Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room THB-06, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW

Contact: Jacqueline Pennycook, Tel: 020 7926 2167, Email:  jpennycook@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

    Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

     

     

    Minutes:

    Councillor Donatus Anyanwu, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that the meeting would focus on housing issues within Lambeth.

     

    Councillor David Amos declared that he was a member on the WATMOS London Board that manages the performance of three Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs).

     

    Councillor Tim Briggs declared that he worked in housing and managed a company that provided assistance to people with landlord and tenant issues.

     

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 195 KB

    To agree the minutes of the meeting of 12 July 2018 as an accurate record of the meeting.

     

    Minutes:

    In response to a question regarding recommendation 6, outlined on page 6 of the minutes, the Lead Scrutiny Officer confirmed that the information in relation to the financial state of Capita had been received and would be sent to members by email.

     

    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2018 be approved and signed by the Chair as an accurate record of the proceedings.

3.

Resident Involvement in Housing Scrutiny Commission Update pdf icon PDF 199 KB

    (All Wards)

     

    Contact for Information: Mark Howarth, Governance & Resident Engagement Manager, Housing Services,0207 926 8319, mhowarth@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Paul Gadsby, Cabinet Member for Housing, introduced the report by highlighting the following:

    ·         The Commission had been established to engage residents’ involvement in making decisions on the governance, scrutiny and delivery of housing-related works and services within Lambeth to increase satisfaction and improvement.

    ·         A number of key recommendations had been made by the Housing Scrutiny Commission. 

    ·         The new resident engagement structures pilot offered promise advice on how the Council should engage with residents.  However, further scope for improvement existed and additional work would be undertaken by the Council over the next 7 months to evaluate the pilot and ensure that a proper resident engagement structure was in place.

    ·         He would be working with various resident bodies, including Area Board  Chairs and become involved in the agenda preparation for the forthcoming 2nd Resident Assembly scheduled for 24 November 2018.  He had also attended the Major Works Assembly held on 10 September 2018.

     

    The Governance and Resident Engagement Manager then provided an overview of the report, noting that since March 2017, significant work had been undertaken by officers to increase residents’ participation since the detailed action plan had been adopted, as a result of the recommendations made by Housing Scrutiny Commission.

     

    The Chair invited residents who wished to speak at the meeting.

     

    Ms Barbara Booth, Streatham resident, said that:

    ·         No Tenant’s and Resident’s Association (TRAs) meetings had been held on her estate in Streatham for over a year.

    ·         Only specific people, such as TRA chairs or secretaries appeared to be included in the new structure but other residents were precluded. 

    ·         She enquired how many TRAs existed in Streatham as there only appeared to be one in existence, compared to eight or nine previously. 

     

    Ellen Lebethe, Chair of the Lambeth Pensioners’ Action Group, said that:

    ·         No consultation or meetings with stakeholders had been held to discuss suitable homes for older people.  The Action Group should be given further input regarding future housing for older people.

    ·         She had not been given the opportunity to meet with the Council to address issues

    ·         The Pensioners’ Action Group’s manifesto clearly outlined the housing needs for older people within Lambeth.  The manifesto demanded further discussion on housing association and pensioners rights; increased homelessness for older people and older people in private rented accommodation.

    ·         She had invited Councillor Gadsby to the next Pensioners’ Action Group meeting and she hoped the opportunity existed for him to address concerns raised by pensioners at the meeting.

    ·         She welcomed further involvement with the Council going forward on housing issues for pensioners.

     

    The Chair then invited officers to respond to the issues raised.  Councillor Paul Gadsby, Cabinet Member for Housing, confirmed that:

    ·         Residents would be invited to attend Residents’ and Tenants’ Assemblies and the list had not been restricted to specific people.  He endeavoured to ensure that details were communicated to residents more widely about the assemblies and that included providing feed-back details to Area Board Chairs who represent residents.

    ·         He agreed to attend the next Pensioners’ Action Group meeting.

    ·         He  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS) Update pdf icon PDF 626 KB

    (All Wards)

     

    Contact for Information: SumitraGomer, Assistant Director, Housing Capital Programme and Asset Management, Neighbourhoods and Growth. 0207 926 4208, SGomer@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Paul Gadsby, Cabinet Member for Housing, introduced the item by making the following points:

    ·         Approximately 23,000 council properties within Lambeth had now been upgraded to the Council’s required housing standard.

    ·         This was an important programme to ensure that Lambeth’s housing stock was upgraded and was a priority for the Council.

    ·         Housing communication issues for residents existed in the Council.  Therefore, he endeavoured to ensure that leaseholders received regular updates regarding s20 notices and council tenants were informed of their rights. 

    ·         There was a need to ensure that works carried out on estates were completed in the best possible way.

    ·         The report also illustrated improvements that would be made to a further 5,000 properties within the next financial year.

     

    Su Gomer, Assistant Director for Housing Capital Programme and Asset Management, then provided an overview of the report.

     

    The Chair invited speakers who wished to speak to address the Committee.

     

    Councillor Pete Elliott, said that:

    ·         Despite the housing standard being in progress for over 5 years and £534m (an over spend of £18m) would be spent by the end of this year, tenants’ satisfaction regarding repairs had not been achieved.

    ·         Tenants’ satisfaction remained at 66% but repairs appeared to be falling.

    ·         Leaseholder satisfaction stood at only 43.5% compared to 73% for tenants.

    ·         Only tenants and not leaseholder repairs were being reported by Amicus.

    ·         Leaseholders would receive increases to management fees and final accounts when billed.  He queried if funds from that increase would be used to assist with the over spend for the Lambeth Housing Standard and what support would be provided for leaseholders who could not pay those additional fees.

    ·         He also queried whether a decrease had occurred in the number of repairs since the implementation of the Housing Standard and, if so, the savings achieved?

    ·         Although an additional £83m had been sourced for the Lambeth Housing Standard, no consultation decisions with residents on how funds should be prioritised as opposed to refurbishments had been carried out.

     

    Deneice Campbell, Elliott Road resident, said that:

    ·         Although internal works had been completed on the estate, no details had been received regarding the impending external works, despite being one year behind schedule.

    ·         The windows on the estate were in a dilapidated condition and in need of repair.

    ·         Although she had been advised that the estate resided in a Conservation Area, nevertheless, she required an update regarding the external works, as no details were received at the last residents meeting she had attended.

    ·         She had received adequate support from her ward councillors regarding issues.

     

    Kate Macintosh, Architect, Macintosh Court, said that:

    ·         She welcomed the evaluation of the procurement process but queried the client satisfaction rating of the consultants used, their role, whether a Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) had been taken into account; and, if contractors had worked with other designers regarding works at Macintosh Court, especially as the estate was listed.

    ·         No risk assessment for Macintosh Court had been carried out by the Council.

     

    John Beechey, Residents’ Chair, Macintosh Court, said that:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Private Sector Housing pdf icon PDF 486 KB

    (All Wards)

     

    Contact for Information: Tom Tyson, Housing Strategy Team Leader, ttyson@lambeth.gov.uk, 020 7926 3544

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Paul Gadsby, Cabinet Member for Housing, introduced the report by making the following points:

    ·         In Lambeth, 40% of tenants lived in private rented properties and rents were not regulated.  This had resulted in staggering huge rent increases with the average rent for residents in Lambeth amounting to £1,647 a month.  The Council’s powers in this area were limited.

    ·         In Lambeth various enforcement powers existed over landlords.  Recently, a landlord was fined £10,000 and placed on the Mayor’s ‘name and shame’ website for failing to license the property as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and not undertaking relevant safety works at the property for his tenants.  

    ·         A new regulation would come into force on 1 October 2018.  Under the new arrangements, landlords would be required to ensure that all HMOs occupied by five or more people must be licensed.  It is hoped that the scheme would provide protection for those tenants.

    ·         The paper also outlined the consultation process that would be carried out regarding private sector housing over the next six months which would help develop a Private Sector Housing Strategy.

     

    Councillor Anna Birley, Policy Lead, Private Rented Sector, emphasised that private rental was a concern within Lambeth.  However, the Council would be undertaking further work to address the issue.  She hoped that the impending consultation and joint work with other local authorities, would prove valuable for the Council.

     

    The Chair, began the discussion by explaining the need to consider the current enforcement powers used by the Council; the relationship between rogue landlords/tenants and how this was managed; the use of private rented accommodation as opposed to temporary accommodation and how it was managed within the Lambeth. 

     

    In response to questions from Members, the Director for Housing confirmed that:

    ·         The Council issued improvement notices to landlords where relevant.

    ·         Although statistics showed that Lambeth used less enforcement powers compared to other authorities, those authorities had mandatory licensing laws in place.  This meant that private properties in those boroughs must be licensed.  Therefore, it was easier for those boroughs to take enforcement action against landlords.  However, as a result of the new mandatory HMO licensing criteria which would come into force on 1 October 2018, more properties in Lambeth would need to be licensed.

    ·         The Council had a range of performance indicators and enforcement tools available.  The service had not historically generated income but it was hoped that with the increased fines imposed for landlords, additional income could now be achieved. 

    ·         The Environmental Health Team that carried out private sector regulation and enforcement, was relatively small and had difficulty managing the increased caseload.  Although prosecution cases would be brought, priority would be given to managing the temporary accommodation budget. 

    ·         Raising standards in temporary accommodation was also difficult to achieve.  Most accommodation of that nature was managed by agents in the private sector.  The Council had contracts with agents to ensure that the required standards were being met, which was managed by officers.

    ·         Additional officers and funds would be required to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Housing Performance Information pdf icon PDF 189 KB

7.

2018-19 Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 186 KB

    (All Wards)

     

    Contact for Information: Gary O’Key, Lead Scrutiny Officer, Corporate Resources; 020 7926 2183; gokey@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Lead Scrutiny Officer introduced the item by highlighting the following points:

    ·         It was agreed that the next meeting on 1 November 2018 would focus on Crime and Disorder which was scrutinized by the Committee once a year.  The meeting would also focus on serious youth violence and be linked to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee (CSSC) meeting taking place on 23 October 2018 which would be themed around children at risk.  It was expected that Councillor Liz Atkins, Chair of CSSC, would provide feed-back from that meeting to the Committee as relevant.

    ·         The work programme had been updated to reflect the issues raised from the last meeting including the Capita information, which would be circulated to members.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.    That the work programme as drafted and the status of action be noted (Appendix 1).

     

    2.    That particular consideration is given to the focus of the next Committee meeting (the annual crime and disorder meeting) to be held on 1 November 2018.