Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Irene Bowles, Email: irene.bowles@hounslow.gov.uk, 020 8583 2075 

Items
No. Item

8.

Apologies, Declarations of Interest or Any Other Communications from Members

Decision:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Collins for lateness.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Collins for lateness.

 

There were no declarations of interest, or any other communications from Members.

9.

Minutes of Meeting Held on 28 September 2015 & Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record, with one amendment:

 

Item 3, Question 13 (page 3 of the Agenda Pack): First sentence was amended to read: “It had been reported that over 50% of urgent police calls made in the West area were related to domestic disturbance.”

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record, with one amendment:

 

Item 3, Question 13 (page 3 of the Agenda Pack): First sentence was amended to read: “It had been reported that over 50% of urgent police calls made in the West area were related to domestic disturbance.”

 

There were no matters arising.

10.

New Approach to Enforcement pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that:

Ø      Members request that the Lead Member for Community Protection consider the development of an App to make reporting of enforcement issues easier.  The Lead Member agreed to look into this.

Ø      Members would review Enforcement again in six months time.  They would like to see data sets on response times and issues raised within that review. 

Ø      Members would like to receive dashboard information as soon as it becomes available.

Ø      Feedback would be obtained from the Area Forums prior to the review.  Members noted that Chairs and Vice-Chair of Area Forums would consider this at their January 2016 meeting; followed by Area Forums at their March 2016 meetings.

Ø      Members suggested that it would be useful for them to accompany Officers from the Area Teams, to gain an insight into the service.  Gerry McCarthy, Head of Enforcement, Community Safety and Commercial Regulation, welcomed this.

 

Ben Osifo agreed to forward the Health and Safety Committee document giving advice to Councillors on personal safety for lone working at surgeries.

 

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Councillor Richard Foote, Lead Member for Community Protection, Aled Richards, Director of Community Safety, Environment and Regulatory Services, and Gerry McCarthy, Head of Service to the meeting, and invited Councillor Foote to present his report.

 

Councillor Foote explained the rationale to the change in philosophy, as seeking to bring together a number of strands of enforcement under one service.  Cabinet had approved the new enforcement policy on 22 September 2015, with the new approach going live on 6 October 2015.  Staff were currently being recruited to posts; Gerry McCarthy had been recently appointed as Head of Service.

 

Members noted that there would be five geographical teams, linked to Area Forums.  Team Leaders would report to those Area Forums and take guidance from Members.

 

Hounslow Highways Officers would be part of the team, reporting to the Team Leaders whilst remaining Hounslow Highways employees. Enforcement Officers would also liaise with the Metropolitan Police Officers attached to the Council.  Kingdom Environmental Protection Limited had been contracted for an initial period of six months (which could be extended for up to twelve months) to provide their expertise and initial enforcement officer cover for the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) as a swift implementation process was required.  They would be mobilised on a daily basis by the Neighbourhood Enforcement Manager to hit hot spots around the Borough.

 

Councillor Foote also informed Members that all areas of enforcement around the Council – housing licensing and rogue landlords, licensing, food safety, trading standards, commercial health and safety and animal and pest control would be linked together under the Head of Enforcement, Community Safety and Commercial and Regulation.

 

Q: Where would the team be based?  The Team would be based at the Civic Centre; team leaders would meet daily to identify and review current issues and plan the daily workload. Links would be used from the CCTV centres in Derby Road and Trimmer Walk to inform this.

 

Aled Richards advised Members that the restructure process had been completed, and the team would be in place by the end of November 2015.  Dedicated Enforcement Team members would attend Area Forum meetings to receive comments and give updates and feedback.  The temporary Kingdom staff would give the team more capacity to deal with serious problems, such as might occur at the Hartlands site or Dukes Meadows.

 

Dealing with anti-social behaviour would be incorporated into the Enforcement Officer roles, whose uniforms would be re-branded and would look very similar to police officer uniforms.  The police were content with the design.  Stab vests and high visibility jackets would be worn when appropriate by Enforcement Officers.  There would be 32 Enforcement Officers across the Borough.

 

Q:  What powers would Officers have? Officers would be trained to efficiently deal with a variety of issues under the 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour Act, including littering, spitting, untidy front gardens and fly tipping.  They would have a wide range of powers to enable them to deal with these issues.  The 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour Act  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Hounslow Housing Services Update pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

During the presentation by Councillor Katherine Dunne, Members requested the following information:

 

a)                 How many households were placed in temporary accommodation in Hostels and refuges?

b)                 How many tenants had rejected the offer to upgrade/refurbish their kitchen and/or bathroom?

c)                  To how many families with children who had no recourse to public funds had Children and Adult Services (the Council) provided assistance with housing needs, and at what cost?

Lourdes DeBarry agreed to provide Members with figures.

 

d)                 Could Councillors be provided with a booklet/information sheet to assist them in giving advice on housing needs to constituents?

Councillor Katherine Dunne agreed to liaise with the Chair to facilitate this.

 

e)                 Was a Housing Update included in the Members’ Development Programme?

Lourdes DeBarry would advise Members of the timing of this update.

 

Resolved that:

Having received the presentation from Councillor Katherine Dunne, Members would review Hounslow Housing Services Performance in six months time, to include feedback from the Customer Service Team.

Minutes:

 [Afterminute – There is an amendment to the presentation – page 45 of the Agenda pack: the last point under Phase 3 should read “Labour Member Working Group advising Lead Member for Housing on preparations for DLO] 

 

The Chair welcomed the Lead Member for Housing, Equalities and Inclusion and Lourdes DeBarry, Acting Head of Housing Services, to the meeting, and invited Councillor Dunne to present her report.

 

Councillor Dunne informed Members that she had presented three reports to Cabinet in October 2015:

Ø  Future Arrangements for Housing Property Services/DLO

Ø  Homelessness and Temporary Accommodation Action Plan

Ø  Housing Revenue Account Business Plan Update

 

a) Future Arrangements for Housing Property Services/DLO

The Hounslow Housing restructure would take place in three phases. There would be three Heads of Service (HoS) reporting to the Director of Housing: Heads of Housing Services, Resident Services and Property Services.  Two of these HoSs had already been appointed.

 

It was intended to have a tenure-blind approach, so that teams would deal with all categories of clients – homeless, temporary accommodation, council tenants, leaseholders, etc.

 

Q:  Who does a resident/ homeless person go to for help?  Lourdes DeBarry advised that there would now be a “customer journey”; a homeless family presenting at the Civic Centre would move on to the temporary housing team, then possibly become a Council tenant and then a leaseholder.  The file for the whole process would follow the family.  For tenants, the Resident Services team would provide a one-stop shop.

 

Q: Will there be a change of culture in the service?  At present, voice mails and messages left are often not responded to; residents need to have confidence that this will change.  The Lead Member assured Members that this was the aim of the restructure.

 

Q:  Was it true that all queries and requests had to be made online? The Lead Member advised that it was hoped that more people would do this, as it would free up telephone lines, but it would not be mandatory.  She was aware that a group of Tenants and Leaseholders had been in consultation with Customer Services discussing this.  There were concerns that it was not always possible to get through to the Housing team – the Lead Member confirmed that a dedicated phone line had been requested.

 

The Lead Member advised Members that a responsive repairs team was being established as part of the restructure.  Operative job descriptions had been evaluated and requirements for extra skills and training needs gathered.  The objective was that one person would carry out a whole repair job.

 

Q: If a team member was a plumber, would he/she be expected to re-plaster walls, etc? If the job was small, every operative wold be expected to carry them out.  However, if a whole wall needed to be re-plastered, a specialist would be sent.  No-one would be asked to carry out a task for which they were not qualified; a skills matrix would be compiled.  Members noted that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Domestic Violence Task & Finish Group - Approval of membership and terms of reference pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that:

1.                  After considering the Report, Members approved the Terms of Reference contained therein for the review into Domestic Violence.

2.                  The Task and Finish Group would modify the Terms of Reference, should the need arise.

3.                  The Task and Finish Group would comprise of Councillors Candice Atterton, Peter Carey, Mel Collins and Elizabeth Hughes.  They noted that Councillor Sue Sampson, Lead Member for Communities, would be an Adviser to the Group.  A Chair would be elected at the first meeting of the Group.

 

Ben Osifo would set up the first meeting of the Task and Finish Group.

Minutes:

Members were reminded that, at their meeting on 28 September 2015, they had agreed to set up a Task and Finish Group to review Domestic Violence in the Borough.  Draft Terms of Reference had been included in the Report (attached at Item 5 of the Agenda); Members across all Panels of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been invited to consider joining the Task and Finish Group.

 

Resolved that:

1.            After considering the Report, Members approved the Terms of Reference contained therein for the review into Domestic Violence.

2.            The Task and Finish Group would modify the Terms of Reference, should the need arise.

3.            The Task and Finish Group would comprise of Councillors Candice Atterton, Peter Carey, Mel Collins and Elizabeth Hughes.  They noted that Councillor Sue Sampson, Lead Member for Communities, would be an Adviser to the Group.  A Chair would be elected at the first meeting of the Group.

 

Ben Osifo agreed to organise the first meeting of the Task and Finish Group.

13.

Panel Work Programme

Decision:

Ben Osifo advised members that planned items for the February 2016 Agenda were:

Ø      Affordable Housing

Ø      Community Safety Partnership

Ø      Hounslow Housing (although it had been agreed in this meeting to review this in 6 months time)

Ø      Leisure Services (a consultation process was currently being carried out; this item might need to be deferred)

Ø      Update on Domestic Violence Task and Finish Group (provisional).

Minutes:

Ben Osifo advised members that planned items for the February 2016 Agenda were:

Ø      Affordable Housing

Ø      Community Safety Partnership

Ø      Hounslow Housing (although it had been agreed in this meeting to review this in 6 months time)

Ø      Leisure Services (a consultation process was currently being carried out; this item might need to be deferred)

Ø      Update on Domestic Violence Task and Finish Group (provisional).

 

Councillor Mel Collins asked about the relationship between the proposed Tenants’ Scrutiny Board, the Tenants, Leaseholders and Sheltered Tenants Joint Consultative Committee and the Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel.  Ben Osifo would liaise with Jonathan Giddings-Reid on this.

14.

Urgent Business

Any business which the Chair agrees to accept on grounds of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

15.

Date of Next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 2 February 2016 at 7pm in the Council Chamber.

Decision:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 2 February 20016 (7pm in the Council Chamber)

Minutes:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 2 February 20016 (7pm in the Council Chamber).