Safeguarding Priorities Consultation

Good morning, please see below information on two London Borough of Southwark consultations which are currently live.

Phase One Safeguarding Priorities Consultation:

The aim of the Southwark Safeguarding Children Partnership and Southwark Safeguarding Adults Board is to make sure that people in Southwark are kept safe from harm and abuse.

Each year we assess our priorities and take a look at whether there are new areas we need to concentrate on. This consultation is to help us understand the safeguarding priorities for Southwark. The consultations for children and adults will then be carefully considered together.

It is very important to make sure that we give the people who live and work in Southwark the opportunity to feed in, share ideas and tell us what is important to them. This will shape how we safeguard people in Southwark in the best way.

We have carefully looked at areas that have been previously focused on in Southwark, the areas that give us concern, the themes that we know about from local and national work, the areas that work well and most importantly the areas that you may want to focus on for the next 18 months.

Next steps:

We have developed two surveys, one for children and one for adults, which will take about 5 minutes of your time. We really value your contribution and look forward to listening to you and taking forward the priorities that you tell us about. We will work together to decide what we will do next and how we will know if it is making a difference. This does not mean that the other areas are not important and we will continue to focus on, learn from and improve outcomes where they are indicated.

Thank you for your time and contribution.

Judy Wills

Empowering Communities Programme Officer

North West Area (Borough & Bankside, Chaucer, London Bridge & West Bermondsey and St George’s)

Communities Division| Housing & Modernisation Department

160 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QH

Tel: 020 7525 2767 | Mobile: 07591 989 026

Email: judy.wills@Southwark.gov.uk

Work days: Monday, Tuesday &Wednesday (am)

Complete Southwark Council’s survey about racial inequality and injustice

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

35% Campaign update – Aylesbury estate regeneration to have new council homes

Aylesbury estate regeneration to have new council homes

Jul 12, 2020 12:00 am

Notting Hill Genesis to receive £210m bailout from Southwark -Southwark Council has announced that the First Development Site (FDS) of the Aylesbury estate regeneration will now deliver 581 council homes, increasing the number of social rented homes on the site by 280 units. The figures come from a Cabinet report to be considered on Tuesday 14 July. These will be the first new council homes on the regeneration.

Southwark will be paying for the new council homes, which will consist of 520 general needs, 54 flexi-care and 7 specialist learning homes, while Notting Hill Genesis will build them. This is a new ‘arrangement’ ; previously the homes were to have been built and paid for by Notting Hill Genesis, under the terms of a planning permission granted to Notting Hill Housing Trust, as it then was, in 2015. Southwark will pay £193m in development cost; it will also forego a further £17.8m in lost receipts from NHG, giving a total cost of £210.8m. Two GLA grants, totalling £54.5m, would bring the cost down to £156.31.

 Extract from Tuesday’s Cabinet report approving the decision

The good news

Understandably, Southwark councillors are making the most of the gain in council housing, which is undeniably good news. Local housing campaigners, both on and off the estate can also take credit – reducing the loss of social housing has been a consistent aim and at the centre of many hard-fought battles.

There are a couple of wrinkles though – a proportion of these social rented units will be needed to rehouse leaseholders decanted from later phases. How many remains to be seen – Phase 2 and 3 has 62 leaseholders yet to be bought out and their options include the new shared equity scheme introduced in response to the Secretary of State’s CPO ruling that BAME leaseholders were being wrongly displaced from their communities 2.

Also, the report is silent on whether the new council housing means that there will be a reduction in the net loss of social rented housing in the overall regeneration, or whether it is simply social housing being brought forward from later phases in the regeneration. The outline planning permission granted to NHG, who remain responsible for delivering the rest of the regeneration’s 2,745 units, still allows for a net loss of between 778 and 1,166 social rented units 3.

The not-so-good news

Southwark Council presents the cost of building the new council and other FDS homes as being a reasonable £238.4k per unit. Southwark arrives at this figure by assuming receipt of two GLA grants, reducing development costs from £193m to £138.5m.

But only one GLA grant has been secured and leaving the unsecured grant out of the equation and including the loss of £17.8m from NHG (for the land, and contributions to infrastructure costs) gives a total cost to Southwark of £182m and a less flattering cost per unit of £313k.

Neither of the above calculations, though, take properly into account the major fact that, under the existing delivery arrangements with NHG Southwark was to pay nothing for the housing, including the 240 social rented units; this was to be met by NHG.

So, while Southwark is now to get 581 council homes, instead of 240 social rented homes, this net gain requires an outlay of £193m gross – equivalent to £690k for each of the extra 280 units 4.

NHG takes all the private housing

NHG also get to keep part of the FDS land, so-called Package C, on which to build 261 homes for themselves, most of which, 170 units, will be private homes. These units comprise all the private housing on the FDS. There will also be 57 shared ownership, and 34 social rent 5.

NHG will also continue to build the homes on Plot 18, most of which are again private – 99 private homes, 6 shared ownership and 17 social rent. (This is despite the fact that it is no longer paying £6m towards Plot 18’s community infrastructure) 6.

This is all in stark contrast to the what NHG was supposed to deliver across the whole FDS under the Development Partnership Agreement (DPA) between Southwark and NHG, signed in 2014. Under the DPA, NHG was obliged to provide at least 50% affordable housing, 75% of which social rent – now this requirement has been abandoned 7.

An explanation?

NHG therefore appear to be walking away unscathed from their FDS obligations and while Southwark are getting many welcome council homes, they are having to dig deep financially to pay for them. The Cabinet report notes a knock-on effect for future housing investment 8.

An explanation for all this lies with the Development Partnership Agreement, which gives NHG an effective ‘viability veto’ on the progress of the regeneration. A DPA clause allows NHG to decide whether or not a particular plot or phase can proceed, depending on its viability. This viability test includes a 21% ‘priority return’ of revenue to NHG and is determined by their own assessment.

NHG’s circumstances have also changed for the worse since it signed the DPA in 2014. It has been forced to ‘significantly scale back’ its development pipeline, after a Regulator of Social Housing report last August concluded NHG, with more than 400 unsold private market homes sitting on its books, “faces a range of risks and exposure to sales” .

Southwark, on the other hand, has invested heavily, both financially and politically, in delivering the Aylesbury regeneration. It has been decanting homes for nearly 10 years and now 500 or so stand empty, or are being used for temporary accommodation. The first FDS homes were supposed to have been completed this summer (a two-year delay on the original timetable), but much of the site is still rubble. Phase 2 is still not fully empty and no planning application has been submitted. Further delays can be expected for any compulsory purchase order and a demolition notice.

It is therefore not difficult to see why Southwark might have felt compelled to make concessions to NHG, by taking over the delivery and meeting the cost of nearly all the affordable housing, while leaving all the revenue-generating free-market homes to NHG.

NHG holds Southwark over a barrel – again

Southwark has been forced to make such concessions twice before. In September 2016, Southwark agreed to underwrite or advance £22.1 million to NHG, for the FDS demolition and design costs, including a payment of £16.8m for demolition, that was to have been paid by NHG. This advance funding was to be recouped by the FDS land receipt, which will now not be paid. The report agreeing this also noted that Southwark was due to spend £52.5m on the Aylesbury regeneration by 2018/19 9.

In 2018, NHG was awarded £30m of GLA grant funding for the first phase of the scheme. The Development Partnership Agreement set out that any grant funding awarded to the scheme should go to Southwark, such that it receives some kind of remuneration for the sale of its land (see para 4.1, page 111). But NHG forced Southwark to agree to a variation allowing it to pocket the entire £30m 10.

What next?

Gaining 581 council homes is a boon for everyone in Southwark who depends upon social housing. Delivering these in the FDS phase also has the advantage that existing residents from later phases have a better chance of remaining on the Aylesbury.

But rescuing the Aylesbury regeneration is costing Southwark dearly. Southwark is plugging holes left by NHG’s failure to deliver. Southwark is paying not just for council housing on its own account, but also for social rented housing that NHG should have paid for, and Southwark is doing this with money that could otherwise be spent on building more council housing elsewhere. Meantime NHG retains choice pieces of land, in the middle of the Aylesbury, to build nearly 270 private homes. No figures are given in Tuesday’s cabinet report of how much NHG stand to make from this.

This is also not the first time Southwark have come to NHG’s rescue. Southwark has also spent £101m keeping the estate habitable, while the regeneration stalls under NHG’s stewardship 11.

At least four of the DPA milestones haven’t been met:

….and Southwark has the right to terminate the DPA if Notting Hill doesn’t meet milestones:

There is also a clause that allows the Council to terminate 3 years after it was first found that a plot wasn’t viable:

It would be a serious matter for Southwark to consider such a step, but given its past performance and its present circumstances it would be no surprise if NHG do not return, asking for more concessions and for more money. If this does happen, Southwark should take stock of the situation and consider whether this is the best use of its money.

Footnotes:

Repairs Roadmap TRA Update

Dear TRA chairs

This has been a challenging few months for our community. As you will know one of the decisions the council had to take early on was to suspend all non-urgent repairs in response to the COVID-19 lockdown. 

This suspension is still in place, but we are now planning how to resume this work, and to catch up on repairs we have not been able to do, as soon as restrictions have been sufficiently eased and it is safe to do so. While most council staff have been able to continue to their work from home, repairs operatives work out of Frensham Street depot. Like all our buildings, we need to ensure that the depot is safe for increasing numbers of staff to access welfare facilities and stores etc whilst exercising social distancing and good hygiene.

If there is an emergency repair issue residents should phone the contact centre as normal by calling 0800 952 4444 or 020 7525 2600, this services continues to be open 24 hours a day seven days a week. Any issues can be escalated to managers both in and out of hours

Whilst we work hard to make sure all repairs are completed first time, it is not always possible. Residents should be encouraged initially to escalate any issues themselves, either online using their MySouthwark account, or by calling the contact centre.

We still have the TRA priority line in place at the call centre, which you can access as TRA representatives by calling 020 7525 0596 during office hours.

Lastly, I would like to refer you to the following Roadmap for consideration and feedback that has been prepared by repairs team as an indication of the journey needed to return us to a service that resembles the pre COVID-19 position.

We are also looking at having meetings where we can discuss further our reopening and any further questions you have. We will communicate these out separately.

Repairs Roadmap:

Week one – 6 July 2020

  •  We will be starting roofing works we currently have in the system alongside communal works that are external to our blocks and buildings in the south of the borough. This will include repairs such as drainage, bollard and paving repairs and communal doors.
  •  We will be restarting urgent orders with our disrepair team.
  •  We will undertake a communal inspection of the external parts of all of our estates in the south of the borough and raise any repairs needed. We are phasing these inspections for half of the borough to ensure that our contractors can undertake the works needed as quickly as possible and we can continue to track these repairs with you as we have done previously
  •  We will inspect all playgrounds on estates to ensure that they are safe to use when we reopen them

Week two – 13 July 2020

  •  We will be restarting our leaks from above follow on works where residents are still experiencing a leak, for example resealing bathrooms, retiling or fitting shower curtains
  •  We will be restarting communal works that are external to our blocks and buildings in the north of the borough.
  •  We will restart works within residents homes that we already have logged in the system. Residents will receive a call to book an appointment with them. We anticipate that it will take a number of weeks to work through these repairs.

Week three – 20 July 2020

  •  We will restart communal repair works already logged for within our blocks and buildings in the south of the borough that have been reported directly and as part of our estate inspections
  •  We will undertake a communal inspection of the external parts of all of our estates in the north of the borough
  •  We will review works we have logged to windows and doors within residents homes to see if a phased start can be safely initiated
  •  We will restart our adaptations works to council and private properties
  •  We will restart all follow on repairs following a leak from above, including plastering and painting

Week four – 27 July 2020

  •  For this date we will restart further works which aren’t urgent as part of disrepair claims
  •  We will restart communal repair works already logged for within our blocks and buildings in the north of the borough
  •  We have worked with colleagues in customer experience to put in place a new online reporting system for repairs which makes the process easier for both the resident and the council. From this week we will be trialling a soft launch of the online reporting system without widespread publicity. We will send the link to this out to you during this week for your help in trialling this system with us

Week five – 3 August 2020

  •  We will start taking routine repairs again from this week
  •  We will undertake communal inspections to blocks and buildings across the borough and repairs will be raised as required

We need to ensure that the service isn’t overwhelmed and that we can undertake those repairs we already know about first and continue to respond to emergencies when residents need us which is why we won’t hesitate to pull back or change the plan as we move through the weeks.

Kind Regards,

Dave

Dave Hodgson

Director of Asset Management

Housing and Modernisation

Office Address:
Southwark Council
Housing and Modernisation160 Tooley Street

2nd Floor, Hub 5

London SE1 2QH

Postal Address:

PO Box 64529

Southwark Council

2nd Floor, Hub 5

London SE1P 5LX

Update on lockdown changes in Southwark

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Tell Southwark Council how COVID-19 and the lockdown has impacted you

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,