I have had this Reading Borough Council press release for a while, and as usual it announced a very brief consultation period, which has now closed, but this autumn there will be a decision on getting more money out of council tenants. First: what do readers think of this: Second: what do Reading's MPs think of it? Third: what do the two Labour parliamentary candidates think of it? Would love to know.
21/07/2009Reading Borough Council Press ReleaseResidents living in council flats are being urged to participate in a review of the way communal areas in their blocks are cleaned in the future. In 2006 Reading Borough Council - following consultation with tenants - agreed that it wished to retain and manage its general housing stock. The financial and business case that supported this decision was based on the introduction of charges for some services, such as communal lighting and cleaning. Most other local authorities and housing associations already charge for this. At some stage as part of the business plan Reading Borough Council will be deciding on a charging policy. In advance of that, the Council is keen to work with residents to ensure they are getting a good quality service and the right level of cleaning for their blocks. Working closely with tenants and leaseholders over the past 18 months as part of a comprehensive review, a set of three cleaning frequency bands have been identified. The proposal is to place each block into the relevant band so that people will know what level of cleaning they can expect. The three bands are: - Low Need: Small blocks (2 -12 flats) with low footfall and relatively few features to be cleaned. Average cleaning times would range between 15 minutes and 2 hours per week. - Medium Need: Low-rise blocks (6 - 12 flats) with higher footfall and possibly with a feature such as refuse lobbies, lift or waste chute. Average cleaning times ranging between 2hrs 15mins and 5hours a week. - High Need: Higher rise blocks (12 or more flats) and blocks which need a higher level of care due to the nature of the block, the locality and features that need more frequent attention like lifts, refuse lobbies or a foyer prone to blown litter. Average cleaning times varying from 10 to 50 hours a week. The majority of council blocks already fit into the appropriate cleaning band, however there are a number where the level of cleaning is either above or below the level of other flats of a similar size with similar communal facilities. Letters have been sent to residents living in council flats with details of blocks where the current level of cleaning means they do not fit into the appropriate band. If a block is not listed there are no proposals to make major changes to the level of cleaning. However, where a block is listed changes to the level of cleaning are being proposed. The Council is urging residents of these blocks to come forward and have their say. Questionnaires have been sent out with the letters. Residents are requested to return the completed questionnaire in the prepaid envelope by 24th August 2009. Alternatively, people can drop it in next time they are at the Civic Centre or a Housing Advice Shop. You can complete the questionnaire on line at www.reading.gov.uk/blockcleaning There will also be a number of opportunities for people to attend a series of events where they can give feedback, find out more and ask any questions they may have. A number of drop-ins have been organised across estate areas over the coming weeks. These are being held at: -St Anne's Primary School, Washington Road Caversham, Monday July 27, 7pm -Lyon Square Advice Shop, Lyon Square Dee Park, Wednesday July 29, 7pm. -Southcote Advice Shop, Coronation Square, Southcote, Tuesday August 4, 7pm -Coley Community Centre, Wensley Road, Coley, Monday August 3, 7pm -Hexham Community Centre, Hexham Road, Whitley, Tuesday August 4, 7pm Reading Borough Council staff will also be door knocking and phoning residents to ensure they are fully up to speed on the proposals and to try and further gauge opinions. Reading Borough Council councillors are also being asked to come forward with any local knowledge so that this can be fed into the consultation process. Deborah Edwards, Lead Councillor for Housing at Reading Borough Council, said: 'I hope as many tenants of the flats as possible take an active part in this review and consultation. There are lots of opportunities to take part and comments and views will help to shape the service to people's needs and requirements. We want to be sure we are providing the right level of cleaning for each block." The results of this consultation are scheduled to go before a meeting of the Housing, Health and Community Care Scrutiny Panel in November, with proposals then going before a meeting of the Cabinet.