Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Jasmine Kassim  Email: jasmine.kassim@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5146

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

Minutes:

The meeting received and noted apologies for absence on behalf of Councillors Tonia Ashikodi, Leo Fletcher, and Bill Freeman.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies is noted.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Members of the Housing and Anti-Poverty Scrutiny Panel are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2018.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the Minutes of the meeting of the Housing and Anti-Poverty Scrutiny Panel held on 28 November 2018, be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

 

5.

In-Depth Housing Service Review: Project Update on Housing Repairs pdf icon PDF 316 KB

 

 

Members to note the contents of the report and comment on the on-going service improvement work of the Housing Repairs Service.  Members to note progress against the Project Statement agreed at the October 2018 Scrutiny Meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received an update report about the in-depth review currently underway in the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s (Royal Borough) Housing Repairs’ Service.  The Senior Assistant Director (Housing and Investment) introduced the report.

 

In response to questions, the Senior Assistant Director informed the Panel that the Complaints Team was reviewing processes for managing correspondence, and analysing data received from complaints.  Work was underway to assess how surveys could be extended to capture greater feedback.  An external organisation had also been engaged to deliver a timed pilot on customer satisfaction surveys across a number of channels, including telephone interviews and SMS messages, and the outcomes would include samples and additional data to help inform service improvement.  It was confirmed that the outcomes from the initiatives would be utilised to inform service improvements.

 

The Senior Assistant Director further advised the Panel that a pilot scheme initiated by the Service in conjunction with Wolesley was being monitored, with a view to ensure adequate stock items for operatives to complete their jobs without the need to return to the depot for supplies.  Furthermore, the shortage of handheld tablets had been addressed, and staff had received training on their usage. 

 

The Panel also noted that the Repairs and Investment Team had reviewed its work processes, with a view to:

 

·                 Improve performance of KPIs for responding to casework and complaints.

·                 Reduce the number for complaints that are escalated via the formal complaint procedure

·                 Introduce improved staff training to enable the team provide credible, concise and clear – written responses to complaints

·                 Improve the processes for recording complaints and collecting performance data

·                 Develop relationships and clear lines of communication with service areas.

·                 Introduce a learning log to identify any trends or learning and any practice changes to improve future performance

·                 Compare performance with other housing repairs providers via HomeMark or Association for Public Service Excellence.

 

The Panel welcomed information that Members’ suggestion to implement multi-skills training for operatives was considered appropriate.  The Senior Assistant Director confirmed that a tender had been issued for an appropriate provider to undertake the assessment, and a baseline report would be formulated to help deliver a model for shaping the long-term learning and development strategy of the Service, including the use of apprenticeships.

 

Representatives from Phoenix Community Housing and the London Borough of Islington also gave illustrative presentations at the meeting. 

 

Commenting on the presentations, the Panel requested further information from officers, which are attached as actions points at Annex 1 to these Minutes.  It was the view of the Panel that best practice illustrated by external providers could be adapted, with a view to improve repairs service provision to residents in the Royal Borough.

 

Resolved

 

That the report on the on-going service improvement work of the Housing Repairs Services, and progress against the approved Project.

6.

Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 – Update Report pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Members to receive and consider a PowerPoint presentation from the Director of Housing and Safer Communities in relation to the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a presentation report about the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (2017 Act) introduced by the Head of Housing Inclusion and Support Service (HISS).  It was recognised that the statutory provisions, which came into effect on 3 April 2017, were restricted to those eligible to live in the UK.

 

In response to questions raised, the Head of HISS informed the Panel that the Royal Borough of Greenwich (Royal Borough) was under a duty to prevent homelessness.  When that could not be done, it should provide relief to residents within 56 days.  To ensure compliance, the Royal Borough was undertaking preventative work to bring an end to rough sleeping.  It was stated that the Royal Borough would also continue to work with registered social and private housing providers to provide temporary accommodation when required, and arrangements were in place to support hospital discharge, including adaptations to properties for residents with disability. 

 

The Director of Housing and Community Safety advised the Panel that it was difficult to predict homelessness.  Notwithstanding that, the housing pathway solutions were innovative enough to support revisions to the Royal Borough’s Homelessness Strategy for compliance.

 

Resolved –

 

That the presentation report in relation to the Homelessness Act 2017, be noted.

7.

Commissioning Future Reports – Specification of Requirements pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Members to note the items that are scheduled to be presented at the next Housing and Anti-Poverty Scrutiny Panel, taking place on 11 April 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That items scheduled to be considered by the Panel at its next meeting on 11 April 2019, be noted.