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Agenda and minutes

The Former Cabinet Member for Housing and Environmental Services - Oct 2000 to May 2005
Monday, 11th October, 2004 10.30 a.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham.

Contact: Dawn Mitchell, 01709 822062  Email: dawn.mitchell@rotherham.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

80.

Performance Management Models and Improvement Tools pdf icon PDF 28 KB

- to approve Housing Services applying for external quality accreditation

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Performance and Development Officer presented a report which identified the performance improvement models available to improve customer satisfaction and efficiency of the Housing Service, now and throughout the development of the ALMO.

 

Many local authorities and ALMOs had chosen to adopt performance improvement tools to help them manage strategically and deliver against the national modernisation agenda.  The Government’s ‘modernisation agenda’ encouraged all public sector organisations to make use of one of 4 main quality models (European Foundation for Quality Model, Charter Mark, Investors in People and ISO 9001).

 

The Investors in People award achieved by the Council in June, 2003, recognised the significant improvements put in place to develop people, skills and learning.  The Council and Programme Area had successfully implemented continuous improvement programmes recently through the use of EFQM business excellence model.  However, a more holistic balanced set of measures (customer relationships and internal processes) that reflected the different drivers that contributed to superior performance was required.

 

The costs involved will be broken down when applications were submitted to both assessment centres during the next 2 years.  It was estimated to be in the region of £21,000 for ISO 9001 plus £2,000 annual audits and £2,000 for a Charter Mark assessment.  A more detailed breakdown of costs would be submitted during 2005/06.

 

Discussion ensued on the staffing resources required.  It was expected that the Transformation Team would support this project through their business process re-engineering work and no additional secondments required.

 

Resolved:-  That House Services apply for external quality accreditation (subject to a more detailed financial breakdown) in:-

 

(1)  ISO 9001 for the Repairs and Maintenance Service by September, 2005.

 

(2)  Charter Mark for the Landlord Service by April, 2006.

81.

Housing Disrepair Claims pdf icon PDF 24 KB

- to note the report

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Services submitted a report setting out the impact of the current management strategy for dealing with disrepair claims (Section 11.82).

 

In the first 6 months of 2003/04, the number of cases had risen to such an extent that it was having a serious negative effect on the Repairs budget.  Additional legal assistance had been recruited to support a more assertive approach.  Publicity material was also issued stating that spurious cases would be contested with the utmost vigour.

 

As at 28th September, 2004, the number of cases had fallen during the 12 months period from 267 live claims to 161 despite having received 67 new claims during that period.  173 claims had been settled comprising:-

 

51 cases where payment was required (average £4,555.00 per claim)

90 cases where no payment was received (potential saving of £409,950.00)

32 cases where the Council would receive costs.

 

Of the 51 cases where payment was required, the amount paid as at 28th September was £197,266.45 (£114,928.45 during 2003/04 financial year and £92,338.00 during 2004/05).   However, costs remain to be paid on 7 of the cases and are likely to be paid during 2004/05 (£35,000).

 

Of the 32 cases where the Council would receive costs, the total sum of £121,101.73 was due of which £101,578.28 had already been recovered during 2004/05 financial year.

 

Resolved:-  That the report be noted.

82.

Regeneration of Void Flats, Wath upon Dearne pdf icon PDF 24 KB

- to approve the demolition of flats and incorporation into the existing land development brief

 

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Services submitted a report proposing the regeneration of 2 void blocks of 3 storey flats at Wath upon Dearne.

 

Construction of all the single person flat accommodation within the Wath Scheme dated from approximately 1960 with only minimal alterations/additions/maintenance works carried out since that time.  It did not now meet the reasonable expectations of national or local government standards or the needs and aspirations of residents, tenants and other service users who resided on the White Bear Estate.

 

11 blocks of the original 14 blocks of single person flats had been demolished and 1 refurbished, leaving the remaining 2 blocks of 12 individual flats per block.  The retained and refurbished block proved expensive to refurbish and appeared to show signs of degradation from abuse, misuse and general vandalism 1 year since completion. 

 

Housing Management advised that there remained a high demand for this type of single person accommodation but the number of applicants willing to accept this type and standard of accommodation was nil.

 

The cost of refurbishment of a single 3 storey block of flats was in excess of £200,000 excluding fees.  To demolish the 2 blocks of flats would cost approximately £100,000 which included the demolition, removal of potential asbestos and the clearing of the sites but excluded fees.

 

Ward Members and stakeholders had been consulted throughout the concept and implementation stages of the Regeneration Scheme.  The condition of the void blocks of flats was of significant concern to all parties involved in the regeneration of the estate.  A consultation exercise had determined a majority opinion that the blocks of flats attracted vandalism and general abuse which created unpleasant living conditions.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That, subject to discussion with Property Services to ensure that the building was not required, the 2 void blocks of 3 storey flats at Wath upon Dearne be demolished and the cleared land incorporated into the existing land development brief to be marketed in January, 2005.

 

(2)  That investigations take place into the possibility of Housing Market Renewal funding being available to fund the demolition costs.

83.

Proposals to pilot the installation of Solar Powered Heating in Council Properties pdf icon PDF 28 KB

- to accept the proposal

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Services submitted a proposal to pilot the installation of solar powered heating in Council properties which would dovetail with other renewable energy schemes such as wind farms in line with other Central Government energy strategy.

 

Rotherham was committed to identifying new and sustainable sources of energy.  In support of this, it was proposed to install solar heating to 10 properties i.e. 2 voids at KivetonPark and 8 tenanted properties at Woodsetts.  The void installations would commence late September/early October, 2004.

 

The voids were chosen due to this being a new venture and on inconvenience to tenants.  The tenanted properties had been chosen for their suitability i.e. facing south, pitch of the roof and an easily adaptable heating system.  Woodsetts was chosen as a small, self-contained estate and easier to evaluate results.  Installation should take 2 days.

 

Solar panels, known as collectors, would be fitted to the building’s roof which used the sun’s heat to warm glycol which passed through the panel.  The glycol was then fed to a hot water tank and helped provide heat and hot water for the building.  The panels worked throughout daylight hours even if the sky was overcast and no direct sunshine.  The hot water bills for residents should be reduced by up to 50%.  The tenanted properties would be visited to discuss the details of the scheme with residents to obtain their views and permission before starting work. 

 

The project was being undertaken with the help of a company called Genersys plc. who manufactured, marketed and installed solar thermal panels that provided hot water for domestic, industrial and other applications.  The manufacturing unit at Barbot Hall would not undertake manufacture of small units but should a large district heating site be considered, would be able to do so.  Both the Gas Servicing Section and the PVCu Manufacturing Section at Barbot Hall would achieve Clearskies solar installer accreditation when the scheme was completed.  They would then be able to carry out the work for other authorities and organisations.  Once accreditation and demand was established, there was potential for the formation of a Solar Installation Scheme within the Neighbourhood Management Section which could then become commercially viable through the South Yorkshire Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, Save N Warm discount scheme.  The panels were designed to have a life expectancy of at least 35 years and required no maintenance.

 

Monitoring equipment could be installed in the properties and in those without solar panels to enable comparisons to be made.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the proposal to pilot the installation of solar powered heating in Council properties be approved.

 

(2)  That a progress report be submitted in 6 months.

84.

Exclusion of the press and public

Resolved:-  That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs indicated below of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972:-

Minutes:

Resolved:-  That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs indicated below of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

85.

Void Property Security

(Exempt under Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Act – supply of goods/services and negotiation of terms)

Minutes:

In accordance with Minute No. 99 of 15th September, 2003, the Head of Housing Services submitted a report seeking authority to extend the current security contract for void properties.

 

Pioneer Security Systems was successfully awarded the contract from 1st October, 2002, to 30th September, 2003, with the option of a further 2 years to 30th September, 2005, including fixed annual increase based on national indices.

 

Feedback from service users showed that the company was providing an efficient and high quality service.

 

Resolved:-  That the extension of the current vacant property security contract awarded to Pioneer Security Systems for a further year to 30th September, 2005, as laid down in the original contract documents, be approved.

 

(Exempt under Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Act – supply of goods/services and negotiation of terms)

86.

Extra Care Housing Fund

(Exempt under Paragraphs 3 and 8 of the Act – accommodation provided by the Council/supply of goods or services)

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Services submitted proposals for the development of a second Extra Care Housing development in Rotherham.

 

Local authorities had been invited by the Department of Health to submit bids for the second round of the Extra Care Housing Fund.  All bids must be submitted by 25th October, 2004.  The report considered the land contribution that the Council would need to make in order to make the ECH bid viable.

 

It was noted that the report was to be considered by the Cabinet Member for Social Services on 15th October, 2004.

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That in principle approval be given to:-

 

(a)  the submission of an Extra Care Housing Bid, based on the sheltered housing site stated in the report, and the adjacent garage site.

 

(b)  the sheltered housing site and the adjacent garage site being transferred by way of long lease or freehold, subject to appropriate restrictive convenants, to a Registered Social Landlord as part of the Authority’s capital contribution to the Extra Care Housing Fund.

 

(c)  the Programme Area consulting with residents of the current sheltered scheme and with tenants of the garage site and report back to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Environmental Services in November, 2004.

 

(2)  That a further report on the final bid be presented to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Environmental Services in November, 2004.

 

(Exempt under Paragraphs 3 and 8 of the Act – accommodation provided by the Council/supply of goods or services)

87.

Damp Proofing and Timber Treatments Contract

(Exempt under Paragraph 8 and 9 of the Act – expenditure proposed to be incurred by the Authority/terms negotiated for the supply of goods or services)

Minutes:

The Head of Housing Services submitted a report proposing to extend the damp proofing and timber treatments contract.

 

The current contract, which commenced on 1st October, 2003, was approved for 1 year with an extension of a further 2 years on satisfactory completion of year 1.

 

Resolved:-  That the extension of the damp proofing and timber treatments contract for a further 2 years (30th September, 2006), be approved.

 

(Exempt under Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Act – expenditure proposed to be incurred by the Authority/terms negotiated for the supply of goods or services)