February 2020 - Resident Forum minutes

Resident Forum minutes: Wednesday 26 February 2020

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

SG welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Apologies were recorded. 

2. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

3. Review of Minutes of meeting held on 22 January 2020

The November minutes were agreed as a true record.

Matters Arising from January 2020 minutes: RS raised under point 8 that a letter explaining the change of the chair to an independent to all Forum members is due. KA stated that the change has been explained in the minutes which are sent to all members. KA will speak to JW.  JG asked if the decision can be changed back to a resident chair. KA stated this will be up for discussion. Point 12 – SG asked if anyone had come forward to be a part of the Garage Task and Finish Group, KA advised no volunteers. RS and SP volunteered. If any other member wishes to be a part of the next Task and Finish group please contact CD or KA.

4. Resident Forum Work Programme update

Programme agreed by all.

5. Resident Forum Recommendation List update

No changes.

6. Rent Variation Communication

KA advised that the rent variation letters had now been sent out and wanted to thank RS and SE for looking at the communications, included with the letters are examples of how the change could affect the recipient.

LK asked if an explanation on what happens when there is a 53 week year gone out. KA advised as this year is a 52 week year no communications have been sent. However when we have a 53 week year we will send out communications to residents throughout the year.

7. Repair KPI’s

Following the Repairs Group merging into the Residents Forum members will now receive information on the Repairs KPI’s.

KA went through the KPI’s were the Trust is not hitting target;

  • KPI 2 – Improving this year on year, only slightly away from target.

  • KPIs 4 & 5 – access to properties is affecting these figures. The Trust are working campaigns to increase access rates.

  • KPI 7 – we experience more reactive repairs over the winter months so this is no unexpected and this evens itself out over the year.

  • KPIs9 & 10 – we are reviewing the way that we respond to reactive repairs, including reducing the time to book a repair from 42 to 28 days.

  • KPIs 12 & 13 – the Trust currently have a high number empty properties and therefore is taking longer to re-let. SP asked how many voids do the Trust have at the moment, KA said 87, SP asked what the rent loss was, KA did not have the figure to hand.

LK asked if there was any indication as to why there were so many voids KA advised there was no reason the Trust were aware off but we have also had more properties that require more work than we expected.

SP raised that the Trust are getting more properties back in poor condition and only get a small percentage of the cost back in recharges. KA added that we want to be more proactive during the term of the tenancy and access properties throughout to determine if there are any issues and deal with them sooner. LK agrees that properties should be checked on throughout the lifetime of a tenancy.

PM suggested that as the gas safety check is annual that the operatives feedback to the Trust if there are issues with the property and also have conversations with tenants. KA advised we have a ‘step up step in’ initiative that enables staff to report concerns to the Trust following a visit to a property. KA we are continuing to work with our frontline staff to address this. 

8. Resident Expense and Incentive Policy

CD advised that the policy is currently being reviewed and before going to EMT needs to be reviewed by the Forum.

CD pointed out the changes in the policy –

  • Point 1.2 adding access to digital equipment and training as required

  • Point 2.2 reward those residents who volunteer to assist the Trust in improving services

  • Point 6.3 residents who volunteer 6 hours or more over a 12 month period will be entitled to receive access to Trust rewards. This will be managed and monitored by the Comms and Communities team.

CD to add on printing costs.

RS asked for clarification on claiming broadband and printing. KA confirmed that residents who take part in Task and Finish groups broadband can be claimed for the months when the group is active. This needs to be in agreement with the Trust. CD advised that printing costs can be claimed were additional printing for a group is required for example own research, costs can not be claimed for general printing of minutes.

The draft policy was agreed by all, once EMT have approved the policy will be circulated.

9. Communication and Community Engagement Update

Corporate

  • Strategy launch due in April, internal activity taking place during February and March before the external launch.

  • Undertaking a website accessibility project to be in line with regulations – PDFs are not accessible so not considered best practice when used on sites.

  • Britannia House being actively marketed.

Communities

  • Writing to all residents this quarter, promoting the benefits of staying in touch (to find out the latest news and events) and promoting sign-up to IMPACT

  • March’s edition of Resident News in draft covering neighbour dispute support, AHM good news story and promo, partnership promo for life skills training, community hub, grounds maintenance, rent variation information, unitary council article.

  • Recruitment: Caroline has now returned to work and Devon’s contract runs out end of March 2020

  • The first Job Fair of 2020 will take place on 20th March, open to all; it’s a great place to go for those looking for employment or volunteering opportunities.

  • Scrutiny projects update: Void recommendations are with Jason Hall and we will invite Jason to a future RF to update the group. ASB action plan to be drafted then discussed with Assistant Director of Housing

  • Thriving Communities Fund Springboard grants available for residents – please contact the team for more information e.g. for driving lessons, laptop, bicycle etc. all in relation to wellbeing and employment. Promotion video due to go live next month.

Communication

New Internal Comms office due to start to cover maternity leave. Laura will join the team for six months, Laura joins us from BT

Community Challenge nominees visited and winner agreed announcement due in March on Mix96

Tenant portal may have a soft launch some benefits include:

  • Real time account information

  • Link direct into our systems so contacting through the portal links to our records too

  • View your contact history

  • Update your details directly

  • Log a repair request

  • Book a repair – coming soon

  • View repair history

  • View useful documents

CD to send Job Fair leaflets to PM.

PM asked what the impact be on repair KPI’s of residents booking their own repairs. KA advised we would no longer report on this KPI however we will  monitor to ensure jobs booked by the Trust are within timescale, it will provide more freedom to residents to choose a time and day that is suitable for them.

10. Items for the next agenda

PM suggested that the Forum look at parking particularly where improvements can be made to areas to improve parking. KA stated there is no policy around this however where the Trust own the land improvements can be made through the Community Safety Fund. Any concerns should be raised through the Neighbourhood Management team. KA also stated that in a lot of cases the Trust do not won the land where improvements are required.

SP would like to set up a complaints panel at the Trust. SG advised that in cases where panels are set up they are rarely used as complaints are dealt with through the complaints process. However it might be more useful for residents too look at they types of complaints received and what lessons have been learnt and actioned. KA advised this information can be made available to the Forum if requested. No complaints that have been received by the Trust in the last 12 months have been sent to the ombudsman.

Members were unsure of what forms a formal complaint. KA suggested this might be a topic that can be covered at the Forum.

RS raised that Voluntas is a waste of time, KA advised this is being looked at by the Trust.

11. Any Other Business

KA informed the group that Maddie Dearan will be stepping down from her role on the Forum. Members wanted to thank Maddie for all the work she has done whilst being on the Forum and other panels at the Trust and wish her well.

DG raised an ongoing neighbour issue. KA is aware and advised to continue to work with their Independent Living Coordinator.

BS raised an ongoing issue with an area of green space at Needlemakers KA will make an appointment to visit.

Date of next meeting:

25 March 2020 from 5pm to 7pm, Board Room, Fairfax House