Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 15th March, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: This meeting will be held remotely. View directions

Contact: Simon trevaskis  Email: simon.trevaskis@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

7/22

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 30 November 2021 and 1 February 2022 as an accurate record.

 

To follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on Tuesday 30 November 2020 and Tuesday 1 February 2022 were agreed as an accurate record.

8/22

Disclosure of Interests

Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that, in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, they are required to consider in advance of each meeting whether they have a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI), another registrable interest (ORI) or a non-registrable interest (NRI) in relation to any matter on the agenda.  If advice is needed, Members should contact the Monitoring Officer in good time before the meeting.  

If any Member or co-opted Member of the Council identifies a DPI or ORI which they have not already registered on the Council’s register of interests or which requires updating, they should complete the disclosure form which can be obtained from Democratic Services at any time, copies of which will be available at the meeting for return to the Monitoring Officer.

 Members and co-opted Members are required to disclose any DPIs and ORIs at the meeting.  

·           Where the matter relates to a DPI they may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not stay in the meeting unless granted a dispensation.  

·           Where the matter relates to an ORI they may not vote on the matter unless granted a dispensation.   

·           Where a Member or co-opted Member has an NRI which directly relates to their financial interest or wellbeing, or that of a relative or close associate, they must disclose the interest at the meeting, may not take part in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not stay in the meeting unless granted a dispensation.  Where a matter affects the NRI of a Member or co-opted Member, section 9 of Appendix B of the Code of Conduct sets out the test which must be applied by the Member to decide whether disclosure is required.

The Chair will invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3, to be recorded in the minutes.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Jade Appleton informed members of her work with colleagues connected to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) at the Local Government Association (LGA).

9/22

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

10/22

Update on the Housing Improvement Board, and the development of the Croydon Housing Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee is presented with a draft copy of a report on the Housing Improvement Plan due to be considered by the Cabinet on 21 March 2022.

 

The Sub-Committee is asked to review the information provided in the draft report and consider whether it wishes to make any comments or recommendations for submission to the Cabinet during its consideration of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a report set out on pages 5 to 34 of the agenda which provided an early draft version of a report due to be considered by the Cabinet on 21 March 2022, on the Housing Improvement Board, and the development of the Croydon Housing Improvement Plan. The Sub-Committee was asked to review the information provided in the draft report and consider whether it wished to make any comments or recommendations for submission to the Cabinet. The conclusions agreed by the Sub-Committee would be reported to the Cabinet at its meeting scheduled for 21 March 2022.

 

The Cabinet Member for Homes introduced the item and summarised the key points, highlighting the work done since March 2021 and identifying the fact that there is still more to do around repairs and governance. The Interim Corporate Director of Housing reminded colleagues of the previous draft report which had been provided immediately after the publicity around Regina Road. Members noted the work done following comments made by the Scrutiny Panel and the reaction of the Regulator of Social Housing who had been unimpressed with the plan at that point. In addition, the draft Plan had been reviewed by the Housing Improvement Board who had been of the view that it needed to be more accessible and more focussed. The Plan had since been re-drafted to define a number of key outcomes and milestones with metrics in place for monitoring progress. The Plan would focus on five key areas and would be a live document which would have increased input from the Housing Improvement Board.

 

The Chair referred to previous feedback and asked colleagues whether past recommendations had been taken into consideration. The Interim Corporate Director of Housing responded that the Plan had captured the recommendations and officers were intending to revisit the Plan to monitor work as it progressed and that this would be included in service planning for 2022/23. The Sub-Committee were informed that evidence of resident engagement and mapping would be included under one document at a future date and feedback from the Housing Improvement Board had also included a requirement for resident engagement to be captured into the Plan.

 

In response to questions about what plans were in place to engage with residents so that they would feel that the Plan was fit for purpose, the Cabinet Member for Homes informed the Committee that a series of task and finish groups and engagement groups were coming together to report to the Housing Improvement Board. Tenants were now able to have more say and were better empowered with feedback being reviewed to ensure that it informed future action.

 

The Sub-Committee raised concerns about trust levels and mechanisms that would allow the Council to foresee future issues; it was noted that the introduction of an IT system which could provide a better understanding of trust issues was being considered but was still at an early stage. The Sub-Committee heard that individuals not only needed to be heard but also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10/22

11/22

Housing Revenue Account Business Plan pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee is presented with a draft copy of a report on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan due to be considered by the Cabinet on 21 March 2022.

 

The Sub-Committee is asked to review the information provided in the draft report and consider whether it wishes to make any comments or recommendations for submission to the Cabinet during its consideration of the report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a report set out on pages 35 to 58 of the agenda which provided an early draft version of a report due to be considered by the Cabinet on 21 March 2022, on the 30 Year Business Plan for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA). The Sub-Committee was asked to review the information provided in the draft report and consider whether it wished to make any comments or recommendations for submission to the Cabinet. The conclusions agreed by the Sub-Committee would be reported to the Cabinet at its meeting scheduled for 21 March 2022.

 

The Interim Corporate Director of Housing provided an overview on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which it was noted had been self-financing since 2012. As a result of the government redistributing all council housing debt from across the country according to a complex formula, Croydon Council received £200 million in debt from their housing stock. The HRA was ring-fenced for landlord activities and could not be used to subsidise general funds although the Sub-Committee heard that there was a continuous transfer of funds. Members were reminded that Croydon had a large amount of housing stock which needed to be maintained. The recommendation from central government was to develop a HRA Business Plan that detailed how this would happen and the period of time over which it would take place, with a recommendation of 30 years.

 

The Sub-Committee were shown a spreadsheet with assumptions around financial implications and the Interim Corporate Director of Housing outlined a summary of the HRA Business Plan detailing spend and income. The Sub-Committee noted that the policy would stay in place until 2024 and that Croydon would be incorporating the 30 year recommendation. Members also noted that the proposed HRA Business Plan focussed on the affordability of maintaining the council’s stock. The Business Plan set out the council’s finances over the next 30 years based upon assumptions such as rent levels, and Members were of the view that data held on stock condition showed a substantive backlog of work was required and capital spending could only be increased over a number of years to bring stock up to standard. The report further highlighted in detail the HRA Revenue balance, the Capital expenditure and risk and Members heard that this would inform the capital programme for the next year and enable decision making around building reserves, etc.; the Asset Management Strategy would address how the money would be spent.

 

Members thanked officers for the information on stock status but raised concerns around increased management costs and were informed that the operating service per unit was higher in Croydon than the national average, but that debt per unit was higher. The Sub-Committee requested detail of how these metrics worked and were of the view that it would be interesting to see how this compared to other outer London authorities. It was noted that loan to value is higher in Croydon and Members requested clarification on this. The Interim Corporate Director of Housing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11/22

12/22

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

Minutes:

This motion was not required.