Asset Management, Culture & Housing Cabinet Member – Minutes – 25 September 2012

 14 (14) COMMUNITY RIGHT TO BID – The Director of Places submitted a report outlining the ‘Community Right to Bid’, which was introduced under the Localism Act 2011, and highlighting what was required of the council in order to put it into action.

The council had always responded positively to community groups who wished to take over the running of council assets.  Examples of successful asset transfers included Baysgarth House Museum, Barton Youth Centre and numerous Community Centres.

The Localism Act 2011 would introduce a new requirement on council’s to manage a ‘Right to Bid’ process for certain assets.  This included assets in both public and private ownership.  Appendix 1 to the report set out the key principles of how the ‘Community Right to Bid’ would work.

The Cabinet Member approved a policy and procedures on Community Asset Transfer in April 2012 (minute 56 refers).  The council had developed its approach on the Community Right to Challenge, and was drawing on the work done so far to implement the Community Right to Bid.

The report set out ongoing work being undertaken by officers in order to develop and implement the new requirements.

Resolved – (a) That the Community Right to Bid, in accordance with Appendix 1 to the report, be implemented, (b) that the decision whether or not to list properties be taken by the Head of Asset and Estate Management, in liaison with the Cabinet Member, and (c) that any internal review of a decision be conducted by the Assistant Director Planning and Regeneration.

15 (15) CONSULTATION ON REVISION OF HOME CHOICE LINCS ALLOCATION POLICY FOR SOCIAL HOUSING – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval to consult on proposed revisions to the Home Choice Lincs allocations policy.

The council allocated social housing as a member of the Home Choice Lincs (HCL) partnership.  Other members of the partnership were: North Lincolnshire Homes, Shoreline Housing Partnership, Longhurst Group and North East Lincolnshire Council.

The Cabinet Member received a report in January 2012 which set out how the Localism Act 2011 gave councils more freedom over their housing allocation policies.  The report detailed the objectives of the changes. 

The government had recently issued formal guidance to councils to help them revise their policies.  The HCL partnership had considered the new guidance and the impact of the government’s welfare reforms.  Appendix 1 to the report contained proposed amendments to the allocations policy.

The Secretary of State had advised that councils should consult on all those affected by, or who had an interest in, the way social housing was allocated before making any major changes.

Resolved – (a) That the proposal to undertake public consultation on the amendments to the Home Choice Lincs allocations policy, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved, and (b) that the outcome of the consultation be considered before a final decision be taken to amend the policy.

16 (16) THE HOME ENERGY CONSERVATION ACT 1995 – The Director of Places submitted a report updating the Cabinet Member on the new requirements placed on councils under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995.

The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 came into force on 1 April 1996.  It required councils to prepare, publish and submit an Energy Conservation Report outlining measures to achieve a 30% improvement in energy efficiency of all residential accommodation with their areas within a fifteen year period.

The monitoring of the improvements took place annually using the Hecamon (Home Energy Conservation Act monitoring) survey and the results were reported to Government.  In 2010 the Government abolished the requirement to provide them with an annual update.

This July the Government issued new guidance to councils requiring the preparation of a report by 31 March 2013 outlining the proposals for significantly improving the energy efficiency of all residential homes in their areas.  A further report would be required at two yearly intervals to demonstrate the progress of the measures.

To support the preparation of the report, it was proposed that a small task and finish group was set up.  The group would also consider how the potential investment from the Green Deal could help economic development and improve homes to make them warmer and healthier.

Resolved – (a) That the new obligation to submit a report by 31 March 2013 to Government outlining measures to be taken to significantly increase the energy efficiency of all homes with North Lincolnshire, and the requirement to provide a progress report on a two yearly basis thereafter, be noted, and (b) that a draft report be submitted to the Cabinet Member for approval prior to it being sent to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

17 (17) RURAL COMMUNITIES ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROJECTS – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval from the Cabinet Member to target energy efficiency measures at those rural communities which were located  off the mains gas supply network  and where fuel poverty levels were relatively high.

North Lincolnshire had an average level of fuel poverty of 18.5% across the county.  A number of areas however had levels significantly higher than that.  A householder was in fuel poverty where they had to spend 10% or more of their income on heating their home to an acceptable level.

A number of the current pots of money available to assist homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes were targeted at the worst lower super output areas, as defined nationally and at those homes which were hard to heat.  A home was hard to heat if, because of its construction, and heating type, it was expensive to heat and difficult to improve.

The Government had recently relaunched its Renewable Heat Premium Payment for households, which supported the installation of renewable technology in domestic homes through the provision of vouchers to cover some of the capital cost of the system.

The report detailed other initiatives available along with information on schemes that were currently taking place within North Lincolnshire, and what the council was also hoping to achieve in the future with regard to supporting vulnerable communities.

Resolved – (a) That the range of measures to be targeted at rural communities be noted, and the approach detailed in the report be approved, and (b) that a further report be submitted to the Cabinet Member by November 2012, detailing the cost benefits from the additional energy efficiency measures prior to any work commencing on site.

18 (18) KEY DIRECTORATE PERFORMANCE INDICATORS 2012/13 – The Director of Places submitted a report identifying key performance measures and targets for the Places directorate which would support delivery of the key themes set out in the Council Strategy 2012-2016, and seeking approval of the set of indicators and targets set for the Cabinet Member’s portfolio area.

The council’s Cabinet recently agreed the Council Strategy for 2012-16. The strategy set out the four priorities and 19 aims.  It also outlined the outcomes that the council wanted to achieve over the next four years for residents in North Lincolnshire. The strategy included 93 performance indicators that would measure progress against the outcomes.

The Places directorate was responsible for 34 of these indicators.  These were set out in Appendix 1 to the report.  The appendix showed the indicators for each Cabinet Member.  

The indicators would be reviewed periodically to ensure that they continued to adequately measure progress toward achieving the priority outcomes.

Resolved – That the performance indicators and targets proposed for the Places directorate for 2012/13 for the Cabinet Member’s particular portfolio area be approved.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 19 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

19 (19) PROPERTY TRANSACTION SCHEDULES – The Director of Places submitted a report for consideration, and where necessary, approval of a schedule containing the terms of all recently negotiated property transactions.

The schedules covered both operational and commercial property.

Resolved – That the schedules appended to the report be approved.

Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.