June 2019 - Resident Forum minutes

Resident Forum minutes: Wednesday 19th June 2019

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting and introduced Angela Macpherson (Board and Council member) and Samantha Goodwin (Tpas).

Apologies recorded.

2. Review of minutes

The May minutes were agreed as a true record.

3. Board Update – Angela Macpherson (AM)

AM explained that there was not a lot to update the Residents Forum on, but would give a flavour of what the Board was looking at:

  • There is currently a full compliment of Board members, who have a wide range of skills and strengths.

  • AM said she is particularly interested in tenant engagement and hearing what tenants have to say.

  • The Board meets monthly and can have packs of 350 pages to go through.

  • A lot of what the Board look at is financial. The business is stable and has had excellent ratings from the inspectors.

The Board also spend a lot of time looking at corporate objectives which include:

  • are staff being looked after, are they happy with how they are treated and are they adequately rewarded.

  • There are a large number of KPIs (key performance indicators) to be monitored

  • Customer satisfaction and how tenants are feeling about the services provided by VAHT

  • Papers on a number of different topics

AM is the safe guarding champion and would like to see a lot more involvement with tenants and residents and VAHT actively listening to residents.

AM then went through a Unitary Authority update (a copy is attached to these minutes). Currently there is 1 county council and 4 local district councils. From 1st April 2020 all local authorities in Buckinghamshire will be dissolved and be replaced with 1 big council. A shadow executive board has been formed that is looking at things that need to be in place from 1st April 2020 e.g. harmonising services and council tax. The new unitary authority will have to demonstrate savings and the Secretary of State will decide what happens with the savings. Parish Council will still exists and the shadow executive board is working on a localism strategy on how the unitary authority will work with them. There will be job losses mainly at senior levels; for Aylesbury Vale District Council this means the CEO and a couple of senior directors. Most of the other staff members will be TUPED over. Some people are already looking for other jobs.

MD asked why an outside agency had been brought in to interview VAHT staff?

KA explained that the external agency are only sitting in on the interviews, and that the decisions are made under advisement, by the heads of service and the leadership team. There is still a lot more to do with regards to the restructure but it will be good to have new people working for the Trust that bring a different perspective.

JG asked AM if she reads the Resident Forum minutes and if she does and she see’s anything thing of concern, how she deals with these.

AM said that she doesn’t get the Resident Forum minutes, but would welcome the opportunity to read them. KA explained that when the suggestion had been made previously, it had been been rejected as the Board already had so much to read. The minutes of the Residents Forum are available on the Trust’s website for people to read.

AM was keen to receive a copy of the Residents Forum minutes and said she would raise it at the next Board meeting.

KW pointed out that a Board member attends every Residents Forum meeting.

AM said she would like to see a standard item on the Boards agendas, where by which ever Board member attends the Resident Forum meetings can update the Board on their concerns.

AM asked how the Residents Forum were working with scrutiny panel?

SP explained that the scrutiny panel no longer exists and that scrutiny was now done through task and finish groups.

KA expanded by saying that the residents who were part of the residents forum had taken part in the task and finish groups and these were yet to be opened up to the wider tenant body. The terms of reference and code of conduct for task and finish groups had been agreed and a yearly plan of areas to be looked at was in place. Each task and finish project took 3 months. The move to task and finish was because feedback from residents was that the previous scrutiny method was very time consuming. Need to look at taking the task and Finish reports to Board.

4. Communications and Communities Update

Rent Arrears Prevention and Recovery

KA explained that as the meeting was not quorate, this item would be carried over to July’s meeting when hopefully there would be more people present.

Scrutiny update

The task and finish group has just finished looking at the relet standard, the void process and the relet process. The board report is with Helen Stevens for checking prior to it being circulated to the Task and Finish Group members for approval and then going to the Head of Service.


KA is working closely with the ASB team and Thames Valley Police.

The ASB team would like a scrutiny review of the ASB process; from the point at which a case of ASB is reported through to the case being closed, and also communication with residents throughout the ASB process.

Craig Freeman from the ASB team will be coming to the next Resident Forum meeting. He would like to see more resident involvement in ASB polices and procedures and in making sure that we don’t forget the victims of ASB.

Trust Stratgey and Resident Involvement

KA explained that the Trust is coming to the end of its current 3 year strategy (Bigger, Better, Bolder) and that the Trust is looking to put a new 5 year strategy in place.

The Trust would like residents to be involved and all forum members should have had a letter inviting them to take part in a strategy workshop on 14th August. Forum members are invited to bring friends and neighbours with them but need to let KA have their details. Forum members need to RSVP by the end of July. Its really important that residents feedback is delivered by residents themselves, so that nothing is lost in translation. The workshop will be facilitated by an independent consultant but members of KA’s team will be in attendance. The workshop will involve looking at 5 key areas – the environment, fit for purpose, employees, development and growth and the customer. KA is currently unsure of the format for the workshop but it will probably be working in small group to discuss issues, and concerns. However if there are no enough people on the day, it will probably be more of a general discussion. KA will let the Forum members have more details at their July meeting.

5. Any Other Business

JJ asked about the differing rent levels people paid and why this happened. SG suggested that the Forum receive a presentation on how rent levels are set, the differing rent levels payable (social rent, market rent etc.) how rent levels are decided for properties and how many properties are in each different rent category.

MS requested feedback on the implementation of the recommendations from the 8 previous scrutiny reports. SG to report back to July meeting.

Meeting closed at 7.05pm

Date of next meeting:

Wednesday 17th July  2019 from 5.00pm to 7.00pm

Boardroom, Fairfax House