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					                       HOUNSLOW HOMES LTD
    Minutes of a meeting of the Personnel Committee of
  Hounslow Homes Ltd held on Tuesday 14 September 2010


Board Members:

Caroline Wagstaff (Vice-Chair)
Ernie Cooper
Andy Lee
Cllr Mel Collins
Cllr Barbara Harris

In Attendance:

David Allum
Graham Spiller
Jacqueline Mutibwa



ITEM                          DECISION                          ACTION


       The minutes of the meeting of 18 May 2010 were
       agreed as a true and accurate record.

       Chair of the Committee
       It was noted that the Committee had no Chair since
       the resignation of Mr Collins in April 2010. The
       Committee agreed that Ms Wagstaff, Vice-Chair of
       the Committee would chair the meeting.

       Matters arising from the minutes:

       Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), page 2
       Mr Spiller noted that the draft policy on working with
       children would not be presented to the Committee
       but to the full Board. He gave an update on the ISA
       and noted that further developments had been put on
       hold as the new government was concerned that the
       proposed arrangements might be too bureaucratic.
       Mr Spiller noted that the second (vetting and barring
       lists) part of the legislation had not been enacted.

       Communications Strategy – Young People’s Edition,
       page 4
       Mr Spiller noted that a Young People’s section would
       be incorporated in Hounslow Homes’ newsletter
       editions during the holidays and Christmas period.

       Hounslow Homes Editorial Panel (page 5)
       Mr Spiller noted that HFTRA Executive had been
       requested to nominate members on Hounslow
       Homes Newsletter Editorial Panel. Ms Brooker, Mr
       Scarrott, Ms Courage, Ms Wootten and Ms Howe
       had been nominated to the Panel.
       Mr Lee expressed an interest in joining the Editorial
       Panel. Ms Mutibwa advised him that the Panel was
       included on the Committee Membership form that
       had been circulated to Board Members and asked
       him to indicate his interest on the form.

ITEM                         DECISION                          ACTION

       Health & Safety Strategy and Action Plan 2009/10,
       page 8
       Mr Spiller provided the Committee with a list of
       activities from the Health & Safety Action plan
       2010/11 showing those that had been progressed
       and the risk areas. Mr Cooper asked for an update
       on the asbestos work. Mr Spiller noted that the stock
       survey database provides information on stock that
       has asbestos so that operatives were aware. He
       noted that the work would be commissioned through
       a competitive tendering process. Mr Spiller noted
       that the tenants are regularly provided with
       information regarding guidance on asbestos.

ITEM                           DECISION                             ACTION


       The report updated the Committee on a range of
       Human Resources issues across Hounslow Homes.

       Recruitment dispute
       Mr Spiller noted that the recruitment dispute that had
       been raised by the Trade Unions at the last meeting
       had been investigated and that there was no breach
       of procedure. He noted that the matter had been
       successfully resolved and had identified the need for
       a protocol to resolve recruitment decisions in the
       future. Mr Spiller circulated a protocol that had been
       agreed by both parties i.e. Management and Trade
       Unions and had been incorporated into Hounslow
       Homes’ recruitment policy.

       Tribunal cases
       The Committee noted the four cases that had been
       presented to the Employment Tribunal. Mr Spiller
       noted the following:
          • that Hounslow Homes had won on all counts
             on the management of absence case where
             unfair dismissal and disability discrimination
             had been claimed.
          • that the case concerning an existing employee
             who had claimed disability discrimination had
             been struck out due to the claimant’s failure to
             follow the directions of the Court.
          • that the case concerning dismissal for gross
             misconduct where unfair dismissal, race and
             sex discrimination had been claimed had been
             listed for 10 days from 10 January 2011.
          • that the most recent case (December 2009)
             concerning the dismissal for gross misconduct,
             where unfair dismissal and race discrimination
             had been claimed had been listed for 5 days
             from 13 December 2010.

       Staff Survey
       Mr Spiller noted that an in-house staff survey had
       been launched and 15% of the returns had been
       received. He hoped that this would increase
       significantly. Mr Spiller noted that it was the first time
ITEM                          DECISION                           ACTION

       the organisation had undertaken an in-house survey
       and that hard copies had been sent out to manual
       staff. Mr Spiller noted that the Committee would be
       provided with the findings of the survey.

       Investors in People
       Mr Spiller noted that Hounslow Homes was due to be
       reassessed in the Autumn of 2011 and that it would
       consider aiming for a higher standard than the basic

       Amalgamation of Repairs posts
       Mr Spiller noted that the Head of Repairs
       Maintenance, Engineering and Energy had
       completed 3 months in post and the Director of
       Property Services had commented that the new
       arrangement was working well.

       Director level appointments
       The Committee noted that Roz Spencer had been
       appointed as the interim Director of Housing Services
       and would be in post from September 2010 to
       February 2011.

       It was noted that interviews had taken place for the
       post of job share Director of Finance and an
       appointment would be made soon.

       Default retirement age
       Mr Spiller gave an update on the government’s
       intention to abolish the default retirement age of 65
       from 1st October 2011. He noted that retirements
       due to the default age of 65 could no longer be seen
       as a guaranteed way of achieving staffing reductions
       and a policy for health screening for older staff might
       be needed. There was concern about this and how
       to avoid discrimination whilst making sure that staff
       were able to undertake work they had been
       employed for. Mr Spiller noted that the health
       screening was not a medical screening but an
       assessment to ensure that older staff were fit to
       undertake work they are employed for but that advice
       would be sought before any policy was agreed.

ITEM                          DECISION                               ACTION

       Mr Spiller also noted that changes to local
       government pension scheme regulations might be
       required. He noted that a further report would be
       presented to the Committee on the matter.

       First Care Contract
       At the last meeting, the Committee requested that it
       was provided with an overview report on sickness
       levels. Mr Spiller noted that the sickness reporting
       service was in a transitional period as it had recently
       transferred from Active Health Partnerships to First
       Care. He noted that the Committee would be
       provided with a further sickness overview report from
       First Care after the contractual issues with the new
       contractor have been resolved and the service
       delivery had settled.

       Staff Rewards
       Mr Spiller noted that the Committee had requested
       that the performance related scheme for SMT/SMG
       was rolled out to the lower graded staff. He noted
       that the Trade Unions were against the proposal and
       that negotiations were underway to try to agree a
       way forward. Cllr Collins asked that a reward
       scheme should be considered to recognise staff
       whose performance was excellent. Mr Spiller noted         Mr Spiller to
       that a Staff Award scheme was in place for staff          provide the
       “going the extra mile”. Mr Spiller noted that a further   Committee with
       report would be provided to the Committee in due          a further report.

       Isleworth flood
       Cllr Harris asked for an update on the Isleworth
       floods and the fire outbreak at Rectory Court,

       Mr Spiller noted that residents at Fenn House had
       been evacuated to St Giles hotel until the sheltered
       scheme could be reopened. He noted that Linkline
       staff who were based on the ground floor of Fenn
       House were temporarily relocated at Langdale. Mr
       Spiller noted that Thames Water would be
       compensating Hounslow Homes for all the issues
       arising from the incident.
ITEM                          DECISION                              ACTION

       Rectory Court
       Mr Spiller noted that the fire was caused by a
       vulnerable tenant and that there were no injuries or
       fatalities but substantial damage to the property. He
       noted that the residents at Rectory Court had been
       evacuated to the Travel Lodge. The Police and the
       London Fire Brigade were still investigating the
       circumstances leading to the incident.

       Housing Apprenticeships
       Mr Spiller noted that Asset Skills (the housing sector
       training board) had offered Hounslow Homes'
       housing apprenticeships (NVQ levels 2 and 3) at a
       discounted rate. He noted that 10 existing staff
       would be offered the apprenticeship scheme which
       would be advertised internally.

       REPORT (APRIL - JUNE 2010)

       Mr Spiller noted that the presentation of the
       information had been changed so that previous and
       current quarter figures and the targets could be
       incorporated into each report. He also noted that the
       pay gap had been incorporated into some reports
       and that they would continue to review the
       presentation of the information on the workforce
       contained in the report.

       Sickness Levels
       Mr Spiller noted that the sickness figures were the
       lowest figures since the organisation started
       reporting sickness levels.

       Equal work group tables (page 25 & 26)                   Mr Spiller to
       It was requested that the figures in the tables were     undertake action
       made bigger.                                             point.

       Agency Staff
       Mr Lee asked whether the employment costs for
       agency staff were more expensive than permanent
       staff. Mr Spiller advised that the employment costs
       for agency staff were cheaper than permanent staff
ITEM                           DECISION                            ACTION

       as employer’s contributions were less.

       Ms Wagstaff asked why there were many agency
       staff that had been employed since 2008/09 and
       whether there were difficulties in relation to recruiting
       for these positions. She advised that positions that
       have been held by agency staff for more than one
       year should be investigated.

       The Committee noted the information contained in
       the report.


       The report updated the Committee on the progress of
       the Equal Pay review.

       Mr Spiller noted the following points:
         • that the Equalities Act 2010 required public
            sector bodies to publish on an annual basis
            details of the following: gender pay gap, ethnic
            minority and disability employment rates.
         • that Hounslow Homes had adopted a target
            figure for a 5% pay gap for both women and
            BME staff in line with advice from the Equality
            and Human Rights Commission. The gender
            gap (9%) and BME gap (10%) were in excess
            of the recommended 5% and action plans
            would be developed to enable the organisation
            to achieve the targets.

       The Committee noted the following:
         • the inclusion of pay gap figures and new
            targets for a maximum 5% gender, and BME
            “pay gap” in the quarterly monitoring report.
         • the intention to develop action plans to reduce
            the current pay gaps of 9% (gender) and 10%
            (BME) over time.

       Mr Spiller noted that the target figures and the new
       “pay gap” information had been incorporated into the
       monitoring information report and that action plans to
ITEM                         DECISION                          ACTION

       address the pay gaps would be prepared. He noted
       that the Government might put the requirement to
       publish pay gap figures on hold. Ms Wagstaff
       advised that good practice on Equal Pay used by
       other organisations should also be explored.


       The report recommended the adoption of a policy to
       address allegations of harassment and bullying in the

       Mr Spiller noted the following points:
         • that the need for a policy had arisen from the
            number of complaints raised by the Trade
            Unions and also feedback received from the
            Management Development Training
         • that recently both staff and Trade Unions had
            brought forward cases where strong
            management could be interpreted as bullying.
         • that as a consequence a policy had been
            prepared and there would be a poster
            campaign against the behaviour to make staff
            aware of the unacceptable behaviour.
         • that managers would be provided with training
            on the new policy and that the two Senior HR
            Advisors had completed training in mediation
            skills and would assist in resolving staff
         • that the proposed policy attached was based
            on best practice in comparable organisations
            and the Staff Side had been consulted.
         • that the Glass Ceiling project and the staff
            survey would also address issues concerning
            harassment and bullying in the workplace.

       The Committee agreed that Hounslow Homes adopt
       the Bullying and Harassment policy attached to the

       There was no other business.

ITEM                           DECISION        ACTION

 Meeting finished at 8.45pm.