“We are not very good at responding to complaints and queries.”
That’s the frank judgement of the council’s new director of housing after just a few weeks in his new job.
As was exclusively revealed by Inside Croydon more than a month ago, Alison Knight, the director who was hired on £800 per day in May to fix the many problems over damp and mouldy flats in Regina Road, left her job without ever bothering to meet the badly let-down council tenants in South Norwood.
Knight’s replacement, David Padfield, has been much quicker to engage residents, and has voiced further concerns about the cash-strapped council’s approach to and handling of its tenants and housing stock.
The council’s housing improvement board, chaired by Martin Wheatley – again, as first reported by this website – met for the first time this week, at Stanley Halls in South Norwood, where Padmore made it clear he would be expecting a “culture change” in his department.
“Staff are dealing with significant problems with responses to repairs that is generating a lot of complaints from residents and unhappiness,” Padfield said.
“We are not very good at responding to complaints and queries, a lot of things that come through is about how defensive staff are when responding to complaints and queries.
“That leads to a very low level of resident satisfaction.”
“This is about a culture change…my experience is that staff are defensive.
“If I was a resident getting these emails listing excuses, I wouldn’t be very happy.
“There is quite a deep set change that needs to happen, empowering the staff to solve the problems that are in front of them.”
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