Meeting documents

Tenant & Leaseholder Panel
Wednesday, 15th October, 2014

Tenants and Leaseholders Panel Minutes

Wednesday 15th October 2014
The Council Chamber, The Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Attendance Details


Michael Hewlett (Chair), Marilyn Smithies (Vice-Chair), Syed Ahmed, James Cassidy, Peter Cooper, Chris Crossdale, Bernard Daws, Bob Dean, James Fraser, Jim Mansell, Peter Mason, Julian Paine, David Palmer, Guy Pile-Grey, John Piper, Stephen Pollard, Laurence Taylor, Kim Wakely and Colin Wood.

Councillors Sherwan Chowdhury, Maddie Henson, Oliver Lewis, Michael Neal.
Dave Sutherland (Director of Housing Management Services), Peter Brown (Director of Housing Needs & Strategy), Sian Foley (Head of Service Development), Yvonne Murrary (Head of Tenancy & Neighbourhood Services), Tim Nash (Resident Involvement Co-ordinator), Judy Pevan (Service Manager Stock Investment), Bob Richardson (Head of Planned Maintenance & Improvements), Lorraine Smout (Head of Responsive Repairs), Chris Stock (Resident Involvement & Scrutiny Manager) and Yaw John Boateng (Scrutiny Panel) Committee Manager: Solomon Agutu (Head of Democratic Services & Scrutiny)
Councillors Lynne Hale, Dudley Mead and Joy Prince.
Aishnine Benjamin, Marion Burchell, Ken Coates, Sylvia Fletcher, Sheila Howard, Paul Phillips, Maureen Symes, Eric Webb.

Item Item/Resolution

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interest at this meeting.


The Chair, Michael Hewlett, welcomed all to the meeting.


Apologies were received from Aishnine Benjamin.


The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 22 July 2014 were agreed as a true record of the proceedings.


Lorraine Smout (Head of Responsive Repairs) provided a verbal report about the contractor Axis Responsive Repairs illustrated by a PowerPoint presentation. Her report included:

Call handling by external contractors, the key improvement action plan which had 16 bullet points and key performance statistics showing performance against targets.


She then explained about the Social Value benefits included in the contracts comprising of apprenticeships (6) work experience opportunities (10) lunch clubs and coffee mornings, sustainability workshops and she then described the work of the Axis volunteers.


Lorraine then took questions about the proportion of temporary to permanent staff in the contact centre; the numbers of 'offered' calls to repairs, how to access the social value resource in the contract.


Questions were asked about the lift breakdown in Tonbridge house(not part of the responsive repairs contract); why the voids had gone up from 16 to 23 and the reasons for the budget underspend. A number of questions were asked.


Fiona Bowman Head of FM gave a verbal report accompanied by Justin Hills. Interserve had not been invited to the meeting for which she apologised. She had received the feedback about the unhappiness with the window cleaning contract. She apologised that resident expectation had been raised because residents were referring to a different contract from the one that was actually in use. There was a 2001 contract, a 2006 contract and a rebased 2011 contract. She apologised that the end users were not advised of the rebased contract but going forward it is being rebased again and residents would be fully involved. The contract ends in July 2016 and she welcomed comments on it before then. Fiona took questions on the contracts.

  • Should contractor clean inside and outside(Monks Hill)
  • How would residents be involved in the re-letting? Can residents be involved in the sub group which is re-letting the contract? In rely it was stated that residents would be involved but FM was keen to understand what residents thought was the best way to conduct the consultation.
  • How do residents know whether the window cleaner have been? They do not normally leave cards to show attendance.
  • How often should the contractors come (Heathfield Gardens). How is it that you never see a difference after they have been? In reply it was stated that they should come once a quarter and clean 60% first time a do the other 40% the next time. It is possible that they keep cleaning the same area and so the remaining 40% never gets cleaned. This would be followed up.

Barry Lambton gave a verbal report on progress with the Horticultural contract about problem with the transition. Action has been taken since then and standards have improved shown by a reduction in the number of complaints. Questions were asked about when the backlogs would be completed, whether the contractor had accepted their failings. Residents disagreed that adequate resources were being put in as the standard remained poor. In reply there was an admission that the standard is poor but is improving, the backlog is reducing and it was hoped that business as usual would be achieved by February 2015. A number for other questions were put including:


  • New machinery no good for sweeping(Tonbridge House)
  • Chips from trees
  • The responsibility for leaves (Veolia or Quadrant?)
  • Whether there were penalty clauses and whether they had been activated
  • Whether grass should be blown back from paths and how long afterwards
  • The Green at the back of the car park not being cut(Sunny bank
  • In answer to a question it was replied that the contract was for five years with an option to renew for up to another five years. If the service does not improve measures would be taken in accordance with the contract. It was confirmed that there would be no rebate to service charges pending an improvement in services

Malcolm Kendall (Head of Environmental and Leisure Services) offered apologies for the Quality Control Manager, who had been taken ill.  He explained the services - refuse collection (landfill), recycling and street cleaning:

  • Leafing started - Veolia responsible
  • Tonbridge House - will address street cleaning separately
  • Monthly walkabout  - walking estates to see what the issues are - cannot tell anyone when they are going as it is a mystery tour!
  • Food waste must be collected weekly - report on 'My Account' - you are our eyes and ears
  • Value for money always a challenge in any contract
  • Service failure is about thresholds beyond which there are financial deductions


Issues raised:

  • Wheelie bins are left in the middle of the pavement

 Response: Each crew has been told to return the bins and you should see an improvement.

  •  Food bins smelling - not emptied often enough (Tollgate Estate)
  • Summer collections were missed - is there a penalty?
  • Handcroft Estate - food bins leaking and foul - bin doors damaged

Responses: Not part of Veolia contract to clean the bins.  A manager will come out tomorrow to look at it.

Have asked for a price for cleaning the bins.

Missed bins reported by onboard computer to the Contact Centre - previousl day's missed bins are reviewed daily.

Bins should not be leaking and should have an internal seal

  • Full bins - do not pick up dropped rubbish and leave bin lids open so the bins fill up with water when it rains

Response:  If there is any spillage, it is for Veolia to clear.

  • Performance Management Panel - 4 recycling centres - padlocks missing and bins not emptied
  • 3 bins but only one gets emptied
  • Litter picker at Monks Hill is 'brilliant'
  • Waddon Estate - good crew - put lids back
  • Orange backs - when are they collected?

Responses: Recycling bins are not emptied if they are not filled up.  Trying a new lock and, if it works, will order another 40.  Current design not good.  Quality not there yet but will be in the future.

Orange bags are collected at the end of the following working day.

  • Who is responsible for sweeping, weeding and clearing the gullies?


Bob Richardson reported back on the re-procurement. Not much to report. OJEU notice had been issued and now waiting for PQQ to be returned. Anticipating a high level of interest. Training for residents involved in procurement was progressing.


It has been decided to combine all the lift maintenance repairs and refurbishment contracts into one and to review the electrical and mechanical contracts. There was briefing of contractors at Fairfield on Friday and residents had been invited.


The question about the concrete cracking on stairwells at Moffatt Road would be taken up by Yvonne. There was a question why the external painting was taking place at Heathfield House at this time of the year. Other questions were asked about:

  • Floor coverings in entrances, and fob keys which had not worked for two years. These would be taken up outside the meeting.


A question was then asked - what was positive about the procurement process. It was replied that procurement is not a quick process but at the end of it there was expected to be financial savings, greater social value benefits and improved service delivery. Bob was thanked for the presentation.


Croydon' Scrutiny Panel was recognised nationally at an awards ceremony.  There are ten people on the panel who are trained and experienced.  They received a copy of a report on Neighbourhood Wardens.


We want to encourage more people to be involved.  The Panel is to help improve services, not to find fault.  It meets fortnightly to carry out surveys and mystery shopping.


The Scrutiny Report was 24 pages.  Anyone wanting a copy will be sent one.


Guy Pile-Grey explained that the report was work done by the panel which looks at individual services in depth, taking approximately 6 months for each.  The recommendations are summarise.


The next Scrutiny exercise will be on anti-social behaviour, reporting back to TLP by April 2015.


London Tenants' Federation - Michael Hewlett

There was a verbal report which included information that a tenant manifesto was being drafted

Mayor's Housing Forum - Michael Hewlett

No further update


ARCH - Michael Hewlett

No further update

Croydon Voluntary Sector Alliance - Guy Pile-Grey

 It was reported that the voluntary Sector Strategy was being developed and that at the launch Cllr Tony Newman, Leader of the Council and Nathan Elvery, Chief Executive had been there to explain their vision


Croydon Congress - Marilyn Smithies

Marilyn reported on the congress last year 22 November. There was no feedback after 4 hours of a congress meeting and hoped that future congresses would not just be talking shops

All Ages Intergenerational Update - Sian Foley

The next steering group meeting was in November. A south London Jobs fair was being planned and posters, etc were to be distributed; the fair would include information about jobs, apprenticeships and work experience


There is now a Facebook account to encourage involvement.


Dave Sutherland explained that DASHH was to be dissolved from 1 November 2014, as Hannah Miller was leaving in December. Dave and Peter would be reporting to Jo Negrini the Executive Director of Development and Environment.


The Arts conference was also mentioned


Tuesdays in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Croydon at 6.30pm:
4 February 2015

29 April 2015

The meeting ended at 9:04pm