Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Hall - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Hannah O'Brien, Governance Officer  Email: hannah.o'brien@brent.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

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Minutes:

Apologies were received as follows:

 

  • Councillor Colwill, substituted by Councillor Kansagra
  • Councillor Shahzad

 

2.

Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

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Minutes:

Personal interests were declared as follows:

 

  • Peter Gadsdon (Strategic Director Customer and Digital Services, Brent Council), who was presenting the substantive item to the Scrutiny Committee, advised that, while he was a Strategic Director for the Council, he was also a Director on the Board for First Wave Housing Limited (FWH) and would be representing FWH during the meeting.

 

3.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.

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Minutes:

There were no deputations received.

 

4.

Matters arising (if any)

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Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

 

5.

Implications for BHM and HRA of proposals for ownership and refurbishment of Granville New Homes blocks pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To provide the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee with an update on the options analysis that First Wave Housing (FWH) has carried out with the Company’s Guarantor on finding a viable option to fund and deliver the required remediation works at Granville New Homes, prior to this being considered by Cabinet on 11 October 2021.

 

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Minutes:

Councillor Southwood (Lead Member for Housing and Welfare Reform) introduced the item which provided the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee with an update on the options analysis that First Wave Housing (FWH) carried out with the Company’s Guarantor, Brent Council, on finding a viable option to fund and deliver the required remediation works at Granville New Homes. She advised that this was about putting things right, and fixing a historic issue that was not of the making of anyone attending the meeting that evening but which needed to be responded to in the present, looking to the future. The proposal related to Granville New Homes which were built in 2009. The Committee heard that, following the Grenfell tragedy, all Council blocks were inspected to check cladding materials and also for wider fire safety issues. Granville New Homes was found to potentially have cladding that was not fire safe, therefore FWH went through the process of getting relevant inspections into the fire safety of the blocks. A Waking Watch had been in place in the blocks since October 2020 as a result of the concerns raised through those inspections. After further intrusive works were conducted, the total cost estimate needed to remediate the properties was substantial at £18.5m, which had considerable financial implications. Councillor Southwood advised that the proposal to Cabinet was to transfer 85 (84 social tenants and 1 leaseholder) Granville New Homes properties from FWH into the HRA, and further to transfer 25 intermediate rented homes into i4B stock. This recommendation was the option that met all the priorities set out in the Cabinet report.

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Southwood for her introduction and invited the Committee to raise comments and questions, with the following issues raised:

 

Further context on the history of Granville New Homes was sought, including when the Board and Guarantor became aware of the defects. Peter Gadsdon (Director of FWH) advised that FWH took over the stock from Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) in 2017. He advised that effectively BHP had stock that was unable to go into the HRA at the time which included Granville New Homes, which FWH took on. He advised that the first time the Board and Guarantor were aware of the full extent of the issues to the stock was in May 2021 when the Ridge report was received. He advised the Committee that the Audit Committee had also been sighted on the issues in the blocks, including the extent of the financial implications, although they had not seen the Ridge report. This was part of the Audit Committee’s Forward Plan who, on an annual basis, looked at the business plan for FWH as a subsidiary to the Council. The issue had also been discussed with FWH’s external auditors.

 

The Committee requested further details about how the report was commissioned and who had oversight of the defects, and wanted further details on the considerations given to legal due diligence and financial due diligence. Peter Gadsdon advised that as a result of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or her representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.

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Minutes:

None.