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HRA Outturn Report 2021/22

Meeting: 21/06/2022 - Housing Scrutiny Committee (Item 29)

29 HRA Outturn Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 460 KB

Minutes:

Recommendation i was chaired by Diana Minns (Vice Chair) and recommendation ii was chaired by Councillor Thittala Varkey.

 

Matter for Decision

The report presented for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA)

-  A summary of actual income and expenditure compared to the final budget for 2021/22 (outturn position).

-  Revenue and capital budget variances with explanations

-  Specific requests to carry forward funding available from both revenue and capital budget underspends into 2022/23

-  A summary of housing debt which was written off during 2021/22.

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Approved carry forward requests totalling £12,561,760 in revenue funding from 2021/22 into 2022/23 as detailed in appendix C of the officer’s report.

  ii.  Recommends to Council to approve carry forward requests of £22,055,000 in HRA and General Fund Housing capital budgets and associated resources from 2021/22 into 2022/23 and beyond to fund re-phased net capital spending, as detailed in appendix D of the officer’s report and the associated notes to the appendix.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Assistant Head of finance and Business Manager.

 

The Assistant Head of Finance and Business Manager and Head of Maintenance and Assets said the following in response to Members’ questions:

i.  Carry forward requests detailed in appendix C of the officer report, had been submitted to ensure there was financial resource to enable required cyclical maintenance works to be carried out.

ii.  Officers were exploring a number of different ways to improve access to council properties so that essential maintenance works and checks could be carried out. This included offering later appointment times. Also confirmed that the Responsive Repair Team would always make appointments with tenants and confirm an appointment by letter; officers would not attend a property without prior notice / appointment. Tenants would be contacted three times before the property would be classified as a ‘no access’. Also noted (as per agenda item 22/27/HSC) that officers were exploring aligning gas / electrical safety checks to try and ensure all necessary safety checks could be done in one visit.

iii.  Noted that tenants were within their rights to refuse to have works done to their property provided that there was no detriment to the property or health and safety risk.

iv.  Contractors were also being asked to explain whether a ‘no access’ was due to a tenant refusing works or if it was due to no response from the tenant. 

v.  Noted comments about better and realistic communication with tenants if there were delays in carrying out maintenance works. Would speak with Tenant Representatives outside of the meeting about their ideas for better communication what more could be done.

vi.  Confirmed that the profiling of spend would be revisited as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) in September, so the position would be reviewed at that point to see what progress had been made and if there was any residual impact of the challenges over the last two years that needed to be adjusted for. 

vii.  Confirmed that the average time period to turn over a void property was 6 weeks. Noted that there were a significant number of void properties which were being returned back to the Council in poor condition which increased the period of time it took to bring them back into use. There were a variety of reasons why a property was being returned in a poor condition this included long standing tenants who had declined planned maintenance works and also a few tenants who had caused damage to properties. Different teams within the Housing Department were working together to share information on property condition when visits were made to properties.

viii.  Confirmed that the fire door contract was terminated due to poor performance by the contractor. The Council had since reprocured the contact and a new contractor was now in place.

ix.  The term ‘debt reinstated’ meant that a debt which had previously been written off could be reinstated if a person re-presented themselves to the city council for housing. Some debts were ‘statute barred’, which meant the council were unable to pursue the debt after a 6 year period with no interaction had passed.  Some debts were written off due to ‘special circumstances’ this could include mental health concerns or if someone had been subject to domestic violence.

x.  Noted that the Decent Homes Budget was being carried into 2023/24 but would still be subject to labour and materials availability.

The Committee resolved by 12 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendation i.

 

The Committee resolved by 6 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendation ii.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations i and ii.