Minutes of the South West Scotland Regional Network (3) Committee meeting
Tuesday 29 October 2019
Heather Cuthbert (HC, Chair)
Margaret Anderson (MA)
Anne Cameron (AC)
Margaret Dymond (MD)
Mac MacKenzie (MM)
Carolynne Watson (CW, Scottish Government, Minutes).
1) Welcome & apologies
HC welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies from Bruce Cuthbertson (BC) and Helen Westwater (HW).
2) Minutes of previous meeting
MA requested that a clearer distinction be made between the initials of Anne Cook and Anne Cameron in the minutes of the previous meeting, CW agreed to amend this prior to the minutes being finalised. Pending this, the minutes were proposed, seconded and approved. The committee agreed that they would like to see more detail reflected in the meeting minutes going forward. In BC’s absence, CW agreed to take the minutes of today’s meeting.
There was some discussion on papers being circulated around the Regional Networks and the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of these and any actions required from committee members. There was some discussion on the methods used by other Regional Networks, including the potential use of sites like Basecamp. The committee agreed that Basecamp may have potential to be beneficial, but that the committee would want to take a closer look at any possible systems for information sharing before making a decision.
3) Treasurer’s Report
MD provided the Treasurer’s report. Currently, there is a balance of £998 in the Region 3 bank account with £26.45 cash in hand, with one cheque payment pending.
4) Business matters
a) SHR Liaison Group
HC provided an update on the recent SHR Liaison group meeting, which was attended by Michael Cameron (Chief Executive), Anne Jarvie (Board member) and George Walker (Chair) of the Scottish Housing Regulator. HC noted that the meeting was very constructive. It was chaired by BC, who will be Acting Chair of the Liaison Group during Bill Chapman’s sabbatical. The new representatives from the Scottish Housing Regulator were introduced to the group, and in addition to the usual business of the meeting, the group had the opportunity to ask a number of questions of Michael, Anne and George, which had been discussed and agreed in advance by the Liaison group members.
A full minute will be provided prior to the next SHR Liaison group meeting in January, however in brief:
George was asked what he feels his key achievements have been during his time as Chair of the SHR, and noted the recent significant achievement of the review of the Regulatory framework. George stressed that the Board and the Regulator work as a team, and that as a result all achievements are collective ones;
The group asked about the work of SHR’s National Panel. The Panel has now been in place for six years. The numbers of the Panel vary. The Panel have been involved with a lot of recent thematic work and publications and were also involved with the review of the Regulatory Framework;
In response to a question about tenant participation and engagement and how tenants can lead the agenda on TP, Michael and George noted that TP works best when both tenants and landlords are engaged, committed and working together directly. TP is best viewed as an ongoing process, rather than a one-off;
The group asked about the SHR view on the perspective provided to their work by the Liaison group. Michael pointed to the contribution made by the Panel and by the Liaison group and the depth of information and tenant perspective added as well as noting the Regulator’s appreciation of this;
In response to a question on thematics, the Regulator view these as a critical part of their work. SHR welcome the views of the Liaison group to their work on thematics and this is a useful way to keep the views and priorities of tenants to the fore;
IN response to a question on rent consultation, SHR are maintaining a keen interest in this area and on rent increases. Both Michael and George will be speaking on this topic at upcoming TIS and TPAS events and noted that they would be keen to hear views and input from the Regional Networks in this area;
An update was provided on current statutory intervention cases;
In response to a question on how the Regulator is supporting landlords to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit and the current uncertainty, it was noted that well-managed and governed organisations will be considering this on an ongoing basis, and will be taking this into account in their business planning processes.
For the next meeting, BC will provide an update on the final agenda items covered at the meeting.
b) Regional Networks National Event
The National Event will be taking place on Thursday 21 November at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, Edinburgh. The organising committee have set the agenda for the day. Anne Cameron is the organising committee representative for Region 3. An agenda and further information will be issued by the Tenant Priorities team shortly, in the meantime accommodation if required can be arranged separately through the team.
Following the National Event, Region 3 will begin the process of planning work for the AGM during late December/ early January.
CW will also arrange the Christmas lunch for the committee in consultation with HC.
MD noted that Mary Logan would be interested in becoming a member of the committee as a co-optee for Renfrewshire until the Region 3 AGM when a formal nomination can be considered. The committee agreed this, and Mary will attend the next meeting of the committee on 10 December 2019 as well as the Christmas lunch.
MA and AC noted SAC’s recent work on tenant-led assessment and the Letting Standard and recent awards. Either MA or AC will provide an article for the upcoming Region 3 Newsletter.
MM noted that EAC’s tenant conference took place last week which was a great success. A report is currently being produced by the Federation on rent setting and consultation which will be submitted to the Council.
MD noted that a meeting of the Fire Safety in High Rises panel will take place next week, and also discussed the upcoming meeting at Renfrewshire on tenant participation and interest groups.
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 10 December 2019, Barbour Suite, 1 floor, Atlantic Quay.