Stock Condition Survey

The title is a little misleading. This was not a stock condition survey, but rather an asset inventory report. We waited for years but finally Savills produced their lists with which the City will plan a series of upgrade projects over the next 30 years. A large amount of the cost for these projects will be for our service charge and so the RCC’s Asset Maintenance Working Party is keeping a close eye on things.

Roof Report 2017

This report was produced for Mr Paul Murtagh of the City of London Corporation for the express use in evaluating the condition of the current waterproofing of the Non-Langley roof areas.
The report is based upon the Langley site inspection survey undertaken in March 2017.

Buildings Insurance

We understand that the only redacted the elements relate to the City’s operational and commercial buildings that are not applicable to residential leaseholders.

Gouged Out Holes in Window Frames

For those of you with holes chopped out of your window frames (done during the surveys) (I believe just John Trundle and Bunyan Court), we are repeatedly trying to get something done about these before winter sets in and there is damage from the cold or water ingress.

We have been informed that before any long term repair can be carried out the Project Manager, Philippe, was looking into a treatment coat to be applied with K&M. The BEO has yet to receive the final outcome on this from Philippe but they have a meeting with him on Wednesday 13th December for an update. Jason Hayes

BEO management are aware of these holes and the ultimate person in charge, Jason Hayes, Head of Major Works is also on board with this.

ASB reporter – November summary 2023

There were 18 reported asb incidents during November. This is 11 fewer incidents than reported last month, but 9 more than the same period this time last year i.e.double.

Totals by house and their percentage of the total were as follows:-

HouseIncidents
  SHAKESPEARE TOWER  6 (33.3%)
  FROBISHER CRESCENT  4 (22.2%) 
  BUNYAN COURT  2 (11.1%)
  GILBERT  1 (5.6%)
  WILLOUGHBY  1 (5.6%)
  THOMAS MORE  1 (5.6%)
  SPEED  1 (5.6%)
  SEDDON   1 (5.6%)
  BEN JONSON  1 (5.6%)

In terms of the type of asb, some respondents reported on more than one activity as follows:-

  Loud Music  8 (44.4%)
  Rowdy behaviour  4 (22.2%)
  Parkour  2 (11.1%)
  Cycling  1 (5.6%)
  LIME e bike abandoned  1 (5.6%)
  Fast noisy motorcycle  1 (5.6%)
  Teenagers smoking marijuana  1 (5.6%)

A report based on 12 months data June 2021 to June 2022 together with findings & recommendations of the Barbican Estate Security Committee has been provided to appropriate Corporation Members & Officers and discussions are ongoing – as an initial outcome a Task/Finish Joint Action Group was formed and met, just once, in December last year.

This group has since been replaced with a new “ASB Strategic Meeting”. Unlike the previous group, however, this is not an open meeting – Decision taken for BEO’s Residents Service Team to produce an information leaflet for residents, revisiting and advising them of who to contact, for which type of anti-social behaviour and a brief explanation of what they should expect from making such contact. AWAITED.

Meantime, please continue to report any anti-social behaviour you may witness occurring across the estate. Any crime, such as phone, bag or laptop snatching should be reported directly to the City of London Police and not included here.

Please remember that the intention of the ASB Reporter is purely to gather evidence of anti-social behaviour. Therefore, if you witness an asb incident please use the website to record the event but if immediate action is also required then you should follow normal procedure such as calling the Police on 101 (or 999 but only if URGENT); Barbican Estate Office; City Noise Team etc…

If it is the City of London Police that you call, it is essential that you are provided with a reference/case number – please include this case number in the “action taken” section of the ASB Reporter. IF YOU DO NOT this incident will not be “officially” counted and the police will assume that no additional measures or activity is required.

David Bradshaw – Chair, Barbican Estate Security Committee

1st December 2023

Update on the City’s S20 Dispensation

Please find below an update on progress on the City’s Application to the First Tier Tribunal for a Section 20 Dispensation, from the Sub-Committee co-ordinating the BA response. 

Update on the City’s S20 Dispensation

The BA response is being co-ordinated by a sub-group comprising: 

  • Adam Hogg, Chair BA; 
  • Sandra Jenner, Chair RCC; 
  • Brendan Barnes, BAGC member; 
  • David Graves, Lessee who is also a Solicitor 
  • Richard Tomkins, Lessee who originally identified the City’s unlawfulness. 

Background:

  • No City S20 consultation in 2017 for an important contract for Agency Workers which contributed significantly to our service charges to the tune of £2+mn – unlawful
  • City Solicitors did not answer for six months after a resident queried a charge for agency workers and asked if a contract had been entered into without consultation. 
  • City took a further year to apply for a dispensation after conceding that S20 consultation should have been undertaken – unreasonable and compounding of unlawfulness
  • City applied for a S20 dispensation with an ill-considered and perfunctory Application seemingly without considering whether any other residents/estates may be affected – unreasonable and unlawful
  • City Solicitors sought agreement from respondents to the original dispensation application to a withdrawal stating the reason is to pursue settlement. The prime reason is actually because other HRA residents need to be included if the case goes ahead.

Current position:

  • The City has been told by the FT Tribunal that it must notify all residents of its Withdrawal Application, not just those who have objected to the original Dispensation Application.
  • We shall be applying for our costs associated with the Withdrawal Application to be reimbursed by the City and also for the City’s costs not to be charged to our Service Charges 
  • The City will need to make another S20 Dispensation Application in due course. The ball is in their court. 

Recent Letters from City of London to Lessees

Dear Barbican Lease Holders

All lessees will have received two letters from the Corporation on or around the 16th of August:

  1. An application to the First Tier Tribunal seeking dispensation from consultation from the City Solicitor.
  2. A Section 20 Notice of intention to enter into a qualifying long term agreement.

The two are related and refer to the City’s failure to consult in 2017 when setting up a contract to provide temporary labour.

As significant sums of money are involved the RCC and the BA are seeking legal advice on your behalf.

We will report back to you with more detail and advice on how we should respond to these letters as soon as possible.

Adam Hogg & Sandra Jenner

Barbican Estate Office Review (Stage 2 Report and Action Plan)

There is an RCC meeting on the 7th August 2023 and the RCC has invited responses via the RCC rep for each block:

To Members of the RCC

From Sandra Jenner Chair RCC and Adam Hogg Chair BA

Altair Report on BEO for RCC meeting on 7th August

Members of the RCC have been asked to consider how to respond to the Altair Report on the Barbican Estate Office at a special meeting on the 7th August.

The review of the Barbican Estate Office was set up by the City as a result of pressure from the Service Charge Working Party (SCWP) by David Lawrence, Adam Hogg Chair BA and Sandra Jenner, now Chair RCC, following the City’s decision to reduce the number of Car Park attendants whilst increasing supervisors and managers in the BEO itself.

The review by independent consultants Altair, covered all services for which residents pay – those provided and by the BEO itself and also Repairs and Major Works which are not managed by the BEO. 

The review was managed by a project board made up of Paul Murtagh Assistant Director Community and Childrens Services, Ros Ugwu Interim Head of Barbican Estate Office, and Sandra Jenner.

For continuity Adam Hogg who was Deputy Chair of the RCC, a member of the SCWP and subsequently Chair of the BA has been closely involved.

The paper to be considered by the RCC on the 7th of August includes for completeness a number of appendices which have already been circulated. A list of the new papers and pages is provided at the bottom of this message to help you manage the volume of papers. 

[With reference to page numbers from the agenda pack…]

For an in-depth understanding two redacted reports Interim Pages 13-76 which sets out the failings of the BEO and Pages 77-124 Stage 2 and the Action plan 155-162.

Residents should be able to form a view from reading pages 3-9.

Some comments

The BEO review has demonstrated that the services for which lessees pay are neither satisfactory nor value for money. In a nutshell, this is because there is no cost control nor service culture in any aspect of the services provided to residents as identified in the review. 

To rectify this will require a Major Transformation Programme over a period of up to two years.

The Action Plan, at present an outline, will develop into a living document. 

Residents will be represented on the management board governing this programme.

It has been agreed that the new Head of the Barbican Residential Estate must be responsible for all aspects of the services provided for residents. A new Head will be recruited shortly. 

Detailed scrutiny of the reports by Sandra Jenner and Adam Hogg ensured that residents interests were paramount. 

Throughout, the residents’ position has been that the review is about providing value for money without any diminution of services. The City has not challenged this.

The redaction exercise should not have taken so long.  The City should have started work on it earlier, however, some of the time was taken up with the need to agree proper criteria with and for proper scrutiny of the process by residents’ representatives. The redactions were deemed essential to allow the widest circulation of documents and the criteria for them has been published. 

If you have any comments of questions please share them with you RCC representative.

New papers [with page numbers from the agenda pack] are:

Pages 3-8 The introductory paper from Ros Ugwu providing a summary.

Page 9 A forward from Judith Finlay Director of Community and Childrens’ Services

Pages 77-124 Stage 2 Redacted Report Options Development and Recommendation

Pages 155-162 Action Plan.

Pages 163-164 Approval to recruit Head of Barbican Residential Estate

Barbican Estate Office Review (update)

Please click on the button below to view a copy of the redacted version of the Altair Interim Report – Appraisal of Current Services which details their evidence-based findings in the first stage of the BEO Review

Fortunately, it did not need many redactions. Where possible generic headings/information has been inserted where it has been redacted to aid interpretation.

Redactions have been made based using the following criteria:

  • Information which could lead to individual employees being identified.
  • Reference to performance of individuals or teams in a way which could be identifiable of individuals.
  • Information or relative cost calculations which could cause general prejudice to our commercial position and is commercially sensitive.
  • Information which indicates a potential change to a substantive post, redundancy or change to contract of employment in advance of formal consultation with recognised trade unions and employees. 
  • Resident safety and security

The Altair Stage 2 Report – Options Development and Recommendations has needed significantly more redactions and therefore needs the action plan to accompany it to assist with interpretation. This is still being worked upon and should be posted shortly. 

These will be discussed at a special meeting of the RCC on 7th August.

Sandra Jenner

Chair, RCC

Barbican Estate Office Review

The summary report was presented to members of the BRC and RCC on Wednesday 24th May. A commitment was made that redacted versions of the 2 detailed reports of Stages 1 and 2 will be made available in due course. Redaction is necessary so that confidential information about the employment position of City employees is appropriately protected.

This will be discussed by resident members of the RCC on 12th of June before responding to the BRC.