Agenda and minutes

Housing Associations Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday, 13th September, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room C - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email:

No. Item


Disclosures of Interest & Whipping Declarations

In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.



No disclosures of interests were made.


Introduction to the Review, Setting the Scoping Framework and Timescales pdf icon PDF 96 KB

1.    To receive a brief introduction to the review.

2.    To discuss, amend, as necessary, and agree the scoping framework (attached).

3.    To determine any background information the Panel requires further to the information presented in the Scoping Framework.



Councillor Lunnon welcomed the Panel to the first meeting of the Housing Associations Review and provided some background information. 


The purpose of the Panel was to seek clarification as to the regulation of social landlords and housing associations.  There was a need to scrutinise the current situation and operations with regards to a limited number of housing associations within the town, together with service standards, satisfaction and amount of customer contact received, ideally with witness sessions from various housing associations.  It was felt important to explore options to improve the work between the council and various RSLs, resulting in a positive outcome for all parties.


It was noted the OSC had previously received a report (SHAP/69) containing information on the housing associations operating in Crawley and third-party data was difficult to mandate, particularly as the Council was not the regulator for RPs. 


It was discussed at the OSC Training Session and approved at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in June 2023 that the follow up would be beneficial in the format of a ‘Spotlight’ Scrutiny Review.  A Spotlight Review usually takes 2-3 sessions (4 maximum) and involved:


1.    Introduction, scoping and identifying witnesses.

2.    Witness sessions.

3.    Finalising recommendations (or obtaining additional information if required).

4.    Finalising recommendations (if not completed in 3).


It would be important for the Panel at end of each meeting to think about what recommendations may be relevant for the final report as it was not advisable to wait until the last meeting and have to review each meeting in infinite detail.


The Chair then asked Ian Duke, Deputy Chief Executive and Lead Officer of the Panel to provide some background information.  It was acknowledged that following the OSC meeting, concerns had been raised (particularly around anti-social behaviour, maintenance and customer contact) regarding a limited number of registered providers (RPs).  In some instances there was third-party involvement, particularly estate management companies, however it was thought that responsibility and cooperation should be evident to assist partnership working. There were many RPs within the town, however the council had few contacts, with the exception of formal processes such as NASB, Planning and Environmental Health.


It was recognised that RPs tended to operate on a larger (regional) scale which may result in disparity across areas. The Council operated a choice based lettings scheme so that households on the housing register choose which properties they bid for.  An update was requested whether since 2018 (SHAP/69) there had been a change in landlord preference.  Competition across different areas was welcomed and relationships between RPs and the council can be forged through the enabling function and quality checks were in place prior to this collaboration proceeding.


The Regulator of Social Housing regulated registered social housing providers including local authorities and housing associations. The Regulator of Social Housing set consumer and economic standards which RPs of social housing had to meet. The Decent Homes Standard was due to be updated in the near future but it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Future Meetings

To confirm dates for future meetings. (Please bring diaries to the meeting).


As approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in June 2023, it is proposed that the Scrutiny Panel runs as a Spotlight Review usually taking 1-3 sessions (4 maximum) and consisting of:


1.    Introduction, scoping and identifying witnesses.

2.    Witness sessions.

3.    Finalising recommendations (or obtaining additional information if required).

4.    Finalising recommendations (if not completed in 3).



With the Scoping Framework agreed, future meetings were agreed as follows (subject to witness attendance):


Thursday 23 November          Head of Strategic Housing, Head of Crawley Homes and Cabinet Member for Housing

Wednesday 7 February          Witness Session

Monday 18 March                   Finalise recommendations / witness session if required



Whilst the individuals named above identifies those witnesses anticipated to speak at the specified meeting, this may change subject to availability and, at the discretion of the Chair. Further witnesses may be called in addition or instead of those listed above should they be unavailable.

Scoping Framework pdf icon PDF 156 KB