Minutes of the meeting of Kennington Park Estate Tenants’ Association held on
19 February 2014 at the Kennington Park Estate Community Centre
Present: Marco Barrella (in the chair) and 17 tenants and leaseholders of Kennington Park Estate
In attendance: Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Michelle Williams, HSH Housing Officer
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Hopkins and Nigel Walker, Resident Services Manager
2. Minutes of the last meeting held on 27 November 2013: For approval
The minutes of the last meeting were approved as a correct record of that meeting.
2.1 Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting
Votes of no confidence in Hyde
It was acknowledged the minutes contained a detailed record of the debate about the poor service received by residents in terms of responsive repairs and a proper programme of maintenance. It was confirmed that the votes of no confidence agreed by the TA at that meeting had been submitted to the Hyde Chair and Chief Executive.
Apology from the Chair of the meeting
In response to a request from Sonia Reid the Chair apologised for his inappropriate wording at the previous meeting with reference to her membership of the Resident Assurance Committee.
It was agreed that other matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting were covered by the agenda for this meeting.
3. Housing management and estate management issues from residents
Residents reported as follows:
Blades House: balcony not draining, water standing in puddles
Sherwin House: gate between 24 and 21 hard to open
Sherwin House: main entrance door sticking
Key House; floodlights require repair
Alverstone House: fault with door entry intercom
Adjacent to 101 Alverstone House: rain water pipe leaking
Programme of gutter clearance overdue
34A Alverstone: Leak from outside into the flat
The issue of repair reporting and the quality of response was discussed at length. It was agreed the issues identified as of serious concern at the last meeting had clearly not been addressed and the situation had deteriorated. The Call Centre was still not giving a good service to residents and the centralised property and surveying team operating to a centralised system was unable to provide a good local service.
3.1 Response from Hyde to urgent repair issues raised at the last meeting
The response from Hyde (London Region Director) to the votes of no confidence from KPETA was quoted as follows:
I am happy to confirm that the Regional Investment Manager is already scheduled to attend the HSH Resident Assurance Committee’s next meeting to discuss how residents can help to shape and influence investment priorities across Hyde Southbank Homes. This is a central part of the work we will be doing under our new Property Services structure and will help to inform the priorities and approach which we ask our investment contractors to take moving forwards. I have therefore raised the concerns of the tenants association with the chair of the RAC and they will form part of the conversation at the next meeting.
Moving on to the matters of our new repairs service and the performance of our service centres in recent weeks, as you will be aware Hyde launched its new repairs service around five weeks ago on the 29th October. This has involved a major reorganisation of both our contracted services and the work which our staff undertake on a day to day basis. As with any change of this scale we have experienced one or two teething problems in some areas. In London our responsive repairs contractor, Mears, has experienced staffing issues in the first few weeks partly as a result of unfulfilled promises by our outgoing contractors around transfer of staff and we have had some delays in service as a result of some IT glitches which we have been working through. This has resulted in increased pressure on our repairs service which in turn has affected our customer contact centres. I am pleased to advise that one month into the new contract some of the early challenges are starting to be overcome. For example:
1. Mears has moved rapidly to bring their staff and operative levels up to meet current demand and are progressing the agreed improvement plan
2. Complaint levels have stabilised, though it will take time to work through the backlog, and we are keeping residents informed and resolving as much as possible at the first point of call
3. IT issues are well on the way to resolution and in the meantime we have work-arounds in place
Managers are focused on working closely with front line staff teams and managing all of our new contractors tightly to ensure that performance is continuing to improve. This includes contract meetings every 48 hours and escalation of specific issues to senior managers as required.
The changes we are making will take some time to bed in as we fully mobilise these new ways of working, but we will keep people up to date with developments as we move forwards. Any specific service issues in the meantime should be directed to our Customer Service Centre on 0800 389 3576 or 0208 297 7500 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can resolve them swiftly.
4. Consultation on new parking enforcement arrangements
It was confirmed that the consultation material and ballot papers had still not been issued even though HSH management had confirmed they were to be distributed a few days ago. Michelle confirmed distribution was now expected at the beginning of the following week. The proposals were discussed and it was generally agreed that a parking warden system was essential across the whole of Kennington Park Estate. Residents expressed significant concern that there had been no enforcement against unauthorised and irresponsible parking across KPE for over 18 months but residents were still paying for a parking permit and receiving no service whatsoever, certainly not enforcement against non residents use and abuse of resident parking bays. It was noted that voting should allow for a preference to be expressed for a combination of parking wardens along with one of the other options. The inappropriateness of a barrier gate in Alverstone/Lockwood, particularly for those with mobility issues, was discussed in detail.
The following motion was proposed by Joan Twelves and seconded by Marilyn Evers:
- KPETA is appalled at the way Hyde Southbank has conducted its long drawn out and incoherent parking enforcement consultation.
- It notes that the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 banning wheel-clamping took effect on 1 October 2012 and that since that time Hyde Southbank has been collecting money from residents for parking permits without preventing non-permit holders parking on our Estate.
- It notes that the TA provided constructive and positive suggestions on how to clarify and improve Hyde’s proposals and that most of these have been ignored. Consequently Hyde has been informed that the TA is no longer able to associate itself with Hyde’s proposals or the consultation process.
- It notes that, at the recent consultation meetings, many residents preferred the ‘private ticketing’ (wardens) option; and that there was strong opposition to barriers being installed at the entrances to the two large courtyards.
This TA therefore agrees
- To support parking wardens on the basis that:
(a) they will be ‘self-financing’ (paid for from parking permits and infringement penalties, not from rents or service charges)
(b) they will ticket both non-permit/road tax holders and vehicles parked outside a permitted area and/or causing an obstruction
(c) that penalty charges shall be at least those charged by Lambeth Council in the surrounding streets
(d) that TA representatives will be involved in drawing up the contract specification and selecting the contractor .
- To oppose barriers into the large courtyards (Alverstone/Lockwood/Blades and Key/Blythe) on the grounds that these would substantially discriminate against residents with any kind of mobility problem.
- To support residents in the other blocks who, as well as warden enforcement, want barriers and/or individual lockable bollards.
In addition, we call for:
- new, well-designed and extensive signage spelling out the Estate’s Parking Rules
- increased use of double yellow lines, cross-hatching and fixed bollards in areas where parking is unsuitable
- a modernised system of issuing parking permits
- a review of visitors’ permits, including the possible introduction of ticket machines
- a review of the provision of free parking on the Estate for Hyde staff and its contractors.
The motion was agreed without dissent and it was agreed to submit it to HSH management for immediate consideration.
5. Report from Executive Committee of the Tenants’ Association
5.1 Review of service charges
Joan reported that work continued on detailed scrutiny of service charges to KPE residents. A group of residents examined documentation in great detail, such as individual invoices, on which calculation of service charges was based. This close analysis gave rise to questions about accuracy and consistency. If inaccuracies were identified, Hyde adjusted service charges accordingly. Joan reported that serious concern remained in connection with charging for communal electricity. Critical information was missing and the system for recording and charging for use of communal electricity appeared to be defective.
5.2 Review of the CCTV service
It was reported that the review of the CCTV monitoring service by an external consultant (Campbell Tickell) had started in October last year and had still not concluded. KPETA had submitted a significant amount of evidence to the consultant and had made a formal request to be involved in the consultation process. The TA had been promised a formal opportunity to comment at a meeting with the consultant but had not at that point in time been offered that opportunity. The review had been requested by KPETA in August 2012 and after 18 months had still not been completed.
5.3 The cleaning and grounds maintenance contract
It was confirmed that no further information was available in terms of the extension of the cleaning and grounds contract with Innovation Environmental Limited. The promised annual report from Innovation, due by 31 December 2013, had not been received.
6. Report from HSH Resident Forum
Marilyn reported from the last meeting of the HSH Resident Forum (a forum for TA representatives from across HSH, including KPETA and Stockwell TAs). Stockwell TAs were as disappointed as KPETA at the service from Hyde, particularly in relation to the call centre and mobilisation of the new repair contracts. There was also significant discontent among Forum members at the support for the Forum from officers.
7. Report from HSH Resident Assurance Committee and HSH Board
Sonia Reid reported that the HSH RAC was also concerned about the poor service from the call centre. The RAC had discussed it at length leaving little time for other business such as the planned maintenance programme Sonia was asked to make it clear to the RAC that there was considerable dissatisfaction with many aspects of the service from Hyde.
8. Report on grounds maintenance project: Small Changes, Big Difference
Marco gave a report from Dominic Leary as follows:
The initial consultation held for the project last November well attended by over 30 residents. This was a chance for us present some of the grounds maintenance interventions we proposed for the KPE. These included native and non-native wild flower meadows, pocket orchards, “no-mow” zones, habitat piles, bird boxes and some examples of sustainable planting in some of the raised beds around the estate. The following work now started;
- Small pocket orchards near Read Hse and Key Hse. Have been planted
- A “no mow zone” has been proposed for Key Hse – this is an area where grass will be left to grow for a period of 6 weeks to encourage bio-diversity and then cut, but will be framed by more formal lawn mowing.
- Work is underway at the front of Alverstone House (overlooking Kennington Rd.), planting a rich bio-diverse meadow. A key theme here will be poppies, to chime with the centenary of WW1 and highlight the stretcher fencing.
- Sunday March 9th – the project has received funding from the London Beekeepers Association to provide more plants and some volunteer time. This will be a planting day which will be promoted to the estate.
- There is a Facebook page, just search for: Small Changes Big Differene and like us. The page has (fairly) regular updates on the project and other interesting urban gardening links.
For more detail about the project contact ; email@example.com or 07918057735
9. Any other business
9.1 Non existent television aerial at Alverstone House
It was agreed to check with the Income Team the situation on reimbursement to residents for the service charges made for the aerial over many years.
10. Date of next meeting of Kennington Park Estate TA: 1900, 16 April 2014
Thereafter 9 July, 24 September (AGM), 19 November 2014. (Meeting of Steering Group to organise next meeting, 1830, Monday, 24 March 2014, 1A Lockwood House)