Agenda and minutes

The Economy, Housing and the Arts Policy and Accountability Committee
Monday, 2nd July, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Small Hall - Hammersmith Town Hall

Contact: Charles Francis  Email: charles.francis@lbhf.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

9.

Appointment of a Vice Chair

The Committee is asked to elect a Vice Chair from its membership for the 2018/19 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

 

Councillor Adronie Alford was elected as Vice-Chair for the 2018-19 Municipal Year.

10.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

 

 There were no apologies for absence.

11.

Declarations of Interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.

 

At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter.  The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.

 

Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.

 

Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.

Minutes:

 

Councillor Rory Vaughan explained that, whilst it did not constitute a conflict of interest for the purposes of the Council’s code of conduct, due to his professional role he would be unable to be involved in discussion of national economic policy issues should they arise at the Committee and so may need recuse himself should such discussions arise at future meetings. However, he did not expect such discussions to arise often, if at all.

12.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 16 January 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 16 January 2018 were agreed to be accurate.

 

13.

An Introduction to Scrutiny in Hammersmith & Fulham pdf icon PDF 287 KB

This briefing note gives an overview of what scrutiny is, how it works, how to ensure it is effective, and the remit of the committee. This item is presented for information only.

Minutes:

The Committee Co-Ordinator introduced the report which provided an overview of the scrutiny process within the Authority.

 

RESOLVED

That the item be noted.

14.

The Council's Home Energy Strategy and Measures to Tackle Fuel Poverty pdf icon PDF 593 KB

This report sets out work being undertaken in Hammersmith & Fulham to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty for vulnerable residents.

Minutes:

Justine Dornan, (Private sector and Housing Officer) gave a presentation on the fuel poverty initiatives undertaken by the Council and outlined the following key areas:

      The Healthier Homes project wasinitiated and funded under the Public Health Investment Fund from the end of 2014 to March 2017. This aimed to reduce fuel poverty and hazards in the homes of vulnerable residents to improve quality of life and reduce GP visits and hospital admissions through grants and enforcement action.

-       The service achieved this by working in partnership with local third sector organisations i.e. Bishop Creighton, Citizens Advice, Fulham Good Neighbours, Crosslight and Age UK.

-       In terms of outcomes: 250 referrals were received to the main project and 208 through the Councils debt advisor. In addition, 47 households had boilers installed, replaced, or repaired.

-       Training: Nine Healthier Homes training sessions were held for Council Staff, NHS and third sector organiations. A series of informal presentations were made at GP surgeries, resident’s groups, and community champions.

-       Healthier homes visits took place to identify issues and refer on where necessary.

-       Funding: Affordable Warmth Solutions is distributing the Warm Homes Fund and LBHF has successfully bid as part of a consortium for funding to allow home visits and small measures for residents. The Council aimed to tap into existing funding streams to get the best deal for residents.

 

Justine Dornan presented two case studies about energy efficiency and explained how the individual circumstances had led to a number of social care referrals.

 

Councillor Zarar Qayyum asked if there was a case study to illustrate how a household which was struggling financially, could seek advice about reducing heating costs. Justine Dornan explained that officers were unable to cite a case study, but in such cases, they would assist the resident by referring them to a debt advisor. Councillor Zarar Qayyum enquired about outreach opportunities and whether there was any assistance available to residents for skills and training. In response, Justine Dornan confirmed that outreach services were usually provided through Social Services or organisations such as Mind and Bishops Creighton’s. It was noted that officers had not branched out into providing employment / skills advice, and, presently, assistance focused around maximising the amount of benefits a person could claim, new boilers and insulation to save money. Justine Dornan confirmed that Doctor Edwards and Bishop Kings Charity, Fulham provided Relief in Need grants which were used for essential items of daily living including kitchen appliances, beds, furniture and clothing.

 

Councillor Adronie Alford highlighted the work that was conducted by the Hammersmith United Charities, which invested in people and communities. The Committee noted the importance of ensuring all homes were kept warm, to combat illness and officers were asked whether they insulated old housing stock.  Justine Dornan explained that installing loft insulation was a fast and effective way of improving heat retention and was seen as a quick win. Secondary glazing was also beneficial, although this was slower and more costly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Resident Involvement Update pdf icon PDF 688 KB

This report provides an update on how we are working with council housing residents from street properties, small blocks, estates, and sheltered housing to improve the services that they receive.

Minutes:

Janey Carey, Head of Resident Involvement & Improvement, provided an update on how the Council was working with council housing residents from street properties, small blocks, estates, and sheltered housing to improve the services they receive. The presentation provided an overview of the key involvement initiatives, including the main achievements to date and areas of future focus.


The Resident Involvement Strategy was developed with residents and aimed to:

1)    Place greater control and influence at the hands of our residents, making us more accountable for the housing services they receive.

2)    Deliver ‘More Involvement, Better Involvement’ by working with residents to identify and break down barriers to engagement.

3)    Promote social inclusion and support thriving and vibrant communities.

 

Officers explained the Resident Involvement Team worked with over 400 residents in three main ways which were:

1)    Through resident-led service improvement groups that focused on improving a specific area of the Housing Service by reviewing the performance, processes, and customer service, and working together to agree suitable improvements.

2)    Through informal involvement such as task-and-finish groups on a certain subject, estate inspections, mystery shopping, focus groups, surveys, newsletters, community events, a Reading Group, and involving residents in officer recruitment.

3)    By working with over 30 Tenants & Residents Associations (TRAs) to support and develop community projects and address local delivery needs.

 

Details were provided on the role and responsibilities of the three resident-led service improvement groups which were: the Repairs Working Group, Estate Services Working Group and Investment Group. In addition, it was noted that the Council had recently established a Fire Safety Plus Advisory Group and was in the process of developing Communications and Inclusion workshops.

 

Janey Carey explained how resident satisfaction was measured, the actions taken to support communities and how the Council assisted residents to use community halls, rooms and hub offices to their best advantage.

 

Concluding her remarks, Janey Carey explained that officers would be reviewing the existing strategy, engagement structure and current vision in line with the administration’s 2018 manifesto to work out with residents to find the best way forward rather than just doing things to them”.It was noted that this work would inform the new strategy for 2018-22 which would be based on the following aims:

1)    Improving the Housing Service by continuing to work with residents.

2)    Identifying untapped involvement opportunities at an estate and borough-wide level

3)    Identifying new ways to work with residents from street properties, small blocks, and gap sites to specifically address their needs.

4)    Gaining increased insight from resident’s views and opinions.

5)    Improving digital involvement and engagement opportunities and how to reach those typically less-engaged.

 

Councillor Homan thanked officers for the presentation and expressed disappointment at how few residents and tenants were present compared to previous PAC meetings. She highlighted that residents in street properties and small blocks were a cause for concern and there was scope to improve engagement with these groups. Officers confirmed that invitations had been circulated in the usual way by emailing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Work Programming 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

The Committee is asked to consider its work programme for 2018/18.

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item and suggested the following topics might be considered later in the year: The Economy and the Arts, the Industrial Strategy, Place Making and areas of Policy Development. Committee members were asked to consider this list and provide additional suggestions to the next meeting.