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

Note of zoom meeting on Monday 22 August 2022

 

Present:

Cllr Craig Edward (Housing Convenor) - chaired meeting

Frances McGonagle (Littleholm TRA + WDTRO)

Ruth Dickinson (Willox Park TA+ WDTRO)

Mary Paton (Willox Park TA+ WDTRO)

June Todd (WDTRO)

Rita Howard (Scrutiny Panel)

John Kerr (Housing Development & Homelessness Manager)

Jane Mack (Snr Development Officer-Tenant Participation)

Janice Rainey (Finance Business partner)

Hanne Thijs (Development Officer-Tenant Participation)

Apologies received from:

Peter Barry, Harry McCormack, Fiona McClymont and Stefan Kristmanns.

 

Item 6 - Housing and Employability Delivery Plan 2021/22: year end progress report

Key points from discussion

Question asked about the Anti-social Behaviour Strategy and when tenant consultation would be. John Kerr noted that the strategy been delayed and won’t be completed until March 2023 so would assume consultation would take place towards end of 2022. John will ask and feedback as soon as possible. 

Question asked about percentage of households in fuel poverty and if we know how many council tenants are in fuel poverty. John advised that there is a breakdown into social housing so could maybe get a breakdown to council housing. The action is assigned to Stephen Brooks (Working4U) so John will ask Stephen for breakdown. Councillor Edward said that question can also be asked at HACC. Rita noted that feels this is one of the biggest issues for tenants, in particular regards with retrofit is going to be very important to ensure that tenants can heat their homes and not lose the heat. Councillor Edward noted that this is already being discussed. John advised that are two aspects to this, energy efficiency has been a key factor for the Council over number of years and have an ongoing external wall insulation programme  however acknowledged that this not reached ever building yet. The second aspect is preparing for being carbon neutral, this is likely to be a bigger focus going forward. WDC are trying to get funding from Scottish Government to carry out survey work to ensure accurate data is held which will make future works more effective and efficient. Rita looking for stock condition reports for specific areas, John will liaise with her and look at providing this.

Councillor Edward also advised that he has spoken to Housing Operations about pre-payment meter and knows the extra cost this adds and need to ensure that support is focused.

Action: John to confirm plans around ASB Strategy consultation

Action: John to contact Working4u and provide a breakdown of Council tenants in fuel poverty if known.

Action : John and Rita to liaise re stock condition info for specific areas.

Item 7 - Housing Asset and Investment Delivery Plan 2021/22: year end progress

Key points from discussion

Low compliance with meeting Scottish Housing Quality Standard key concern for people – main reason for figure being so low is delays in EICR certificates. Councillor Edward advised he also has concerns about the averages time to complete medical adaptations. Rita noted that had been a previous Scrutiny Panel exercise and performance not improved much.

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

Key points from discussion

Page 43, more information asked about the pilot looking at improving energy efficiency as it ties in with the earlier retrofit discussion. Tenants would like WDTRO to be kept up to date with progress and also suggested a visit when complete. John advised that the specification for the property being developed and he happy to keep WDTRO updated and a visit can be arranged.

Councillor Edward also asked if the buyback scheme can be upscaled as good value for money and John confirmed it was and that Scottish Government has increased funding available.

Ruth asked John about the investigation at 3 Willox Park and whether it been completed and what the outcome is. John confirmed has received an initial report and hoping to have full report by the end of next week.  John will feed back to the tenants group once they have received and assessed the full report – also happy for a member of his team to attend any of their meetings.

Action: John to share plans for pilot at 87 O’Hare with WDTRO and Scrutiny Panel as well as a visit to the site.

Action: Final report on Willox Park to be shared with Willox Park Tenants Association.

Item 9 - Scottish Social Housing Charter/Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland Annual Update Report 

Key points from discussion

Frances raised a question about the annual assurance statement as WDTRO have concerns about current position where WDC are acknowledging that WDC do not fully meet HRA guidance but feel that this is “not material”, WDTRO disagree with this and want WDC to be fully compliant with HRA guidance. Councillor Edward aware of the technical definition of ‘not material’ and of the WDTRO correspondence on the matter. He has already asked for more transparency about the Financial Strategy and the implications it has before it goes to Council and this will be shared with the WDTRO so there can be open discussion.

Action: Financial Strategy to be shared and discussed with WDTRO.

Item 10 - "Home at the Heart 2019 - 24" West Dunbartonshire's Rapid Re - Housing Transition Plan (RRTP) Update and New Approaches to Homelessness Progress Report

Key points from discussion

Question asked about uncertainty of future funding on page 61 and if there are any implications for Housing Revenue Account (HRA). John confirmed there was no impact on HRA. Over last 4 years, Scottish Government has provided funding for RRTP, but this has not been clarified for the future. Prior to the end of the year, should have clarity on future funding for councils to tackle homelessness.

Item 11 - "Involving You", West Dunbartonshire Council's Tenant Participation Strategy 2021-24 - Annual Progress Report

Key points from discussion

No questions on report and discussed difficulty of recruiting and retaining volunteers which is an issue across the board.

Rita noted that virtual option is very useful and would wish for this to be retained in the future and Jane confirmed that this is the plan.

Item 12 - UK - Shared Prosperity Fund

No comments

Item 13 - Housing Revenue Account Budgetary Control Report to 31 July 2022 (period 4)

No comments

Item 14 - Financial Report 2022/23 as at period 4 (31 July 2022)

No comments

Item 15 Police Scrutiny Report

No comments

item 16 - Fire and Rescue Scrutiny Quarter 3 Report

Councillor Edward raised concerns about increases in fire-raising since last year. Recent fire at Mount Pleasant house been alarming for residents living nearby and many had to be evacuated though Council and emergency services’ swift response had been commended. Is a task force in place to tackle issue.

 

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

 The next Pre- HACC Forum will be on Monday 21 November with the Housing Convenor and officers who have written the committee 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 31 January 2022

 

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)

Laura Ann Paton (HRA Accountant)

Apologies:

Harry McCormack and Georgia McCambley

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

Key Points from  Discussion

John Kerr gave update on housing developments included in the delivery plan and confirmed that Dumbarton harbour now complete. The redevelopment of Clydebank East been delayed at planning stage but Pappert site progressing well. Queens Quay progressing though some delay in relation to the access road. Have completed 300 properties in last year so good achievement.

Question asked about the demolition of the old care home at Willox Park and John will get update and feedback via Jane. Local tenants advised that the TV aerial for the current sheltered housing was situated on the roof of the old care home and John will check to ensure that arrangements are in place to have this resituated before the demolition.

Action: John Kerr to provide an update on demolition plans for old care home at Willox Park. Plus confirmation that arrangements are in place to re-site TV aerial for current sheltered housing

Item 8. West Dunbartonshire Housing Allocation Policy

Key points from discussion

 Review of Allocation policy taken place and number of changes being proposed to  encourage tenants under-occupying homes to downsize, increase access for young people to prevent homelessness, wider review of medical priority, remove qualifying area for awarding relocation points and remove points for living in multi-storey flats. 2 stage consultation took place and views for tenants, waiting list applicants, staff and partner organisations were sought. 791 responded to initial survey and 1615 responded to the main survey on the proposed changes.

No questions asked and all happy with the proposals.

Item 9. West Dunbartonshire Local Housing Strategy 2022-27 –More Homes, Better Homes West Dunbartonshire

Key points from discussion

The Local Housing Strategy (LHS) is an overarching strategic document on housing and housing support issues and has a key role to play in the effective integration of health and social care. The LHS sets out how the Council and its partners plan to respond to the housing and housing related opportunities and challenges over the next 5 years.

One of the key issues to come out of the consultation was about increasing publicity about energy efficiency advice.

Question asked about the Council providing energy efficient bulbs and it was confirmed that this was included as one of the rent setting options and the decision will be taken at Council meeting on 9/2/22.

Item 10. ‘Home at the Heart 2019-24 ‘ - West Dunbartonshire ‘s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan update and new approaches to Homelessness progress report

Key points of discussion

Plan aims to address the increase in homelessness applications, ensure sustainable housing solutions are available and reduce stays in temporary accommodation. Consequences of lock-down also resulted in delays in applicants moving into properties and slower turnover. Proposal includes increasing homeless letting target to 69% otherwise additional temporary accommodation would be needed to meet demand.

No questions raised.

Item 11. Employability Service Provision

Key points of discussion

Report outlines the development of a No one left Behind employability policy.

No questions raised.

Item 12. Housing Revenue Account Budgetary control report to 31 December 2021 (period 9)

Key points of discussion

This was a late paper only made available 27/1 so tenants only had an electronic version of the report. Concern was raised by tenants about the paper being late as was an important part of the consultation process. Finance staff confirmed that the delay had been unavoidable and due to staff absences.

Action: Jane Mack to make paper copies so tenants can still study the paper and raise any questions in future.

Laura Ann Paton ran through the financial report and confirmed that looking at a projected favourable variance of £0.008m in revenue and on Capital side, slippage of £11.076m.

Item 13. Financial report as at period 9 (31st December 2021)

Key points of discussion

Report gives update on all service areas that come under the Housing & Communities Committee remit so includes the General fund. Current forecast is for an overspend of £0.676m in relation to Homelessness and Anti-social behaviour.

Question was asked in relation to the mitigating action set out on page 150 in relation to the Housing Maintenance Trading Account which refers to reviewing scope for increased internal charges and it was asked if these charges were to the HRA and if so would that be value for money for the HRA ?

Action: Laura Ann Paton to get clarification on these internal charges.

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

Due to local elections on 5 May 2022, the housing committee dates haven’t been published and will be confirmed after the elections.

Once the dates are known, a Pre- HACC Forum will be arranged 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.