Hotline for housing repairs still taking too long to respond, Greenwich council chief admits

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Greenwich council tenants are waiting ‘up to a month’ for requests for repairs to be addressed, with nearly one in five calls to the repairs team not being answered.

The local authority has outlined plans to improve its response to housing repairs in the borough in an ‘ambitious’ four-year plan.

The topic was discussed at a housing and anti-poverty scrutiny meeting for Greenwich council on Wednesday of last week. Council documents said the team was one-and-a-half years into its change programme and had streamlined its system for allowing residents to request repairs.

Johnson Oyedeji, speaking on behalf of individuals living under Greenwich council tenancies, criticised the lack of communication between the repairs team and leaseholders.

He said that he had sent a request for a repair to the authority on March 12 and was told it would take 10 working days for his query to be addressed, but he had still not received a response.

Mr Oyedeji said at the meeting: “When I raised the repair, it wasn’t actually attended to. Almost a month after I made the original request, nobody has actually communicated with me. These are some of the things where you will see the productivity is quite low.”

Richard Parkin, senior assistant director of repairs at the council, said the team had seen an improvement in core handling recently but admitted more work could be done.

He added that the team had intentions to investigate what was causing discrepancies in their systems that may incorrectly state repairs had been resolved.

Mr Parkin said at the meeting: “There’s nobody over here saying that on paper repairs looks like it’s running an excellent service or a good service.

“On this side of the table, we’re saying repairs is running a better service than it was a year ago and we’ve got many ways of showing that, but we’re also saying we’ve got a hell of a long way to go.”

Pictured top: The Woolwich Centre, where Greenwich council’s offices are based (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

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