Region 3 Meeting
Wednesday 6th April 2022 via Zoom
In Attendance (SG)
1. Welcome and Apologies
Anne Cameron welcomed everyone to the meeting. Margaret Anderson and Bruce Cuthbertson gave apologies.
2. Minutes of meeting held 09/02/2022 and Matters arising
There were no corrections for the previous minutes of the meeting held on 09/02/2022.
Approver – Margaret Dymond
Seconder – Norma Ferguson
There were no matters arising which are not included elsewhere on the agenda.
3. Treasurer’s report
Margaret D provided the Treasurer’s report, there was nothing new to update. The balance of the South West Scotland account remains £1863.21.
4. The Social Housing Charter – briefing by Michael Boal (SG)
Michael Boal reminded the group of the online events run by TIS & TPAS last Summer and the formal consultation that lasted 12 weeks, on which each of the Regional Networks completed a response. Various changes to the revised Charter have been drafted based on the consultation. There was also a session with COSLA which is the local authority representative body and Michael also received a report from the Scottish Housing Regulator. All this information has been used to inform changes to the current charter. Once the changes are drafted, Michael explained that the document has to be sent for approval to the Local Government Housing and Planning Committee of the Scottish Parliament.
Patrick Harvie was the Minister who attended that committee along with Michael and Anne Cook (SG). Mr Harvie gave evidence to the committee on what stakeholders had said regarding the charter and also gave information on what the proposed changes were. There is another committee that checks documents sent to Parliament which look at the background of legislation in more detail. This committee responded to Michael and said they felt it was important that statutory stakeholders had another opportunity to comment on the changes.
Provision for the Charter was set out in the Housing Scotland Act 2010 and within that there is list of people that the Scottish Government must consult with which includes tenants, landlords, representative bodies as well as a range of other organisations. Michael has written to the statutory consultees and explained to them the draft changes had been made to the charter, offering another opportunity to comment on the changes.
Michael explained this is why the process has been delayed. It is also unlikely that the Charter will go back to Parliament until after the Summer Recess which is around August/September time. Michael highlighted that there is no time limit set in place for the charter as it keeps going as it is until a new charter comes out. At this point the Scottish Housing Regulator would check if they need to change any of the indicators they set to monitor how well the charter is being met by social landlords.
Michael went on to explain the proposed changes which were fairly minor- most people who responded said they wanted to keep the charter as it is.
5. Reports from meetings attended by members :-
Rent Affordability – 17/02, 24/03
Anne Cameron told the group that on the meeting in February Lesley Baird (TPAS) produced a questionnaire of roughly 25 questions which will go to landlords and tenants, it will also be refined. The meeting taken place in March was spent going over the New Deal for Tenants Consultation. Anne hoped that the questionnaire from Lesley would go out to all networks in May but it is looking unlikely as they are trying to fit it round other work. Anne said she hopes everyone in the networks shares it with as many people as possible to maximise the breadth of responses.
Consultation – New Deal for Tenants – 10/03
Anne continued to update the group that Sharon Donohoe (TIS) facilitated an excellent meeting in March for the New Deal for Tenants Consultation. The consultation document is quite large and the committee found that some of the questions not connect well with the text, so found the questions challenging to complete. A response from each of the Regional Network committees has been sent and Anne hopes these will be taken in to consideration. Anne thinks the Scottish Government should look at how consultations like this are produced and laid out so that all audiences can find the sections and questions relevant to them, and questions are structured clearly.
Ministers Meeting 31/03 AGM update and paperwork review
Anne went on to discuss the March meeting with the Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison and Minister Patrick Harvie. Anne noted that she would have liked to see more detailed responses on the questions raised by the Regional Network representatives, and in particular, was disappointed on the lack of progress on HRA which was discussed at the previous meeting. Questions were asked regarding HRA, energy, storm damage in rural areas, housing for varying needs, broadband, and Ukrainian refugees. Anne commented that she raised the question on Ukrainian refugees and noted that Ms Robison’s response to this was detailed, and the group learned a lot about the Scottish Government’s approach to this.
7. AGM updates and Paperwork review
The AGM for South West Scotland will take place on Saturday 18 June, online via Zoom. Following the previous meeting on the AGM, Carolynne has updated the paperwork pack advertising the AGM and inviting attendance, and Bruce distributed this to the committee ahead of today’s meeting. Carolynne asked if everyone was happy with the wording of the papers, and Anne noted that provided an explanation of acronyms is given she is happy with these, and the committee agreed. Carolynne agreed to update the paperwork with these changes, and noted that TIS will issue out the paperwork packs to all contacts during week commencing 18 April. Carolynne will also ask TIS to ensure printed copies of all the paperwork go out to committee members, as those wishing to stand for re-election will have to submit nominations.
Carolynne explained the nominations process, and stressed that nominees will not have to meet with endorsers to have their form signed as has happened in the past- nominees should include the contact details of their endorsers on their forms and TIS will contact them for confirmation.
Bruce asked if constitution changes would be included with the initial paperwork and Carolynne advised they would not, however these would be included with the paperwork pack which goes out to all AGM delegates in the week prior to the meeting. The constitution changes will be marked in a table with the existing wording and proposed changes highlighted.
8. Diary update
Various meetings coming up include:
12th April – SHR Pre meeting
26th April – SHR Meeting
4th Mary - Housing 2040
10th May – Chairs and Secretaries
9. LA Reports
Margaret Dymond made the group aware that no local authority offices in Renfrewshire are open yet, Anne Cameron said it is the same in South Ayrshire.
Anne Cameron made the group aware that 90 houses have just finished being built in Ayr.
10. Next meeting – 1/06, 27/07
Carolynne will be on annual leave on the next proposed meeting date of 1 June and said she will ask Susan McLellan if she can attend this.