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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 09/11/2006
MEMBER/TENANTS’ SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP - 2ND OCTOBER 2006
REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE ON 9TH NOVEMBER 2006




FOR INFORMATION ONLY
APPENDIX L
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MEMBER/TENANTS’ SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
2ND OCTOBER 2006

REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE ON 9TH NOVEMBER 2006


A. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

B. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS

There were no disclosures of interests.

C. TERMS OF REFERENCE

The SIG was reminded of its Terms of Reference.

D. PREVIOUS MEETING

The SIG received the report of the previous meeting held on 26th June 2006 and reported to the Executive meeting on 5th September 2006. There was a query about a point in the minutes that said a report on the Tenants’ Improvement Scheme would be presented to the next meeting. It was confirmed the report would in fact be presented to the January meeting. It was also reported that progress was being made to deliver larger wheelie bins to those who had requested them.

D. MATTERS FOR FUTURE DISCUSSION/WORK PROGRAMME

D.1 The SIG agreed that two items - Choice Based Lettings (Mike Rivers) and Options Re-appraisal (David January/John Swanton) would be presented to the January meeting.

E. INCENTIVE SCHEME FOR CONDITION OF PROPERTY WHEN A TENANT LEAVES

E.1 The SIG received a report exploring the possibility of introducing an incentive scheme to pay outgoing tenants who adhered to a set of requirements that dictated the condition in which they left their property. The aim was to reduce the overall time it took to re-let void properties and to reduce the average cost in preparing a property to let. Officers said they would organise a workshop to discuss the pilot scheme further and then report to the next meeting in January.

E.2 Members discussed the report and agreed that in principle the idea of paying people to do what ought to be done anyway was not attractive. However, it was clear from an example in Birmingham that savings could be made from the scheme. It was felt that more data was needed, for example the level of incentive being paid in Birmingham, before a proper analysis could be made.

E.3 Members asked whether it would be possible to look at other ways of dealing with the issue such as taking a deposit, or inspecting properties more frequently. Officers said that although it could be possible to inspect more frequently, it would still be very difficult to prevent some of the worst cases. Furthermore a proportion of the difficult cases concerned elderly tenants who often left no assets. Officers made it clear that only a small number of tenants left properties in a bad state of repair on leaving, and that generally the key was effective negotiation and encouragement.

E.4 The Member/Tenants’ SIG asked officers to look into the scheme further, speak to other councils, organise the workshop and report back to the next SIG meeting.

F. PROGRESS REPORT ON THE REVIEW OF DISABLED ADAPTATIONS MAJOR WORKS

F.1 Members received a report setting out the progress that had been made on the review of disabled adaptations major works. Officers reported that they had reviewed Waverley’s disabled adaptations service with colleagues from another council that also had similar properties and was working with Occupational Therapists (OTs) from Surrey, but spending less than Waverley. The other authority had several initiatives in place including use of bathing assistants to help people review their bathing equipment needs; being robust with the OT service regarding type of bathroom adaptations required; exploring potential for re-use of certain equipment.

F.2 Several issues were raised by Members of the SIG including the possibility of renting stair lifts and the length of waiting list for adaptations. It was agreed that the use of bathing assistants would be practical as they could point people to appropriate local facilities. Members felt it was also important to help tenants know where they could get help and financial support. Where particular cases were raised, it was agreed they could be discussed with officers outside of the meeting. F.3 The SIG noted the report and confirmed their support to further explore appropriate ways to reduce expenditure on disabled adaptations.

G. DRAFT TENANT PARTICIPATION COMPACT

G.1 Neil Deans, Tenant Participation Officer, was welcomed to the SIG. Officers reminded the group that the Tenant Participation Agreement was introduced in 2002 and that in April 2006, the SIG had agreed a process and timetable for review of the Tenant Participation Agreement. Officers now asked Members to review the draft Tenant Participation Compact and agree how the compact be monitored. The draft compact would be passed to the Tenants’ Panel, Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive for further consideration before being finalised and signed off.

G.2 Officers went through the report and Members were invited to make comments on each paragraph. The following changes were suggested;

Within ‘Communications’ – to add that the Tenants’ Panel also sent out Newsletters
Remove all references to the stock transfer process
Within ‘Communication Commitment’ to add a reference to other languages and Languageline
Give an indication throughout the document about how tenants can find out about resources and get involved in groups
Look at renaming certain groups – e.g. Reading Group could become ‘Plain English’ group (and move to Communications section) – and Tenants’ Consultation Group could become ‘Sounding Board’
Use present rather than past tense throughout document
Within ‘Estate walkabouts’ – a reference to setting realistic targets for action
Put Code of Conduct references within paragraphs rather than at the end of the document
Within ‘Satisfaction questionnaire’ – a reference to immediate acknowledgement of tenants’ issues
Within ‘Surveys’ add the word status and refer to the fact that surveys are circulated with Waverley Home
Tenants’ Ballot – delete paragraph
Within ‘Expenses for tenants’ – change reference to Councillors not officers and refer only to those things on the menu to ensure the system was not open to abuse. Also take the reference to ‘child’ out in reference to the cost of expenses for carers.
Within ‘Complaints’ section, remove the paragraph except the first line
Within ‘Monitoring’ report to SIG annually at time of the annual report, and agree a general statement. Move the commitment paragraph to the beginning.
Differentiate the role of the tenant and those tenants on the Tenants’ Panel

G3. The SIG agreed that a revised, formatted version of the document be passed to the Tenants’ Panel for consideration and then presented to the next meeting of the SIG in January.

Present at the meeting

For Waverley Borough Council The following officers were present:

Mr K T Reed (Chairman) John Swanton
Mrs P Ellis Sheila Goodall
Mrs P M Frost David Simmons
Dr M-G Lane Neil Deans
Mrs A E Mansell

For the Tenants’ Panel

Miss P Wright (Vice Chairman)
Mrs I Birch
Mrs K Hall
Mr G Merrony
Mrs C North
Mr R Randle
Mrs J Rawlings

The following apologies for absence were recorded:

Mrs J R Keen
Mr B G Shelley
Mr P B Isherwood
Mr D Costigan




comms/exec/2006-07/173