Agenda and draft minutes

Housing and Community Overview and Scrutiny - Wednesday, 1st September, 2021 7.30 pm

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting


HC/041/21       MINUTES


The minutes from 21 July 2021 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.




Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence




Cllrs Barry, Harden, Oguchi and Tindall sent their apologies for the meeting.  Cllr Ransley substituted for Cllr Tindall



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered -


(i)            must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent


and, if the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest, or a personal interest which is also prejudicial


(ii)           may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests, or is not the subject of a pending notification, must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members


[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]





There were no declarations of interest.



Public Participation

An opportunity for members of the public to make statements or ask questions in accordance with the rules as to public participation







Consideration of any matter referred to the committee in relation to call-in






Budget Monitoring Q1 report pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Additional documents:




F Jump presented the first quarter budget monitoring report and asked Members if they had any questions.


Cllr Mahmood asked about the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we had set aside £1m, £700k has been spent in the first quarter and questioned whether we are seeing an end to that spending.  F Jump advised that £1m is the full year forecast pressure, £700k is the full year forecast pressure attributable to Covid  In terms of the ongoing impact we are continuing to see an impact on our income streams, for example, car parking.


Cllr Hollinghurst queried the £90k arising due to void properties in the hostels and temporary accommodation wanted to know how that had arisen.  N Beresford confirmed due to ‘Everyone In’ ask we had a significant spike in placements into temporary accommodation, now that has reduced in terms of flow but we still have a high number than usual applicants in temporary accommodation of just over 145 households, at the peak of this year that was in excess of 170.  The reduction in numbers are due to a number of factors, the cessation of the ‘Everyone In’ ask has meant that we are not continually bringing in new clients at the same rate and also we have been able to move them onto other accommodation. We have also had some very proactive prevention engagement with external providers and high street letting agents, which has meant we had over 50% increase of households moving into private sector accommodation, which in turn has meant an increase in voids.  We had expected and planned for an increase in homeless approaches as a result of the new Domestic Abuse Duty, but this didn’t happen, there has been an impact but it’s less than we expected.


Cllr Hollinghurst raised concerns about the advertised prices of accommodation per month in Tring and wondered how people are able to afford this.  N Beresford confirmed that there was some properties advertised recently with Legal and General for a new development.  These were affordable rent, not social rent, which were agreed through the planning process s106 agreement, within 80% market rental values, so much higher than social rents, but every person that is referred into those properties will have an affordability assessment by the Housing Needs Team and also the Registered Provider.  The same process is also undertaken when putting people into a private rented property, a number of assessments are completed to determine that the option is affordable for that family.


Cllr Adeleke asked about the Government Grant of £325k and how the Covid administration of £250k was spent, also queried the pressure arising due to Council liability on 5.8.  F Jump explained that the grant income we received is not ringfenced, corporately we use it to support the overall costs of the authority, but in terms of the specific reason those grants were provided for administration, they are for the test and trace which the Council is administrating.  They  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Q1 Performance Report - People & Communities pdf icon PDF 487 KB




L Warden updated Committee on the Quarter 1 Performance Report for People and Communities.  L Warden asked if Members had any questions.


Cllr Adeleke queried what  Dacorum Live was.  L Warden confirmed that this is the new print newsletter that has been developed by Communications and is issued to all residents in the Borough through the post.  All residents should have access to it and it will contain an overview of all areas and what’s happening across Dacorum.  It will also be available online.


Cllr Adeleke, through the Chairman, commended the efforts of Communications staff during the Covid crisis.  L Warden confirmed she would let staff know.

Action: L Warden


Cllr Adeleke mentioned problems with delivery of Digest and that some Councillors had residents advise they had not received them.  Cllr Adeleke also asked if Communications could include information on community grants in the Digest.  L Warden would speak to Matt Rawdon about delivery and also advised that with community grants it’s important that we get the message out to as many people as possible, so we are highlighting this in Members News and Dacorum Live.

Action: L Warden


Cllr Mahmood mentioned the Old Town Hall and wondered if we are fully functional now.  L Warden advised that we have an Autumn programme of events which has been launched and we are trying to make it as successful as we can.  We have recruited new members of staff to ensure that we can deliver the programme.


Cllr Mahmood asked if we advertise the community grants locally, for example in Community Centres or leaflets or posters on community notice boards.  L Warden replied that we are very aware that we make sure we engage with Community Centres, they are often a hub for the local area and that’s where a lot of these groups meet.  It’s very important that we get that communication out there as much as possible and we will make sure that’s something we continue to do.


Cllr Mahmood queried how referrals are made to the Healthy Hub.  L Warden advised that there are a few different routes that people can come to the Healthy Hub, they can access it online through our website or the Healthy Hub website, they can request information or a referral with a variety of areas at which point contact will be made and they’ll be put in touch with the relevant agencies to support or help them.  Additionally there’s drop in sessions at the South Hill Centre.  L Warden confirmed that she would circulate some information for Members which can be shared with as many residents as possible.

Action: L Warden


Cllr Mahmood enquired if Healthy Hub was open to all residents.  L Warden advised that it is for anyone who needs it, regardless of tenure.


Cllr Mahmood queried the increase in anti-social behaviour and wondered what we are doing to help, especially for non-council tenants where sanctioning isn’t as easy.  L Warden  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Q1 Performance Report - Housing pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Additional documents:




N Beresford presented the Q1 Performance Report for Housing and asked if Committee had any questions.


Cllr Bassadone queried the figures for sheltered accommodation.  N Beresford confirmed that the figures have fluctuated from period to period.  There are examples of properties that have been advertised on more than 19 occasions without successful applicants being offered the property.  There are some schemes that we are identifying as difficult to allocate, we need to make some difficult decisions on how we move forward with those schemes and also we have amended the capital threshold on the Housing Allocations Policy, which we hope will have a positive impact.


Cllr Bassadone wanted to check some of the figures in the report for the lifeline as they mention March.  N Beresford confirmed they were an error and would provide up to date details.

Action: N Beresford


Cllr Adeleke mentioned that he had a number of questions; 1) is the installation of bathroom and kitchens still suspended, plus how are we dealing with the worst cases for example where someone doesn’t have running water, 2) the number of rough sleeper has reduced to three from what, and 3) we said we were looking at adaptations for some schemes and wondered if this was still under consideration.  N Beresford confirmed that: 1) we are prioritising the repairs needed including the cases where improvements had previously been suspended, but in some cases were have having to identify alternative contractors, in terms of urgent repairs these have all been undertaken or alternative options would have to be considered, like decanting the tenants, where we were unable to find a solution, 2) in respect of rough sleeps the number has reduced from five to three, you may see more within the local community, but generally these are people who are perceived as sleeping rough, the figures have been validated by the Home Office so we are confident they are correct, 3) in respect of sheltered housing, N Beresford said that she assumes Cllr Adeleke means the repurposing or alternative options and confirmed these are being considered as part of the wider sheltered housing review, we need to consider what is feasible and plans will be worked up with external contractors.


Cllr Mahmood said that the number of people in temporary accommodation has gone up and asked what is driving that.  N Beresford advised that it was a number of factors, we were responding to the Government task of bringing everyone in, which meant a significant number of households coming into temporary accommodation.  We still have 38 households remaining who were brought in during that period and are working closely with other services, County, Public Health colleagues, MHCLG and Homes England, to identify grant funding options to look at step down or move on accommodation.  We are also seeing the impact of Covid which has meant a loss of accommodation in the private sector, we are currently working with about 48 households who are set  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Action Points pdf icon PDF 100 KB

There were no actions points from the meeting held on 21 July 2021.  Please see attached document for outstanding action points from previous meetings.


HC/049/21       ACTION POINTS


The Chairman said that the both of the outstanding actions from previous meetings were completed but would check with Cllr Pringle on that point.

Action: Cllr Imarni




Work Programme pdf icon PDF 215 KB


HC/050/21       WORK PROGRAMME


The Chairman noted the Work Programme.


The Meeting ended at 21:25