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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/04/2006
Member/Tenants' Special Interest Group



FOR INFORMATION ONLY
APPENDIX O
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MEMBER/TENANTS’ SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP
28TH FEBRUARY 2006

REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE ON 4TH APRIL 2006

A. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS

There were no disclosures of interests.

B. TERMS OF REFERENCE

The SIG was reminded of its Terms of Reference.

C. PREVIOUS MEETING

The SIG received the report of the previous meeting held on 17th October and reported to the Executive meeting on 8th November 2005.

D. MATTERS FOR FUTURE DISCUSSION/WORK PROGRAMME

The SIG received and noted the status of the items listed on its current work programme. It was agreed that the item on Anti Social Behaviour be deferred.

E. REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

E.1 The SIG received an oral presentation describing future funding for repairs and maintenance works. Tenants were told that revenue funding for 2006/7 amounted to a rental income of around 21.2 million with annual expenditure of around 21.4 million. This meant that savings in the order of 212,000 needed to be found.

E.2 Types of Capital (long term investment) and Revenue (recurring expenditure) spending were described. Revenue spending from rent income was 3.85 million which covered day to day repairs, normal void repairs and cyclical works. Tenants heard that external decoration work was not currently being funded and 600,000 was required from rent income in 2007/8 in order to address this. Tenants were told that it would be necessary to find even larger savings in the years ahead. Officers confirmed that many properties were likely to need external decoration works but that the 600,000 would provide a short term, preventative, solution only.

E.3 There was some discussion about those void properties that would be the subject of trickle transfer. It was explained that trickle transfer would see around 20 properties each year transfer to a Registered Social Landlord when they became vacant. Tenants felt the situation on trickle transfer should be clarified and officers confirmed that there was an article in the Waverley Homes newsletter.

E.4 Officers described future capital funding and estimates from 2006 - 2011 including Major Repairs Allowance, accumulated capital receipts and funds from trickle transfer. The total estimated funding over the period amounted to 28 million. There was a short discussion about capital receipts. Officers reported that all but 25% of receipts were retained by the Council but that by 2010/11 Waverley would be paying more than half of its rental income to Central Government.

E.5 Tenants asked whether representations had been made to Central Government about the financial situation. Officers confirmed that discussions had taken place with ODPM and GOSE but that current policy was still towards a national redistribution of resources. Tenants asked what would happen if the Decent Homes Standard (DHS) was not met. Officers said this was not clear although it was possible that the Government could take over the service. Tenants then discussed the possibility of legal action if the Council did not meet the DHS. Officers said the Council had fulfilled its obligation to ensure the statutory requirement that homes were fit for human habitation and had endeavoured to meet the DHS by undertaking a ballot for stock transfer.

E.6 Officers described the four Capital work priorities which were:- Priority 1 – Health and safety, statutory duties & priority landlord works; Priority 2 - High Priority works e.g. re-roofing; Priority 3 - Meeting the DHS and Priority 4 - Low priority work such as estate improvements and renewal of fencing and gates. Officers said that in order to meet the DHS, the Council needed to spend 47 million. As tenants heard earlier in the presentation, the Council only had 28 million to spend.

E.7 It was reported that the DHS did not include a specification for works to be carried out and officers reminded tenants of the ‘Waverley Standard’, agreed in 2004. It was suggested that costs could be reduced in various ways such as reducing items supplied under the current standard or targeting specific properties by condition, age, type (e.g. void) or by tenant choice. Officers made it clear that they were seeking tenants’ views on how to take the work forward but whatever choices were made, money needed to be spent wisely.

E.8 There was a discussion about energy efficiency in Council properties. Officers confirmed that most homes went beyond the DHS for insulation and it was also possible to take advantage of various energy saving schemes. In terms of priorities, tenants felt that it was important that void properties should be brought to a good standard for new tenants. Tenants asked whether many people left properties in a bad state of repair. Officers said that it did happen from time to time but that the council would pursue these people. There was a final question about whether tenants could install their own fittings. Officers confirmed that this was encouraged and they would look at the implications of insurance and maintenance where work had been done privately.

E.9 Officers confirmed that the issue of repairs and maintenance would be discussed at the Tenants Conference in March when all tenants would get the opportunity to discuss the issues in greater detail. Officers would report back to a future meeting following further detailed consultation with the Tenants Panel.

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Present at the meeting

For Waverley Borough Council The following officers were present:

Mr K T Reed (Chairman) David January
Mr P B Isherwood John Swanton
Mrs J R Keen Andrew Booker
Mrs A E Mansell Bernard Nichols
Mr B G Shelley

For the Tenants’ Panel

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

The following apologies for absence were recorded:

Mrs P Ellis
Mrs P M Frost
Dr M-G Lane

comms/sig/2005-06/archive/280206/084