Agenda and draft minutes

Tenant & Leaseholder Panel
Tuesday, 15th October, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions

Contact: Thomas Downs
020 8726 6000 x63922  Email: thomas.downs@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

39/19

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Panel members, councillors and officers in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Panel Members praised the recently deceased Stephen Aselford, who had been a member of many panels and groups, with his commitment to the Mobility Forum and disability panels being particularly noted. Stephen also had a great interest and involvement in transport and transport issues.

40/19

Disclosure of Interest

Members will be asked to confirm that their Disclosure of Interest Forms are accurate and up-to-date. Any other disclosures that Members may wish to make during the meeting should be made orally. Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose relevant disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting

Minutes:

There were no disclosures at this meeting.

41/19

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2019 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.

42/19

Fire Safety on Council Estates pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Verbal Report from the London Fire Brigade

Minutes:

The Panel heard that the London Fire Brigade had sent apologies, as they were unable to send a representative to deliver the verbal update. Written responses had been provided and are appended in full to these minutes.

 

The Panel expressed disappointment that this would be the second time that the London Fire Brigade had sent apologies for a meeting.

43/19

Waste collection - Feedback from Task & Finish Group pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Report from Tom Lawrence (Head of Environmental Services) and Sharon Murphy (Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Environmental Services explained that the Task & Finish Group had gone through the standards of the contract and that the aim had been to identify what the expectations of waste collection should be from residents, and what the expectations on residents were to report issues to the council. A number of factors had been brought up these included: notice boards in blocks displaying collection dates, clear signage on bins and reporting of missed food waste collection within two working days through MyAccount. There had been interest in starting Community composting to assist in waste minimisation. There had been actions over clear information around recycling which would be implemented both immediately and over a longer term.

 

A resident discussed issues with food waste bins in Heathfield Gardens with these having not been cleaned, and previous issues with wasp and fly infestations. The Head of Environmental Services informed the Panel that there was a requirement in the contract for food waste bins to be cleaned, and in the near future this would involve off site deep cleaning.

 

In response to queries about only being able to report one missed collection at a time through MyAccount, the Panel heard that multiple reports should be possible and the Head of Environmental Services offered to look into this if needed.

 

In response to reports of missed collections the Head of Environmental Services acknowledged that repeatedly missed properties could be a problem, but that they were rare. Officers did check whether collections had happened, but this was a small team in a large borough which meant that self-reporting was important. There had been a major residual waste collection reschedule in July 2019 which had increased the resilience of the service. residual and commercial collections had been decoupled to increase the efficiency of collections.

 

In response to a Panel member who had stated that the caretaker of their residence had been unable to report missed collections though their mobile phone, the Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services stated that all caretakers had been given smart phones, but accepted that some needed additional training to use them effectively.

 

The Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services informed the Panel that a monthly meeting between their team and the Environmental services team had been set up. These would discuss repeated missed collection reports from residents and caretakers and would look at why missed collections were occurring.

 

Panel Members stated that many issues had been raised during the Task & Finish group and requested a further meeting to see which recommendations and actions had and had not worked, and any improvements made.

 

In response to queries about why there were no longer estate walkabouts, the Panel heard from the Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services that the team of Estate Inspectors had been lost, but this function would be picked up by Tenancy Officers, as it was now one of their KPIs.

 

In response to questions about the accuracy of figures on missed collections in the report, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43/19

44/19

Axis Responsive Repairs Contract Review pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Report from Lorraine Smout (Head of Responsive Repairs and Maintenance)

Minutes:

The meeting resumed at 19:25

 

Head of Responsive Repairs and Maintenance introduced the item and went through the slides from the agenda.

 

The Panel heard that there would be a follow up report in April 2020 to give details of the review, but that an interim report could be given in January 2020 if requested. Regular lead Cabinet Member briefings had taken place.

 

The Panel queried whether repair appointments were available for people who worked full time Monday to Friday, and were told that non-urgent repairs appointments were only available between 8:00 and 17:00, Monday to Friday, but that emergency repairs were available 24 hours. Previous engagement had not showed a high demand for appointments to be available at weekends as these would be much more expensive, and an additional premium would be required.

 

A resident stated that their experience with Axis over the last two years had been positive, and that there had been a noticeable improvement.

 

In response to queries about who had been requesting the feedback from residents, the Panel heard that satisfaction surveys came from Axis, and that some had come from the council themselves. The feedback had been requested in a number of ways including email, phone, text and letter.

 

10% of work was inspected, with around 65,000 repairs a year, and that there were three dedicated inspectors. The inspections focused on high value repairs, and repairs that needed to be checked.

 

45/19

Full Fibre Broadband in Social Housing pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Report from Rob Hunt (Asset Manager)

Minutes:

The Asset Manager went through the report and explained the aim to expand broadband access to areas of poor provision through connecting to social housing blocks, with reliable futureproof fibre which could later be fed out to other properties. The infrastructure would be provided at no cost to the residents.

 

Providers had approached the council with different offers, and agreements had been made with Openreach and Community Fibre, with talks still ongoing with a third provider. The council would still be open to working with other providers in the future. This had been in line with the corporate plan to develop infrastructure to provide economic growth to meet resident’s needs. This would increase the overall speed and provision of the network in Croydon. As much of the council provision moved to digital services, this would help residents maintain access to council services.

 

The cable would be fed to the front door of individual properties, or to hubs in blocks, where cables could later be run to individual flats should they opt into the service. The cables would reach the blocks by underground ducts, and into a central hub. The fibre would have the capacity for future technologies, and would negate the need for satellite dishes. A range of packages would be available with different speeds and prices to suit all residents.

 

In response to queries around 5mb/s speeds being too slow, the Panel heard that this was to provide an affordable package for those who could not afford faster packages. In response to queries about whether satellite dishes would be removed, the Panel heard that this would be looked at in the future when they became redundant, and as TV providers moved to using internet infrastructure over satellite dishes.

 

As a part of the agreements, the providers would work with the council to provide apprenticeships, work placements and job opportunities in the borough. The providers would also pay the London living wage; have a percentage of their supply chain in Croydon and measure sustainability. Free Wi-Fi would be provided in provided in community centres, blocks and lounges, and training on digital inclusion would be provided.

 

In response to a question about how secure the broadband would be, the Asset Manager explained that the fibre would be managed and controlled by OFCOM. In response to a question about the timescale, the Panel heard that the project was expected to be completed in the next three to five years, but this could be quicker if the number of providers involved increased.

 

46/19

Scrutiny update

Verbal report from Yaw Boateng (Tenant Scrutiny Panel)

Minutes:

The Panel heard that meetings of the Tenant Scrutiny Panel had taken place over the year and that the findings and recommendations would be finalised in October 2019 to be presented to the council. The findings and recommendations would also be presented at the next meeting of the Panel.

 

47/19

Resident Involvement Activity Report pdf icon PDF 584 KB

This report is attached for information only - Chris Stock (Resident Involvement Manager)

Minutes:

This report was attached for information only.

48/19

Digital Engagement Update

Verbal Report from Daniel Powell (Engagement and Digital Inclusion Officer)

Minutes:

The Engagement and Digital Inclusion Officer introduced the item and went through the previous Digital Engagement offer, which had been an email newsletter called ‘Involve’ and a magazine called ‘Open House’. These had often been sent out late and not regularly enough.

 

The branding for Open House had been refreshed, and would now be distributed four times a year, instead of the previous three. The magazine would now be sent to all tenants and leaseholders, posted on the Croydon Resident Involvement Facebook page and sent out with rent statements. There would also be a digital supplement available which could be printed on request for residents without internet access.

 

The Croydon Resident Involvement Facebook page had been used more regularly and would post at least once a day. There had been a 500% increase in the number of likes the page had since January 2019. Video content had been posted on the page and officers were looking to further expand its use in the future.

 

In response to questions about the administration of the Facebook page, the Panel learned that there had been very few negative or abusive comments, but that this could be moderated. The Engagement and Digital Inclusion Officer stated that they trusted people who were generally using the pages for the right reasons. Panel members were surprised that people who were not tenants or leaseholders were engaging with the page, and the Engagement and Digital Inclusion Officer agreed and stated that a mix of current residents and people who had previously lived in Croydon were using the page.

49/19

Feedback pdf icon PDF 23 KB

a)    London Tenants’ Federation - Jamil Tarik

b)    ARCH - Yaw Boateng

c)     Croydon Voluntary Sector Alliance (CVSA) - Guy Pile-Grey

d)    Croydon Congress - Marilyn Smithies

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair informed the Panel that this item would be presented as written reports to be submitted with the agenda for all future Panels.

 

Marilyn Smithies read out some sections for the update. This included segment from the All Ages Inter-generational update and the Youth Provision and Communities Fund, which is appended in full to these minutes.

50/19

Any Other Business

Minutes:

There was none.

51/19

Date of next meeting

11 February 2020 at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX.

Minutes:

11 February 2020 at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX.