South East Scotland Regional Network 2 - Minutes – 08 November 2021

South East Scotland Regional Network - Meeting via Zoom

Monday 8th November 2021 at 11am

 

Minutes

In attendance

Alan Frank - Chair

Bill Campbell – Vice Chair

Isabella Vint- Secretary

Cathie McArthur- Treasurer

Lillias Reid

Terry Kirby

Irina Lazarenko

 

In attendance (Scottish Government)

Carolynne Watson

          

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Welcome & Apologies

Alan Frank welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologised for not being at the last meeting.

Apologies – Alan Dunton and Penelope Ciancanelli.

 

Minutes of the previous meeting and matters arising

Terry Kirby asked if there were any updates regarding Basecamp. Carolynne noted that now the Regional Networks’ 2021 training programme is complete, she will approach Colin Stewart of Region 1 to offer Basecamp training in the New Year.

Terry highlighted that under No.5  Working Group Updates, Shona Robinson was misspelled and should read Shona Robison. Carolynne noted that this will be amended.

Cath McArthur made the group aware that she had been in contact with the school in her local area and noted that they are keen for Cath to get back in touch in the New Year to speak to the Parent/Teachers Association who think it is a good idea to be involved.

The minutes were proposed by Lillias Reid and seconded by Terry Kirby.

 

Update - Chairs & Secretaries meeting

Isabella Vint updated on the Chairs & Secretaries meeting and noted that a discussion was held on the work approach and the role of committee members across each of the Regions. Ideas and suggestions were discussed to consider whether the Regions should be following a more consistent approach. The Communications group are also considering this in more detail, particularly with regard to streamlining the work of Regional Network Secretaries and putting the website functionality to best use.

Carolynne also noted that Bruce Cuthbertson of South West Scotland provided an update to Chairs & Secretaries at the last meeting on the publication of the ZEST report (Zero Emissions in Social Housing). The published report has been circulated to all Regional Network members, and Carolynne highlighted that Bruce will be running a ZEST information session for interested Regional Network members on Thursday 27th January 2022. An Eventbrite booking link has been set up and issued to all Regional Network members for those who wish to attend.

Carolynne covered the remaining topics of discussion from the Chairs & Secretaries meeting, which included the Heat in Buildings consultation report, feedback on the recent Regional Networks training sessions with Sharon Donohoe (TIS) and Tony Kelly (TPAS) and the meeting note from the September meeting between Cabinet Secretary Shona Robison, Minister Patrick Harvey and Regional Network representatives- the meeting note has also been circulated.

 

Update - Rent Focus group meeting   

Terry began his update by reminding the group that the last Rent Focus group meeting took place on 27th October 2021. Callum Chomczuk of the Charted Institute of Housing attended to discuss affordability and what this means to the focus group.

The Rent Focus group are now preparing for a meeting with Andrew Wield, Scottish Government, scheduled for 18th November 2021 to discuss the Scottish Government’s current work on affordability.  

Terry noted that the Rent Focus group have been meeting monthly since March 2021 and in that time have discussed how landlords set rents, looked at various approaches from Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, liaised with CIH and Housemark and looked at how other countries negotiate rent settings with tenants, specifically the Swedish system. From this base, the group have developed a survey questionnaire for landlords on tenants focused on rent affordability. The results of the questionnaire will determine the next steps for the focus group.   

                                              

Update – Meeting between Regional Network members/ Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government and Patrick Harvie, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights         

Bill Campbell updated the committee on this meeting, highlighting that the meeting note as Carolynne mentioned has been circulated to all. Bill reminded the group of topics that were discussed including rents, the new standard for smoke alarms in Scotland and electric scooter charging points.

Carolynne also noted that Ms Robison and Mr Harvie were happy to continue with the existing meeting schedule, and looked forward to meeting with Regional Network representatives every 6 months.

 

Communications & Work planning discussion

Isabella and Carolynne updated on the ongoing work of the Communications sub-group, noting that a joint Newsletter covering all four Networks is in progress and that work to complete the website is expected to be complete shortly. The remaining key element of the website to be completed is the subscription service, which will allow anyone signing up to receive updates on any of the Regional Networks to receive automatic updates, for example, published meeting minutes, papers etc. Both Isabella noted that this will help to reduce the workload for Secretaries going forward. Colin Stewart and Leonora Montgomery, Chair and Secretary of North of Scotland, are also working on a review of the Communications plan with a view to sharing this with the other Networks for their consideration.

In terms of workplanning, the committee discussed their recent work and noted that they are keen to pick up on some new pieces of work in the New Year. The committee reviewed their current workplan and agreed to update this for the coming year, with renewed emphasis on recruitment to the committee, raising the profile of the Network and on local issues. Carolynne suggested a discussion on the workplan and individual local updates could be incorporated into the agenda for each committee meeting, and the committee agreed this would be valuable. A rota will also be re-established for attendance at Chairs & Secretaries meetings and Ministerial meetings. Carolynne agreed to action these updates and to provide these for committee discussion at the next meeting.

The committee discussed the current approach to Zoom meetings and agreed they are keen to continue meeting virtually for the foreseeable future due to the new Covid variant and rising Covid cases.

 

Any other business          

There was no further business.

 

Date of next virtual meeting and 2022 meeting dates        

17th January 2022.

Carolynne told the group she would identify meeting dates for 2022 and these will be issued with the paperwork for the 17th January meeting.

 

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