Agenda and minutes

Virtual Meeting, Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel – Residential Housing Stock, Health and Safety Compliance - Tuesday 26th October 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - online. View directions

Contact: Sheila Dykes  Email:


No. Item


Membership of the Panel

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillor Harpreet Uppal and Kevin McAllister.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 21st September 2021.


The minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 21st September 2021 were agreed as a correct record.



Councillors will be asked to advise if there are any items on the

Agenda in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest, which

would prevent them from participating in any discussion or vote on

an item, or any other interests.


No interests were declared.


Admission of the Public

Most debates take place in public. This only changes when there is a

need to consider certain issues, for instance, commercially sensitive

information or details concerning an individual. You will be told at

this point whether there are any items on the Agenda which are to

be discussed in private.


All items were considered in public session.



The Panel will receive any petitions and hear any deputations from

members of the public.


A deputation is where up to five people can attend the meeting and

make a presentation on a particular issue of concern, relevant to that

body’s terms of reference. In accordance with Council Procedure

Rule 10 (2) members of the public should provide at least 24 hours’

notice of presenting a deputation.


A member of the public can also hand in a petition at the meeting

subject to the petition relating to something on which the body has

powers and responsibilities.


No deputations or petitions were received.


Public Question Time

The Panel will hear any questions from the general public in

accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.


Questions should be emailed to: no later than 10.00 am on

25th October 2021.


No questions were received.


Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 114 KB

The Panel’s Terms of Reference are attached for information.


The Panel’s Terms of Reference were submitted, for information.



Fire Safety Champions - Update

A verbal progress report will be given in respect of the recruitment of the Fire Safety Champions.



Michelle Anderson-Dore – Head of Partnerships, Homes and Neighbourhoods


Michelle Anderson-Dore, the Head of Partnerships - Homes and Neighbourhoods provided an update in respect of the recruitment of the Fire Safety Champions (FSC).


She explained; the objectives of the role, the aim to have one champion (a tenant or leaseholder) for each of the high-rise, six-storey blocks and the Retirement Living Schemes (RLS), and the results of the recruitment process to date.


Questions and comments were invited from Panel members, with the following issues being covered:

·       In response to a query about how the champions would engage with the other residents in their block and how the Council would support them in doing this; it was explained that the Fire Safety Engagement Team undertook patrols on a daily basis and were highly visible, the champions would also patrol the blocks accompanying the team and/or the housing officers so that they would become familiar to other residents. The role was suitable for people who liked to, and found it easy to, engage with others but was also prepared to provide challenge and question when necessary. It was stressed that this was an additional method of encouraging and reinforcing the key messages about fire safety, it was not a replacement for the formal process. In addition, the champions would be introduced in the relevant newsletter and the role promoted. They would be assisted to become familiar with other tenants and provided with continued ongoing support.

·       The aim was to get one FSC per block but, if unable to recruit for any particular building, the Tenants and Residents Associations and ‘Street Voices’ could act as a back-up arrangement.

·       The RLS all retained independent living officers and the FSCs would be expected to walk the same routes as these officers to become familiar and to help reinforce the messages around health and safety compliance. They would be on-site all the time and could therefore pick up concerns, such as if communications and messages were not clear, and relay them back.

·       It was acknowledged that there were a lot of vulnerable people in the RLS and any support necessary to undertake the role of a FSC could be discussed with interested individuals. There was flexibility if someone felt unable to undertake all aspects of the role.  In respect of the possibility of tension with peers, it was explained that the FSCs were not intended to enforce but to keep the Council updated if they noticed any issues; this was a voluntary role and first and foremost these individuals were residents.

·       It was noted that tenants/leaseholders’ views on the role could be ascertained at the December meeting when representatives were to be invited to attend. It was suggested that a Fire Safety Champion could also be invited to attend to speak about their experience of the role.



Role of the Social Housing Regulator pdf icon PDF 206 KB

The Panel will receive a report on the role of the Regulator for Social Housing  in respect of ensuring that registered providers are meeting their statutory obligations, as set out under the regulatory framework.


Contact: Asad Bhatti - Head of Building Safety, Homes and Neighbourhoods


Naz Parkar and Eric Hughes presented a report on the role of the Regulator for Social Housing in respect of ensuring that Registered Providers were meeting their statutory obligations as set out under the regulatory framework. This included information in respect of the regulatory framework, the Regulatory Standards and the approach to intervention and enforcement.


Questions and comments were invited from Panel members, with the following issues being covered:

·       It was confirmed that there was a co-regulatory approach which placed responsibilities on the Registered Provider as well as the Regulator.

·       There were currently two aspects of involvement with the Regulator; the high-rise issues, where the Council had self-referred in February 2021; and the broader compliance review which had been shared in order to maintain the approach of openness and transparency. The Regulator was satisfied with the approach and that the Council was aware of the issues and that these were being addressed. Dialogue would continue until the Regulator and the Council were satisfied that all programmes were being delivered at pace and in a timely manner.

·       There had been extensions to timescales due to issues in appointing a suitable contractor for remediation works but this had now been resolved. Some of the high-rise work was to be done by the in-house teams and the pre-contract service agreements were being discussed with the contractor for the low-rise fire safety works. These works would commence between March and April 2022 and there was confidence that the new timetable could be delivered.

·       Although the ‘low-rise’ buildings of six-storey and below were not currently in scope it was anticipated that they may become so in the future. The programme could be shared with the Panel when available.

·       There were six tenant representatives on the Housing Advisory Board (HAB). The opportunity to undertake this role had been promoted through the regular newsletter and a text had been sent to all tenants when the recruitment went live. There had been an excellent response with more than fifty tenants making contact. From the applications made, a long-list of fifteen had been identified and six high-calibre candidates appointed. One of the six had since been unable to take up the place. It was considered that there was a reasonable mix of age, gender and ethnicity and that they would effectively hold the Council to account and have a positive influence on future decision-making. Induction and training had been provided and the Board had now met three times on a formal basis. Currently the meetings took place on a bi-monthly basis. A review would be undertaken after six months and feedback had already been received to suggest that meetings be focussed on single topics.  In addition to the tenant representatives, the Board also included four independent co-optees chosen for their particular professional expertise and experience.

·       The term of office would be two terms of three years but this would be managed to try and ensure that there was an overlap and not all tenant representatives reached the end  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.