Agenda and draft minutes

Housing Management Advisory Board - Wednesday, 10th November, 2021 4.30 pm

Venue: the Preston Room, Woodgate Chambers, Woodgate, Loughborough. View directions

Items
No. Item

22.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 8th September 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 8th September 2021 were confirmed as an accurate record.

23.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

All members will make a declaration at each meeting if they have an interest in any item of business on the agenda which would affect them more than tenants or residents of the ward(s) affected generally.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

24.

HRA ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND HRA BUSINESS PLAN pdf icon PDF 71 KB

A report of the Head of Landlord Services. To Follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Landlord Services submitted a report for the Board to consider the draft updated Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan 2021-2052 and Asset Management Strategy Framework.  (Item 4 on the Agenda).

 

Steve Partridge and Simon Smith, representatives from Savills attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the matter.

 

The presentation outlined the fitness of the financial business plan and assessed it by drawing comparisons with comparable local authorities with a similar size housing stock.

 

Mr Partridge noted to the Board that the work of Savills had concluded that there were opportunities for investment in Council housing by the Council.  This was in part due to the abolition of the debt cap which had historically restricted borrowing for HRA Plans.  Mr Partridge suggested to the Board that they consider options and priorities for investment.

 

Savills had been commissioned to conduct work in order to:

 

  • Benchmark – Compare the Council’s rent-levels and costs to similar Local Authorities.
  • Review the Asset Management Strategy – Consider where money would be spent on existing stock.
  • Review the Housing Revenue Account Financial Business Plan
  • Work with Officers to ascertain how much it was thought could be borrowed to invest.
  • Address specific issues related to sheltered sites and review options on these issues.

 

Benchmarking

 

A database had been built up by Savills based on data from Local Authorities similar to Charnwood Borough Council.  Savills looked at the costs incurred by the Council for the previous and current financial year.  In terms of cost per unit, Charnwood Borough Council was below its peer group.  In overall terms, this deep analysis of the accounts showed that they were in order.  The standout feature was the relatively low rents compared to other Local Authorities in the peer group which could be the result of aforementioned rent formula when rents were formula or pervious policies.  The fact that less money was coming in meant that there was a limit as to what could be done with the money, however, there was room for investment.

 

The Group Accountant clarified that there had been one year that due to Council policy rents had not been increased and this had the knock-on effect of rents being lower.

 

In response to questions from the Board, it was clarified that:

 

  • There were 15 Local Authorities in the Midlands with similar levels of housing stock that the Council was benchmarked against.
  • Stock profile and management costs were looked at across all types of stock and were not broken down into different types of stock.

 

Asset Management Strategy Framework

 

  • The stock condition database was not completely up to date which made forecasts difficult.
  • There was a risk that something may need doing that hadn’t been done and vice versa.
  • A 20% sample stock survey was recommended to update stock condition data.
  • In overall terms, over the 30-year period of data, the existing data reflected broadly what is expected.  The best practice going forward would be to carry out renovation based on updated stock condition  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

UPDATE REPORT ON THE EFFECT OF THE CHANGE IN THE COUNCIL'S POLICY ON BULK WASTE COLLECTION ON COUNCIL DWELLINGS pdf icon PDF 110 KB

A report of the Head of Landlord Services.

Minutes:

The Head of Landlord Services submitted a report updating members on the effect in terms of cost and service change to tenants and the housing revenue account of this change in council policy. (Item 5 on the agenda).

 

The Landlord Services Manager attended the meeting to assist with the discussion of this item and gave an update as follows:

 

  • The original report had been considered in March and had examined the policy on charging for the removal of bulky items.  The result had been inconclusive, so the issue had been brought back to the Board.
  • It was necessary to clear away bulky waste especially if it posed a fire risk.  As such, it was thought that people were exploiting the necessity to clear the waste by dumping waste knowing it would be cleared.
  • The approximate cost of the clearing service was £40,000-50,000 per year based on both external and internal dumping.  The HRA was absorbing this cost that was not to this great extent before the change in policy.

 

The Board considered the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on dumping and raised the possibility of tenants on benefits getting cheaper collections.

 

Action: Cabinet Lead Member for Public Housing to provide information in respect of the Council’s bulky waste collection service

 

The Board raised the issue of the issue of waste on Cheltenham Street including on a privately-owned Housing Association block, in particular a block where a compound has attracted a lot of waste from other properties.  A lock had been requested so that only residents could use it, but this had not been forthcoming.  It was noted that other blocks had the bins inside the block.

 

At this point Councillor Radford left the meeting.  This meant that the meeting was now inquorate.  It was decided to continue the meeting informally.

 

The Board suggested that it may not be Council tenants fly tipping and that any policy needed to consider the tenants as money spent on collections diverts money that could improve Council housing.

 

It was noted that when the Council collected fly tipping from outside a Council House the cost came from the HRA whereas if it was collected elsewhere it was charged to the General Account.

 

The Head of Landlord Services clarified that the Housing Assistant checked communal areas and identified areas where contractors needed to remove items.  This was then charged to the HRA.  With the Open Spaces Contract, external areas on Council housing land were cleared on a Monday.  Waste could also be added to the “Monday list” for collection where officers noted them when out on the estates or tenant reported waste.  This too was charged to the HRA.

 

AGREED that the report be noted.

 

Reason

 

To provide information to the Board and allow the Board the chance to comment.

26.

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION PACK QUARTER 2 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 395 KB

A report of the Head of Landlord Services.

Minutes:

The Head of Landlord Services submitted a report for the Board to consider

performance at the end of Quarter 2, 2021-2022, April to June 2021.  (Item 6 on the agenda).

 

The Landlord Services Manager attended the meeting to assist with the discussion of this item.

 

No comments were made.

 

AGREED that the report be noted.

 

Reason

 

To acknowledge the Board’s consideration of the matter.

27.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

In accordance with the Board’s decision members of the Board were asked in advance of this agenda being published whether they had any questions on matters within the remint of the Board that they wished to ask, for response at this meeting.

 

On this occasion no questions were submitted.

Minutes:

In accordance with the Board’s decision at its meeting on 22nd March 2017 (HMAB Minute 24.1), members of the Board had been asked in advance of the agenda being published whether they had any questions on matters within the remint of the Board that they wished to ask, for response at this meeting.

 

On this occasion no questions had been submitted.

28.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 116 KB

A report of the Head of Landlord Services to enable the Board to review and agree its Work Programme, together with meeting dates for 2021/22.

 

For information further meetings of the Board are scheduled as follows in 2021/22:

 

Wednesday 12th January 2022 at 4.30pm

 

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 at 4.30pm

 

Wednesday 11th May 2022 at 4.30pm.

 

 

Minutes:

The Board received a report of the Head of Landlord Services to enable the Board to agree its Work Programme. (Item 9 on the agenda).

 

Members of the Board could identify matters that they considered required looking at over the next few meetings of the Board, including any already listed on the Work Programme but not yet scheduled. Officers present could provide advice as to whether items might be appropriately considered at the time proposed.

 

Summary of discussion:

 

(i)            That a future item be added to the work programme around the age designation of stock and potential revisions in that respect.

 

(ii)          Garages were not included in the Sheltered Housing Review.  There was a separate review in progress.

 

 

AGREED

 

1. that the Sheltered Housing Review, Garages Review, and potential revision of age designations for letting stock be added to the Board’s Work Programme

 

2. that the Board’s Work Programme be updated to reflect all decisions made above and earlier in the meeting.

 

Reasons

 

1. so that it can be considered by the Board.

 

2. To ensure that the information in the Work Programme is up to date.

 

29.

EXEMPT INFORMATION

It is recommended that members of the public be excluded from the meeting during  the consideration of the following item on the grounds that it will involve the likely  disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule  12A to the Local Government Act 1972 and it is considered that the public interest  in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Minutes:

It was resolved that members of the public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the item on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

At this point in the meeting the recording was stopped.

30.

FUTURE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE DELIVERY OF PLANNED WORKS, VOIDS AND ASSOCIATED WORKS

An exempt report of the Head of Landlord Services circulated to members of the board. To Follow.

Minutes:

An exempt report of the Head of Landlord Services was considered (Exempt item 10 on the agenda).

 

A summary of the Board’s discussion on this matter is provided in the exempt minute (Housing Management Advisory Board 30E. 2021/22).