Agenda item

Housing Policy & Strategy Review

This report aims to present a thorough review of new and existing strategies and policies that are required within the Housing Service.


            The Group Head of Housing was invited by the Chair to introduce the report.  He explained the rationale for the Housing policy and strategy review was to support the overall effectiveness of the Housing Service and to consider the amount of time currently taken up by Committee members in dealing with strategic issues.  He referred to the comments made by members at previous meetings of the Committee raising issues about some of the policies.  The intention was to align them with both member and customer expectations, best practice, as well as legal and regulatory requirements.  He explained that the Business Improvement Team had undertaken work to develop a comprehensive review framework to identify areas for improvement and to establish a programme to review current policies and to introduce new policies where gaps existed.  It was noted that the draft Housing Strategy and Homeless Strategy would be considered at the next meeting of the Committee. He drew attention to Appendix 1 that set out the high level strategic functions the Committee should be focusing on and suggested those that should be dealt with under delegated authority.  He believed the proposal struck a balance allowing officers to carry out their day to day work.  He referred to discussions with CMT since the report had been published and advised of an amendment to Appendix 1 of the Voids Policy, which would now be subject to resident engagement.


            The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Yeates and seconded by Councillor Bence.


            The Chair invited members to make comment or ask any questions.


It was proposed by Councillor Walsh that the Pets Policy should be considered by the Housing and Wellbeing Committee for approval when reviewed, due to the number of approaches members received from residents on this emotive matter, and not under delegated authority, this was seconded by Councillor Yeates and upon completion of a vote was CARRIED.   


During the discussion congratulations were expressed to the Group Head of Housing for the steps being taken to review the housing polices and strategies.  A member asked about keeping stock condition surveys up to date. Instances of blocked gutters were given which could cause mould issues in properties in the council’s housing stock.  The Group Head of Housing advised that the Asset Management Strategy would deal with the collection of stock condition data.  To a certain extent gutter clearance would be included within either the Asset Management Policy or the Repairs Policy.  He advised that the Housing Services budget for 2024-25 included an allocation for gutter clearance, which he confirmed would take place and therefore a separate policy was not considered necessary.  In response to a suggestion that the Tenancy Audit and Tenancy Fraud should be considered by the Committee, he advised that this was a new policy setting out the procedures in respect of work that officers were already carrying out.  If there were any issues with the work officers were carrying out then members would have the opportunity to request that a report is considered by the committee.  The Interim Business Improvement Manager explained that the policy was listed as ‘n/a’ under Committee Date/Delegated Authority as it was not due for renewal this year having recently been adopted by the Committee.  In future the policies and strategies would be made available for viewing on the council’s website.   Responding to comments made concerning the voids policy, work was due to commence during quarter 1 and considered by the Committee on 16 June 2024, would now include resident engagement around the voids standards part of the policy. With regards to the issue of asbestos, he explained the approach to this existing policy and that the council was up to date with its  compliance requirements over the past 12 to 18 months.  As regards to the Council’s stock condition survey due to take place during 2024-25, he confirmed each property would be assessed individually. 


The Committee




To approve the programme of policy reviews for 2024-25, as detailed in Appendix 1, which identifies those of most importance to bring through the committee process (high-level/strategic) and those which can be delivered through delegated authority to the Group Head of Housing (operational).

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