Meeting documents

Tenant & Leaseholder Panel
Tuesday, 17th May, 2016

Tenants and Leaseholders Panel Minutes

Tuesday 17th May 2016
The Council Chamber, The Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Attendance Details


Michael Hewlett (Chair), Marilyn Smithies (Vice-Chair), Syed Ahmed, Peter Cooper, Bernard Daws, James Fraser, Sheila Howard, Julian Paine, David Palmer, Guy Pile-Grey, John Piper, Stephen Pollard, Jamil Tarik, Laurence Taylor, Kim Wakely, Colin Wood

Lynne Hale, Maddie Henson, Oliver Lewis, Michael Neal and Joy Prince
Tim Nash (Resident Involvement Co-Ordinator), Hayley Lewis (Head of Communications & Engagement), Mark Meehan (Director of Housing Need), Paul Ratcliffe (Head of Community & Street Safety), Bob Richardson (Head of Planned Maintenance and Improvements), Stephen Tate (Director of District Centres & Regeneration), Elaine Wadsworth (Head of Housing Strategy & Commissioning)
Councillors Manju Shahul-Hameed and Dudley Mead, Aishnine Benjamin, Yaw Boateng, Marion Burchell, James Cassidy, Sylvia Fletcher, Jim Mansell, Peter Mason, Edita Meir, Paul Phillips, Sharon Swaby and Maureen Symes
Apologies for absence:
Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, Edita Meir, Peter Mason, Sharon Swaby, Colin Alexander (Head of Income and Lettings), Leonard Asamoah (Head of Housing Solutions), Ken Constantine (Sustainable Communities Manager), Sian Foley (Head of Service Development), Yvonne Murray (Head of Tenancy and Neighbourhood Services), Jo Negrini (Acting Chief Executive and Executive Director for Place), Margaret Padmore (Tenancy Manager), Judy Pevan (Service Manager, Stock Investment), Lorraine Smout (Head of Responsive Repairs) and Chris Stock (Resident Involvement & Scrutiny Manager)

Item Item/Resolution

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interest at this meeting.


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


The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 3 February 2016 were agreed as a true record of the proceedings.


Barry Lambton (Green Spaces Manager) was due to give a verbal presentation but was not present.


Several issues were raised by the panel

  • Bins not being emptied
  • Village system not working - bins not being emptied regularly - in hot weather food bins are smelly
  • Problem of rats with black bags being left on the ground
  • Food waste collection missed and reported but still waiting - not acceptable
  • 4 bins but only 2 emptied - 2 weeks later and still not emptied
  • Michael Hewlett commented that there are only 2 inspectors for the borough and they are not on top of the issue. Need to question what they are doing

Stephen Tate will take up the matter with Barry Lambton and Steve Iles to bring to the next meeting.


Hayley Lewis (Head of Communications & Engagement) attended to find out more about issues and respond to feedback from residents regarding their experiences with the new website.  (Email:


Issues highlighted were:

  • Too many clicks on the page - pages disappear and it is difficult to get back to them
  • A lot of information is out of date

Hayley Lewis responded: Email issues direct, giving page URLs and they will be investigated. If emailed, they can be updated immediately.

  • The website is not user friendly, particularly for first time users. Mentions 'addressing issues to Taberner House'! Some information goes back to 2009/10/11 but does not show 2015 and 2016
  • Monotonous and very slow. Login difficult first time. Software needs updating - 'do it online' is not always working. Need to make processes very easy and quick

Hayley Lewis responded: The main website was launched last January. If it crashes we need to know. Page load speed - new software faster - 3 seconds for desk tops; laptops and mobiles a bit longer. Worked hard with residents and businesses - cannot please everyone. Overwhelming feedback is positive - no clutter, text not pictures were what was requested. A lot more video content - 'how to..'

  • Best thing is 'My Account'. Much improved - pay rent quickly and get immediate print out. Reporting online - cannot report for communcal bins - no facility - only personal address

Hayley Lewis responded: For communal issues, we are dealing with it now.

  • 'My Account' has no facility for resetting your password - no 'forgotten password' button

Hayley Lewis responded: People are in different places digitally. We now have Digital Champions who are in the Digital Zone in Access Croydon on Fridays. They help residents with IT problems on their devices or showing how to access the Council and other websites on a laptop.


Elaine Wadsworth (Head of asset management and involvement) gave a summary of the report:

  • Role - to work out how best to spend the budget - there are targets and objectives for properties
  • Bob Richardson works with the contractors to ensure the Council gets the best deals
  • Capital Programme for large planned work
  • Invest in stock to maintain properties to a good standard
  • Industry standards in place to ensure good maintenance
  • Boilers - aim to replace all within 15 years by March 2022
  • Improvements - loft insulation, more efficient boilers
  • Decorations programme - older or disabled - programme to help them carry out internal decorations
  • Targets:
    • Decent Homes Standard - energy efficiency, safety - achieved and aim to keep ticking over
    • Fire safety
  • Losing £3million from HRA budget
  • General building works programme - saving £2million p.a.
  • Fire safety programme - coming to the end of the current schedule
  • Rewiring - aim for every 30 years


She and Bob Richardson (Head of homes and school improvements) responded to questions.

  • Leaseholder - St Marks Road - notified of external redecoration work in 7 or 8 areas - worrying to get letter as it looked an expensive operation - cost of scaffolding extortionate. As a result of phoning Council to have chat, a visit from Chris Egan? (surveyor) was arranged. Now looking forward to redecoration - possibly late summer. Will increase value of properties.
  • Michael Hewlett - disappointed tenants not consulted on redecoration programme. Tenants have priorities different from officers. 16-17 budgets fully spent. Now allocating work to 17-18 budget but Longheath Gardens Estate is in a dreadful state. We have put in a serious complaint because it is not satisfactory.

Elaine Wadsworth: We have been procuring new contracts which have taken longer than expected and we are late bringing the issue to TLP. Service Improvement Group - looking at savings. We will consult with the group and bring TLP back into the process in future years. We will be asking people which services people value. Longheath Gardens - getting surveyor in to look at the issues. We have made an allowance of £750,000 towards the first of the major projects.
Bob Richardson: We have useful information from research which was commissioned through a consultant. We want to ensure money is spent correctly and have got to look at other areas and prioritise. We are trying to balance setting out the right work against all the other pressures, in order to make the decision to start - looking at in excess of 12 months' work at Longheath.

  • Michael Hewlett - where else is in a worse situation? What about thermal efficiency - cladding on solid walls?

Elaine Wadsworth: We have done some thermal reviewing. We are looking at what to prioritise for 17-18.
Bob Richardson - We can share the results from the review.

  • Cllr Maddie Henson - we have reported Longheath several times - the concrete is breaking away and is a hazard.
  • Achieving 100% decent homes standard is good but, if heating is failing or concrete breaking, it is not good enough. 1% rent decrease but losing £3million p.a. The figures do not add up.

Elaine Wadsworth: We were expecting to increase rent and thought we would have more, so that is the basis on which we were working.

  • Is there no monitoring system to evidence work carried out? Sub-standard work - how is it scrutinised? Dissatisfied with Chris Egan's survey and response (Fisher Close area)

Bob Richardson: For the external painting there were a number of levels of checks - the contractor prepared a detailed estimate. Random checks were carried out whilst the work was in progress. There was a handover meeting - walking round and noting any outstanding or quality issues. Then the bill was prepared. Usually bills are lower than original estimates. Residents can report if they feel the process has failed and we will look at it in more detail. We write to all residents for feedback. One of the questions is about the quality of the work. We will telephone anyone dissatisfied. We need to fully understand what we are doing wrong. We measure satisfaction which is high at the moment. But it is important to consider those who are dissatisfied.

  • (South Norwood) We were very satisfied with Chris Egan. With the previous contract there was a looseness about monitoring.(Mullaley). Some of details in the estimate were wrong - eg painting meterage. There was not a strict system of monitoring
  • We were promised deep cleaning of all walls, stairs etc after redecoration but it was not done - why has it not happened? The work was done but cleaning up not.

Bob Richardson: The contractor wrote and said everything completed. I will speak with him and investigate.

  • Cllr Michael Neal - Will the baseline go up over the next 3 years? Do you anticipate cutting some services or are we able to save? Will you ensure TLP is involved in all aspects of the Stock Investment programme 17-18?

Elaine Wadsworth: There was a big impact this year. We do not know details of further changes but anticipate reducing services further - e.g. households earning £40k+ to pay market rent. The forced sale of high value council homes will lead to a reduction in the number of properties in stock. Baseline £26.7m rather than returning to £29.7m. We will communicate the issues, explain and get feedback. There are ongoing forums to get out to a wider audience of tenants.


A report on what's to come was requested for the next meeting.


London Tenants' Federation - Michael Hewlett

  • New mayor recognises housing in London is in crisis
  • Mayor's Housing Forum to be regenerated


ARCH - Michael Hewlett

  • Tenant group working on conference - hosted by Warwick Council in Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa - 22 September
  • Croydon can send 5 reps
  • Housing Bill now passed - still a lot in skeleton form - executive working on it - will produce detailed notes


CVSA - Guy Pile-Grey

  • No meeting but a lot of work has been going on
  • CVA secured some funding - deciding which voluntary organisations to benefit - decision in July 


Croydon Congress - Marilyn Smithies

On 1 March, a report was received from Councillor Tony Newman (Leader of Croydon Council and Chair of Croydon's Local Strategic Partnership), from the meeting held in November 2015, which considered Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE):

  • The prevention of CSE is a significant cross-cutting strategic priority for the Borough
  • The discussions and recommendations put forward on the day have formed the basis of a report to Croydon's Cabinet
  • The recommendations will also be considered by Croydon's Local Strategic Partnership and Chief Executives' Group, the Safeguarding Children Board and the CSE and Missing Sub-Group
  • Particular issues will also be considered in some depth by the relevant bodies and organisations, such as the Head Teachers' Forum, the Council's Departmental and Executive Leadership Teams, the appropriate Partnership Boards and key local stakeholders
  • It is hoped that the discussions that took place on the day and the information in the report will help to change attitudes and behaviours of people and organisations in the Borough and will better equip professionals and the community to take an active role to protect young people
  • 11 June 2015 Croydon Congress meeting - the theme was domestic abuse and sexual violence and the aim of the meeting was to change attitudes and behaviours of people and organisations in the Borough and to better equip the community to take an active role with the issue.  The reduction of domestic abuse and sexual violence is aligned with the Safer Croydon Community Safety Strategy

To note the themes and proposals to emerge from Congress, as well as to ensure that they are considered by Croydon's Thematic Partnership Boards and relevant local stakeholders and to identify any additional resources available to support the delivery of the key proposals, some of the key themes and proposals to emerge were:

  • To work more with schools, including primary schools, to ensure that young people and their families have a better understanding of what a ‘healthy' relationship is and when and how to speak out, if they are affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence, and to ensure that teachers are trained to recognise the signs and respond accordingly
  • To support perpetrators as well as victims, in order to prevent the cycle from repeating itself and to encourage more men to get involved in raising awareness
  • To encourage the community to play a more active role, including the promotion of ‘safe spaces' in different neighbourhoods and training up community champions or advocates
  • To encourage faith leaders and the faith community to have a visibly active role, particularly in raising awareness of the topic and reducing the stigma around a partner leaving an abusive relationship
  • To encourage employers in the Borough to put procedures and policies in place to better support their workforces, including the promotion of anonymous help lines and workplace champions in order to give victims a wider range of options for disclosure
  • To raise awareness about domestic abuse and sexual violence by taking a more targeted approach to highlight the experiences of different cultural and faith communities and breaking down cultural barriers, especially in such a diverse Borough where those voices are currently very difficult to hear
  • To promote the film that was shown at Congress, called ‘Leaving' and ensure that it is screened at a variety of settings and is seen by a wide range of stakeholders and partners. This could be by the Council holding its own screenings for partners to attend or by partners themselves purchasing the film and screening it themselves in order to raise awareness, e.g. the Police, Fire Service, Jobcentre Plus, schools and Crystal Palace Football Club
  • The next Croydon Congress Meeting will be held on 21 June and will focus on Social Isolation and Loneliness 


All Ages Inter-generational Update - Sian Foley (apologies for absence)

  •  See attached report

This report was circulated with the agenda, for information only.


Due to lack of business, the meeting on 5 July has been CANCELLED so the AGM/Elections will be postponed until the October meeting. 

Future meetings are all in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Croydon at 6.30pm:

  • Tuesday 4 October 2016
  • Wednesday 18 January 2017
  • Tuesday 4 April 2017

Stephen Pollard raised the issue of officers not sending emails with read/receipt.
Mark Meehan explained that officers should be acknowledging within 24 hours. He will look into it.


Colin Wood stressed the critical situation arising over Veolia (Village Waste) but the July meeting is cancelled, so the item will be postponed until the next meeting in October.
Michael Hewlett suggested looking at having a meeting late August/early September
Stephen Pollard suggested inviting a Veolia spokesman.

The meeting ended at 8:10pm