Agenda and draft minutes

Housing and Community Engagement Scrutiny Commission - Monday 7 February 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Ground Floor Meeting Room G02A - 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH. View directions

Contact: Amit Alva  Email:

No. Item



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    To receive any apologies for absence.


    Apologies for absence were received from Ina Negoita (Co-opted member).


    Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Renata Hamvas.


Notification of any Items of business which the chair deems urgent.

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    In special circumstances, an item of business may be added to an agenda within five clear working days of the meeting.


    There were no items of business which the Chair deemed urgent.


Disclosure of interests and dispensations.

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    Members to declare any interests and dispensations in respect of any item of business to be considered at this meeting.


    Councillor Jane Salmon disclosed her role as a member of the planning committee that had decided on the infill at Kingston estate.



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    To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 15 December 2021 (To follow).


    The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 December 2021 are to follow.


Kingston Estate- Resident experiences with the new homes building project.

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    An interview with residents of the Kingston estate on their experiences with the new homes building project.


    The commission heard from Jim a resident of the Kingston estate on his experiences with the new homes building project. Jim explained to the commission that residents only became aware of a building site on the estate when they observed that drilling for soil samples had commenced in an area which was otherwise a fenced off green space, the proposed three storey high building was within 10.4 metres of neighbouring buildings. The work at the site continued despite objections from residents and 90% of residents signing a petition to stop the building work.


    The commission also had discussions around the following themes


    ·  Size and population of the estate for consultation processes, efforts made by officers such as door-knocking

    ·  Attendance of Councillors, staff, architect and residents at council-led project meetings and planning meetings

    ·  Resident questionnaire and feedback from Council meetings

    ·  Loss of green space for existing residents

    ·  Council meetings with the Tenants and Residents Association covering areas of Nelson, Portland and Kingston.

    ·  Residents misinformed that the building would not cause any reduction in sunlight or greenery.


    The commission then heard from Councillor Martin Seaton, Ward Councillor for area of Kingston Estate around the following points


    ·  Attempts were made to consult with all the residents of Kingston, Portland and Nelson estates, however responses, feedback and representation were only received from residents of the Nelson estate.

    ·  A list of consultation attempts made by Officers- project group invites, reminders for meetings, project group meeting letters, feedback request letter, soil survey investigations letters, consultation board setup on estate, newsletters with estate wide virtual event invites, council letters with planning information, parking suspension and council intent letters.

    ·  Pandemic restrictions preventing officers from doing door to door consultations, however digital and non-digital forms of communication were used such as commonplace website, emails, newsletters, letters and telephone calls

    ·  Issue within the TRA members of Kingston estate led to poor representation and feedback, lack of representation from Kingston estate at the TRA discussions with the Council on the new homes development consultation process


    The Chair and the commission members agreed to prepare draft recommendations to be finalised at the next commission meeting based on the discussions today and previous commission meetings.


Noise and Nuisance in Southwark

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    To receive a report from Anju Sidhu, Head of Service for Regulatory Services, Environment and Social Regeneration on Noise and Nuisance in Southwark.

    Supporting documents:


    The commission received a report from Anju Sidhu, Head of Service for Regulatory Services, Environment and Social Regeneration and David Franklin, Business Unit Manager, Noise and Neighbourhood Service on Noise and Nuisance in Southwark.


    Anju addressed the commission on the following topics


    ·  Structure of the Noise and Nuisance service: staff, working hours, volume of requests and type of complaints that are mainly from domestic homes and commercial businesses, complaining of loud music, parties & construction noise

    ·  Noise and Nuisance legislation does not stipulate a legal level of noise. Complaints are assessed based on the impact of the noise, case law and government guidance, does not take into account individual sensitivities to noise

    ·  Increased levels of complaints of noise and nuisance during the pandemic primarily due to people working from home

    ·  Noise complaint assessments conducted where possible even during the pandemic to restore order and deal with anti-social behaviour through community protection notices in some cases

    ·  Chartered Institute of Environmental Health survey across 12 London Boroughs indicated Southwark offered great value for money. During the challenging pandemic times the service has been constantly identifying opportunities and better ways of working

    ·  Service review to look at lessons learned, service continuity and business insurance


    Anju then answered the commission’s question around the following themes


    ·  Noise and Nuisance originating from other London Boroughs along shared boundaries with Southwark and the possibility of co-ordinating with officers across Boroughs for an informal solution.

    ·  Informal action by officers by appealing to public with reasoning to try and resolve minor disputes

    ·  Acceptable levels of noise


    Anju informed the commission that due to pandemic restrictions one of the good practices emerging were informal resolutions, the review will be looking at mediation services for disputes where legal thresholds are not met for formal action. Depending on whether the noise complaint is commercial or residential officers also have the option to liaise with the licensing and housing department to approach the issue through terms and conditions of tenancy and/or licensing. On border noise issues, officer working groups across London could possibly be tasked with tackling such complaints.


    On acceptable levels of noise there are no set levels and is based on circumstances and context, noise of a reasonable activity in the early hours such as 2 am could be much louder due to very little ambient noises and would not constitute a nuisance, other considerations need to be given to the use of land whether its residential or commercial and reasonable levels of noise for those properties. The reason for the noise is also important in the context of sound insulation, people just walking around in their flats for instance would not constitute a statutory nuisance, blaring music from speakers at 2 am could be classed a statutory nuisance. Children running around playing and making noise is not dealt with by the service.


    The commission then had discussions around the following themes


    ·  The noise and nuisance report indicates higher level of noise complaints in Southwark which is based on more service requests  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Check in on Southwark repairs service performance

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    To receive an update from Christine Bramman, Head of Repairs & Maintenance, Housing and Modernisation on Southwark repairs service performance.

    Supporting documents:


    The commission then received a report from Christine Bramman, Head of Repairs & Maintenance, Housing and Modernisation and David Hodgson, Director of Asset Management on Southwark repairs service performance.


    Christine addressed the commission on the following points


    ·  Both areas of North and South within the service needing an improvement plan, with the South service outsourced to Morrison till 2018 after which it was in house

    ·  Effect of the pandemic led to rigorous risk assessments and emergency repairs being carried out, ageing workforce caused issues with vulnerable staff not being able to do site visits and young apprentices having great difficulty due to lack of mentoring normally done by pairing up with senior staff

    ·  Most of the pandemic back log has now been cleared except for maybe 100 standard repairs to be done and of those are mainly bigger jobs like re-plastering

    ·  Areas of internal repair service cover basic plumbing, carpentry, electrical and wet trades within people’s homes, separate arrangements exist for common repairs, roofing etc.

    ·  Improvement plan to have a new vision for the service where it aspires to be excellent for residents, fit for purpose, providing safe and well maintained homes and buildings

    ·  Aiming to invest in people and actively manage the people that provide the service to ensure they have the right skill sets, customer care skills, technical skills etc.

    ·  Challenges faced first due to Brexit and then the pandemic with supply chain shortages, material shortages, labour shortages generally across the construction industry

    ·  Substantial work streams in the budget, procured a new works management system, new technology, more customer friendly and this will give staff access to track works and assign resources accordingly, this new system is to be completely rolled out by the end of the financial year

    ·  SMS texting service and online chat service for residents about the work and operative updates with options to query and provide feedback

    ·  Biggest challenges faced are in upskilling and multiskilling staff in operations and a corporate resolution for telematics tracking of operatives which we can turn on in our vehicles.


    Christine and David them answered the commission questions on the following topics


    ·  Statistics on resident satisfaction with repairs and appointment completions

    ·  Operative performance and incentivising criteria


    Resident satisfaction surveys were stopped during the pandemic as most of the customer experience staff were moved to responding frontline repairs requests inbox. Surveys were restarted in November 2021, however the metrics and analysis for the survey, include external heating contractors and are outsourced to another organisation. Operative pay was finalised as the first rate pool last year and have a generous salary scheme compared to our peers, incentives are on acceptable levels of productivity of operatives.


    The commission agreed that the overall metrics of the resident satisfaction survey including external heating contractors will be helpful to the work of the commission and it would be included in the agenda papers for the next meeting


    The commission then discussed around the following themes


    ·  Contact centre management, instantaneous resident feedback and quality of repairs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Recommendations to Cabinet on new council homes on existing estates

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    To formulate recommendations to Cabinet on new council homes on existing estates.


    The commission agreed to reschedule this item for the next commission meeting.


Recommendations to Cabinet on the private rented sector

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    To formulate recommendations to Cabinet on the private rented sector.


    The commission agreed to reschedule this item for the next commission meeting.



Work Programme 2021/22