Barbican Estate Office Review

On 31 October 2022, a review of the Barbican Estate Office began, with a Project Board overseeing its successful completion. The Project Board comprised: the Assistant Director Housing and Barbican, Chair of the RCC, Interim Head of the Barbican Estate, Project Lead Altair.

The purpose was to conduct an independent review of the Barbican Estate Office and to investigate and report on areas of concern raised by Barbican residents, including:

  • escalating service charges
  • services provided and value for money
  • potential for efficiency savings
  • the BEO roles and responsibilities
  • processes and procedures
  • performance management

The summary report was presented to the Barbican Residential Committee and the Residents’ Consultation Committee on 24th May 2023. 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.

Update 26th July 2023

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

Update 1st August 2023

The two reports above will be discussed at the 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