This website has, more than once, made the point that public services when outsourced to private companies rarely deliver equivalent service for the public, but they almost always ensure rich pickings for private profit.
The ludicrous situation, in the midst of the public exam season, of having places at study tables in our borough’s Central Library “rationed” by the back-door privateers and black-listers, Carillion, is another.
In many cases, the problem with the service delivery appears to centre on our council’s supervision of the contract.
Now, our loyal reader sends us a couple of photographs from Hillier Gardens in Waddon which show examples of how Skanska is getting on with the installation of new street lights around the borough.
This first photo, above, was taken in April.
“Are we working considerately?” Skanska asks. We can only assume that the question is a rhetorical one, with the proposed completion dates slipping from March 14, to March 24, and then below the white box (they’ve run out of space) to April 7, as penned in by the operators.
Our loyal reader has been in contact again today.
“Still waiting,” they write. “Each time we complain about holes, they just change date on sign.”
And here, in black and purple, is the latest evidence:
June 9, of course, was two days ago. Another target missed.
Is it all Skanska’s fault?
As we reported in January, when entire sections of the borough were thrown into darkness in the long winter nights, in the matter of Skanska we are able to compare the contractors’ performance with another borough, because when Croydon Council did the deal it was agreed in tandem with another south London local authority, Lewisham.
The juicy 25-year deal with what was then Conservative-run Croydon and Labour-run Lewisham councils, under a Private Finance Initiative part-funded with £151 million of cash from central government, will see all Croydon’s 42,000 streetlights replaced with the ugly, feature-less modernist columns.
The stumps of “dead” street light columns are appearing across the borough, left behind long after the old light has been decommissioned by Skanska.
Overall, the project includes an initial five-year period for the replacement of lights, traffic signs and street bollards. Skanska then get the maintenance and repair contract until 2036. The official blurb offered by the councils when presenting the new lighting contract claimed that it is “possible to detect faults quicker due allowing the street lighting to be maintained much more efficiently”. Oh yeah.
Croydon Council’s website has carried few, if any, updates on the progress of the street light replacement. The suspicion has been that this is because the programme has been lagging behind schedule in Croydon almost from Day One. Lewisham Council’s website, however, does include works updates.
This suggests that, like a good contractor, Skanska is providing reports on its progress to Lewisham. In Lewisham, Skanska is delivering its works largely to schedule. It would be reasonable to assume that Skanska have been delivering the same performance reports in Croydon. It’s just that Croydon Council can’t be bothered to pass that information on to its Council Tax-payers.
Hopefully, Croydon’s new council administration will soon be able to shed a little more light on the situation.
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: Under The Skin, June 12
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Croydon Green Fair, North End, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- David Lean Cinema: Suzanne, June 19
- Airport House swing dance free event, June 21
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- David Lean Cinema: Feet from Stardom, June 23
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- David Lean Cinema: The Lunchbox, June 26
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- St Peter’s Village Fayre, South Croydon, June 28
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- Coast to Capital business briefing, July 4
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 72,342 average monthly page views (Jan-Mar 2014)
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