Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Paul Gadsby, has confirmed the borough will be implementing all 21 recommendations from a new resident led Task and Finish Group report that aims to improve communal repairs in the council’s housing stock. Residents will be involved in checking the progress of the changes recommended by residents and the council will be examining whether a new in-house repairs team announced this month could take on some of the work requested by residents in the report.
The first Task and Finish group within Lambeth’s new resident engagement arrangements is made up of council tenants who volunteered their time to work with the council to improve the way repairs and maintenance are conducted in the hundreds of communal housing areas across Lambeth. The Group decided to look at a range of issues, including how people ask for repairs and what happens when the work is done, post-inspections of work, the lighting arrangements and other communal works on estates and streets.
The Task & Finish Group (TFG) report made 21 recommendations including:
- Lambeth to conduct 100% post inspections for Communal Repairs. Inspections to be based on feedback from residents.
- Trained Resident Inspectors to work alongside surveyors to improve the post-inspection process.
- Residents to have the ability to check the repair they reported and receive feedback about the progress and completion of jobs.
- Residents’ satisfaction surveys and feedback to be included in the Communal Repairs service evaluation process.
A word from residents
Deidre Quinn said about joining the group: “We believe all our recommendations are doable and will save money longer term. We’re insisting on a follow-up in a year to check outcomes. The five of us brought different strengths to the group: a background in housing, experience in getting community views listened to; one ran his own construction business and understands repairs costing and terminology. We set up an online survey and a workshop in the Town Hall and collected positive and negative opinions
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Paul Gadsby, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Housing, welcomed the residents’ commitment: “This is a great example of how our residents are helping to shape the services which are important to them. We learned how passionate people are about making a contribution to improving where they live, and how positive they felt that the council was willing to hear opinions from both sides of the fence. I want it to be clear to the community that this wasn’t box-ticking, residents made real changes, and our message is ‘don’t be afraid to get involved’. This will form an important part as well of the next stage of developing our housing services which we are asking residents to play a key part in.
“We committed to our report being in place in time for improvements to get built into procurement. We also agreed that it’s vital for residents to have a voice, and that it’s great the council actively encourage independent opinion. I’d love to see this same approach, empowering residents to ask honest opinions, tried on subjects like anti-social behaviour. Volunteering can be selfish really – I get a buzz out of making a positive difference.”
- For the Communal repairs report:
- For more about Task and Finish Groups and other ways residents can get involved in decision-making in Lambeth Housing services
- For information about the changes proposed to housing services in Lambeth https://love.lambeth.gov.uk/proposals-housing-repairs-maintenance/