18 December 2008
IT'S THE biggest challenge facing Southwark Council and unsurprisingly the Audit Commission singled it out in its annual Corporate Assessment.
Southwark’s housing department, it declared, was ‘not on target to meet the Decent Home standard and the quality of housing impacts significantly on the healthy living. Some tenants will, therefore, remain at risk of the impact of poor housing on general health’.
As anyone who works in Southwark housing will constantly remind you, feedback from residents has become increasingly positive, whilst, with the biggest social housing stock in London, the council is bound to have complaints, as even if just one per cent is unhappy, that’s still about 500 complaints.
But, as the report makes clear, there is still a huge amount to be done, and until the problems are rectified, the council’s reputation as a whole will suffer.
As such, the announcement this week that Southwark is to embark on a complete overhaul of its major housing work is to be welcomed. As this paper has argued, a piecemeal approach to repairs and refurbishment has meant an inferior service, and the move towards long-term contracts with fewer contractors must make sense.
Opposition councillors are right to sound a note of caution - we have all seen what happens when essential services are outsourced and proper checks and balances aren’t put in place. Take a more holistic approach, give the contractors licence to tackle more than one problem when they visit a property, but make sure they pay the price if they fail to deliver.
RAILTON ROAD SE24,
Leasehold, For Sale
TEA TRADE WHARF SE1, £1,295,000 , For Sale
TOWER BRIDGE WHARF E1W, £550 , per week, For Sale
PROVIDENCE SQUARE SE1, £1,600,000 , For Sale