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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual meeting in accordance with s78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from;


Cllr Anthony Fairclough (Cllr Eloise Bailey as sub)

Cllr Aidan Mundy (Cllr Nick Draper as sub)



Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 81 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed



Budget Update (verbal update)

Verbal update


The Director of Corporate Services gave a verbal update on the latest budget position.


In response to Panel Member questions, the Director of Corporate Services provided additional details:


·         Dedicated Schools Grant has been an issue since 2018/19 and there is still an ongoing debate as to who holds the deficit.


·         Significant increase in EHCP’s, expanding special schools, increase in education requirements (raised to 25), and placements are expensive. Other Local Authorities are experiencing the same.



Clarion Housing: Repairs and Maintenance


The Panel welcomed Jane Bolton, Mike Robbins and John Ferman to the meeting as representatives of Clarion Housing.


John Ferman gave a progress update and provided a presentation on Clarion’s response to the pandemic. Panel Member questions were also answered by the Clarion representatives; 


·         Repairs are seen as an essential service

·         Our Settled Housing teams are reaching out to people that are usually in contact but have been quiet during this time. Our Estate Services team are also checking on residents

·         With regards to tenants wishing to seek other quotes in response to Section 20 consultations. The parameters are tight in terms of the qualifications and experience required of the contractor. We have a strict tender process for major works agreements in line with OJEU processes. We obtain the best value quotes and they are regularly scrutinised.

·         We embrace and adopt new technology and would like to see it broadening out for digital consultation use.



Housing Strategy (presentation) pdf icon PDF 194 KB


The Assistant Director for Sustainable Communities gave a presentation to the Panel on the plans for a Housing Strategy for Merton.


The Assistant Director for Sustainable Communities and Panel Members discussed the dilemmas surrounding the desire for lower density versus the need for higher density in Merton and the importance of access to amenities and open spaces.



Support for private renters pdf icon PDF 99 KB


The Assistant Director for Strategy and Improvement provided an update on the work to move rough sleepers into long term sustainable accommodation in partnership with the private sector.


In response to questions, it was clarified;


·         Proactive action for rogue landlords is based on intelligence alerting us to action required and helping us to ascertain where those properties in breach are located.


·         We undertake proactive work to identify HMO’s based on intelligence sources, data sets and there are factors involved in terms of crime and disorder.

Action: The AD agreed to divulge intelligence sources.


·         At the present time, further work needs to be carried out in order to introduce landlord licensing but we hope to do this in the future.



Performance monitoring pdf icon PDF 125 KB


The Panel looked at the key areas in the performance monitoring information.


The Director of Environment and Regeneration highlighted some of the KPI’s


·         Annual and Visitor permits below expected – This could be attributed to Covid or the nudge towards less car use/more sustainable transport.


·         Waste volumes - More people working at home has meant less commercial waste / more residential waste



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 112 KB


The work programme was agreed.


Members were reminded about a special scrutiny meeting on the 8 December 2020 for Emissions Based Charging.



Business Plan 2020-2022 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Additional documents:


Taken with Item 4.