Meeting documents

Tenant & Leaseholder Panel
Wednesday, 20th May, 2015

Tenants and Leaseholders Panel Minutes

Wednesday 20th May 2015
The Council Chamber, The Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Attendance Details


Michael Hewlett (Chair), Marilyn Smithies (Vice-Chair), Syed Ahmed, Aishnine Benjamin, Peter Cooper, Bernard Daws, Sylvia Fletcher, Sheila Howard, Peter Mason, Julian Paine, David Palmer, Guy Pile-Grey, John Piper, Stephen Pollard, Kim Wakely and Colin Wood.

Councillors Lynne Hale, Maddie Henson, Michael Neal, Joy Prince
and Councillor Alison Butler
Leonard Asamoah (Director of Housing Needs), Stephen Tate (Director of District Centres & Regeneration), Sian Foley (Head of Service Development), Yvonne Murray (Head of Tenancy and Neighbourhood Services), Tim Nash (Resident Involvement Co-ordinator), Andy Opie (Director of Safety), Anupa Patel (Safety Transformationa Manager), Lorraine Smout (Head of Responsive Repairs), Dwynwen Stepien (Head of Early Intervention Support), Chris Stock (Resident Involvement & Scrutiny Manager), Elaine Wadsworth (Head of Housing Strategy & Commissioning).
Residents: Ms Jan Ford, Ms Jan Hogan, Mr Patrick Weekes and Ms Yvonne Dam
Committee Manager: Margot Rohan (Senior Members' Services Manager)
Councillors Sherwan Chowdhury, Oliver Lewis, Dudley Mead

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 Councillor Sherwan Chowdhury, James Fraser, Maureen Symes, Laurence Taylor, Bob Richardson (Head of Planned Maintenance & Improvement) and Judy Pevan (Service Manager, Stock Investment).


The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 4 February 2015 were agreed as a true record of the proceedings.


Stephen Tate, Director of District Centres & Regeneration, introduced himself and explained his responsibilities, including responsive repairs...

Leonard Asamoah, Director of Housing Needs, explaiined his responsibilities, including tenancy management, allocation of housing and community involvement.


Stephen Tate gave a summary of the report, highlighting:

  • Gateway programme
  • Council assets
  • Place - asset management, maintenance, responsive repairs etc
  • People -
  • Brought together - working closely together to ensure services joined up
  • Linking housing services into other services


The following issues were raised:

  • Majority of members cannot understand how the housing department is funded out of the HRA.  Why does it need to be done away with?
  • The changes are not going to give us any more opportunities, so we see no reason why it is being changed.
  • Now there are 3 different departments - how will the HRA funds be ring fenced?
  • Has it been clearly publicised so people know what are Place, People and Resources? 
  • Confusion as to what the differences involve - what falls into which of the 3 departments.
  • How will new policies and decisions be challenged by residents?
  • Complicated structure and more explanation is necessary.


Stephen Tate:  It is not being 'done away with' - it was spread across two divisions.  It will be no different to the way it is now provided - across two areas.  We are workiing together to ensure we have an integrated service; trying to bring new benefits.  It is about getting best value across the whole area.

Responsive repairs and planned maintenance will continue as before.

The ring fencing will not change.  We are just thinkinig more clearly about the how money is best spent.

HRA funds are to provide services for tenants and leaseholders on estates.  There are strict rules on how we can spend the money and that will not change.

Publicity - it is not so much about understanding the directorates but understanding the services we provide.  We need to talk to residents and shape policies.

Housing policy will be raised through existing participation groups. 

If there are problems, they can be escalated to Stephen Tate or Leonard Asamoah.

Structure - Executive Directors: Jo Negrini - Place; Paul Greenhalgh - People.  Place is about locality and people covers interactions with people.


Cllr Alison Butler: The housing department has always been much bigger than just tenants and leaseholders.  We are looking at two big areas - People and Place.  Place - TLP members are part of the bigger community - same services for all.  People - looking at people in a wider way.  Homelessness looks at housing needs;  social services at something else etc.  New gateway programme is an holistic approach - if a family comes to the Council, all their needs are looked at.  We are bringing together all services.  The Council wants to ensure all have what they are entitled to and opportunities to access work and training.


Cllr Michael Neal: Re-organisation is mainly due to the cost savings needed - to make council services cheaper to run.  How much do you anticipate to save?  How will office cost reductions affect service overall?

Stephen Tate:  With a more efficient service we can make savings.  If we can deliver services all in one place, we reduce the number of interactions.   


Andy Opie, Director of Safety, gave a presentation - highlights:

  • How changes going to affect residents
  • How Neighbourhood Wardens are affected
  • Opportunity for TLP to give feedback before move forward with rolling it out
  • Eyes and Ears is a Croydon Challenge programme
  • Area based and tailored to suit needs
  • New name - not Area Enforcement Team - to reflect amalgamation of two teams - boroughwide - consistent service everywhere
  • Team of 43 officers - 5 teams working locally in neighbourhoods across the borough#
  • 5 Neighbourhood Wardens - aligned with play and outreach offer
  • 2 posts into service development area
  • New uniform
  • More officers with broader range of resonsibilities over 7 days a week
  • HRA will fund a number of officers for structured activity on housing estates
  • Proposing to launch new structure 1 September
  • Opportunity to feedback - consultation to 5 June, probably later



  • HMO - Houses of multiple occupation
  • ASB - anti-social behaviour
  • EEO - Environmental Enforcement Officer
  • AEO - Area Enforcement Officer


The following issues were raised:

  • Good relationship with wardens - very effective with ASB.  New roles - cannot see anything different to those existing.  What are the improvements? 
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams - how do they fit in?
  • Problem with communication between wardens, police etc.


Andy Opie:  Police operation - reflected in the new structure - working more closely - joint operations.  About consistency - one team dealing with a broader range of issues.  It is easier to report issues but the staff will look the same - clearer to identify officers.  Local officers will be retained.  Main benefit - the whole organisation will be much more joined up.  You will only need to go to one place to get things resolves.  We plan to advertise so people know who to contact.

We will improve communication with police as we are working more closely together.  We will provide a much better service in the long term.  Police will have one point of contact to liaise on a variety of issues.

  • Neighbourhood Wardens do a fantastic job with youngsters.  Where will the new base be?


Andy Opie:  We expect the service to continue to be just as good with the new team.  It is likely that the main operational base will be at Stubbs Mead depot but there will be local bases - similar model to that of the police.  Day to day the teams will be out in community.

  • Why change uniforms when the public have become aware of who they are?


Andy Opie:  They are not going to spend all their time on estates - it will be across the borough.  It will be easier to have one uniform for the whole team.  At the moment there are 3 or 4 different uniforms.  They will all have the same technology and deal with all the issues.  Currently we are providing different services in different parts of the borough but we need to be more consistent.

  • Enforcement Officers have not been seen in the north of borough.  Wardens are working with local police and have built up good communication.  Will it be the same or will young people see them as council policemen?


Andy Opie:  Youth workers will not be wearing uniforms - will be delivering play and community activities.  The Neighbourhood Team will have enforcement powers but the focus will be about problem solving, co-ordinating services, providing liaison, assurance and support.  Part of the public engagement will be rolling out through the Safer Neighbourhood Board, once we are clear on the final structure.

  • Seem to be doing the same things as now - what are the extras?


Andy Opie:  Area enforcement teams have a broader range of enforcement powers.  Largely out and about dealing with environmental issues - fly tipping, penalty notices, mediation and engagement - taking witness statements (ASB etc), highway offences.  Now everyone will have the same level of skills.

  • Efficiency savings - need to save £100m in 3 years but talking about better service and delivery.  How will this be achieved, and how will you monitor and prove you have achieved it?


Andy Opie:  No savings are proposed in this element of the restructure - no staff reductions.  Savings are elsewhere but not in this Neighbourhood structure.

Efficiency for customers by making it easier to report, with a single officer dealing with a multitude of things - dealing with things more quickly and effectively.

  • Where are the AEOs - not seen them?
  • Wardens do not look like policemen - AEOs look more like policemen - Want to avoid that
  • Why changing uniforms if lack of funding? Why not just adapt?


Andy Opie:  We will give careful consideration to the uniform - largely purple.

It is mportant that the team looks different. We have a budget for replacing uniforms so already have the money. The uniform will be jumpers and tee shirts, so not significant expenditure. You will see the same faces and more people.


  • Neighbourhood Wardens attend Safer Neighbourhood Panel meetings - will that continue?


Andy Opie:  Attendance will stay the same - we will send one person who can deal with everything.  Others can be out on the street dealing with the issues.  There will be an area supervisor and local officers.  No difference in the service.

  • Surely the changes will knock out a huge amount of what Neighbourhood Wardens do, such as assisting elderly residents, running events for older people, children's activities, helping vulnerable residents?  6 people will not be able to cover the whole borough.


Andy Opie:  These things will be picked up by staff in the People department.  There will be no reduction in numbers of staff.  We are delivering services in a different way.  There will be specific HRA funding but there will be other resources for those areas.  We will take away your concerns and ensure we are covering everything.

  • What about controlling the use of knives?


Andy Opie:  We will still be able to provide engagement with young people - assistance and reassurance.  A number of different teams across the council will be working in partnership with the police and voluntary sector.  Police are also based in schools.  A range of departments will tackle it.


Cllr Neal:  HRA contribution - can you bring back a summary to the panel so we can vet the costs?  5 bases for new officers - still 29 in total?

Andy Opie:  The total number of officers will not be reduced - 26 warden posts (21 coming into the neighbourhood service, 5 to community outreach); 22 AEOs are staying in the neighbourhood operation, working longer hours and in a larger area.  They will develop links with a particular area.  There may be some changes in areas in which staff operate but we will try to maintain continuity.


a) London Tenants' Federation - Michael Hewlett

  • Continuing work
  • Trying to work out how much social housing London is losing


b) Mayor's Housing Forum - Michael Hewlett

  • Unlikely to meet again
  • This item to be removed from future agendas


c) ARCH - Michael Hewlett

  • Croydon offered to host annual conference in September


d) Croydon Voluntary Sector Alliance (CVSA) - Guy Pile-Grey

  • 2 meetings about Fairness commission - next meeting 15 June
  • Introduction to European social fund - money for social inclusion - CVA doing work to put in a bid


e) Croydon Congress - Marilyn Smithies

 Stronger Communities Partnership meeting on 26 February was broken down into round table discussions on the following priorities:

  1. Make Croydon a place of opportunity and fairness by tackling inequality, disadvantage and exclusion;
  2. Foster community relations and integration by providing opportunities for people from different backgrounds to come together in meaningful interaction;
  3. Promote a thriving and joined-up community, faith and voluntary sector that work in partnership with the public and private sectorto improve outcomes for local people;
  4. Promote active communities so that local people can do things that matter most to them and their neighbourhoods;
  5. Encourage community empowerment and engagement across all our communities so that they can participate and influence local priorities;
  6. Encourage a greater community response to tough issues so that together we can change attitudes and behaviours.

Next steps:

Officers will take away the work from the 26 February meeting and other meetings and pull together an outline of the stronger community's strategy for presentation at the next meeting.

The next meeting of the Stronger Communities Partnership is 11 June

Croydon Opportunity &Fairness Commission held its first meeting with residents on 9 March in New Addington.  The subjects for 'face to face' discussions with residents were:

  1. How would you describe the area?
  2. What are the most important issues in the area today?
  3. Most important issues for you
  4. Who have supported you most?
  5. Do you volunteer or have a care role

There were then round table discussions on the following:

  • General issues
  • Assets/opportunities
  • Challenges

Marilyn attended the latest meeting of the Croydon Opportunity & Fairness Commission on 19 May and the outcomes from the initial New Addington engagement have all been put together in a presentation and responses shown in pie chart form.


Marilyn was informed that there will be other meetings such as this, rolled out across the borough, and she will be attending each one.


The next meeting of Croydon Opportunity & Fairness Commission will be on 16 September and the emphasis will be on Croydon's reputation.


The next meeting of Croydon Voluntary Sector Alliance is on 15 June.


f) All Ages Inter-generational update - Sian Foley

  • Community clubs last 3 months - Green Lane, Longheath Gardens, Croftleigh and Handcroft Road
  • Get in touch with Sian if want to develop community clubs
  • Family Safety Challenge - 1200 young people & adults across the borough were involved last year - final in Feb 2015
  • Get in touch for family safety activities in your area
  • Next year Fairfield Hall 16 Feb 2016
  • Money Management activities - good feedback
  • BWH, Fieldway, north of borough - June/July

Issues raised:

  • When are All Ages panel going to meet - Chris Hennis to do presentation?

Sian Foley: Steering Group meeting in June or July - report back from Chris Hennis on youth clubs etc.


  • What about Waddon?

Sian Foley: We commissioned the youth service to do work at the youth club but people are not going.  We will do some outreach work on Waddon, to find out what young people want and where.


  • What is the make up of the committees? 

Marilyn Smithies: New Addington and Fieldway are two of the most diverse wards in the borough and the sense of community is very strong.  Everyone is given the right to speak and it is very diverse. 


There were no comments regarding this report.


Cllr Butler was asked if the annual visits estate visits which were previously arranged by Cllr Neal and accompanied by high level council officers would continue.

Cllr Butler: Yes. Cllr Manju Shahul-Hameed will be the new deputy and will be leading estate visits.


Concerns were expressed about the lack of communication between the Council and Shrublands, which has no residents' association.


The guidance book for leaseholders is being reviewed so they know what rights and privileges they have.


Sian Foley mentioned Back to Work surgeries at children's centres and making a broader offer.  These surgeries may be rolled out elsewhere and one

place discussed was Shrublands.


All meetings will be in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Croydon at 6.30pm:
Tuesday 7 July 2015
Tuesday 13 October 2015
Wednesday 3 February 2016
Tuesday 26 April 2016 

The meeting ended at 8:27pm.