Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.


An apology for absence was received on behalf of Councillor Spencer Drury.


Urgent Business

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


There was no urgent business.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 38 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:


Councillor Bill Freeman declared a personal interest in relation to items on the agenda, advising the Panel that he works for Lewisham Homes.


Resolved –


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


Minutes pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Members of the Housing and Anti-Poverty Scrutiny Panel are requested to confirm as accurate records the minutes of meetings held on 7 February 2019, and 11 April 2019.


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:


Resolved -


That Minutes of meetings of the Housing and Anti-Poverty Scrutiny Panel held on 7 February 2019 and 11 April 2019, be agreed and signed as true and accurate records.


2019/20 Work Programme and Schedule of Activities pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Members to note and agree the schedule of activities to be considered by the Panel in subsequent meetings during 2019/20, attached as Appendix 1 to the report, and to consider the scope of forthcoming reports and specify any detailed requirements.

Additional documents:


The report relating to schedule of forthcoming items to be considered by the Panel during 2019/20 was introduced by the Corporate Governance Officer, with a request that Members should consider and agree the scope.


In response to questions raised, Members received confirmation from the Director of Housing and Safer Communities that efforts were continuing to re-let Council properties at a faster rate.  Members suggested that future reports on the issue should include average times taken to re-let the stock, as the Panel wished to assess the cost-effectiveness of the management of void properties by the Housing department.


Action: Director of H&SC


Commenting on housing procurement listing, Members expressed a concern about experiences reported by service users, and they were unanimous in agreeing that residents in the Royal Borough of Greenwich ought to be treated with respect and dignity when contacting or dealing with contractors.  Thus, officers should include customer-care initiatives similar to those required by employees of the Council as a condition in contract specifications with service providers in future dealings.


Action: Director of H&SC


On the issue of initiatives in place to report housing repairs, the need to increase ‘walkabouts’ in estates was highlighted, with a suggestion that officers should provide a written brief about their effectiveness and circulate to Members.  It was also requested that steps should be taken to schedule ‘walkabouts’ activities during times Members could make.


Action: Director of H&SC


The Chair of the Panel, Councillor Clive Mardner, responded to an enquiry that he would be seeking confirmation about responders to questions on anti-poverty aspects of the Panel’s work, with a view to report back at the next meeting.  The Chair also confirmed that the schedule of items listed in the report were collated through collaborative efforts by officers and Members of the Task Group.


Action: Chair/CGO


Resolved –


That the schedule of activities for consideration by the Panel during 2019/20, attached to the report as Appendix 1, be agreed.


Action Points Review pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Members to note that future meetings will include a report to monitor that actions raised by Members at its meetings have been completed.


Resolved –


That it be noted that future meetings of the Panel will include a report to monitor actions raised at previous meetings.


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

Members to note work being undertaken as part of the Housing Repairs Service In-Depth Review.

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Members unanimously agreed to receive the report as read.  It was recognised that the updates formed part of the on-going review of the Housing Repairs and Investment Service, and they requested highlights of key achievements.


In response, the Senior Assistant Director (Repairs and Investment) advised the Panel as follows:

·                 That work allocation was prioritised to provide speedy telephone answering service to residents, and improvement had been realised.  It was confirmed that call-handling activities at Birchmere improved significantly, with 4,173 of calls answered within the service standard in March 2019, compared to 1,836 in April 2018.

·                 That the final stage of the desk-based skills’ assessment for trade operatives would be completed by the end of July 2019.  It was confirmed that the outcomes would form a base-line for initiatives to inform and develop a multi-skilled repairs’ delivery model, and shape the long-term learning and development strategy within the Service for staff, including the use of apprentices.

·                 That technical problems with hand-held tablets had been rectified by the supplier, having passed the ‘user-acceptance’ tests.  Members were advised that trade operatives could start using the equipment by August 2019.

·                 That the Service undertook 27,755 urgent repairs in 2018-19, and performance exceeded target at 93.6% against a target of 90%, compared with 84.5% in 2017-18.

·                 That 89.1% of non-urgent repairs were completed on time in 2018-19, against a target of 90%, and an improvement of 88.2% achieved in 2017-18

·                 That work to progress a high-level project plan to improve the Service’s labour scheduling system was underway, and the completion timeframe for implementation would be December 2019.

·                 That the stores pilot of imprest stock was ongoing, and a report on the initial findings would be presented to the Members at the meeting of the Panel on 10 October 2019 meeting.

·                 That the in-house limited satisfaction survey for responsive repairs was suspended pending the outcome of residents’ satisfaction survey by an external organisation. 

·                 That a targeted action plan aimed at improving quality of responses to casework and complaints had been developed, with a view to improve the quality of responses and service performance.

·                 That Caretakers’ work had been revised to facilitate collaborative efforts with the Customer Service Centre


Members noted the highlights and thanked officers for their efforts.  Members were of a view that it was necessary to enhance scrutiny effectiveness for continuous improvement to meet residents’ needs, and they commented and made suggestions as follows:

·                That in a ‘volume’ service, data should be presented in numbers against per centages.  It was suggested that future reports to the Panel should be reflective of the fact.

·                That whilst 95% of calls were answered in March 2019 compared to just 74% of calls in April 2018, waiting times should be monitored against the indicator set as a means of assessing the pace of responsiveness.

·                That data relating to call-handling should include a breakdown by times of the day, in order to assess patterns around ‘peaks and troughs’ of demands.

·                That information about 86.19% of repairs being completed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.