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Agenda item

Clarion: Repairs and Maintenance


The Chair welcomed the representatives from Clarion – Vicky Bonner, Marek Witko and Jacqui Thomas.


Marek Witko drew the Panels attention to a few points in the report:

There are around 100 repairs a day in Merton. We absolutely accept that not everything goes right on all of these. At 100 per day that's probably less by volume than other Clarion areas and other stock types, however, the spend is far higher. So as an average it shows the complexity of the repairs here (slightly less repairs at a higher price) and I think that goes back to something we've said previously that the type of property and the type of stock here is extremely complex and that's reflected in those statistics.


The planned reactive maintenance team is an acknowledgment of that, as is the complex case team. 


The Chair invited the Public Speakers to share their experiences.


Tony Wells - In 2016 we had major works done on our estate – there was no detail about the costing of the job and at the end of the job we had an awful argument to try and get refunds. Some of the works were £16,000 over budgeted and back into town back last year in around about this time last year because

So many of our tenants had complained about repairs, we had a meeting which Clarion officials attended, and I reported several issues for my immediate neighbours and other residents on the estate. To this day those issues still have not been dealt with. In April this year we had our first AGM since before lockdown and back in the AGM we had to threaten to go to the Ombudsman or to solicitors to get things done. Finally, after all this, a task and finish action plan has been brought to the table however it is very slow in the process. Personally, I cannot say that we've had a

very good experience with Clarion at all.


Sarah Henley - Really difficult that Clarion only allows repairs to be reported online, this is less accessible than using the telephone.

There have been issues with windows and doors fitted in the flats that have needed repeated repairs for recurring problems.

Very long wait times for repairs to a hoist, which is a key piece of equipment for her daily life.

Some residents have been told they can't have automatic doors - in the event of a fire they would be stuck inside.


Charles Odulana - Many residents are affected by austerity measures, declining healthcare standards, low pay, and inadequate housing.

Energy performance within the properties on the estate rates between B and F.

When the council privatised its housing, with the full support of the then Labour

Councillors, tenants were promised a new enhanced life.

The issue with Clarion is that it is not a democratically run local housing association. In theory it may think it is, but in practice, it's not. Just replacing light bulb in front of your house takes a year for Clarion to replace. Those bulbs are not readily available in the supermarket or high street which leaves the front of the house in total darkness. Clarion give all sorts of excuses as to why they can't come, they promise they will turn up but then don’t come.

The porta-cabin right in front of my house is supposed to be an extension of Clarion’s office – There is hardly ever anybody there and if someone is there for you to lodge your complaint to, it is never passed forward.

The roof is still a work in progress. No attention paid to ceilings inside where there is damage also.


Vicky Bonner, Director of Housing at Clarion apologised to residents and agreed to follow up on the issues described.


In response to Panel Member questions, Marek Witko provided further information as follows:


·         Sadler's close - Committed to come back by December to talk to you about what we need to do on that estate. We accept that the conditions those residents are living in isn't what we would want and that's why we are looking at a longer-term solution for that estate.


·         Key performance indicator data is done independently by the leadership factor, which is a well-known and independent organisation. We send over our entire list of people who have had a repair over to the leadership factor and they randomly pick a selection of those residents to contact.

·         Action: Marek agreed to send more detail about the satisfaction survey and methodology.


·         Attaching photos to all repairs is a key priority.


·         With regards to the tracker to monitor repairs, we meet with the leader's office to go through all the active cases that come through that route. I don't think there's any issues in circulating that more widely but we may have to check in terms of confidentiality.


·         In terms of leaks from leasehold properties, we don't expect the tenant to sort it out. However, we don't have an automatic right to go into a leaseholder’s property. Not everybody lets us in so it's not an easy process and ultimately, we would have to go to court if we wanted to get into that property without agreement. As a Housing Association, we do want to have better powers to go into properties to carry out essential repairs.


·         In preparing the Regeneration plans for Ravensbury, flood risks have been addressed in the design. We're re-grading the whole site and so all the potential flow of water has been modelled and we've redesigned the layout of the ground across the whole of the Regeneration site as well as introduced sustainable urban drainage.


·         Voids average figures - We have recently taken on two new contractors specifically to look at voids and complex repairs.


The Panel moved to discuss recommendations.


The Panel RESOLVED to recommend to Cabinet that:


1.    This Panel recommends that it be a default procedure for all repairs to have before and after pictures.


2.    Resident associations are a great tool for Clarion and residents to stay in touch therefore this Panel recommends that Clarion, at least once a quarter, help advertise the Resident Association meetings, including where and when they will be held, and that resident associations are allowed access to the communal boards for them to advertise these meetings.


3.    This panel request that Clarion report back on the improvements it makes to communications around repairs and update the panel at the next session they are due to report at.


4.    Clarion commit to review all their Merton properties with regards to retrofitting and improving their energy efficiency.


5.    The panel recommends that Clarion undertakes a review of all empty or unused Community spaces so that some, if usable, can be allocated for use by resident associations.


6.    Clarion to review its protocols for communicating with freeholders and leaseholders on its properties with regards to complaints and repair response times.


7.    Recommend greater transparency published about individual estates data on repairs and the satisfaction rates from residents.



The Chair thanked Clarion Management and residents for attending.


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