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Agenda item

Joint Review: Resident Involvement Feasibility Report

This report informs Members of a topic request submitted by Cllr Ann Reid to look into tenant involvement, including the York Residents’ Federation which has recently failed to appoint a committee and is thus no longer operational.


Members considered a report which provided information in relation to a topic request submitted by Cllr Ann Reid to look at tenant involvement, including the York Residents’ Federation, which had recently failed to appoint a committee and was not longer operational. The submission asked the committee to undertake a scrutiny review to help identify where the council could increase its support for tenant engagement, both in wards and across the city and also help establish new residents associations in wards that were not covered by an active association


The Scrutiny Officer drew Members attention to the limitedtime remaining during the current municipal year to undertake a review and suggested that Members may wish to recommend that the review be carried out during the next municipal year. He suggested that the topic could lend itself to a broader review, giving the opportunity to look at engagement on a broader level across the city. He also advised that the Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee were happy to undertake a joint review on the topic with this committee taking the lead and advised that Cllr Kallum Taylor had already expressed an interest in being involved in a review. He advised that a scoping report could be agreed which would provide further information to enable them to decide on a remit for a review.


The Council’s Head of Housing and the Housing Engagement and Equalities Facilitator for Housing were in attendance at the meeting. They expressed concern that the report did not reflect the amount of work which was going on and provided information to Members on tenant engagement including  a wide range of regulatory activities, many of which had been taking place for a number of years  with residents associations, the Federation but also with many other people who access housing services including:


·        The Tenant Scrutiny Panel which meets monthly

·        A strong set of service inspectors who constantly examine our services

·        Residents associations – some of which were thriving and some struggling

·        Officer support, training and documentation to help groups deal with governance issues, finances etc

·        Leaseholder Forum which meets twice a year and is open to all  leaseholders

·        Leaseholder Scrutiny Panel which meets monthly

·        Streets Ahead Magazine available to tenants and leaseholders, available on the council website

·        Annual Tenant Satisfaction Survey which has been running for decades – this also feeds into regulatory required Tenant and Leaseholder Annual Report, available on website. Scrutiny Panel is instrumental in putting that together

·        Focus Groups and bespoke consultations

·        Increased use of social media including new Housing Facebook page, which is used in addition to Council Facebook and Twitter feed to get information out there


They expressed their desire for scrutiny involvement in light of post Grenfell legislation coming through and in light of the Federation being where it was at the moment.


While acknowledging that the topic was a valid one, some Members did not feel that a review should be undertaken at present time. They acknowledged that a substantial amount of work was already taking place in this area.. They noted that there were substantial time pressures and felt that undertaking a meaningful review would be difficult at the present time and that there were more pressing topics which would make better use of the committee’s time.


Other Members, while agreeing that other pieces of work should take priority, felt that this was a suitable topic for a review and expressed the need to keep this piece of work within the committee’s focus. They acknowledged that it could be picked up by the committee at the start of the new municipal year but felt that informal discussions around this topic should take place with officers before that time. 


It was agreed that, in view of the interest in the topic, officers be asked to provide a report with further information relating to the topic review request and address the points raised by the Members of whether the topic merits recommending to a future committee in the new municipal year. The report should be presented to a forthcoming committee meeting before the end of this municipal year.


Resolved:  That it be agreed not to undertake a scrutiny review around this topic at the current time but that officers be asked to present a report to the January or March 2019 meeting in order to inform members and allow them to make a decision whether to recommend a scrutiny review on the topic to a future committee in the next municipal year.


Reason:     To comply with Scrutiny protocols and procedures


Supporting documents:


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