Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Housing Matters - People Don't.

Or at least that is the strong impression given by the latest Lewishambles mailout.  Residents will by now have received a letter from Lewisham Homes with the wrong name on it.  As my address has been used by persons unknown for mail order scams in the past, I simply wrote NOT KNOWN AT THIS ADDRESS - RETURN TO SENDER on the unopened envelope that arrived yesterday and put in straight in the post box.

Some time later this email arrived in my inbox.

Dear Resident,

You may have received the attached newsletter in an incorrectly addressed envelope. 

Please read this newsletter as it contains important information about the future of your home.  We apologise for this clerical error and want to reassure you that your details are held correctly in our systems.
If you would like to discuss this further please contact the Communications team on 0800 028 2 028 or communications@lewishamhomes.org.uk
If you would like to speak to TPAS regarding the Housing Matters consultation process please call 0800 731 1619.
Lewisham Homes
Holbeach Housing Office, 9 Holbeach Road, Catford, London, SE6 4TW T: 0800 028 2 028  F: 020 8613 7659
E: christina.evwierhoma@lewishamhomes.org.uk

I know other people did not get this email - to be on the email list I think you would have had to have signed up to a ''getting involved'' programme some time ago.  But the advice given is to ignore the name and read the post anyway.  Because, Dear Resident, you or the name on the envelope don't matter, it's the address itself that counts.

Personally, I'm not going to open mail that's not addressed to me and I don't think that it's up to someone I don't know at Lewisham Homes to tell me to either, just to get them off the hook for their organisation's incompetence.  Houses and flats only matter because people live in them. 

As a version of the newsletter was attached to the email in PDF format, which can't be uploaded to the blog (or if it can, I've no idea how to), I wrote to the communications@lewishamhomes.org.uk address and asked them for an address where the newsletter could be found online.  24 hours later I'm thinking I should have addressed my email to incommunicado@lewishamhomes.org.uk for all the good writing did me - still no reply.  Communications? 

Thanks to the blog editor, this newsletter can now be seen HERE

A couple of notes of warning.  It's not in the same format as the mailed version.  Apparently, to read it in order, you have mentally fold it up, starting on the right-hand side of page one and then presumably you descend to the right-hand side of page 2 before returning to where you naively expected to be able to start reading it.

And don't take any notice of the orange box which says
Also call this number for other formats, including Braille,
large print, audio tape, BSL or computer disc.
Email: lewisham@pearllinguistics.com
Typetalk: 18001 020 7253 7700
020 7253 7700
I've spoken to Pearl Linguistics, who it seems were surprised to be getting strange requests from Lewisham residents.  Pearl do the translations, not the Braille, large print, audio tape, BSL or computer disk versions.  For these versions you'll need this number:

Freephone: 0800 731 1619

So, wrongly addressed letters, incorrect information, instructions to read other people's mail, a non-communicating communications department.  Not a bad day's work, eh?

UPDATE 24 Oct 2012:
1) The communications addressees still haven't deigned to communicate.
2) Someone at Lewisham has obviously seen this post because the blog received this message (I've left the name of the sender out to spare embarrassment):
Hi Crosswhatfields!

I know you’ve posted some items about the Housing Matters consultation. Do you want to post this? I’ve added a direct link to the consultation portal on our website in case you want to use it…

However, don't try to use this link, which doesn't work.  It was recalled shortly afterwards and replaced with this:
Your views matter. To access the Housing Matters consultation go to www.lewisham.gov.uk/consulations and click on ‘see all Council consultations’. The survey is open until 5pm on 30 November. While anyone can fill in the survey we are particularly keen to get the views of Lewisham Council/Lewisham Homes tenants and leaseholders and those who would like to be social tenants.

Not that the link will get you anywhere.  The spelling of consultation should give you a clue as to why not.

So, after misaddressing the newsletter to who knows how many Lewisham tenants, they've now given us not one but two incorrect links.

I think it's time to consider whether there is active sabotage going on here.


  1. So that was what all that shite was about. Wrong address here too btw. Usual (boring) bollocks from the council to be ignored and thrown away.

  2. What an absolute joke. The dodgy links and hard-to-read online newsletter, etc, do make it seem like they are purposefully trying to make it hard for people to engage with what they are trying to communicate.