Minutes of the South West Scotland Regional Network (3) Committee meeting
Tuesday 10 September 2019
Heather Cuthbert (HC, Chair)
Margaret Anderson (MA)
Anne Cameron (ACameron)
Margaret Dymond (MD)
Helen Westwater (HW)
Anne Cook (ACook, Scottish Government)
Carolynne Watson (CW, Scottish Government, Minutes).
1) Welcome & apologies
HC welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies from Bruce Cuthbertson (BC) and Mac MacKenzie (MM).
2) Minutes of previous meeting
In BC’s absence, HC presented minutes of two previous meetings- 23 July 2019 and 21 May 2019. The minutes of both previous meetings were discussed, proposed, seconded and approved. There were no matters arising. CW agreed to take the minutes of today’s meeting.
3) Treasurer’s Report
MD provided the Treasurer’s report. Currently, there is a balance of £1098.46 in the Region 3 bank account with £36.85 cash in hand.
4) Business matters
a) Chairs & Secretaries meeting- 6 August 2019
HC provided an update on the August Chairs & Secretaries meeting, which was chaired by HC on behalf of Region 3. Meeting minutes will follow from the Tenant Priorities team, however HC noted that updates were provided from the SHR Liaison group, the Age, Home and Community Monitoring Advisory group and the Joint Housing Policy Delivery group (JHPDG). MD noted that she has recently joined the JHPDG and has been finding the role interesting and very worthwhile. ACook proposed MD provide updates on the JHPDG work to this meeting going forward and that relevant papers from the group could be circulated as appropriate, which MD agreed.
b) Audit Scotland- Audit of Affordable Housing focus group
MA and CW updated on the Audit Scotland focus group which took place on 2 September. Representatives from each of the four Regional Networks met with staff from Audit Scotland to provide input and views on the Affordable Housing audit which is currently ongoing. The representatives attending from R3 were MA, HC and BC. CW circulated slides from the meeting which set out the scope of the audit, progress so far and the key questions covered during the focus group. MA gave a summary of some of the key points covered during the focus group, and the committee discussed some of these in more detail, including:
Importance of providing appropriate amenities, services and infrastructure alongside new-build housing developments;
Impact of tower block demolition and redevelopment of sites;
Potential for future-proofing properties via reconfiguring layouts to accommodate future changes in circumstances, adaptability for disabilities etc; and
Importance of ensuring a genuine mix of property type and size which reflects local demand.
The majority of fieldwork for the audit is concluded however Audit Scotland are continuing to gather evidence and analysis. Additional comments can be passed to CW to be forwarded to the Audit Scotland team. The planned publication window for the final audit report is springtime 2020.
c) SHR Liaison group
CW provided an update on the SHR Liaison group with input from HC and HW. The most recent pre-meeting for the group took place on 3 September, ahead of the next scheduled meeting with SHR representatives on 22 October. Michael Cameron, Chief Executive of SHR, and George Walker, Chair of SHR’s Board will attend the October meeting, and the pre-meeting focused on the areas of interest and priorities to be discussed with Michael and George at this session.
The committee discussed representation on the SHR Liaison group and agreed that, in order to ensure continuity and opportunities to build knowledge, four representatives will attend the SHR Liaison group pre-meetings- HC, BC, HW and MM. Two representatives from each Network attend the meeting with SHR and the committee agreed a rotation for this. R3 attendees for the meeting on 22 October will be HC and HW. As BC chaired the pre-meeting, he will also be in attendance, with the position on Chairing the meeting to be confirmed in early October.
R3 contributed responses to three Scottish Government consultations over the summer, including Fire Safety in high Rise Domestic buildings, Temporary Accommodation Standards and Short Term lets. Copies of the full consultation responses have been circulated to all committee members. The Tenant Priorities team will continue to keep all four Networks informed of upcoming consultations for response.
e) Forward meeting planner and attendees
The committee discussed the possibility of arranging a meeting for the AGM planning group during October. ACook suggested the Tenant Priorities team assist the group by providing a short list of potential venues in the first instance. The committee discussed and agreed this approach.
Action Point: CW to update the planner with information on the SHR Liaison group meeting on 22 October and on the National Event organising committee and circulate. Tenant Priorities team to provide a venue short list to the AGM planning group by late autumn.
5) Workplan and Communications strategy
MD and CW are continuing to work on the R3 Newsletter, with around two thirds of the content drafted. All committee members are invited to submit a short article updating on tenant-relevant news from the local area for inclusion in the newsletter. The planned publication for the newsletter will be late November/ early December, with planned contributions to be forwarded to MD and CW by the end of October.
b) Regional Networks Website
CW updated on progress with the new Regional Networks website. The Tenant Priorities team have been carrying out testing on the new website which is shaping up well. There are some final technical issues on uploading to be resolved before the website can go live. Training for the Regional Network users will be carried out when this resolution is complete. The rep for R3 will be HC.
6) Regional Networks National Event
The annual Regional Networks National Event will be taking place on Thursday 21 November at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Haymarket, Edinburgh. One representative from each of the four Networks will be involved in an organising committee for the event. The R3 representative will be ACameron, and CW confirmed that the first meeting of the organising committee will take place on Thursday 19 September. More information and an agenda for the meeting will be circulated during October.
ACameron noted that she has tried to contact colleagues in Dumfries & Galloway to raise the profile of the Network and to highlight the two vacant committee places for this area, with little success so far. ACook agreed to contact representatives she is aware of in the area to update them on the Network and to gauge interest in membership from Dumfries and Galloway.
MA proposed the committee consider travelling to areas covered by the R3 Network to raise the profile of the Network and to see some of the work being carried out in each of the areas represented. The committee agreed to do this during spring and summer 2020. At the beginning of 2020 the committee will agree meeting dates and venues for the year and a fresh meeting planner for the year will be provided.
CW updated on the upcoming changes on the Tenant Priorities team. Shona Ritson will retire on 25 September, and Kevin McGuire will be starting work with the team shortly afterwards. An email has been circulated to all Regional Network members setting out information, contact details and work patterns of each member of the team. When Kevin begins in post, he will circulate his contact information.
Date of next meeting: 29 October 2019 at 10am, Atlantic Quay, Barbour Suite.