To enable the Cabinet to consider recommendations made by the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee in relation to the above.
That the Housing Portfolio Holder’s response to the recommendations of the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee be both noted and endorsed.
Cabinet was aware that, at its meeting held on 9 July 2020 (Minute 68 referred), the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee had conducted overview and scrutiny on the theme of Housing. The Committee had paid particular emphasis to service delivery and performance in relation to:-
(i) the Private Sector Housing Financial Assistance Policy;
(ii) Vacated/Empty Council Housing (“Voids”);
(iii) Council Housing Tenant Satisfaction and Involvement; and
(iv) New Build of 10 Council Houses in Jaywick Sands.
Following discussion, it had been agreed by the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee that it be recommended to Cabinet that -
“(a) Cabinet be recommended to develop a public engagement plan in respect of financial assistance for private sector housing that includes providing information to community groups, health professionals and more widely to ensure that all those who would benefit from adaptations that could be funded through the financial assistance available through the Disabled Facilities Grant arrangements are aware of those arrangements and the process to apply for those Grants;
(b) the Chief Executive be advised that this Committee considers that it would be advantageous to report on the public engagement plan at the time that it is prepared and ready to be delivered so that Councillors can support the delivery of
that plan across the District;
(c) consideration be given to including details of grants available for those in private rented accommodation and in receipt of benefits (at the time of notification of benefit award/change/discontinuance) to support the installation of adaptations to the properties they rent to improve their lives (both related to disability facilities, safety and to address energy poverty); and
(d) the maintenance contract currently out for tender not be extended beyond the first year or re-tendered until this Committee has had the opportunity to review the delivery of that contract and the appropriate balance between in-house and contracted maintenance.”
Cabinet had before it the Housing Portfolio Holder’s response to the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations which was as follows:-
“It is clear that the Committee covered a number of housing related topics at this meeting. The discussions highlighted the great work undertaken by our officers in delivering much needed adaptations to our residents and managing and maintaining our own housing stock to a high standard, resulting in high levels of tenant satisfaction that we should be proud of.
I therefore accept the recommendations (a)-(c) as proposed above. In respect of (d) the Maintenance contract is tendered as a seven year contract and as such I propose to carry out a review after one year to ensure that the contract is being run properly and to ensure an appropriate balance between the in-house and contracted maintenance delivery.”
Having considered the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and the response of the Housing Portfolio Holder thereto:
It was moved by Councillor P B Honeywood, seconded by Councillor McWilliams and:
RESOLVED that the Housing Portfolio Holder’s response to the recommendations of the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee be both noted and endorsed.