Agenda and draft minutes

Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel - Thursday, 22nd July, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - 4th Floor - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Martin Stevens  Email: martin.stevens@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies and Substitutions

[To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutions]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Cllr Christopher Haynes. 

 

There were no substitutions.

2.

Declarations of interest

[To receive any declarations of interest]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Paul Appleby declared a non-pecuniary interest on the housing items as a Member of the Wolverhampton Homes Board.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 450 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 25 March 2021 were confirmed as a correct record.

 

The Chair made reference to CCTV cameras, she stated in her electoral ward fly tipping was a particular problem and hoped that cameras would be installed in the most common fly tip areas.   

 

The Chair with reference in the minutes to the Climate Change Focus Group and the Citizens Assembly, proposed that the residents who attended the assembly should receive feedback on the outcome of the Assembly. 

 

Resolved: That the residents who attended the Citizens Assembly on Climate Change receive formal feedback on the outcome of the Assembly.

 

The Director confirmed that he would arrange for the residents to receive a letter.    

4.

Wolverhampton Homes Delivery Plan / Performance pdf icon PDF 398 KB

[To receive a report on the Wolverhampton Homes Delivery Plan / Performance]. 

 

[Report is marked: To Follow]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes introduced the report on the Wolverhampton Homes Delivery Plan / Performance.  He remarked that the landscape within housing was changing.  There was a wave of new legislation on the horizon, which had been referred to in, The Queen’s speech earlier in the year, some of which was as a consequence of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.  The Decent Homes Standard was being reviewed including electrical safety and smoke detection.  In the agenda pack there were six key documents: -

 

1.     The Wolverhampton Homes Performance Report

2.     The Operational Delivery Plan

3.     Performance Data

4.     Performance Indicator Data

5.     The Wolverhampton Homes Delivery Plan – Capital Delivery Plan

6.     The Capital Programme Outturn     

 

The Vice-Chair thanked the Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes for the report to the Panel and asked for his thanks to be passed onto the team.  He commented that one of the documents referred to every Wolverhampton Homes resident being required to receive at least one visit over a twelve month period by either a Wolverhampton Homes Officer or a contractor.  He asked how this was being achieved, what the process was for making the visits and the progress in meeting this target to date.  The Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes responded that in subsequent years they had managed to make a visit to every property.  The last 18 months had been difficult because of the Covid pandemic.  He could however assure Members that all Wolverhampton Homes residents classed as vulnerable had been contacted or visited during the pandemic.  A survey was also being sent to Wolverhampton Homes residents with the help of the Council’s Strategy Team.

 

The Vice-Chair commented on the point of maintenance of estates, that there was a meeting planned with the Council’s estate team on the issue of fly tipping.  He asked if the meeting date been confirmed and if not, if this could be a recommendation for the Director of City Housing and Environment to take up with the estates team.  The Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes responded that there had been a huge increase in the amount of fly tipping incidents, this was in common with other authorities.  There was a dedicated team at Wolverhampton Homes whose sole focus was on dealing with fly tipping.  He described this situation as a sad one, as they were having to divert resources to dealing with fly tipping across the City.  They were working collaboratively with the Council teams to clear up fly tipping as soon as possible. There was now a scheme to clear up walkways which were overgrown or needed improved lighting, this formed part of the collaboration with the Council.  Meetings were always taking place with the Council’s estate teams and had increased during the pandemic. 

 

The Vice-Chair asked about the locations of fly tipping in the City and if there were any common patterns.  The Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Homes responded that it was mixed.  Derelict land were the prone sites.  Wolverhampton Homes owned  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Housing Allocations Policy - Update on roll out of new policy pdf icon PDF 1013 KB

[To receive an update on the roll out of the new Housing Allocations Policy].

 

[Presentation is marked: To Follow].   

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy gave a presentation providing an update on the roll out of the new Housing Allocations Policy.  A copy of the presentation is attached to the signed minutes.

 

The Chair asked if there was any help for someone applying for a residency, if their first language was not English.  The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy confirmed that help would be provided through the use of translation services.  In the first instance they would be asked if there was a family member or a support worker who could assist them.  There was software on the website which could translate text, in addition to specific translation services the Council could access.

 

A Member of the Panel complimented the team on the training for which Councillors had received on the new Allocation Policy and application process.  He asked about telephone enquiries and what contingency there was for if the service was overwhelmed with phone calls.  The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy responded that Wolverhampton Homes had provided additional staff for the process.  An additional eight Members of staff were helping to process the applications and would be available on the telephone. 

 

A Panel Member asked how many people were classed as rough sleepers in the City.  The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy confirmed that there were currently four.   

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

Housing Strategy - Update on Delivery of Current Priorities pdf icon PDF 2 MB

[To receive an update on the delivery of the current Housing Strategy priorities]. 

 

[Presentation is marked: To Follow]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy gave a presentation providing an update on the current priorities within the Housing Strategy.  A copy of the presentation is attached to the signed minutes.

 

The Chair on behalf of the Panel thanked the Service Manager for an interesting and comprehensive presentation. 

 

A Panel Member complimented the Service Manager on some excellent work detailed within the presentation.  He asked what measures were being taken to ensure that rough sleeping did not increase following the tremendous efforts to reduce the number during the pandemic and when additional funding made available during the pandemic was reduced.  He also referred to the extensive work the Council undertook with partners on ensuring safe and healthy homes.  The West Midlands Fire Service were very keen to strengthen links and relationships with partners.  The Fire Service were able to conduct Safe and Well visits on vulnerable people’s homes.  He asked how the Council were working with the Fire Service to help protect people in their homes.

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy responded that the Council had a Homelessness Prevention Strategy.  They had also adopted a Temporary Accommodation Action Plan.  This not only looked at the supply of temporary accommodation but also how homelessness could be prevented in the first instance.  As part of this action plan they were also looking at the support which was provided to people who were either at risk of homelessness or who were homeless.  The highest reason for people in Wolverhampton becoming homeless was the end of private sector tenancies.  The second highest reason was related to domestic abuse.  They were very active in their work with landlords to try and prevent someone becoming homeless.  The team in Wolverhampton Homes that provided housing support was being reviewed and what was proposed for the service in the future would provide greater support before someone had to go into temporary accommodation and further beyond if they did.  They were always looking at where improvements could be made and applying for further funding into the future. 

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy stated that she would ensure the Private Sector Housing Team and the Wolverhampton Homes Team, who did outreach into the private sector, were fully aware of the Fire Service’s ability to carry out Safe and Well visits.  The Panel Member commented that data sharing between organisations was often an obstacle that needed to be overcome.  He cited a good example where a Council and the Fire Service had worked well together.  This was a Council who wrote to every household who had a bin for medical waste offering them a Safe and Well visit by the Fire Service.  In this particular area fires had been reduced by 25%.  Engagement with the Fire Service was important to ensure excellent partnership prevention work.

 

The Vice-Chair asked about the impact of the Rent with Confidence Scheme to date.  The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy responded that the Rent with Confidence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 571 KB

[To receive the draft Work Programme for the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved: That the future work programme for the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel be agreed. 

 

The Chair on behalf of all the Panel thanked Members and Officers for their contributions. 

 

The meeting closed at 7:42pm.