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Decision details

Approval of Acceptance of 2nd Grant from Government's Controlling Migration Fund for Work by Private Housing Standards Team

Decision Maker: Director of Housing and Neighbourhoods Service

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

This Report seeks approval to accept a grant of £385,120 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). This funding has been granted by MCHLG to fund additional staff recruitment to the Private Housing Standards (PHS) team, primarily to focus on intelligence-led work in the East of the city where poor housing conditions are believed to be linked to recent migration in to the area.

 

This is the second such grant from MHCLG, with £192,560 having been accepted previously in a decision taken on 11th March 2019.

Decision:

That the Council accepts £385,120 grant funding from the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund to be utilised in line with the report.

 

Reasons for the decision:

1.    Accepting the £385,120 of MHCLG funding would allow staff to be recruited and retained and continue work that could not otherwise be carried out within the Council’s current budgets.

 

2.    The primary outcome of the acceptance of the funding will be the recruitment of staff, adjusted as per Section 1.8 of the report, who will work to develop and then enact a plan of proactive inspections of private rented property in the East of the City, compile an ownership database, and offer enhanced tenancy support, more effective referral pathways, and better joint working practices with other agencies.

 

3.    Acceptance of the grant will bind the Council to the conditions, and officers will therefore produce an Impact Summary document for MHCLG, as well as sharing learning acquired through work on the project.

 

4.    A full project plan for the work described in 6.2 of the report will be produced, and submitted for approval through the appropriate route as part of the Executive Decision making process.

 

5.    As part of the project plan described above, full regard will be given to the implications of the Council collecting, holding and potentially sharing large amounts of personal data in the form of an ownership database, and ongoing work with the Information Management team will continue, including the production of a full Data Protection Impact Assessment to be updated throughout the life of the project.

 

Alternative options considered:

1.    Without the additional funding, the PHS team could seek to operate on a ‘business as usual’ basis in the East of the city, fulfilling its statutory requirements with a reactive approach to reports of property disrepair and poor management.  This option relies on tenants reporting issues, which is recognized as less likely to occur with recently arrived migrants, and does not address poor standards in a strategic way.  Nor does it allow for the enhanced work with partner organisations to tackle wider issues such as serious and organised crime and benefit fraud.

 

2.    The PHS team could seek additional funding elsewhere, either from within Council budgets or by bidding to other external sources.  Existing Council budgets are already strictly controlled, and bidding for alternative external funding would delay any work commencing, even if alternative external funding was available and any bid for it proved successful.

 

Publication date: 14/08/2019

Date of decision: 12/08/2019

Accompanying Documents: