Agenda and draft minutes

Housing Scrutiny Commission
Wednesday 2 September 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Online/Virtual meeting. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting. Please contact FitzroyAntonio.Williams@southwark.gov.uk for a link to the online meeting.

Contact: Everton Roberts 020 7525 7221 or Email: everton.roberts@southwark.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

2.

Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent

3.

Disclosure of Interests and Dispensations

4.

Minutes

5.

The Council's Relationship with Housing Associations in the Borough - Update from Wandle Housing

    To receive an update from Wandle Housing on actions taken since the Housing Scrutiny Commission meeting held on 9 March 2020 in respect of Clarson House.

     

    The commission will also hear from residents of Clarson House.

    Minutes:

    The commission received an update from representatives of Wandle Housing, Ms Maria Ramos and Olajide Akintelure in respect of action taken since the March meeting with regard to Clarson House.

     

    Ms Ramos explained that the last 5 months had been one of the most challenging times for the housing sector and the housing association had dedicated a high proportion of resources to supporting residents in need. 

     

    The housing association also had to find ways to ensure blocks and estates could be maintained with limited resources, given the majority of staff were working from home and not visiting sites.

     

    It was acknowledged that progress to improve communication and service delivery had been slow, but that they had begun to make progress.

     

    Ms Ramos report that a newly revamped monthly news letter had been issued to residents in August which included a number of updates on service delivery.  Ms Ramos also reported that an estate inspection took place on 21 August which highlighted a number of issues such as ceiling panels needing to be replaced, lights out of action and common parts being in need of repairs and decoration.  This would be the start of monthly estate inspections.

     

    It had been agreed with a group of residents that a list of the outstanding repairs would be shared with residents so that they could monitor progress.  Standard of cleaning good but repairs was an area that needed some focus.

     

    The first residents surgery was held on 26 August and there had been a number of issues raised - repairs, energy charges and anti social behaviour issues.  Residents were satisfied with the cleaning service and the cleaner and it had been indicated that there was a desire to have a residents association in order to communicate with Wandle in a more formal manner.  Discussion had also been held around gardening groups to improve the green spaces on the estate and roof terraces.

     

    Ms Ramos advised that she had given an undertaking to publishing and communicating with residents in order to reassure them that things are happening and when things can’t happen or there were delays, there would at least be that level of communication to understand where things were with issues moving forward.

     

    The commission also heard from Clarson House residents, Emily Wilson and Ben Pygall.

     

    Ms Wilson and Mr Pygall acknowledged the positive actions of Wandle but felt it was too early to tell whether there would be a prolonged difference.

     

    They indicated that they had previously tried to establish a residents association but this had not transpired.  Having been through the process before, they had no interest in trying again.

     

    The residents indicated that they were not completely satisfied with Wandle’s communication with residents throughout the lockdown period and that long outstanding repairs hadn’t been completed and maintenance issues had built up over the last few months as well.

     

    The residents stressed that they were looking for Wandle to have a comprehensive action plan for the estate as a whole, to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

District Heating - Report of the Housing Scrutiny Commission (Draft Report)

    To consider the draft report of the Housing Scrutiny Commission on the district heating review.

    Supporting documents:

    Minutes:

    The commission discussed the draft scrutiny commission report on district heating and the report recommendations.

     

    The following suggestions / additional points were made in respect of the report:

     

    ·  In terms of reference to leaseholder payments the issue was not that charges were too high (the amount), it was that they were sometimes not justified, for example repairs done 2 -3 years ago, repeat repairs/repetitive charges or issued paperwork was incorrect.

     

    ·  Council investigate the viability of doing social media notifications.

     

    ·  Risk assessment should be carried for vulnerable residents in prolonged heating and hot water outages.

     

    ·  Capturing residents details through other services

     

    ·  Delay in updating compensation policy and procedure

     

    ·  Suggestion for cache of pre-paid electric cards for residents who are having to use electric heaters.

     

    ·  Compensation process not recognising the cumulative effect of repeated heating outages as opposed to the odd 3 or 4 hour one off heating outage.  It was also noted that for residents in tower blocks it took longer for the heating to come back on in the flats or the upper floors.

     

    ·  Suggestion for issuing of cards for residents who are experiencing outages, to ensure they are able to access leisure centres at any time of the day due to some residents working shifts.

     

    ·  Plans for introduction of tariffs to come back to scrutiny at earliest possible date.

7.

Work Programme 2020/21