Council’s flats scandal caused by ‘complete corporate failure’

The scandal of the unliveable conditions in council flats in South Norwood has been the result of “a complete corporate failure” at Croydon Council, the council leader told a committee of MPs this afternoon.

Councillor Hamida Ali was addressing the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Select Committee, in part of an inquiry into local authority finances. Croydon’s leadership had been summoned to give evidence following the council effectively declaring itself bankrupt last November with the issuing of a Section 114 notice.

Before questioning on that got underway, Clive Betts, the veteran Labour MP who chairs the select committee, introduced Ali and gave her an opportunity to make a statement on the emerging scandal around the Regina Road flats, revealed in reports by ITV News this week.

Betts referenced the Grenfell Tower disaster, and how residents’ concerns there had been ignored by their landlords, Kensington and Chelsea council, leading to the deaths of 72 residents in the fire in 20017.

Clive Betts MP: the select committee chair asked Ali to make a statement on the South Norwood flats

It is fair to say that after the calamitously embarrassingly bad interview with ITV on Tuesday, the council leader’s performance before the select committee was more assured, and far more convincing.

In her statement, Councillor Ali appealed to all council tenants in Croydon to come forward if they have concerns with their homes.

She described the circumstances which led to the appalling conditions in Regina Road as “a complete corporate failure which needs to be addressed.

“I want complete assurance,” Ali said.

“My worry is that there’s a bigger, more systemic issue at play here.”

Read more: Croydon shamed over ‘dangerous squalor’ in council flats
Read more: ‘Is it because the council don’t care? Where is their humanity?’


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16 Responses to Council’s flats scandal caused by ‘complete corporate failure’

  1. Joe Dyer says:

    I do understand the embarrassment to Croydon Council at the moment, but as an X councillor candidate for a UK political in another borough the standards must be the very best, so please understand I am not having a go at you, but when we are providing a service to the community, we can not cut corners, as it must be the very best of our ability before we arks the community to vote for a candidate

    I think that it is sad to know that Croydon Council have no idea of the amount of people living in a bad condition, this is so very simple to resolve.

    But at the same time, this means that the ward councillors are not doing the job in their community.

    I would end by saying to any London Borough ward Councillor, its not about having a name, but its about positively supporting the people by doing the needed work in their ward community, Please, Please, Please understand that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins, also no mater what you go through as a London Borough Council, you can win again, so lets do it.

  2. Surely! Surely! Negrini should be compelled to answer these ‘charges’???

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    “My worry is that there’s a bigger, more systemic issue at play here.” Correct – no investigations required just a set of mirrors and Councillors especially those that appoint failed people from other boroughs. Can we please have people that can actually deliver something more than platitudes and ephemeral investigations?

  4. Hans Mien says:

    You have just asked all residents who have an issue with their home to phone in. Oh! Dear… hold tight.

    • Lewis White says:

      …. ring….. ring….. ring……

      “Hello, This is the Croydon Council Telephone Help Centre.
      Thank you for calling Croydon Council. Your enquiry is very important to us, and an attendant will answer your call as quickly as possible.

      Call volumes are very high at present, and our attendants are fully occupied helping other callers. You are the 220th in the queue, and the person before you has been waiting ……. seven and half days…….”

      ( a week or two later)

      Just putting you through to the Housing management Hotline

      beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
      (line goes dead)

      • Ian Kierans says:

        Too true but feel you may need to add another zero to the queue if not more – But at least this has a hotline. So many Croydon Council departments are unanswerable, unavailable or you have to go through so many hoops to actually speak to a person. And remember you still cannot drop in a letter as they have no postbox.

      • Anthony Miller says:

        Ha ha.. Council doesn’t answer the phone mate. Apart from the services which have to answer the phone like the noise line there’s basically one woman who answers all calls by telling you to email.

        Ali is such a weasel…. Thank you for answering the question… Let me describe the problem to you… I can’t tell you how shocked I am… We must remember these are people’s homes… Does she ever answer a question…? I can’t listen to her insipid drivel for long enough to know… But then that’s the point.

  5. Maurice says:

    I feel sorry for the poor tenants and the council tax bill payers of Croydon who will have to pay for this failure to manage these issues in a timely manner. Any private landlord ( who would have to be licensed) may have his ability to use his accommodation for rent taken away. What is going to happen to those in position of responsibility where is the accountability???

    • Ian Kierans says:

      Sadly one would assume so. But having witnessed those same poor conditions of clients in private rented accomodation and it being reported many times over the last 5 years to no avail that is why it is no surprise this has happened.

  6. And who are our elected representatives in South Norwood? Who probably knew enough to call this issue out and help residents?

    Yes, it the bloody useless Cllr Clive Fraser and Steve Reed MP. Both nodding dogs.

    Clive has been supping at Tony Newman’s expenses bowl for way too long – that’s when he’s not manipulating things on the -panning committee as Cllr Paul Scott’s obedient whipping boy.

    And Steve Reed – what’s not been said about this particularly ineffectual politician ? – who happens to employ Tony Newman’s wife.

    Rubbish on rubbish – no wonder Croydon is in the state it’s in.

  7. Dave says:

    All started with Croydon Council falling over themselves to sign up to help Mayor Khan’s pledge to increase London social housing stock. Now wasn’t that a success!! The hair brained Brick by Brick scheme sucked out £250 million which should have been ploughed back into looking after Croydon residents. As one of the largest boroughs in London we don’t need more housing – just need to look after the stock we have as in South Norwood. The councillors involved should be taken to court and prevented from taking such appointments in future.

  8. Mick Vaughan says:

    Imagine for a moment, that these flats had been owned and managed by a private sector landlord.
    The council would be throwing environmental health improvement notices at them citing all of the breaches in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, they would face financial penalties, they may have been prosecuted or given a civil penalty, they may have been forced to comply with a rent repayment order, so that the tenants were reimbursed with their rent payments for the period the property was left in that condition and requests for work to be carried out ignored or denied. The tenants could have taken it to a Property Redress Scheme, that all private sector landlords have to belong to. They could have ended up on the list of Rogue Landlords. They would have to provide their maintenance schedules and records showing when the problems manifested and when requests were first notified and what actions were taken. They could have been subject to a management order, where management of the accommodation is taken over by the local authority to …….ahh hang on….

  9. Ian Kierans says:

    Actually sadly they would’nt – The failures are in Public housing Private Housing and those that blur the lines between both- As evidenced by the HMOs visited on my road and reported to no avail – One response from the team as that they were unable to access the property as it was not actually a Private Landlord – but a HMO owned by a private Landlord but used for social housing. Clearly a lot of work required on the legislation, processes, resources and the culture.

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