Review of the performance & management of i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd
To receive an update on the recent performance, business plan, risk register and audit arrangements of i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd.
The Committee agreed that this item would be taken before item 7 on the agenda.
Martin Smith, Chair of the i4B Holdings Ltd (i4B) and First Wave Housing Ltd (FWH) Boards introduced a report on the recent performance, business plan, risk register and audit arrangements of was then invited to raise questions on the report, which focused on a number of key areas as highlighted below:. The Committee
· The Committee raised a query regarding the auditing of the premises owned by i4B and FWH. It was noted that as the properties owned by i4B had only been purchased over the past three years therefore they did not require further auditing for at least two years. A stock survey had been undertaken in 2019 for FWH with various works having been undertaken in response. The Committee was assured that a key priority for 2021/22 was to develop an Asset Management Strategy for both i4B and FWH to ensure stock was in good condition. It was confirmed that both would comply with the requirements of the Council’s Climate Strategy.
· In response to a question regarding void times and void and repair costs, it was noted that the pandemic had had a significant effect on void performance. For FWH, void performance was more variable and there were a number of actions being taken to reduce void times and review void and repair costs. It was also noted that i4B properties outside of the borough had proved more difficult to let and the future of these properties would soon be reviewed.
· The Committee asked whether tenants who were moved into properties outside of the borough would still receive support from the Council’ services or if they would be passed on to the local authority within which they reside. It was confirmed that while tenants would deal with either i4B or FWH for tenancy related issues, they would deal with the local authority within which they reside for all other services.
· In response to a question regarding the financial benefits the Council received from i4B, it was noted that it had received a PRS phase one loan arrangement fee of £872k and non-utilisation charge of £330k and a PRS loan arrangement fee of £884k and non-utilisation charge of £408k. This was because all funding used by i4B to purchase its stock was funded by the Council and it was required by state-aid law to lend to i4B on commercial terms.
· The Committee asked a question regarding the profile of properties purchased by i4B. It was noted that i4B sought to acquire the best quality properties in view of local housing needs whilst ensuring affordability and it reviewed its approach to the property market every four or five months. Local housing allowance (LHA) rates also dictated the profile of properties that i4B could purchase, with more expensive properties being purchased in those areas with a higher LHA rate.
· The Committee raised a query regarding i4B financial modelling in relation to rent levels reflecting LHA rates. It was noted that modelling takes into account both current rent levels and assumptions about future rent levels based on current property assessments.
· In response to a question regarding fire safety, it was noted that the Council had been carrying out an assessment of all properties that may require work following the amendments made to building regulations following the Grenfell tower fire. The review identified concerns in eight of FWH’s properties regarding external fabric combustibility issues and FWH was carrying out investigative works to understand what remediation works were needed. It was also noted that, following an arranged visit with the London Fire Brigade (LFB), an enforcement notice had been issued to FWH to remediate the fireproofing in the means of escape areas.
The Chair then thanked the Chair of the i4B and FWH Boards, as well as the wider team of officers, for the report and clarifications provided.
i. The current performance of i4B and FWH.
ii. The update to the i4B and FWH risk register.
iii. The update on recent i4B and FWH audits, and progress towards implementing previous audit recommendations.
iv. The impact of COVID-19 on i4B and FWH’s operations and business objectives.
- Report - i4B Holdings Ltd, item 7. PDF 178 KB
- Appendix 1 - i4B Holdings Ltd Draft Risk Register, item 7. PDF 427 KB
- Report - First Wave Housing Ltd, item 7. PDF 148 KB
- First Wave Housing Ltd Draft Risk Register, item 7. PDF 425 KB