John Paschoud cross posted from Love Perry Vale:
To Holbeach House in Catford this evening (a small change from the Town Hall) for a meeting of the Lewisham Homes Board.
I’m one of the 3 Board directors appointed by Mayor Steve – in the sometimes fence-sitting position of having to “act in the best interests of Lewisham Homes” (the company), whilst also “acting in the best interests of the Council and the people of Lewisham”. The other Board directors are tenants, leaseholders and co-opted housing professionals who (in this sense at least) have an easier time of knowing where they stand (or sit).
Managing a large proportion of the social housing in Lewisham is an interesting challenge, particularly after years of under-funding for repairs and maintenance (and that’s not all the fault of successive Labour administrations of the Council – before anyone gets started! – or gets me started on the long-term effects of Thatcherism, etc, etc, etc).
A lot of our Board meetings are taken up with reviewing performance data – and the senior staff of Lewisham Homes have been pretty good at finding out what’s really happening, and presenting it to us, warts’n’all.
One immediate task over the next few months will be to transfer the workforce who do housing repairs from the Council to direct management by Lewisham Homes. This will ‘cut out the middleman’ and should help to make the whole process more efficient and responsive; but of course it’s all subject to TUPE consultation, and some of the details are regarded as commercially confidential (so I’m not going to write about what’s not already ‘in the public domain’).