Wrexham Council homepage

Advertising

Agenda and minutes

Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 10th January, 2018 2.00 pm

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall

Contact: Craig Stevens  Scrutiny Facilitator

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

40.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology was submitted on behalf of Councillor David Griffiths, Lead Member for Place – Housing. 

41.

Declarations of personal interests, if any

Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were reminded of their responsibility, under paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any of the business to be transacted at this meeting. The following declaration was made:

 

Agenda Item 6 – Welsh Housing Quality Standard Programme Update – Councillor John Phillips - Personal and Prejudicial – employee of contractor who sub-contracts to the roofing contractors involved in WHQS.  The Councillor left the meeting taking no part in the discussion.

 

 

42.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the following Meetings:

 

4 December 2017

13 December 2017

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meetings held on 4 and 13 December 2017 be signed as a correct record.

 

13 December 2017

 

Minute 35 - Environmental Enforcement Performance – recommendation (ii)

A Member suggested that the follow-up report, which was requested at the meeting, should be received as a matter of urgency.

43.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/06/18s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.

 

The Scrutiny Officer introduced the report, highlighting the main points for consideration.

 

AGREED – 

 

(i)            That in consultation with the Chair, some items be re-scheduled to allow for possible consideration of the ‘Environmental Enforcement Performance’ report at the February 2018 meeting;

(ii)               That subject to the above, the Work Programme as attached at Appendix 1 to the report (HF/06/18s) be approved.

44.

Council House Voids pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for Place - Housing

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Member for Place – Housing submitted a report (HHE/01/18s) which updated Members on performance in respect of the numbers and turnaround time of void properties within the Council housing stock and outlining changes to the void standard.

 

The Service Manager – Housing introduced the report and responded to Members questions accordingly thereafter.  During the ensuing debate, the following issues were highlighted in particular:

 

·         Where possible, any urgent attention would be carried out to a property at the point it became void.

·         Properties should be eventually up to a standard that they could be tenant occupied at the point they became void.

·         Acknowledgment that all gardens were different and individual tenants had different requirements i.e. some tenants could only cope with a garden that required minimal maintenance.  Therefore it was not possible to be too prescriptive in terms of standard requirements, but this was a complex area for implementation of a policy

·         Acknowledgement of the considerable progress made in terms of reducing the number of voids and in the improved lettable standard of properties.

·         A Member stated that whilst the work carried out to date was to be commended, there was now a need to strive towards reducing the 85 day void turnaround target.

·         The new Housing Management structure would allow housing officers to spend more time on site with an increased emphasis on monitoring the condition of properties and gardens.

·         It was hoped that the percentage of works carried out in-house rather than through contractors would continue to increase.

·         The improvements in the condition of properties should have a positive impact in relation to the sustainment of tenancies.

 

AGREED – That the Committee:

 

(i)            Commend the Lead Member, Housing and Economy Department and its staff for the work undertaken to improve void performance.

(ii)          Receive a further report on the policy for dealing with gardens and their treatment when properties became void.

(iii)             Receive a performance update report twice a year and that this is in the form of an information report if there are no issues of concern to note.

45.

Welsh Housing Quality Standard Programme Update pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for Place - Housing

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Members declarations of interest in relation to this item are set out in Minute 41 above).

 

The Lead Member for Place – Housing submitted a report (HHE/02/18s) which allowed Members to consider the Council’s progress towards achieving the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by 2020 by reviewing the progress of the first six months of 2017/18.  The report included the progress for both Q1 and Q2 of this year’s programme.

 

The Service Manager – Assets introduced the report and responded to Members questions accordingly thereafter.  During the debate the following points were noted, in particular:

 

·         Four of the six targets for Q2 had been achieved or exceeded. 

·         The kitchens and bathrooms elements were slightly behind target for Q2.  In acknowledging that this was moving away from the recent trend the Service Manager – Assets stressed that the current figures were largely down to the number of refusals for the kitchens and bathrooms elements. 

·         Work would be undertaken to consider in greater detail the reasons for refusals and to consider the age demographic relating to those refusals.  A Tenant Liaison Officer had been allocated to address this on a ward by ward basis.

·         Confirmation that outstanding elements of the standard would be carried out to properties in the future as part of the voids programme.

·         In the event of a refusal, court orders were applied for if health and safety issues needed to be addressed within a property.

·         A Member raised concern around the impact on the WHQS programme if the major repairs allowance from WG ceased.  The Service Manager – Assets stressed that he was confident that the WHQS programme would be achieved.

 

AGREED – That the Committee commend Officers for a positive report and thank the Housing and Economy Department and its staff for the good work being carried out.