July 2019 - Resident Forum minutes

Resident Forum minutes: Wednesday 17 July 2019 

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting and introduced Jules Blundell-Thompson (Board member).

Apologies were recorded. 

SP reminded Resident Forum members about the ground rules for meetings.

2. Review of Minutes

JG raised a query in the minutes. He referred to Item 3 and the last bullet point on page 2 of the minutes of the June meeting. JG said that he didn’t hear KA say that the suggestion that the Resident Forum minutes be included in the Board papers had previously been rejected. KA explained that the Board get a lot of paperwork and that it was decided that the Resident Forum minutes would not be included in their packs but that they were available on request and on the Trusts website. DB confirmed that Board packs can be in excess of 350 pages for each monthly meeting. KA said that if there was a significant issue raised by the Resident Forum, then the Board member present at the meeting would take it to the Boards next meeting and the Board member attending the next Resident Forum meeting would provide the Boards feedback. JBT said that Board members do read the Resident Forum minutes and they are interested in what they have to say, but they have a lot to get through at each Board meeting. DB said that the minutes should go to the Chairman of the Board. KA said she would speak to Stephen.

The June minutes were agreed as a true record.

3. Anti-social Behaviour Service Review

SP introduced Craig Freeman (CF) (ASB Case Manager).

CF explained that he was one of two ASB Case Managers and that every couple of years they like to review the ASB policy and procedures. This year they would like to involve residents in the review, particularly residents who had been through the ASB process. CF stated that the current policy and procedure were out of date and would like residents to help with what the policy should be focusing on. CF also said he would like the policy to ensure that residents are treated fairly, that things are dealt with better and he would like to hear what victims of ASB have to say. CF explained that the ASB Policy and Procedure are important because they ensure continuity, consistency and equality. CF said that also need to look at how ASB cases are assessed, how people with mental health problems are being dealt with and how victims of ASB are helped and supported.

MD asked about the Trusts relationship with the police. CF stated that he had worked in ASB for 13 years for various organisations and that the relationship the Trust had with the police was the best he has ever had.

DB asked how many residents CF was looking for to work with him. SG stated a maximum of 8 residents (3 or 4 from the Residents Forum and the remaining 4 residents being people who had been the victims of ASB.

JG stated that the Trust should have a zero-tolerance policy on messy gardens. CF explained that low level ASB such as messy gardens should be dealt with by neighbourhood officers and that whilst low level ASB needed to be dealt with priority had to be given to more serious ASB such as that involving knives / machetes. MD suggested that neighbours get together and help older people with their gardens. JG said the problem was young people who leave carpets / furniture in their gardens for months on end. KA explained that dealing with low level problems such as hoarding was a balancing act, the Trust has to be careful not to be seen to dictate to people how to live their lives, as whilst the property belongs to the Trust, it is the residents home.

SP asked how many people were in the ASB team. CF said there were 2 members of the team.

CF said that he would like the Task and Finish Group set up and ready to hold its first meeting in September. SG asked that any Resident Forum members interested in being part of the ASB Task and Finish Group needed to let her know by email. If more people than needed said they wanted to be involved, then names would be drawn from a hat.

4. Value for Money

SP introduced Simon Williams (SW) (Head of Financial Planning and Risk).

SW stated that he likes to attend the Resident Forum once a year to present the draft Value for Money report for consideration. SW said that this report was intended as a more user-friendly version of the VfM report in the financial statements that would more readily engage the reader and provide an understanding of how the Trust seeks to use its resources effectively in delivering its services. SW explained that the report is in draft form and that he would accommodate comments from the Resident Forum if he could and that all feedback would be welcome.

SW then took the Resident Forum members through the draft report.

MD asked whether the extra cost of housing was due to the turnover of houses. SW agreed that this had had an impact but said that the restructure would have some cost benefits.

RS asked whether the plan was to develop / build new houses for sale to further support new build investment. SW confirmed that this was the intention over the next 12 months but that the process would have to be managed carefully and would take time to fully implement.

JG asked why shared ownership properties were only taking 2 months to sell. SW explained that where possible the Trust would seek to sell units off plan to reduce the timescale and that this had improved performance.

JG asked whether the Trust penalised the contractors for poor performance. SW said that there were penalties within the contracts but using them depended on the problem.

JG asked about future savings. SW said that the Trust was always looking to improve and that VfM would be at the heart of the strategy post 2020. More immediate plans included the benefits from the restructure, further enhancements within the upgrade to the IT system and the full benefits from bringing works in house.

5. Communications and Communities Update

The Trust Strategy Workshop – 14 August 2019.

KA explained that the format for obtaining resident feedback on the strategy may have to change. The original plan was to hold a face to face session with residents, but not enough residents have expressed a wish to be involved in this.  Looking to ask the same questions in a survey that could be completed online or hard copy. The survey will be undertaken in the next couple of weeks. All residents will be invited to complete the survey. KA will let the Resident Forum know when the survey has gone live and would like members to encourage their friends and neighbours to complete the survey. JG asked if people would still be able to make suggestions on the survey form. KA said that there would be a free text box where people could make suggestions. DG asked if copies of the survey would be available from staff. RS suggested that copies were left in the communal areas. KA confirmed that staff would have hard copies to give to residents and that copies could be left in communal areas. DG stated that a lot of people don’t want to fill in forms and said more people would complete the surveys if they were put through their door. KA explained that residents could fill in the bits they wanted to and that all frontline staff will have copies.

Update on scrutiny recommendations from previous inquiries.

SG handed out a sheet detailing progress on the recommendations from the first 8 inquires completed by the Tenant Scrutiny Panel. She explained that with the exception Inquiry 2 (Void Properties) all agreed recommendations had been completed. Due to changes in staffing and the imminent merger of the Voids and Lettings Team, an update on progress on the recommendations from Inquiry 2 would not be available until the September meeting. MS disputed that all the recommendations made in Inquiry 7 (repairs Appointment System) had been completed. He stated that the inquiry had found that £100k had been lost through missed appointments and that a text messaging system should have been introduced. KA confirmed that a text messaging service had been introduced. MS said that he had never received one when reporting repairs. KA said she would check the QL system to make sure that MS had agreed to receive texts. JG asked if every resident would receive texts. KA explained that they could if the Trust had a mobile phone number for them as there were no GDPR implications. SG asked that Forum members get their comments on Inquiry 9 to KA by the 26th July 2019. KA to resend the report to all Forum members.

6. Any Other Business

SG asked if any of the Resident Forum representatives were block champions or resident inspectors. She explained that a meeting had been arranged for the 25th September to reinvigorate the role of the resident inspectors and block champions. Invites would be going out on the 23rd July 2019. JG said he had never heard of block champions and resident inspectors and asked what they did. KA explained that they dealt with issues in their area, communities and blocks, however the purpose of the meeting in September is to merge the two roles and find out what they see their role as and what they would like to get out of their role.

GG raised an issue with the TV in the communal lounge of their sheltered complex. Residents have been told that the TV had been removed from the lounge because it had an integrated DVD player which isn’t covered by the TV licence. KA said she would speak to Vicky, the scheme manager.

GG said that the grass in Yardley Avenue which had grown to thigh high, had now been cut and looks great. KA explained that the Trust had been cutting grass verges that were not their responsibility. BCC had been contacted and told which areas were their responsibilities.

DG said that his neighbours garden had been done by 2 different contractors. One did the back garden and one did the front garden. KA explained that IdVerdi were the only contractors that did the Trusts ground maintenance and that the workman had probably used the wrong terminology to DG’s neighbour and should have said job sheet rather that contractor.

DC expressed concern that he knew nothing about the BCC issue with grounds maintenance. KA explained that the problem had been raised at a previous Residents Forum meeting by Cameron. DG said that whilst they were now cutting the grass they were not picking up the grass cuttings.

JG expressed concern that IdVerdi didn’t tell residents when they were coming or what work they would be doing even though they had been asked on several occasions. KA said she would speak to Kevin about the problem and between them they would get some information to bring back to the Resident Forum’s September meeting.

Date of next meeting:

Wednesday 18th September 2019 from 5pm to 7pm

Board Room, Fairfax House