Agenda for Housing Cabinet Member Meeting on Wednesday, 4th June, 2008, 4.00pm

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Hove Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Martin Warren, Senior Democratic Services Officer  291058

No. Item


Procedural Business

    (a)  Declarations of Interest by all Members present of any personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Members regard the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.


    (b)  Exclusion of Press and Public - To consider whether, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, the press and public should be excluded from the meeting when any of the following items are under consideration.


    NOTE:  Any item appearing in Part 2 of the Agenda states in its heading the category under which the information disclosed in the report is exempt from disclosure and therefore not available to the public.


    A list and description of the exempt categories is available for public inspection at Brighton and Hove Town Halls.





    Declarations of Interests


    There were none.


    Exclusion of Press and Public


    The Committee considered whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of any items contained in the agenda, having regard to the nature of the business to be transacted and the nature of the proceedings and the likelihood as to whether, if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of confidential or exempt information as defined in Schedule 12A, Part 5A, Section 100A(4) or 100 1 of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).


    RESOLVED - That the press and public be not excluded from the meeting.            



Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 72 KB

    Report of the Director of Strategy & Governance (copy attached).



    The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Director of Strategy & Governance concerning the Terms of Reference of the Housing Cabinet Member Meeting (for copy see minute book).


    RESOLVED – That the Terms of Reference be noted.




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 86 KB

    To note the minutes of the Housing Committee held on 27 March 2008 (copy attached).



    RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the Housing Committee held on 27 March 2008 be noted






    In response to questions from the Opposition Spokesperson the Cabinet Member explained that written reports on the Housing Green Paper and the Procurement Strategy would be considered by both the Housing Management Consultative Committee and the Housing Cabinet Member meeting in due course.


    Cabinet Member was aware of issues being discussed in the press and local community about Sheltered Housing. Formal feedback from the Sheltered Housing Focus Group and related matters would be considered by the appropriate body in due course.




Cabinet Members Communications




    Cabinet Member welcomed everyone to the inaugural Housing Cabinet Member Meeting introducing officers and members.



    Cabinet Member noted that the agenda for the first meeting was slight as it was planned that everyone could take the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new arrangements.



    Cabinet Member noted that housing would remain client focussed, with tenants at the heart of housing management.




Items Reserved for Discussion

    (a)  Items reserved by the Cabinet Member


    (b)  Items reserved by the Opposition Spokesperson


    (c)  Items reserved by Members, with the agreement of the Cabinet Member.


    NOTE: Public Questions, Written Questions form Councillors, Petitions, Deputations, Letters from Councillors and Notices of Motion will be reserved automatically.



    RESOLVED – All items were reserved for discussion.



Public Questions

    (the closing date for receipt of public questions is 12 noon on 27 May 2008)


    No public questions have been received by the date of publication of the agenda.



    There were none.



Written Questions from Councillors pdf icon PDF 56 KB

    a) Question from Councillor Morgan – Estate Services (copy attached)



    The Cabinet Member reported that one written question had been received from Councillor Morgan.




    Councillor Morgan asked  the following question:


    ‘Following the focus group review, can the Cabinet Member for Housing confirm that an estate warden is being appointed to cover the Craven Vale estate, and give a date for that warden taking up his/her post please?’




    The Cabinet Member replied,


    ‘In Autumn 2007, a short-term focus group of residents was established at the request of the Chairman of Housing to review the Estates Service, on a citywide basis. The results of this review were presented to Housing Management Sub-Committee in January 2008.


    The main role of a Community Warden is to link local communities with the council and other organisations and act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the housing management service. The residents’ focus group reported the following findings in relation to the post of Community Warden:


    • That residents’ experiences of Community Wardens varied widely across the city, from excellent to unsatisfactory
    • That the work of the Community Wardens has more in common with the work of the local housing offices than the Estates Service
    • That parts of the Community Wardens’ job description duplicates tasks carried out by other people working in the same communities e.g. PCSOs, Mobile Wardens and Housing Officers.


    To address these issues, the focus group recommended that the post of Community Warden was moved from the Estates Service and reviewed. Community Wardens and tenancy management staff welcomed this proposal and the opportunity to work more closely together.


    Following the focus group, the Community Warden post for Craven Vale was kept vacant whilst a detailed review of the Estate Service took place to introduce the recommendations of the focus group.  The outcome of this exercise would be reported to the Housing Management Consultative Committee and Housing Cabinet Members Meeting.


    As an interim measure, the Community Warden for the Albion Hill area was covering the Craven Vale area. From this June, fortnightly surgeries were being held at a community centre in Craven Vale. The warden would also have weekly meetings with the Housing Officer for Craven Vale and spend between one and two days per week on the Craven Vale estate. These arrangements would continue until the Estate Service review was completed.’



    Councillor Morgan asked a supplementary questionnoting the length of time afforded to the review and asked if it could genuinely be considered ‘short-term’.



    Cabinet Member responded that getting the service right was key, and that the long-term outcome was more important than making a quick decision. The length of the review was in part, due to the summer recess and the timetabling of decision-making meetings. She concluded that the interim arrangements had been provided in recognition of the extensive review and that Tenants would continue to monitor the service once the review had concluded.




    No petitions have been received.



    There were none.



Deputations pdf icon PDF 106 KB

    (i) To receive the attached Deputation presented at Council on the 24 April 2008 by Mr Tim Pope.


    (ii) To receive the attached Deputation presented at Council on the 24 April 2008 by Mr John Melson.


     (the closing date for receipt of deputations is noon on Tuesday 27 May).



    The Cabinet Member reported that two Deputations had been received. The first Deputation concerned 40 & 50 Brunswick Place, Hove and had been presented at Council on 24 April 2008 by Mr. Pope.



    The Cabinet Member welcomed Mr Pope to the meeting and noted the deputation as presented at Council. She explained thata cross-party working group had been set up to look at the area as a whole and would meet in June.


    Discussions were taking place with Hove YMCA and the Children and Young Peoples Trust Board regarding management of the property.


    Since the incident with a tenant prior to Easter the buildings continued to be managed as general needs temporary accommodation.


    Overnight security had continued and there had been no further serious incidents of nuisance at either properties.


    Since April a few issues which had been reported and resolved forthwith.


    A tenant who caused the damage immediately prior to Easter was removed and legal action was being fast-tracked. Repairs at the property were near completion.



     Mr Pope thanked the Cabinet Member for her comments.


    The second Deputation concerned consultants, targets and ‘value for money’ and had been presented at Council on 24 April 2008 by Mr. Melson.



    The Cabinet Member welcomed Mr Melson to the meeting and noted the deputation

    as presented at Council.



    She confirmed thatconsultants would only be appointed following approval of a clear business case and cost benefit analysis. Members would not make unnecessary use consultants, preferring to maximise officers’ expertise and experience. Cabinet Member was committed to reducing the costs of consultancy fees in housing revenue and accounts budgets by £20M over the life of the thirty year business plan.


    Cabinet Member was committed to ensuring Housing Management services improved and would use targets to measure improvement, though she agreed that targets should not be overused. It was acknowledged that reaching a target did not always accurately

    reflect customer values. Cabinet Member was keen to maintain open dialogue with customers to set local performance targets and ensure that performance reports were discussed at the new Housing Management Consultative Committee.



    Mr Melson thanked the Cabinet Member for her comments.



Letters from Councillors

    No letters have been received.



    There were none.



Notice of Motion Referred from Council

    No Notices of Motion have been received.



    There were none.



Matters Referred for Reconsideration

    No matters have been referred.



    There were none.



Reports from Overview & Scrutiny Committees

    No reports have been received.



    There were none.



Report of the Housing Management Sub-Committee 11 March 2008 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

    Report of the Director of Strategy & Governance (copy attached).



    The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Director of Strategy & Governance concerning the decisions taken by the Housing Management Sub-Committee on 11 March 2008 (for copy see minute book).


    RESOLVED – That the report be noted.




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