Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking
Contact: Claudia Wakefield, Senior Governance Officer
Declaration of Members' Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes (4 April 2023) PDF 88 KB
The minutes of the meeting held on 4 April 2023 were confirmed as correct.
Barking & Dagenham Traded Partnership: Repairs & Maintenance PDF 1 MB
The Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement introduced an update on the Barking and Dagenham Traded Partnership Repairs and Maintenance service. It was noted that:
· Whilst the position in terms of repairs and maintenance had not been good, the Council had been addressing performance.
· It was vital that the Council met the demand for repairs, so that residents lived in decent homes which were maintained properly.
· The Council had recently engaged subcontractors to meet demand.
· The Council now had assurance around its repairs and maintenance data and was closely monitoring the data.
As part of the update to the Committee, the Strategic Director, My Place (SDMP) also advised that:
· The current data provided to the Committee looked significantly different to that previously presented, inasmuch that it was now known that the system used at that time produced inaccurate data, due to how cases were previously opened and closed.
· The team had since introduced a new Power BI system for testing the data, which provided much more granular data and a clearer picture of trend analyses and error points. As such, it was not possible to compare present data with that provided previously.
· The figures in the report had been based on those from six weeks prior, when the report had been drafted, and had moved on since this point. The team now had much more reliability and assurance around the figures, with the resulting now being used to improve the service and enable the repairs to be risk-rated and actioned as quickly as possible.
· Additional contractors had been onboarded to help action repairs. It was anticipated that by period six, the Council would be in a very strong position in terms of the backlog. Work was also being front-loaded. The Council currently had 5,000 outstanding repairs; however, 2-3,000 would be within its normal range of outstanding repairs and as such, there was a 50/50 split of repairs that were currently within target and those that were not. At the end of the financial year, the team had split anything that had come into the system prior to 1 March 2023, and anything that came in after this; this enabled a four-week period for the team to focus entirely on overdue repairs.
· Lots of work was being undertaken, specifically around data, performance and setting the expectations of the operatives and staff as to what was expected of them going forward. Whilst figures were not currently still where the service aimed to be, work would continue to improve these.
· Additional regulatory changes were anticipated in the near future, with the service needing to be ready for and already preparing for these by bringing forward and completing as many repairs as possible to achieve targets.
· A new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had started at Barking and Dagenham Maintenance Services (BDMS), as well as a new Managing Director and a new team of external consultants, who were supporting the Power BI system to ensure accurate data.
· Significant risk was still present in terms ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
Regulator of Social Housing, Update Report - Health and Safety Compliance PDF 139 KB
The Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement introduced an update on the Regulator of Social Housing Health and Safety Compliance. It was noted that:
· The Council was very committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of its residents, and had worked very closely with the Regulator.
· It was on track to complete all works and had met regularly with the Regulator over the previous 18 months. Positive engagement had been undertaken, with the Council updating the Regulator on its action plans and roadmaps. Lots of engagement had also been undertaken with residents.
· Whilst there was greater intervention from the Government in terms of regulatory processes, all local authorities were affected by this. The Council was working with the Government and was clear on what it was delivering.
The SDMP also advised on the following:
· In February 2022, the Regulator formally announced that the Council had been found non-compliant in all six areas of compliance that were monitored, which was largely due to the Council not having the relevant data to evidence its certifications and inspections.
· The Council had since verified every piece of information through its new True Compliance system, through which it was able to robustly report its compliance position to the Regulator.
· The Council had set a roadmap of getting back to a position of full compliance by August 2023; progress now showed that this would be achieved by the end of May 2023. The final action had been to ensure that a five-year electrical testing programme for all domestic properties was in place, which had been mobilised in May. This programme would conclude in 2026 and was spread across four different contractors, to lessen the risk of non-achievement. These contractors were being monitored very closely.
· Engagement with the Regulator had been essential in helping the Council to consider the cause of its previous non-compliance, opportunities missed and the necessary assurances that needed to be put in place, to prevent future issues.
· The Council had been fully transparent throughout the process. It was going to enter into a voluntary undertaken with the Regulator, to show that it was committed to the health, safety and well-being of its residents and to show that it wished to learn from its previous mistakes.
· The Council was using the process followed for its compliance journey, for that of its repairs service and to improve its repairs position.
In response to questions from Members, the SDMP stated that:
· Prior to compliance, the Council was using different systems to present and record information which had led to there being a number of non-verified certificates and gaps in its knowledge of the data. As such, the Council could not previously be clear on what it had tested. Whilst there was a level of tolerance in compliance, in resolving its issues, the Council had taken a completely risk-averse approach and had ensured that every single piece of information had been tested and verified.
· A report had been commissioned by BDMS in Autumn 2021 for Pennington ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
The Work Programme was agreed.