Lewisham Homes Board

Cllr John Paschoud

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’).


About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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5 Responses to Lewisham Homes Board

  1. Just passing says:

    “….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)”

    I’ve started so I’ll finnished…… Julia Cotton, chair of Lewisham Homes wrote to the Mayor on 17 December 2007 very concerned at the reduction in the revenue budget for repairs and maintenance for the second year running, at a time when additional investment was required to bring the service up to a two-star standard.

    To quote from the letter…

    “We already know that past resources have been less that the repairs & maintenance allowances that government bases its subsidy on, there are high levels of customer complaints and visual evidence of a poor maintenance and external decorations.”

    I don’t see the hand of Thatcher being involved there or here…

    “The one area of concern in respect of the strategy is around the implications of a no vote in the New Cross ballot. As we are intending to TUPE a significant number of staff as part of the transfer any slippage in the timetable or no vote will mean that Lewisham Homes would be unable to deliver on its savings targets for the year without resorting to a further reduction in staff numbers with the potential
    for associated redundancies and further instability at a crucial period of service improvement.”

    “In the process of business planning post 2008/11 Lewisham Homes has identified that over a period of time it will need to focus on a reduction in staff numbers.”

    There was a no vote in New Cross, what are the consequences John you can tell us you are among friends, oh sorry it’s all bound to be “commercially sensitive.”

  2. ross says:

    seems to be if you vote no we’ll sack a bunch of you now to save costs and if you vote yes we’ll sack a bunch of you later to save costs (during which time i’m sure the management board’s remuneration packages will move in one direction only – we all feel the pain together oh yes….)

    i don’t understand the bit about cutting out the middle man, if they wanted to cut out ‘middle men’ wouldn’t they be better off not fannying around with things like ALMO’s and that in the first place – the council is still the landlord of the homes that lewisham homes manages so why aren’t they worried about that particular middle man relationship

  3. Jim says:

    The whole idea is aimed at getting 2 stars from an audit commission inspection. Then, they reckon, they will get the investment from the government. BUT, everybody knows that there is no money left. So it could just rack-up more costs for the poor Lewisham rent payer, without the much-need money to improve their homes. It might keep the ALMO gravy-train going for a bit longer though!

  4. Sorry to say but on every occasion over the last 5 years I have continually found the performance of Lewisham Homes to be pretty weak for the leasehold property I have.
    They don’t generally return phone calls, no one seems to know which part of their organisation or the council is responsible for a particular task and they all too often dump your enquiry with the wrong people.
    They produce nice brochures telling us how well they are doing, who does what (we are supposed to rememeber I guess, because their front line people certainly don’t know!) and lots of results of customer satisfaction surveys.
    Suggest they use the money on the surveys and brochures and spend it on training up some good staff, who have some gumption and customer service ethic.

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