Two weeks ago, Chief Executive of Lewisham Homes, Andrew Potter, left the comfort of his office for the wild north of Lewisham to join his managers on a walkabout of Crossfields to look at some unresolved issues that leaseholders and the TRA Repairs Rep have been complaining about for some time.
Apparently there will be some action points to come from this walkabout, but the only thing that seems to have happened so far, as is often the case with poor management, is pressure being brought to bear on the people lowest down to work harder to make those in charge look better.
Now one of our much loved caretakers wants to resign – he says he feels like he is chasing his tail to keep up with an ever-expanding job description, with little support or listening from above. The job is not made any easier by thoughtless and careless residents littering and making a mess, or by the council binmen leaving debris behind, and the council's sweepers appear to have such a job load that they never spend long enough here to make a difference.
Some residents are now writing to Lewisham Homes to show their appreciation of the caretakers, and in particular for Dev who looks after the south of the estate. They are under the impression that complaints have been made about the caretakers by other residents.
But there have been no complaints made to Lewisham Homes about the caretakers. There is, however, an ongoing complaint about the procedure the caretakers must follow for cleaning our stairs: washing rough surfaced stairs with a mop and one bucket of water (now increased to two), leaving behind bits of mop that have to be swept up the next day. And the caretakers' and TRA Rep's requests for a programme of deep cleaning repeatedly falls on deaf ears.
At the last estate inspection in March, the new inspector was visibly aghast at the very
apparent neglect, much of which is attributable to the lack of
sweeping and grounds maintenance – both council contracts, and nothing to do with the caretakers. She was astonished at the state of the stairs and could see it wasn't a problem to do with caretaking, but none of this appears in her report since the inspection is not designed to record long-term neglect. (Find Estate Inspection reports here).
Unfortunately, caretaking inspections are the only monitoring Lewisham Homes does – external repairs and work done by outside contractors are never checked. Management seem mainly concerned with cobwebs and balcony obstructions. We say thank God for cobwebs – it means there are some spiders to catch the flies that swarm in the stairwells, which is not the result of poor caretaking, but because there is still no contract in place to regularly deep clean the bins.