Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies, Declarations of Interest or Any Other Communications from Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Chatt.

17.

Minutes of Meeting Held on 10 November 2015 & Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2015 were agreed as a correct record.

18.

Prevent Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Minutes:

See the report of the Lead Member for Communities – Agenda Item 3

 

The Chair welcomed Councillor Sampson (Lead Member for Communities), Joan Conlon (Community Inclusion and Participation Manager -Prevent Lead) and Najeeb Ahmed (Prevent Co-ordinator) to the meeting.

 

Members noted WRAP3 training had been provided prior to the main meeting. It was highlighted that the London Borough of Hounslow was recognised as a Borough with good community cohesion. The Prevent team’s work had been exemplified by the Home Office as best practice, especially with regard to its training. The Community Partnerships Unit (CPU) had been successful in running projects that raised awareness of the Prevent Strategy / Duty, enabling the council to be compliant as per the Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015. Members noted the delivery of a very successful Junior Citizenship Scheme in 2015, which saw 2,300 10-11 year olds, take part in a series of resources which provided them with useful skills for their transition from primary to secondary school. The CPU would be running the Junior Citizenship Scheme again this year with approximately 2800 participants taking part. Members would also be invited to attend and take part in the scheme. Mrs Conlon advised that full details of the schemes for this year would be sent out to Members so that they could forward them on to other interested organisations and groups. In response to questions from Members, the panel were advised that the Community Partnerships Unit was very involved with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and were happy to make contact with any other organisations recommended by Members.

 

7:15pm: Councillor Mir arrived at the meeting.

 

Najeeb Ahmed reported that Hounslow Council had been awarded the  London Sports Award recently for bringing sports to hard to reach communities. He advised that the Council had worked with the Rugby Football Union and engaged with a lot of children within the Somali community to take an interest in Rugby.

 

The Chair advised that there were a lot of children with different backgrounds that could be at risk. She questioned how those children were identified and whether the Prevent strategy was embedded into other safeguarding policies and whether there was partnership working between different departments. Mrs Conlon advised that the Prevent team were very linked in with other Council departments and agencies to ensure that information was shared. Front line staff including Social Workers and Youth Workers had received training on the Prevent Strategy enabling them to recognise vulnerable individuals and the process for accessing support. Members were advised that an annual Prevent report would be produced in September 2016 and a summary report would be provided to Scrutiny in late 2016.

 

Action: The Scrutiny Panel to be provided with a flow chart outlining the Channel referral processes between departments and other agencies.

 

Members were advised that work was underway to ensure the Prevent Strategy was embedded within the Corporate Parenting Strategy.

 

Councillor Malik questioned how parents were made aware of the Prevent strategy and changes in behaviours to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Affordable housing delivery pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See the report of the Lead Member for Housing – Agenda Item 4

 

The Chair welcomed Councillor Dunne (Lead Member for Housing), Peter Matthew (Director of Housing) and Suzannah Taylor (Housing Enabling Officer) and Isabella Rossi (Principal Affordable Housing Supply Manager) to the meeting.

 

Mr Matthew gave an update on the  performance of the Affordable Housing delivery and the corporate Pledge target of delivering 3,000 Affordable Homes in the borough between 2014 - 2018. He referred to the report in the agenda pack and advised that at the end of Quarter 3 2015/16, a total of 1,268 affordable homes had been secured representing 42% of the overall target. Of those, 159 were new Council home completions. 92 care home units would also be provided and funded through the Housing Revenue Account. The additional 92 extra care home units would reduce the need for placements to be made to expensive residential care homes.

 

Mr Matthew provide a definition of the different types housing that would be provided:

 

Social Rented housing was provided at rents which reflected approximately 40-50% of open market rental values and was often provided by the Local Authority or in some cases registered providers such as housing associations.

 

Affordable Rented homes were provided at rents of up to 80% of market rental or Local Housing Allowance levels, whichever was the lower.

 

Intermediate Housing was defined as homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels. Intermediate housing also included shared ownership (part buy/part rent) and shared equity.

 

Mr Mathew advised that the pending Housing & Planning Bill which was introduced by the Government would result in significant implications on the types of affordable housing that could be delivered by Housing Associations. There would be a move towards Intermediate Housing and the provisions of Starter Homes and Shared Ownership Housing.

 

In response to questions, Members were advised that social rented housing was in short supply due to a range of factors such as a loss of supply through the Right to Buy and a lack of investment in new housebuilding and availability of grant funding.

 

Other factors that would affect the delivery of homes to meet the targets was that the cost of building new homes was increasing which would have a negative impact on the number of homes that could be built. The limited amount of land supply would also be a detrimental factor as the size of land available would affect the size of the affordable homes that could be built. A big challenge ahead would be negotiation with developers to get agreement from them that they would deliver some affordable housing. Mr Matthew advised that if the developers were allowed to continue to use ‘viability’ as a reason not to provide a certain number of affordable homes as part of their developments there would be real difficulties in securing the number of homes required to meet the target. However, Mr Matthew felt confident that the target to deliver  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Urgent Business

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

Minutes:

Garage Review

 

Councillor Collins advised that a huge piece of work had been undertaken to carry out the Garage Review by Hounslow Homes. He stated that the Council was responsible for the garages and how they were used. It was agreed by the panel that where there were garages that were empty and not in use that they should be brought back into use by the Council. In some cases the garages could be suitable to build small pockets of housing. Members acknowledged that the Council was also losing out on revenue in terms of rents for the garages.

 

Councillor Collins requested that the Housing & Environment Scrutiny Panel resurrect the Garage Review.

 

Action: The Chair to write to the Lead Member for Housing to request an update on the current status of the Garage Review. Following receipt of the update the scrutiny panel would decide on the next steps.

 

 

Adapted Properties

 

Councillor Collins expressed concern about the allocations policy on adapted properties. He advised that in several cases able-bodied people had been allocated adapted properties before people that were waiting specifically for an adapted property due to a disability.

 

8:40pm: Cllr Mir re-joined the meeting.

 

The Chair agreed that this was a complex issue and suggested that the scrutiny panel could request to see the policy on adapted properties.

 

Action: The Chair of the Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel to write to the Lead Member for Housing to request the policy and to get further information about how properties for people with disabilities were allocated properties and why able-bodied people were being allocated adapted properties.

 

 

St Catherine’s House

 

The Housing and Environment Scrutiny Panel requested more information about what the St Catherine’s House site was being used for and by whom. 

 

 

Work Plan

 

Ian Duke, Head of Scrutiny, advised the panel that the items that remained on the work plan for discussion were an update on the Serco parking contract and a briefing on CPZs within the Borough. Members agreed to proceed with discussions on the two remaining items on the work plan at the next meeting.

21.

Date of next meeting - Tuesday 22 March 2016

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was noted.