Maintenance of Harrow's council estates is problematic, inconsistent and does not offer the taxpayer value for money, Harrow Council has admitted.
Communal areas of block of flats are unclean, and repairs and grounds maintenance are simply not good enough, reveals a slideshow played to tenants' groups as part of the authority's public consultation on how to turn the department around.
The slideshow reveals the estates service:
- does not meet customer expectations;
- has separate arrangements for grounds maintenance and caretaking;
- has inconsistent service delivery;
- has resources too thinly spread, and
- is not delivering value for money
The presentation, shown during eight meetings held in October, says "residents express continued dissatisfaction" over the upkeep of social housing and that the current level of maintenance would not win many marks with the Audit Comission, the local government watchdog which inspects and rates councils.
Harrow's tenants' and leaseholders' consultative forum, which is due to meet at Harrow Civic Centre on Tuesday January 6, is being asked to help establish a steering group to discuss the options on how to improve the service while keeping the department within its existing budget, and what effect this may have on service charges.
One suggestion is to contract the work out to a private company while another is to try to re-arrange the way the council's current in-house model works in order to boost its effectiveness.