Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 20th March 2018 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Morecambe Town Hall

Contact: Liz Bateson, Democratic Services - telephone (01524) 582047 or email  ebateson@lancaster.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

80.

Minutes

To receive as a correct record the minutes of Cabinet held on Tuesday, 13th February 2018 (previously circulated). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on Wednesday 7th and Tuesday 13th February 2018 were approved as correct records.

 

81.

Items of Urgent Business Authorised by the Leader

To consider any such items authorised by the Leader and to consider where in the agenda the item(s) are to be considered. 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there were no items of urgent business.

 

82.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda. 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting). 

Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Members should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting. 

In accordance with Part B Section 2 of the Code Of Conduct, Members are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct. 

 

Minutes:

No declarations were made at this point.

                     

83.

Public Speaking

To consider any such requests received in accordance with the approved procedure. 

 

Minutes:

 

Members were advised that there had been a request to speak at the meeting from a member of the public in accordance with Cabinet’s agreed procedure, as set out in Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.7, with regard to the report on the Implementation of Additional and Selective Licensing (Minute 84 refers).  Mr Hemingway addressed Cabinet in support of the proposal to trial an alternative approach to additional and selective licensing.

 

The Chairman advised the meeting of a revision to the order of the agenda for the convenience of the public speaker.

 

 

84.

Review of the Consultation on the Implementation of Additional and Selective Licensing in a defined area of the West End of Morecambe pdf icon PDF 310 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Warriner)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Warriner)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) to review the outcome of the public consultation on the introduction of licensing in a defined area in the West End of Morecambe and make a decision on an enforcement approach.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1:

 

Do Nothing

Option 2:

 

Use TCA funds to introduce a trial scheme of intelligence led, targeted approach to enforcement in a defined area of the West End of Morecambe

Option 3:

 

Introduce a licensing scheme in a defined area of the West End of Morecambe

Advantages

The council operates a minimum service to meet its statutory obligation.

 

No additional costs

Intelligence gathering will identify the majority of private rented properties.

Not restricted by licensing legislation

Targets the bad landlords not the good ones.

Avoids risk of additional costs being passed onto tenants

 

Avoids risk of stigmatising the area

Consistent with enforcement outside the defined boundary where a landlord owns properties elsewhere in the district.

Takes into account the feedback from the consultation

Takes into account new enforcement powers including banning orders and rent repayments orders and civil penalties.

Builds links and collaboration with responsible landlords

Potential for increased goodwill from landlords

Cost neutral as funded from TCA

No risks of costs from challenge and judicial review

It would complement existing regeneration schemes.

If this approach doesn’t work, it is a clear indication that licensing is needed.

 

Intelligence gathering will identify all privately rented properties.

The need for a licence holder will identify a responsible person for each property.

All licence holders will have to meet a fit and proper person test

A properly administered licensing scheme should be cost neutral to the council but deliver positive benefits to the housing stock and local area.

Residents, potential residents and investors will be reassured of the council’s commitment to making improvements to the private rented sector.

A licensing scheme would complement existing regeneration programmes.

Disadvantages

The council is not taking advantage of all statutory tools available to it to improve conditions in the private rented sector.

The council is not maximising the funding offered by the TCA grant.

Investors interested in Morecambe may not be reassured of the council’s commitment to improvement of the area as a whole.

 

Problems continue to increase.

Requires alternative resourcing, as no license fees

No mandatory requirement to identify a responsible person.

No mandatory requirement to be a fit and proper person to be a landlord.

 

No mandatory requirement to register.

The scheme is restricted to one area. The boundary is not flexible.

Licensing is restricted to five years.

Large bureaucratic burden of legal paperwork.

Targets all landlords irrespective of their history of compliance, so time will be spent licensing good landlords.

 

Risks

Failure to meet the corporate priority of improvements to the private rental sector.

 

Failure to meet outcomes for TCA grant.

 

 

Issues escalate and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.

85.

Changes to Council Housing Tenancy Agreement pdf icon PDF 263 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Warriner)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Warriner)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) which sought Cabinet approval to make changes to the Council Housing Tenancy Agreement relating to secure and introductory tenants

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1: Do nothing – continue with the existing tenancy agreement

Option 2: Cabinet approves the proposal to revise the  tenancy agreement 

Advantages

Simplicity of continuation. Marginal cost savings

The tenancy agreement is updated to ensure that it meets current standards and requirements, and it fit for purpose.

 

The tenancy agreement remains an effective management tool.

Disadvantages

The existing tenancy agreement does not reflect current standards and requirements.

Marginal costs of implementation.

Risks

The tenancy agreement will not be wholly fit for purpose as an effective management tool.

The Office of Fair Trading publication on unfair terms in tenancy agreements has been referred to throughout this process. This approach will help minimise risk relating to the robustness of the content of the new agreement.

 

The Officer preferred option is Option 2 for the reasons set out above.  The need has been identified for the Council to review its tenancy agreement to ensure that the agreement remains fit for purpose and can be used as an effective management tool. The agreement has also been updated to ensure that it meets tenant expectations in terms of clarity and understanding.

 

Councillor Warriner proposed, seconded by Councillor Pattison:-

 

“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)             That the proposed changes to the Tenancy Agreement be approved.

 

(2)             That the Principal Housing Manager be authorised to consult with tenants regarding the proposed changes to the Tenancy Agreement, and to serve the necessary preliminary notice of variation.

(3)             That a further report be brought to Members following the completion of the consultation process.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The decision is consistent with the City Council’s Corporate Plan, supporting the Council’s objectives to deliver value for money, customer focussed services and support sustainable communities.

 

86.

Review of Housing Allocation Policy pdf icon PDF 257 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Warriner)

 

Report of Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Warriner)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) to request approval of the revised Housing Allocation Policy.

 

The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:

 

 

Option 1: Do not approve the revised Housing Allocation Policy.

Option 2: Approve the revised Housing Allocation Policy.

Advantages

No notable advantages.

Compliant with current legislation and good practice.  Reduce homelessness and will give young people and people fleeing domestic abuse from outside the District the opportunity to apply to the housing register.

Disadvantages

Not able to carry out our statutory duties to prevent homelessness and assist those who fall outside the current local connection criteria, for example, Lancashire Care leavers and those fleeing violence from other areas not being able to apply to the housing register. Increased statutory homeless applications.

Increase in applications from other Districts or Counties which will increase the administration of applications and potentially reduce the number of available properties.

Risks

Increased complaints and legal challenge.

The revised allocation policy has been reviewed in line with current up to date guidance to avoid risks associated with legal challenge.

 

 

As described in the report, the officer preferred option is Option 2 to approve the revised Housing Allocation Policy see (Appendix 1).

 

Adoption of the revised Housing Allocation Policy will ensure the policy is “fit for purpose” for those in the greatest housing need.  Ensuring we are      compliant with current law and guidance relating to the impending Homeless        Reduction Act new duties from April 2018. The revised Policy will also       ensure that residents who apply to the council for housing will continue to be    treated fairly and in accordance with the law. The proposals provide clarity that applicants falling within the statutory reasonable preference groups will have access to the housing register whilst continuing to recognise good practice.

 

Councillor Hanson proposed a revision to the local connection criteria and officer advice was sought to ensure that the amendment would be lawful.

 

Following on from clarification from the Chief Officer (Health & Housing) and the Interim Head of Legal and Democratic Services that the amendment if suitably worded was lawful and unlikely to have a major impact on housing allocations, Councillor Hanson proposed, seconded by Councillor Pattison:

 

“That the Changes to the Local Connection Criteria (exceptions) be revised to include individuals who were born and lived in the area continuously for a minimum of fifteen years.”

 

The amendment was agreed unanimously. Councillors then voted on the original recommendation, as revised:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)          That the Changes to the Local Connection Criteria (exceptions) be revised to include individuals who were born and lived in the area continuously for a minimum of fifteen years.

 

(2)          That the revised Housing Allocation Policy, as amended to include (1) above, be approved.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Officer (Health & Housing)

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The allocation of social housing directly contributes to the Health & Wellbeing corporate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.

87.

2017-18 Performance Monitoring Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 202 KB

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Report of (Chief Executive)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Blamire)

 

Cabinet received a report from the Chief Executive to report on the overall performance of key indicators for October - December 2017 (Quarter 3).

 

As the report was primarily for noting and comments, no options were provided.

 

Councillor Blamire proposed, seconded by Councillor Clifford:-

 

“That the recommendation, as set out in the report, be noted.”

 

Councillors then voted:-

 

Resolved unanimously:

 

(1)       That the performance of key indicators at the end of Quarter 3, 2017-18, be noted.

 

Officer responsible for effecting the decision:

 

Chief Executive

 

Reasons for making the decision:

 

The City Council’s Performance Management Framework requires regular reporting of operational, as well as financial performance.