All of our Housing Liaison Board meetings are open to the public and all are welcome. They are held on the last Thursday of each month at 6pm, in Melrose Close common room, off Foyle Road, Kings Norton.
Ron our Vice Chair opened the meeting and welcomed all members and contractor reps present.
Previous minutes were agreed from June. The recurring problem of motor bikes and mini motors driving up and down alley ways was discussed. The problems of having alley ways gated off or to introduce chicane gates was posed as it could impede users of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs.
There was again no representative from Mears Contractors, despite numerous requests for attendance. The Tenant Participation Officer is now taking this issue to management.
Willmott Dixon representative Paul, gave updates regarding complaints received from sheltered housing schemes within the 3 estates area.
Arron Blake raised concerns and enquiries around voids (empty properties) i.e how long they are being left empty. Paul and Tony from the contractors advised that –
Voids are taking too long to let due to a number of factors such as Rap’s Choice based lettings and the standard of the property when they are handed back to Birmingham City Council.
The timescales should be 30 days from key to key, at present they are taking 44 days as an average. Managers from all different areas attending a meeting to look at how we resolve these issues.
Tony on behalf on BCC contractors stated that the Performance Team had been disbanded last year in the reshuffle so there had not been any available information to report at length. He went through the figures for the First Quarter, and advised Willmott Dixon contractors currently have 4 problem areas of work with repairs for tenants.
Fencing, Roofing, Guttering and Damp. They have been at a standstill since December. Senior Management from both sides have sat down and come up with an action plan to resolve these issues by September.
The fencing problem is down to a national shortage and this has been advertised in all relevant agencies and magazines. This has also seen an increase in the prices. Several incidences of fencing theft was also discussed within the group and police.
Our Tenant Participation Officer (TPO) Nadeen mentioned that other HLBs will query that problems existed even before the December period.
Both Arron and Carl queried the validity of figures given, regarding customer satisfaction. Carl raised the issue of why Birmingham City Council tenants were not sending back the satisfaction surveys. Tony responded that telephone audits back to tenants are also undertaken. Carl went on to ask if the complaints raised were taken through to a satisfactory conclusion, as we had received as a Board several instances where this was not the case.
Nadeen our TPO asked how complaints were raised. Tony confirmed that all complaints raised by tenants regarding service and work carried out were raised on the system at the call centre and followed up by Senior Management within customer services.
Ann raised a problem on behalf of a sheltered housing scheme within Kings Norton, a plumber turned up and was not in the correct uniform and did not complete the job, before failing to return. This will be looked into by management and reported back to us on the Board at the next meeting.
West Midlands Police Update from PC Levy
Issues concerning Anti-Social-Behaviour in one of the Groves over the past 2-3 months. WMP in partnership with BCC are investigating these concerns and any perpetrators identified will be dealt with by both agencies.
Arron Blake asked if and how many school break ins had been reported recently, due to a local resident admitting to committing this on a social media site.
Sgt Lowe is putting in a bid for the Police Traffic team to come across in a joint effort to help with the mini-motor complaints. 6 weekly meetings are held with the police and various residents at Warden Controlled Schemes.
There were Tactical Hotspot controls during the week of 28/07 through to August. These are identified as Red areas across the estate and have a 15 minute response of patrol time each day.
The Fold and Hawkesley Square are identified as Red areas.
Amber areas have been identified as –
Meadowsweet Avenue and the roads surrounding it
Kings Norton Neighbourhood Policing Team is trialling out the body cameras.
Melrose Close Bus top on the Junction of Foyle Road has been upgraded.
A Sheltered Housing Scheme has had the nearby traffic lights upgraded to include sound to make it more safe for nearby vulnerable residents.
Club View, was successful in getting a bus stop moved.
Community Projects and Budget Discussion
Spoon Drive gating project – quote was agreed by the Board.
Masshouse Lane Garage/Allotment gating project – quote passed in June agreed by Board.
Arrow Walk – metal gate to protect communal areas – quote agreed by Board.
Wychall Lane shops/flat entry and access – extensive upgrade work at the entrance doors and repairs and upgrade work to the rear entrance to the flats above the shops. To reduce ASB and improve security for residents – quote agreed by the Board.
A quote for benches removal and re positioning and replacement of old benches for Cornerways to be put forward.
Total budget spend and remaining budget for the year discussed and agreed.
It was advised that a recent project to install a handrail for residents looked as if the handrail was second hand. This has now been followed up and found not to be the case.
There was no performance update from BCC Housing Officer due to other BCC related commitments on this occasion, full update will be given asap.
HLB Walkabout report –
Attendees included the Neighbourhood District Caretaker (NDC) , A local Housing Officer and members of the Housing Liaison Board. The Outcomes were as followed –
Green Waste still seemed to be an issue and piling up.
Dumping – Voluntary organisations to be utilised to help pick up the litter. It was suggested that 90% of the litter on The Fold came from children including the college. Police presence has helped the area improve. There are 8 litter bins located within The Fold and Bentmead Grove area, despite this litter is still a major problem.
PC Levy advised that the police are not able to give tickets to people under the age of 18, the contact for the College is Nick Badham. It was suggested by the TPO that the shops at The Fold should also take some responsibility. A local Church is adopting an area by Greaves Square and Greaves Hall and they were going out and litter picking.
Thanks was also given to our NDC for removing potentially dangerous items from around Hawkesley, and also to Ron our Vice Chair for the comprehensive update.
Social Media Update –
You can follow us on Twitter @KingsNortonHLB.
Arron reported that at that time we had –
1,460 Tweets sent
364 Followers, HLB Meetings and Police Tasking meetings are still being tweeted giving details i.e dates and locations. B31 Voices articles are still being produced.
Any Other Business
The finance report from Birmingham City Council was discussed at length and there will another rent increase for BCC tenants.
The funding for vulnerable adults is no longer available.
All comments concerning the new draft constitution for HLBs needed to be in by the 2nd September ready for The City Housing Liaison Board to reflect and take into consideration. A meeting was arranged and held in August by Kings Norton HLB to go through the revised constitutions in full and we have now submitted our views and earmarked any alterations we feel need to be made.
Arron had stated that his response to an email sent regarding the running and legality of the City HLB to Birmingham City Council Officers and the Cabinet Member responsible for Social Cohesion was not satisfactory. He is still raising his concerns with BCC Officers.
The next meeting was agreed for –
Thursday 25th September 2014 6.00-7.30pm Melrose Close Common Room, Off Foyle Road, Kings Norton.
Want to get involved – visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/getinvolved.