Agenda item

Directorate Report

To note the report.


Chris Brown, Service Director for housing introduced the directorate report and Ian Candlish, Head of Housing, was introduced to discuss aspects of the report in further detail and the following points were raised and discussed (summarised):

·       The last couple of months have been remarkably busy finalising and presenting the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) business plan and rent setting proposals to full council. We are incredibly pleased that the full council supported the 30 recommendations in the report including the capital programme, a single development programme for the HRA, rent and service charges and the 30-year business plan.

·       Seaward Way/Rainbow Way, Minehead is progressing well, and a second community drop in event was well supported.


·       The main contract for building NTWP Phase B and Ci has been agreed by members and demolition will start imminently at North Taunton and Wordsworth Drive/Coleridge Cresent. Boarding has now been erected at Wordsworth Crescent.


·       The Property team are currently short staffed, both for the trades area and office support. Arrangements are in place to help manage workloads, but this is likely to affect future performance indicators and may lead to an increase in complaints for this service area.


·       All property safety compliance checks and works continue to be undertaken. These include gas safety checks (LGSR’s), water risk assessments and remedial works, electrical inspections (EICR’s), asbestos surveys and re-inspections, fire risk assessment and remedial works, fire safety checks, lift and stair-lift checks and remedial works, and radon monitoring.


·       The Fire Safety Audit by SWAP (Southwest Audit Partnership) is now complete and we are implementing the agreed management actions contained within their final report.


·       Our Capital Programme team continues to deliver our electrical inspection testing programme with both the main contractor delivering the programme and support from our in-house electrical team. A consumer unit replacement programme has commenced, including National Grid installing contractor switches.


·       The Asset Management service continues to carry out energy surveys which are required to understand pathways to Zero Carbon and which low energy funding regime properties are best placed in. These surveys are influencing the capital investment programme.


·       There are vacancies across the Income and Tenancy Management Team. There are also challenges in recruitment. Around 36 vacancies in total.


·       The housing service is leading the acquisition of 31 homes in the County which will be held in the Housing Revenue Account. These properties will be let to Refugees for the first tenancy with flexibility for future years to let as General Need Homes. The homes are 100% funded by the Local Authority Housing Fund.


·       The council is considering a second phase which could see an additional 30 units acquired plus some new build homes over 2 years.


After being presented with the report the group discussed the following (summarised):


·        The use of hydrogen heating in Fyfe and using that in Somerset. The use of hydrogen fuels is still on the agenda for the local authority.

·       Radon surveys in the local area and the amount of Radon that was found. A small percentage of Radon was found which is a very small risk.

·       Radon checks will continue in areas where a percentage was found.

·       Social Value Offer and the meaning of this term and what suppliers do. Such as projects and community work.

·       The agreed management actions of the fire report. These actions will be brought to the next meeting.

·       The checking of properties and the workmanship after work has been completed.

·       Contractors’ code of conduct.

·       The repairs of work that was surveyed as being under standard.

·       Positive response on the newsletters from the group. Although there is not a lot of direct feedback from other tenants.

·       Engagement and responses improved from the tenants.

·       Workings of the voicescape system.

·       The complaint that went to the Ombudsman.

Supporting documents: