire – Brunswick, Montreal & Quebec houses, Clydebank

Key points from discussion

Report outlines proposed plans and consultation with tenants to date. Housing had engaged with 57% of tenants and option 4 (declare blocks as surplus, rehouse all tenants, provide home loss and disturbance payments, demolish all 3 blocks and use site for new build development) was clear preferred option.

Once decision taken at committee (wed 3/11) would take about 3 years to rehouse all existing tenants and then develop the site.

Was asked if there were any structural issues with the blocks and John confirmed not technically but the deck access for larger families had not been popular and would be difficult to meet EESSH 2.

Question raised about tenancies not being used properly and was confirmed that part of tenancy agreement to use property as ‘main and principle home’ and if not then landlord can take action to get property back. Can be difficult to prove but Jane to flag issue to Housing Operations and could include something in Housing News.

Item 10. Housing & Employability Delivery Plan 2021/22- mid year progress report

Report includes Employability as well as Housing as both come under Peter Barry. Report picks up key actions from action plans in place to improve performance across housing. No issues raised.

Item 11. Scottish Social Housing Charter/Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland progress report

Key points of discussion

Stefan advised that regular updates on the Charter given to tenants through Housing News performance inserts and through the WDTRO. This report also includes benchmarking information to compare WDC performance with other landlords. Report also includes the Annual Assurance Statement that all landlords have to submit to the Housing Regulator. Tenant report also included which focuses on the key areas that tenants have said are important to them. Copy of tenant report published on Council’s website and a summary of it will be included in the Winter Housing News.

Question raised about the poor performance in relation to medical adaptations and Stefan confirmed that performance had slightly improved before COVID but backlog from lockdown still being worked through which increases the average days to complete an adaptation. It is a performance are being closely monitored by the Housing Improvement Board and recent figures have should some improvement.

Tenant concern raised about Siems who have contract for boilers as recent example where tenant not offered alternative heating and had no heating or hot water for 4 days. Action: Jane to email Martin Feeney (Building services manager).

Other tenant concern raised was in relation to the Annual Assurance Statement (page 69) and the WDTRO not happy with statement and think Council should be aiming for full compliance with the HRA Guidance –think that not fully meeting the HRA Guidance should be seen as a’ material non-compliance’ and don’t accept that Audit Scotland not raising as an issue is evidence enough. Councillor Docherty asked if she happy with the evidence provided and she advised she was and had discussed with Councillor McColl. Councillor Docherty offered to arrange a further meeting with Councillor McColl and Peter Barry to fully discuss situation as aware that issue been under discussion for a while with no resolution that Council and tenants happy with. 

Action: Councillor Docherty agreed to raise at HACC tenant concerns about general performance and in particular repairs and medical adaptations performance. Further meeting also to be arranged in relation to the HRA Guidance.

Item 12. Local Housing Strategy

Key points of discussion

John gave summary of report on the Local Housing Strategy that has been updated to cover from 2022- 2027. The Strategy had been consulted on and the outcomes form that fed into the aims of the Strategy. The Strategy is still to be assessed by the Scottish Government but John confident that it will be accepted. The Strategy includes delivery plans which includes building more homes as well as investing in current stock. Main change in Strategy has been to keep Bellsmyre as a regeneration area for time being.

Tenants will have an opportunity to influence the action plan as will have a board to oversee the implementation and John keen to have tenant and community included and will discuss further with the WDTRO at December Liaison meeting.

Question asked about the term ‘concealed household’ and John explained that they don’t show up in statistics so difficult to measure demand for future housing. Found particularly in private rented sector or owner occupiers where housing demand needs aren’t known.

Item 13. Housing Revenue Account Budgetary control report to 30 September 2021 (period 6)

Key points of discussion

Report gives budget update and shows the HRA with a £6k favourable variance and the Capital budget with a £1.6m variance due to slippage.

Tenants very happy with the ‘tenant friendly’ versions of the reports that Finance provide for them and find them easier to follow and understand.

Item 14. Financial report as at period 6 (30 September 2021)

Key points of discussion

Report gives budget update on whole Housing & Employability Section – shows an overspend in Working 4U and don’t expect an overspend on Housing side.

No questions raised.

This Forum is open to all tenants and members of Tenant & Residents Associations.

The next Housing & Community Committee (HACC) will be on  2nd February so there will be a Pre- HACC Forum on Monday 31st January 2022 (via Zoom) to discuss the papers with the Housing Convenor and officers who have written the papers.

The papers are available the week before and electronic copies will be sent to all TRA Secretaries, WDTRO members and via TP Facebook page.

Paper copies will also be made available as are usually a lengthy document to read on a small screen- please contact Tenant Participation to arrange for a paper copy to be delivered to you.

Pre-Housing and Communities Committee Forum –open to all tenants and TRA representatives

Note of zoom meeting on Monday 30th August 2021

 

Present

Cllr Diane Docherty (Housing Convenor) - chaired meeting, Frances McGonagle (Littleholm TRA + WDTRO), Ruth Dickinson (Willox Park TA), Mary Paton( Willox Park TA), June Todd (WDTRO), John Kerr (Housing Development & Homelessness Manager), Jane Mack (Snr Development Officer-Tenant Participation), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Development Co-ordinator)

Apologies

Georgia McCambley,Harry McCormack and Janice Rainey ( Finance Business partner)

Item 6. More Homes West Dunbartonshire- West Dunbartonshire
Council Affordable Housing Supply Delivery Plan.

Key points from discussion

John provided an update on the Council’s plans as laid out in the report. Advised of a typing mistake on page 14 and that the Queens Quay, Site B would be completed by April 2022.

Report also highlights that the Scottish Government has reviewed the grants
provided to Councils and Housing Associations (page 18) and the Council grant has been increased to £71.5k but the HA ‘s has gone up to £78k so there is still a
disparity between the grants that Councils are challenging. Members of  WDTRO
present advised they were happy to support the Council in challenging the continued differential in new build grants and they were pleased to see council grant increasing but should be the same as Housing Associations.

Assurances were requested that the council housing for Willox Park ( page 16)
would be sheltered and John happy to give that assurance and would make a point at committee to emphasis that it will be and should have specified that in the report.

Further question in relation to Willox Park was asked in relation to whether plans had been drawn up and John advised that some initial plans have been and notification coming out inviting consultation with local residents. Tenants advised that existing tenants looking for a reasonably sized meeting room to be included.
John also confirmed that dementia elements used at Creveul Court would be used and looking to mainstream these aspects into design standard.

Item 7. Scottish Social Housing Charter/Regulation of Social Housing
in Scotland Annual Update Report

Stefan advised that the report outlines Housing’s performance against the Charter outcomes and many have been affected by COVID restrictions. 4.5 on page 25 sets out performance in relation to trend and targets. 69% met or nearly met their target.

5 areas of particular concern will be regularly reviewed – SHQS compliance, medical adaptations, services for people who are homeless, rent collection/arrears and complaints response times.

Key points of discussion

Question raised about Annual Assurance Statement and section 4.25 refers to a
session being arranged for Housing committee members about how assessment is done and evidence of compliance – the evidence of compliance in relation to the HRA Guidance is what the WDTRO have been asking Peter Barry for.

John agreed to run a similar session for tenants and share the information on compliance as well as the Regulatory Framework.

Action: A session to be arranged for tenants on the Annual Assurance Statement
with evidence on compliance. (John Kerr)

Item 9 No Home for Domestic Abuse- WDC Housing & Homelessness services domestic abuse policy update

Key points of discussion

Paper welcomed and Council’s stance against domestic abuse applauded.

Item 10 Scottish Government consultation on a review of the Scottish
Social Housing Charter.

Paper outlines the Council’s response to the consultation questions – broadly
supportive of current wording and are making recommendation that the Charter
should also include new build activity as it is an important part of housing activities.

Item 11 Housing Revenue Account Budgetry control report to 31 July
2021 (period 4)

Key points of discussion

No specific issues were raised as early in financial year. Due to a change to working pattern, Janice Rainey (Finance Business partner ) wasn’t at meeting but agreed that she should be asked to provide someone from team to be able to answer any future questions.

Action: Finance Business Partner to send representative to future meetings (Jane
to contact and invite)

This Forum is open to all tenants and members of Tenant & Residents Associations.  The next Housing & Community Committee (HACC) will be on 3rd November so there will be a Pre- HACC Forum on Monday 1st November 2021 (via Zoom) to discuss the papers with the Housing Convenor and officers who have written the papers.

The papers are available the week before and electronic copies will be sent to all
TRA Secretaries, WDTRO members and via TP Facebook page.

Paper copies will also be made available as are usually a lengthy document to read on a small screen- please contact Tenant Participation to arrange for a paper copy to be delivered to you.

Pre-Housing and Communities Committee Forum –open to all
tenants and TRA representatives

Note of zoom meeting on Tuesday 4th May 2021


Present

Cllr Diane Docherty (Housing Convenor) - chaired meeting, Frances McGonagle (Littleholm TRA + WDTRO), Georgia McCambley (Central Radnor Park TRA +WDTRO), Ruth Dickinson (Willox Park TA), Billy Neeson (Westbridgend TRA + WDTRO), Harry McCormack (Tullichewan TRA + WDTRO), John Kerr (Housing Development & Homelessness Manager), Jane Mack (Snr Development Officer-Tenant Participation), Hanne Thijs (Development Officer – Tenant Participation), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Development Co-ordinator), Edward Thomas (Housing Operations Manager).

Apologies

Mary Paton (Willox Park TA), Janette Donlin (Dalmuir MSF’s TRA) and Jacqui Peacock (Dalmuir MSF’s TRA)

Item 6. Housing and Employability Delivery Plan 2020/21 year end progress report and 2021/22 Delivery Plan

Key points from discussion

Discussion of actions not yet completed- Edward clarified that the Tenant Liaison
service mentioned was housing support for those who need it to help with housing tasks e.g. setting up bills – provide a more intensive service than Housing Officers. 4 officers to work with tenants who need particular assistance.

Was due to launch April 2020 but redeployed due to lockdown but getting staff back and will launch autumn 2021. Are taking on some cases on a pilot basis just now and Edward will give a more detailed update when they ready to launch.

Harry asked about revised ASB Strategy and Edward said that due to numbers of
crimes and antisocial behaviour has led to more urgency in reviewing this strategy and will engage with communities. Police Scotland also has joint responsibility for the ASB Strategy.

Jane noted discussion with tenants about under-reporting of stats and request that strategy reflect this to encourage people to report problems. Diane keen to have front page article in Housing News so tenants know how to contact service. Edward advised that are an increasing numbers of ASB and crimes being reported so there is an awareness of the service. Neighbourhood team are helping with this too, as they are putting in complaints on behalf of tenants.

Team dealt with 976 cases in 2021 which is treble usual amount but not comparing like with like due to the unique pandemic situation but also a reflects an in increase in reporting confidence. Neighbourhood team can give witness statements at court which helps alleviate the pressure on tenants.

Also meeting with Police and Fire about recent fire raising incidents and looking at positive youth activities to keep young people distracted. Jane reminded Edward about poster that was supposed to go up at Littleholm flats about how to contact ASB. Edward committed that it will be up this week and apologised for delay.

Item 7. More Homes West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire Council Affordable Housing Supply Delivery Programme

Key points of discussion

Higher cost of Pappert properties due to more difficult site to build on and higher cost of building due to innovative design but will have very low running costs. In terms of the site, it’s been blight on local area as previous buildings demolished 11 years ago and lain derelict since.

Ruth asked if any plans drawn up for site at Willox Park and John confirmed that still looking at feasibility of options and will be consulting with local residents.

Ruth asked for a meeting room to be considered as current is not suitable; John said that this can be considered along with consultation.

Item 8. Better Homes West Dunbartonshire – Housing Asset Management Strategy Update

Key points of discussion

Consultation will be starting soon with tenants of North Mountblow blocks as to how to proceed to make these properties fit for the future. Would not allocate any properties until consultation process completed.

Defective properties at Silverton, progressing plans for these. Plans to be decided
but could either build council housing or sell to private developer.

Billy asked if owners would then be applying for council housing, John said that
some may have housing need and could apply.

The previous offer price for properties at Silverton had been for what owners paid under the Right to Buy scheme which could have been between £9,000 and £13,000 so £25,000 should be an attractive option.

Hanne asked about value for money of buying these properties at £25,000 and John confirmed it was considered to be relative value for money due to the value of land in the area.

Meeting then closed and everyone was thanked for their time.

This Forum is open to all tenants and members of Tenant & Residents Associations

The next Housing & Community Committee (HACC) will be on 1ST September so
there will be a Pre- HACC Forum on Monday 30th August 2021 (via Zoom) to
discuss the papers with the Housing Convenor and officers who have written the
papers.

The papers are available the week before and electronic copies will be sent to all
TRA Secretaries, WDTRO members and via TP Facebook page.

Paper copies will also be made available as are usually a lengthy document to read on a small screen- please contact Tenant Participation to arrange for a paper copy to be delivered to you.

Pre-Housing and Communities Committee Forum –open to all
tenants and TRA representatives

Note of zoom meeting on Monday 1st February 2021

This note also includes the outcome of the Housing and Communities Committee
(HACC) on the 3rd February 2021 which is noted in boxes after each item discussed.

Present

Cllr Diane Docherty (Housing Convenor)- chaired meeting, Frances McGonagle (Littleholm TRA + WDTRO), Billy Neeson ( Westbridgend TRA + WDTRO), Mary Paton ( Willox Park TA), Harry McCormack ( Tullichewan TRA + WDTRO), John Kerr (Housing Development & Homelessness Manager), Jane Mack ( Snr Development Officer-Tenant Participation), Stefan Kristmanns (Housing Development Co-ordinator), Janice Rainey ( Finance Manager)

Apologies

June Todd (WDTRO), Janette Donlin (Dalmuir MSF’s TRA) and Jacqui Peacock (Dalmuir MSF’s TRA).

Discussion focused on committee papers that tenants most interested in.

Item 10. Housing Revenue Account Budgetary Control Report to 31 December (period 9).

Update paper on Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which shows a projected
favourable variance of £1.911m (4.33% of the total budget) of which £2.029 is COVID related. Also Capital programme has £14.928m projected slippage into next financial year.

Key points from discussion

Question asked about the amount of slippage and how this is going to be managed?

Janice Rainey advised that some slippage is due to delays in new build programme and this is all back on track and will catch up within the 5 year plan. The level of slippage is high and until it is known when the current lockdown restrictions are lifted don’t know how quickly will be able to catch up. Not overly concerned about the level of slippage but maybe an issue if still as high in 6 months time. Have contractors who are going to help accelerate the programme once restrictions are lifted.

Question asked if extra contractors taken on , will that increase costs and so reduce the amount of work tenants will get?

Janice confirmed it won’t and any additional sub-contractor costs would be within the Maintenance trading account.

Item 10. Housing Revenue Account Budgetary Control Report to 31 December (period 9) - Agreed

Item 11. Financial Report 2020/21 as at Period 9 ( 31 December 2020)

Update financial report on services under the auspices of the Housing &
Communities Committee. Shows a revenue overspend of £0.434m at the year end.

Capital projects showing no projected variance.

Key points from discussion

WDTRO raised concern about inclusion in paragraph 4.1 again of option that lost
income could be charged to the HRA. The WDTRO don’t accept that position as it is against the HRA Guidance and questioned the use of the wording ‘continue to be charged’.

Janice advised that Stephen West has included the paragraph as it is a financial solution but not keen to do it as aware of opposition and is only a last resort. The DLO recovery plan is in operation to minimise any deficit. Is a difference between what is allowed and what is appropriate and WDC appreciates that might be allowed but not in the spirit of the HRA Guidance and so not appropriate.

Janice also advised that Government given them other financial flexibilities like loan holidays which will ease pressure on General Fund.

Councillor Docherty confirmed she would take tenant concerns to the HACC meeting and WDC and other Council’s well aware that this is a key concern for tenants.

Item 11. Financial Report 2020/21 as at Period 9 ( 31 December 2020) - Agreed

Item 6. West Dunbartonshire Empty Homes Strategy (Private Sector) 2021-24

Paper outlines the Strategy to bring empty homes back into usage to increase
housing supply. Empty Homes Officer having a positive impact and 94 properties
back into use in West Dunbartonshire.

Key point from discussion

No questions on paper.

Item 6. West Dunbartonshire Empty Homes Strategy (Private Sector) 2021-24 - Agreed

Item 7. Rapid Re-housing Transition Plan and new approaches to homelessness update report

Update report on Rapid rehousing transition plan and John highlighted additional £156k been awarded for 20/21 and £234k for 2021/22. Also no unsuitable accommodation (B&B ) been used even during lockdown.

Key points of discussion

No issues raised.

Item 7. Rapid Re-housing Transition Plan and new approaches to
homelessness update report - Agreed

Item 8. More Homes West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire Council
Affordable Housing Supply Delivery Programme

Progress report on new build programme and gives update on each site. Includes
update on discussions ongoing to purchase old care home site at Willox Park and
site at Bank Street – not concluded yet but would hope to be positive outcome if
value for money and looking to use as future new build sites.

Key points off discussion

In relation to any future development at Willox Park, it was asked what type of
accommodation would be considered and John confirmed that it would be looking at additional sheltered accommodation and if purchase successful will be looking at design possibilities for the whole site as well as additional sheltered units.

Item 8. More Homes West Dunbartonshire –West Dunbartonshire Council
Affordable Housing Supply Delivery Programme - Agreed

Item 9. ‘Involving You ‘ West Dunbartonshire Council’s Tenant Participation Strategy 2021-24

TP Strategy for 2021-24 been developed with tenants and will build on the positive developments from previous years. Strategy also includes and action plan for implementing the Strategy.

Key points of discussion

Tenants happy with positive content of new Strategy.
Housing News to be used to promote new strategy and encourage more tenants to get involved.

Item 9. ‘Involving You ‘ West Dunbartonshire Council’s Tenant Participation
Strategy 2021-24 - Agreed

The next Housing & Community Committee (HACC) will be on 5th May so there will be a Pre- HACC Forum on Monday 3rd May 2021 (probably via zoom) to discuss the papers with the Housing Convenor and officers who have written the papers.

The papers are available the week before and electronic copies will be sent to all
TRA Secretaries, WDTRO members and via TP Facebook page.

Paper copies will also be made available as are usually a lengthy document to read
on a small screen.

This Forum is open to any tenant or member of a Tenant & Resident
Association.