Agenda and draft minutes

Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 30th January, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Civic Centre

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

[To receive any apologies for absence]. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Paul Appleby and Cllr Martin Waite. 

 

Cllr Peter Bilson sent his apologies in his capacity as Portfolio Holder for City Assets and Housing. 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Cllr Mak Singh declared an interest on item 5 – Allocations Policy Review, as a Trustee for a charity raising funds for homeless veterans. 

 

Cllr Beverley Momenabadi declared an interest on item 5 – Allocations Policy Review, as a Governance Member for YMCA Black Country Group.  

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 467 KB

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

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2019 were approved as a correct record, subject to the reference to “NHS England – Local Area Team” being deleted next to Ross Cook’s name on the list of attendees. 

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matter arising from the minutes]

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the minutes. 

5.

Allocations Policy Review pdf icon PDF 240 KB

[To consider the Allocations Policy Review as a Pre-Decision item]. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair remarked that the Housing Allocations Policy was being considered by the Panel as a Pre-Decision item, this allowed them to make recommendations to Cabinet before being received by Cabinet in February 2020.

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy opened the presentation on the proposed Housing Allocations Policy.  The Council owned over 22,000 properties within the City, that were managed across five managing agents; Wolverhampton Homes and the City’s four tenant management organisations (TMOs).  Local authorities were legally required to have a policy for allocating housing.  The Council’s Allocation Policy was a choice based letting scheme which had been adopted in 2007.  The Council was undertaking its first full review in twelve years.  They had begun the policy review to ensure it remained modern and fit for purpose.  The key reasons were in part due to the increasing demand on stock, which was decreasing year on year.  Through the Right to Buy Policy about 300 properties were sold each year.  Whilst new houses were built by Wolverhampton Homes and WV Living, they could not replace the housing stock being sold at the same rate.  There had also been an increase in expenditure on emergency accommodation within the City.            

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy remarked that in January 2019 a steering Group had been established led by Council Officers involving Wolverhampton Homes, the Tenant Management Organisations and Legal Services.  Proposals were drawn up based on evidence and analysis.  During September and October 2019 there was internal and public consultation on the proposed changes.  Following consultation a revised policy had been written which was now before the Members of the Panel for consideration.

 

The Service Manager for Housing Strategy and Policy stated that the policy objectives had been updated.  She listed the objectives as follows: -

 

1)    Ensure people in the greatest housing need have the greatest opportunity to access suitable housing that best meets their needs.

 

2)    Make use of a range of housing options and tenures to prevent and relieve homelessness.

 

3)    Make best use of the Council’s and partner registered providers housing stock.

 

4)    Manage applicants’ expectations by being realistic about stock availability, to support them in making informed choices about their housing options, and the extent to which they are able to express reasonable preference.

 

5)    Ensure that the Council’s legal duties and corporate responsibilities are met and that they contribute to delivering the Council’s priorities. 

 

All of the changes proposed in the new policy were designed to meet the five policy objectives. 

 

The Housing Customer Insight Manager remarked that there were 5 levels of need in the current policy.  Emergency was the highest level of need down to Band 4.  Band 4 was for people with no recognised housing need, who had joined the register as they wished to move into social housing.  Band 4 currently accounted for 50% of the total people on the housing register.  One of the key proposals in the new policy was to no longer operate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 274 KB

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

Minutes:

Resolved: That the Work Programme be approved.