Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room, Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield. View directions

Contact: Martin Elliott  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Personal Interests and Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 143 KB



that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


In accordance with the Rules of Procedure No.4, the Committee agreed to amend the order of the agenda so that agenda item 7, the consideration of the petition received requesting a review of Ashfield District Council’s Tenancy/Lettings Policies and Sanctions, be considered first.


Petition Received - Review of Ashfield District Councils Tenancy/Lettings Policies and Sanctions.


In accordance with the procedures set out in the Council’s Petition Scheme, the petition on “Review of Ashfield District Councils Tenancy/Lettings Policies and Sanctions” having received in excess of 500 signatures was presented to the Committee.


The petition organiser, Councillor Cathy Mason, was in attendance to discuss the details of the Petition and put forward three questions for discussion. The Service Manager for Housing Management and Tenancy Services, attended the meeting to respond to the petition and questions.


Question 1


“Through the residents it was discovered that many options which currently exist in statutory law to deal with ASB are NOT currently being used by Ashfield District Council, for example, Demoted Tenancies, Sections 14 and 15 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 inserted new sections into the Housing Acts of 1985 and 1988 to give social landlords a power to apply for a ‘demotion order’ where tenants or other residents of a dwelling, or visitors to a tenant’s home, have behaved in a way which is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance, or where such a person has used the premises for illegal or immoral purposes.


A demotion order has the effect of ending the existing tenancy and replacing it with a less secure ‘demoted’ tenancy. This removes the tenant’s Right to Buy (where it applies) and their security of tenure for at least a year. At the end of a year, if the landlord is satisfied with the tenant’s conduct, it will revert back to either an assured tenancy (if the landlord is a housing association) or a secure tenancy (if the landlord is a local authority or Housing Action Trust). The period of demotion can be extended in certain circumstances. We therefore require a comprehensive answer to why this option is not being used, or as it is current legislation how soon can this be implemented?”




“The council can ask the court to demote a tenant’s tenancy if they behave antisocially. A tenancy is demoted for 12 months, following which this is monitored. After this the tenancy automatically becomes a secure tenancy unless the council takes steps to evict the tenant.


In serious cases of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), where the tenant has been given warnings to improve their behaviour, the Council will apply for Possession of the property rather than a Demotion of the tenancy. To Demote would only delay the process and cause unnecessarily distress etc. to the complainant/victims.”


Question 2


“The residents of the petition noted that many breaches of the existing Tenancy Agreement happen but are unrecorded by ADC officers, because they were deemed small or insignificant, however this NONE RECORDING leads to a clean tenancy and automatic secure tenancy at the completion of 1 year. Accurate recording of All breaches should be a priority, even if it were equated to some kind of points system, this would alert ADC to areas of concern, and no tenancy should automatically become secure without review. The Government website recommends 3 types of Tenancy Agreement, that being  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS.17


Budget Update

The Corporate Finance Manager will provide a presentation to the committee.


The Corporate Finance Manager attended the meeting to provide a presentation on the 2019/20 Budget and an update on the Medium Term Financial Strategy.


The Corporate Finance Manager noted the financial challenges faced by the Council and the currently indicated budget shortfalls of £2.1 million and 2020/21 and £2.5 million in 2021/22 and the uncertainties created by the Fair Funding review, business rates re-set and retention and potential changes to the new homes bonus.  The Corporate Finance Manager advised that due to these uncertainties the amount of the currently predicted budget shortfalls for 2020/21 and 2021/22 could change in the future.


The presentation provided information on:


·         2019/20 proposed Revenue Budget (General Fund and Housing Revenue Account)

·         General Fund proposed Investments

·         General Fund proposed Savings/Efficiencies

·         Housing Revenue Account proposed Investments

·         Housing Revenue Account proposed Savings/Efficiencies

·         the Medium Term Financial Strategy estimated Funding Gap 2019/20 to 2021/22

·         actions being taken to address the financial challenge

·         the Financial Strategy in support of the Medium Term Financial Strategy, including:

o   Income generation opportunities

o   Potential efficiencies

o   Invest to Save Projects


Members asked for further information on third party rental of assets. The Service Director - Resources and Business Transformation advised that the letting of office space to the Police and DWP at the Council Offices in Kirby-in-Ashfield was an example of renting assets to third parties. The Corporate Finance Manager also advised that further opportunities would be sought to generate income by renting assets to third parties, and noted that the roll out of agile working would free up office space in Council buildings which would enable office space to be rented out and generate income for the Council. 


Members also asked for further information on the redecoration allowance for tenants, which was proposed to be frozen at current levels for 2019/20. The Corporate Finance Manager provided information on the redecoration allowance and noted that the average redecoration allowance awarded was approximately £250, which was substantially below the maximum allowance and that each allocation of the allowance was carefully assessed on a case by case basis.


Members asked about the proposed new posts of Commercial Programme Support Officer and Customer Services Manager, the costs involved and whether it was essential, with the pressures on the Council’s budget, that these posts were created. The Corporate Finance Manager advised that these posts would support the objectives of the Medium Term Financial Strategy and that they needed to be recruited to as the Council currently had insufficient capacity to support the effective delivery of key transformational projects in these areas.


The Chairman and members of the committee thanked the Corporate Finance Manager for making the presentation and for answering their questions.



that the presentation of the Corporate Finance Manager on the 2019/20 Budget and the update on the Medium Term Financial Strategy, be noted.


Corporate Scorecard Performance – April to September 2018 pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Additional documents:


The Service Manager - Corporate Services and Transformation attended the meeting to present the outturn for the Corporate Performance Scorecard for Quarter 2, April to September 2018.


The Service Manager advised that in March 2016 Cabinet had agreed the use of a balanced scorecard methodology to enhance the organisation’s performance framework and its ability to understand how successfully the Corporate Priorities were being delivered. This approach had been taken as it was viewed as providing a more rounded view on performance, with a greater emphasis on customer satisfaction and quality. It was noted that the current Corporate Scorecard was aligned to priorities and key actions agreed pre 2018/19 by the previous administration and that post District Elections in 2019, the Corporate Plan and Corporate Scorecard would be reviewed and refreshed to ensure they were updated to reflect the Council’s future ambitions and Corporate Priorities for the period 2019-2022. The Service Manager advised that until the that time performance outturn for the current Corporate Scorecard would continue to be monitored and managed at Corporate Leadership Team meetings and by Scrutiny.


The Service Manager advised that overall, the corporate scorecard outturn for April to September 2018 indicated that 67% of measures were achieving or exceeding target, with a further 17% within10% variance of target. It was also noted that 53% of measures were indicating an improved position compared to the same period in the previous year, with a further 14% of performance levels only 5% (or less) lower than last year.


The Service Manager provided information on Corporate Plan key successes delivered over the previous 12 months which included:


·         The Leisure Transformation Project progressing with a new build leisure centre in Kirkby.

·         The Housing service being confirmed as best for overall customer satisfaction and income collection when compared nationally, with upper quartile performance also achieved in void relets and repairs.

·         Through additional Tenancy Sustainment Officer capacity, the Council had been able to support nearly 600 tenants during the first 6 months of this year with welfare and money advice, a 25% increase.

·         Developing the Discover Ashfield brand and launching it’s a new website.

·         Following refurbishment, occupancy of Idlewells Indoor Market increasing from 47% to 75%

·         Being awarded the title from Keep Britain Tidy of Local Authority of the Year 2018

·         The Big Ashfield Spring Clean ran over a 3-week period across the district collecting 82.5 tonnes of waste, 99.66% of which was recycled. 

·         Implementing a further £10m of commercial investment, totalling £24m, which delivered £700,000 (net) to support the Medium Term Financial Strategy


The Service Manager provided a presentation to the committee which provided further background information on the Corporate Plan and performance monitoring. The presentation also included further information on performance indicator exceptions, the reasons that they were not meeting targets, or that performance was reducing, and the actions being taken to address the underperformance, these were:


Number of long term empty properties and derelict brought back into use – The Service Manager, Strategic Housing and Lettings, advised that while performance  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS.19


Scrutiny Workplan Consultation pdf icon PDF 123 KB


The Service Manager – Scrutiny and Democratic Services submitted a report requesting that the committee considered and discussed potential scrutiny topics for 2019/20.


Members were advised that in considering potential items to include in the workplan for any future review that the committee should take into account the reasons for any future review, potential value added, timescales and corporate priorities. It was noted that the workplan was a live document and that ongoing consultation would continue to be undertaken with Service Directors, Third Tier Officers and Members throughout the year.


The Service Manager noted the importance of engaging residents in the scrutiny process and advised that Community engagement would also form part of an ongoing consultation process on the workplan.



that in addition to the standing items on the Scrutiny workplan, the following items be added for 2019/20:-


a)    antisocial behaviour of tenants in Council properties and how this is dealt with by the Council’s Tenancy/Lettings Policies, including the use of sanctions;


b)    Staff sickness and absenteeism.