Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions
Contact: Bill Lee, email firstname.lastname@example.org , tel 020 8583 2068
Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members
Apologies for absence were received from HFTRA members Julie Brooker, Sandy Graver, Paul Smith and Rene Wootten.
To confirm the minutes of the Tenants/Leaseholders Joint Consultative Committee held on 4 January 2012.
To confirm the minutes of the Tenants/Leaseholders Joint Consultative Committee held on 7 March 2012.
The minutes of the meeting on 4 January 2012 were agreed as an accurate record and signed.
Regarding the minutes of the meeting on 7 March 2012 Cllr Gillian Hutchison stated that the heckler referred to was not, and never had been, part of HUSSTRA, but was a former member of HFTRA. She claimed that the minutes implied that he was part of HUSSTRA. This interpretation was disputed by the Chair and several other Committee members.
Referring to the last sentence of paragraph 3, “At no point did any HUSSTRA representative attempt to restrain Mr Williams or dispute any of his statements, and one member filmed his outbursts” Cllr Hutchison asked why they should have restrained him, adding that such an expectation was absurd and that Mr Williams was nothing to do with HUSSTRA. The Chair stated that there had been no expectation of physical restraint, but some HUSSTRA members present, far from disowning Mr Williams, had joined in with him. Cllr Hutchison denied that they had, whilst several Committee members agreed that there had been more than one heckler and that a HUSSTRA member had filmed the disruption.
Cllr Hutchison’s comments were noted.
The minutes of the meeting on 7 March 2012 were agreed as an accurate record and signed.
Regarding the minutes of the meeting of 4 January 2012, Cllr Gillian Hutchison asked if there was an update on her request to supply separate figures on HH and LBH’s performance on voids (page 6, paragraph 2) as Cllr Curran had agreed. Alison Simmons, Assistant Director Housing Strategy and Services, advised that currently the figures could only be split as shown on HH’s monthly dashboard. Ms Simmons stated that there was now a voids action plan, which would be circulated to members. Under the plan it would be possible to monitor different parts of the process, verification would be monitored and it would be possible to offer a better breakdown of figures in future. She advised that the average void time would be reduced to 30 days from 71, although it would take around 3 months for the action plan to fully bed down. Ms Simons said that applications would be verified prior to an offer being made. Cllr Curran added that the plan would be reviewed after 3 months. Cllr Felicity Barwood asked how long it took for a void to be advertised on Locata; Alison Simmons replied that an advert would be placed as soon as the Authority had the keys but that as Locata worked on a 2 week cycle it could take up to 2 weeks to appear.
Cllr Curran advised that the action plan would cover these points and stated that it was essential that the current void times be reduced.
Jane Hunter asked about the issue of an Older Persons’ Dwelling (OPD) being let to a teenager (pages 2/3). Alison Simmons advised that the flat in question had not been recorded as for the over 50s, and officers were checking all relevant blocks to find if there were any other such flats. Ms Hunter stated that HH would have known that the block was otherwise let to older people, and if the policy were to change as a result of the housing situation and young people moved in then people should be made aware of any such changes before bidding on properties. Cllr Curran stated that there was no intention to change the policy and Barbara Perry added that neither HH nor LBH had that particular block recorded as OPD; some flats were and some were not. Ms Perry stated that there was an intention to review the policy of mixing OPDs with general lettings in the same block. Ms Hunter asserted that the older tenants had all been told that the block was for the over 50s when they bid.
There were no matters arising from the minutes of the 7 March 2012 meeting.
Feedback from Subgroups
Verbal Update on:
a) Initial Draft for Terms of Reference
b) Draft Performance
Alison Simmons, Assistant Director of Housing Strategy and Services, gave a verbal update on the proposed draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the TLJCC. Copies of the draft were circulated to members. Ms Simmons made it clear that the paper being circulated was simply a first draft, not in corporate format and not intended to be viewed as a finished document.
The draft ToR were described as follows:
Membership: The Lead Member for Housing, Education and HR.
Three Councillors appointed by Borough Council annually.
The Assistant Director Housing Strategy and Services.
The Head of Housing Client and Partnership.
The HFTRA Executive.
Guest member: Hounslow Homes’ Director of Tenancy Management.
Board members of HH were not to be allowed to be members of the TLJCC.
Alison Simmons advised that HH officers would only be called when required and that it had been agreed by the sub-group not to allow HH Board members to be on the Committee as it was to function as an interface between tenants and LBH.
Chair: The Lead Member for Housing, Education and HR.
Objectives: The meetings are to provide a forum for regular liaison and consultation with Tenant/Leaseholders’ representatives about the Council’s strategies and plans. The TLJCC in particular will consider and comment on:
1. LBH housing strategy
2. HRA self-financing business plan
3. Specific Housing Services strategies, plans and performance
4. The annual delivery plan for Hounslow Homes
5. Quarterly performance reports from Hounslow Homes
6. Discussion items for the Tenant Scrutiny Panel
7. Reports on equal access and diversity
Alison Simmons advised that the council was keen to ensure that there were formal and informal mechanisms in place to enable tenants and leaseholders to comment on council policy, plans and performance.
Schedule of Meetings: Ms Simmons proposed that the committee should meet bi-monthly for 2012/13 to monitor the implementation of the new management agreement with HH and then revert to quarterly meetings. She advised that the corporate diary might make this difficult or even impossible.
Meetings to be held between 7.00 pm and 8.30 pm with agreement by the Committee to continue after this time. Any items not taken would be carried forward to the next meeting.
Agendas to be published 5 working days prior to the meeting.
There shall be an LBH officers’ meeting with the HFTRA Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer to agree the Agenda and feedback on sub-groups and actions from previous meetings between Committee meetings.
Additional items that members wish to see included shall be sent to the Head of Housing Client and Partnership 14 working days before the date of the meeting, or else be raised with the Chair on the night who shall decide if they can be tabled.
Dave Cox, Chair of HFTRA, asked if one other HFTRA Executive member could be substituted for the Treasurer in the LBH officers’ meeting. The Chair agreed.
Cllr Gillian Hutchison asked what would happen to the draft if approved; Alison Simmons advised that an approved amended draft would be submitted ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
Barbara Perry, Head of Housing Client & Partnerships, presented the Checkpoint Report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2012 (attached).
Ms Perry advised that the Affordable Housing Panel had met on 10 April 2012 and agreed the recommendation to close both the Loraine Road and Everglades Sheltered Schemes and initiate decanting of tenants on 23 April 2012. Cllr Curran undertook to write to all affected tenants to keep them informed. Cllr Felicity Barwood stated that she had been acting as a supporter to the tenants, who had been informed on 17 February 2011 that a review into the future of the Schemes was to take place and they had lived with uncertainty since then. She described the situation as very difficult and stated that whilst some tenants just wanted to get on with the move, many did not want to leave. Barbara Perry advised that an officer would be appointed for six months to assist tenants; Cllr Curran added that the officer’s contract would be extended if the moves had not been completed within that time.
Carolyn Courage asked if the tenants had been found new homes and was advised by Ms Perry that they had not at this stage and that individual meetings would be conducted to ascertain their preferences. Ms Courage asked if sufficient suitable Sheltered Housing was available; Ms Perry replied that there was but tenants did not have to remain in Sheltered Housing or within the Borough. She stated that it was felt most tenants would opt to transfer to other Sheltered Schemes and places would be offered as they came up. The process would be explained fully to them and they would be classed as Band A following closure of the affected schemes and would receive the Disturbance Payment and £4,700 Home Loss packages. Cllr Curran stated that there would be no undue haste and that if the movement of tenants out of the Schemes took a year then so be it.
Jane Hunter asked if tenants would get continuous support if they decided not to go into another Sheltered Scheme. Ms Perry advised that Sheltered Scheme Managers would not be available to tenants who moved into other types of housing but that Linkline would be, adding that their options would be fully discussed with them. Cllr Curran assured the Committee that all possible support would be given to the tenants wherever they chose to move.
Cllr Barwood stated that there were two families with severely disabled children living in one of the affected Schemes who should not have been placed in Sheltered accommodation. Barbara Perry said that there were five units in Loraine Road that were not Sheltered which would also be closed; she advised that these tenants would be spoken to about their options. Cllr Barwood asked about plans for the buildings and was advised that the Loraine Road flats would be sold for the maximum sum possible and the proceeds used to help improve other Sheltered Schemes; Everglades was to be ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
Update on the Management Agreement
Cllr Steve Curran said that he was delighted to inform the Committee that the Mayor had now signed off the Hounslow Homes Management Agreement. He stated that the process had taken nine months and had been a long hard road, and thanked everybody concerned for all their hard work and support. Cllr Curran advised that he was working with HH Chief Executive Bernadette O’Shea to put together a group to ensure that all aims were achieved.
Any Other Business
Phillip Scarrott referred to the practice of carrying out gas safety checks in all Hounslow Homes properties regardless of whether gas appliances were installed. He stated that three letters were sent to tenants requesting that they permit an inspection and, if no response was received to the third letter, the Authority was able to obtain a warrant to enforce an inspection. Mr Scarrott advised that he had asked for a full explanation of the reason for this to be published in the January 2012 Newsletter and it had not happened. Barbara Perry and Alison Simmons both confirmed that they had asked for such an article to be published and Ms Perry advised that she would investigate why the article had not been published. Mr Scarrott said that the article should contain an explanation of the fact that a warrant could be enforced after three letters had been sent if tenants did not comply.
It was agreed that the next meeting of the TLJCC be rescheduled as the given date of 4 July 2012 clashed with a Hounslow Homes meeting.
Cllr Curran thanked all participants and closed the meeting.