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2018/19 Housing Revenue Account Revenue and Capital Outturn, Carry Forwards and Significant Variances

04/10/2019 - 2018/19 Housing Revenue Account Revenue and Capital Outturn, Carry Forwards and Significant Variances

Matter for Decision

 

The report presented, for the Housing Revenue Account:

i.    A summary of actual income and expenditure compared to the final budget for 2018/19 (outturn position)

ii.   Revenue and capital budget variances with explanations

iii.  Specific requests to carry forward funding available from budget underspends into 2019/20.

iv.   A summary of housing debt which was written off during 2018/19.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

i.  Approved carry forward requests totalling £772,500 in revenue funding from 2018/19 into 2019/20, as detailed in Appendix C of the Officer’s report (Part 1 of the recommendation)

ii.  Approved carry forward requests of £5,256,000 in HRA and General Fund Housing capital budgets and associated resources from 2018/19 into 2019/20 to fund re-phased net capital spending, as detailed in Appendix D and the associated notes to the appendix of the Officer’s report is recommended to Council (Part 2 of the recommendation)

 

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 / Business Manager.

 

The Assistant Head of Finance / Business Manager informed Members that officers will be bringing the revised housing revenue business plan to Committee in September including an updated Assessment Management plan.

 

However the outturn figures which had been reported at this meeting had raised concern, areas highlighted were repairs spending, the over reliance of the external contractors and increased costs.

 

The Head of Housing Maintenance and Assets conformed that investigation work had started immediately on revenue, repairs and voids. Officers needed to ensure the service was being managed well financially and operationally. An external consultant would be used to provide additional capacity to assist with these reviews and would be reported to the Housing Scrutiny Committee once completed.

 

In response the Strategic Director, Head of Housing Maintenance and Assets and the Assistant Head of Finance / Business Manager stated the following in response to Members’ questions:

 

  i.  Noted the concerns regarding the underspend in the Decent Homes Programme; to deliver the programme was dependent  on a number of factors, such as having planned maintenance contractors in place and the workforce to survey the work and place the task orders. There had also been some tenant refusals.

  ii.  Issues with staff shortages in the Technical Services team had meant the complete programme had not been delivered as not all surveys and orders could be not undertaken. Had recruited to some of the vacant posts.

  iii.  Acknowledged the comment there were trained resident inspectors who could inspect void properties and make recommendations.

  iv.  Agreed the maintenance of Council homes was important and staff were committed to make sure the standards were met.

  v.  Could not comment on a particular complaint raised in Committee but the emergency  had been dealt with promptly and had been in touch with the complainant and apologised for the length of time they were waiting for the work to be made good. 

  vi.  This complaint and others had highlighted that some of the Council’s processes were not as good as they should have been; processes required modernising and improvement which was why the review had been brought forward.

 vii.  The review would explore whether the quality of the housing stock was deteriorating due to the lack of investment.

viii.  The Assessment Management Plan would determine what detailed work was required to the Council’s housing stock.

  ix.  Significant funding had been taken out of housing maintenance and the delivery of housing services as a result of Government policy changes in 2016.

  x.  The new business plan would take into account investment in the Council’s own stock and the ability to provide new homes; the balance of investment would be something that the Committee would consider at a future meeting.

  xi.  The review would also examine if the organisational structure was fit for purpose

 xii.  Planned to build stronger services which would be more responsive to repairs.

xiii.  A new housing management system had been purchased which would improve the business processes and reporting processes and trends would easily be identified.

xiv.  The review would consider whether any rental surplus in the Housing Revenue Account should be used for investment in new homes be set aside to redeem debt.

xv.  Any major variances of over £20,000 were recorded and reported. The column showing ‘other’ would be the total of all the other cost centres where there were small variances.

xvi.  One in fourteen Council tenants had transitioned touniversal credit.

xvii.  The Disabled Facilities Grant came from Government and used in the private sector not for disabled adaptations in the Council’s housing stock. As it was a Government grant this had to be requested to be carried forward to use in 2019/20.

xviii.  The new housing management system will allow residents to access their accounts online.

xix.  Welcomed the suggestion of a resident online annual review; officers would work with the Resident Engagement Officer to look at the best ways that residents could provide feedback.

 

The Committee resolved by 8 votes to 0 to endorse part 1 of the recommendation

 

The Committee resolved by 5 votes to 0 to endorse part 2 of the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.