Agenda and draft minutes

Housing Management Advisory Board - Thursday, 15 August 2019 6.00pm

Venue: Shimkent Room, Daneshill House, Danestrete

Contact: Ian Gourlay  Email: Tel: 01438242703

No. Item



To receive apologies for absence and declarations of interest


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Lin Martin-Haugh, Fiona Plumridge (Tenant), Christine Smith (Tenant) and Jon Thurlow (Leaseholder).


There were no declarations of interest.


MINUTES - 18 JULY 2019 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Housing Management Advisory Board (HMAB) meeting held on 18 July 2019


That the minutes of the meeting of the Housing Management Advisory Board (HMAB) held on 18 July 2019 be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chair.



To consider update on the proposed Housing for Older Persons Strategy


The Operations Manager (Managing Homes), assisted by the Specialist Support Services & Contracts Manager (Independent Living) introduced the Housing Older Persons Strategy (HOPS).


In terms of the rationale for the Strategy, the Specialist Support Services & Contracts Manager (Independent Living) advised that, of a population of 84,000, there were over 20,000 people in Stevenage aged over 55, with 36.53% of households containing at least one person aged 65 or over.  In 2017, it was reported that 1,000+ over 65s had dementia, expected to increase by 24% by 2024.  There were 8,550 unpaid carers in the town and, again in 2017, 5,638 over 65s were unable to manage one domestic task.


The Specialist Support Services & Contracts Manager (Independent Living) stressed that, if appropriate housing was provided, injuries such as broken hips or cold-related illnesses could be prevented.  This in turn would save money on emergency services, operations, medicines, aftercare, rehabilitation and social care treatment.


The Board noted that the aim was to provide a 10 year Strategy for Older People’s Housing in Stevenage relating to people over 55; existing independent living/extra care schemes including adaptations and new provision; a range of tenures; links to Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and its Extra Care Strategy; inform emerging care strategies and provision; and look at existing properties, void standards, care capacity and levels within extra care.


The Specialist Support Services & Contracts Manager (Independent Living) stated that the outcome would provide an understanding of current and future needs of older people; gaps in service provision and what future services were needed; capacity of specialist housing in Stevenage; future demand for specialist housing – rent/sale; and future support service needed for older persons housing delivered by SBC.


In reply to a question regarding the number of older people in Stevenage Sheltered Housing that required additional care, the Board was informed that, although this figure fluctuated, it was estimated that about a third required such care.


The Operations Manager (Managing Homes) advised that evidence gathering had been organised through a public survey; social media; desktop review of SBC and HCC data; reviewing National best practice and research; conversations with local groups; professional survey; and Stevenage Day.  Statistics included:


·      Council Homes comprised 11% (880) of Older Persons housing in Stevenage;

·      12% of Council homes with tenant(s) aged 55+ may be under-occupying by at least one bedroom; and

·      24% of housing register applicants were aged 55 and over.


The Operations Manager (Managing Homes) referred to the highlights of the professional and public surveys on the Strategy.  In respect of the public survey, a high number of responses were received from those in the 45-54 and 70-75 age ranges; the majority of respondents were female; the top 3 health conditions were mobility, hearing loss and breathing problems; the reasons for people wanting to move to Stevenage were to be closer to family/return to where they grew up and the provision of new housing, better transport links and regeneration of the town. A significant majority of respondents would either prefer to remain in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.



To consider the Housing Service Performance Report for Quarter 1 (Q1)

Additional documents:


The Corporate Performance and Improvement Officer presented the Housing Service Performance report for the First Quarter of 2019/20 (April – June 2019).  Of the 42 performance measures, 4 were at red status and 3 were at amber status, with the remaining 35 at green status, having achieved or exceeded their targets.




Of the various performance measures, the reasons for the two at red status (Asset 5b: Percentage of assets known to be health & safety compliant and RTB1: Percentage of Right To Buy notices responded to within statutory timescales) were explained.  It was hoped that 5b would be at green status in the next Quarter.  In respect of RTB1, 8 of the10 notices had been sent out on time, but delays had occurred with the other 2 due to external reasons.  Attention was drawn to 100% complete rate with the timescale for mutual exchanges.


In relation to a query regarding ECHLF1: Percentage of Homes maintenance as decent, the Assistant Director (Housing & Investment) confirmed that this was a figure for the current year, rather than a cumulative figure for the Decent Homes scheme (ie. the performance measure target was re-set each April).  She undertook to provide Board members with details of how many properties had not been refurbished at all under the Decent Homes Programme.


Customer Service


Of the performance measures, Compl2: Percentage of MP and Members enquiries answered within 10 days, was at amber status as 122 of 133 complaints (91.73%) had been closed within deadline, against the target of 95%.  However, customer satisfaction for internal works completed was 100% for the First Quarter.




The one performance measure at red status was LHMW1: Leasehold major works charges collected as a percentage of charges due.  This was due to delays caused by the probate process following the passing away of a leaseholder.  The measure at amber status (FTA2: Former tenants arrears collected) was marginally below target (£19,635 collected against the target of £21,000).




The performance with void turnarounds had improved, although there was still one measure at red status and one at amber status.


A Member questioned the level of rent loss and council tax loss as a result of voids not being returned to the housing stock for re-letting within approved deadlines.  The Assistant Director (Housing & Investment) confirmed that the statistics included a proportion of management voids (ie. properties held as empty), such as those in Asquith Court.  It was agreed that future performance reports should include a commentary on management voids as a mitigation against the red or amber status of relevant performance measures.


In relation to RepCost1: Average responsive repair cost per dwelling, the Board was pleased to note that the average cost had been significantly reduced against target for Quarter 1.


It was RESOLVED that the Housing Service Performance report for the First Quarter of 2019/20 (April – June 2019) be noted.




To receive Repairs and Voids update


The Service Delivery Manager (Stevenage Direct Services) advised that the update on Repairs and Voids performance had been covered by the Performance and Improvement Officer under the previous item.  She informed the Board that a pilot scheme was about to be introduced for the appointment of four Maintenance Operatives to assist the Repairs Team in carrying out small-scale jobs, leaving the existing operatives to focus on major elements of repair and voids work.


In response to a question, the Service Delivery Manager replied that, should the pilot scheme prove to be successful and commercially viable, consideration would be given to extending it to other residents on a commercial basis.


It was RESOLVED that the update be noted.



To receive Housing All Under One Roof (HAUOR) update


The Assistant Director (Housing and Investment) presented an update on the Housing All Under One Roof (HAUOR) programme.  She commented that the latest stage of the Housing & Investment Business Unit Review had not been considered at the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) meeting held on 13 August 2019.  The Future Council Board had asked for further work to be done in respect of the Corporate Landlord Function.  Two options would be worked up for submission to the SLT meeting on 10 September 2019.  Assuming an option was agreed, pre-implementation work would be carried out with a view to the new structure coming into place on 1 April 2020.


It was RESOLVED that the update be noted.



To consider any other business accepted by the Chair as urgent


Frequency of Reports


In response to a suggestion from the Assistant Director (Housing and Investment), it was agreed that, in future, the update reports relating to Repairs and Voids and Housing All Under One Roof would be submitted to every second Board meeting.



Thursday 12 September 2019, 6.00pm, Shimkent Room, Daneshill House


Thursday 12 September 2019, 6.00pm, Shimkent Room