Agenda and minutes
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Declarations of interests
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda.
Councillor Nerva declared an interest prior to the meeting that he was a Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) leaseholder. He outlined that the Chief Legal Officer had advised that this was not deemed to be an issue as the meeting was about general policy direction rather than being location specific.
There were no other declarations of interest.
Deputations (if any)
There were no deputations.
This report will discuss the three main options open to the council for the management of its housing. These are to continue with provision by Brent Housing Partnership, for the council to directly provide the service in-house, or to enter into a partnership arrangement with another organisation to provide these services. A formal review of housing management options for Brent Housing Partnership, including consultation with tenants and leaseholders, was agreed in June 2016.
Before the report was discussed in greater detail, Councillor Farah (Cabinet Member for Housing) addressed the residents who were present in the public gallery. He outlined that the meeting was primarily a formal opportunity for the Committee to scrutinise and comment on the different options before a preferred option would be chosen by Cabinet on 15 November. The meeting had been convened in addition to recent Council Members’ briefings which had taken place on the topic. He also stated that he was pleased to see so many residents in attendance at the meeting.
Phil Porter (Strategic Director, Community Wellbeing) introduced the report which set out the progress of the review of housing management options for the Council’s housing stock. He explained the context to the review which had arisen in part due to performance concerns related to Brent Housing Partnership(BHP) and in part due to the financial implications of the recent Housing and Planning Act 2016. It aligned with additional work which had taken place including a review of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and the five key priority areas identified in the Council’s revised housing strategy. The Committee heard that the review was undertaken with a view to ensuring that each of the three options were considered within an equal evaluation framework, based on five different criteria that Cabinet agreed upon at its meeting in June 2016 (details of which werecontained within the report). Mr Porter then highlighted the comprehensive nature of the review and the different additional facets which were considered. He drew particular attention to the high degree of resident engagement which had taken place to make certain that residents were the key drivers of the review process. This had been completed alongside further stakeholder engagement with Brent Councillors, the BHP Board and BHP staff.
Jon Lloyd-Owen (Operational Director, Community Services, Housing and Culture) expanded on this overview and introduced the following three options for delivering housing management services going forward:
Option A: Continuation with BHP on a reformed basis;
Option B: Bringing the service in house; or
Option C: Service provision through partnership with another organisation (joint venture).
Mr Lloyd-Owen gave a summary of some of the key details to consider from each of the different options (details of which were contained in Appendix 3 to the report) and drew out some of the differences between them. The differences particularly related to governance, service integration, resident engagement and leadership recruitment potential. It was emphasised to the Committee that each of the three options were workable but that each faced the same challenges relating to performance and wider national housing concerns. He also stated that each would need a significant period of reform, restructure and capital investment to ensure that the Council could move forward to deliver modern high quality housing management services. Mr Lloyd-Owen also gave an overview of the potential savings which could be generated by each of the options with both the in house and joint venture options noted as being the ... view the full minutes text for item 3.