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Southwark Council CEO goes back to the floor as Undercover Boss

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Friday 5 July 2013 4.55pm
So Eleanor Kelley ,Southwark Council Chief Executive, goes undercover for a TV programme. Now that comes as a surprise because she (and all other remaining senior housing staff at Southwark Council) have been refusing multiple times to visit residents in their homes of the utterly failed Draper House refurbishment project to see with their own eyes how residents have been forced to live for many months whilst works were suspended. Maybe if we could offer some cameras from a national broadcaster she may change her mind I wonder and visit us?

Just in case you don't know Draper House: It's the towerblock beside Strata at Elephant and Castle covered in eternal scaffolding since Breyer Group contractor were suspended mid way through works last November and a new contractor only just started recently.
Friday 5 July 2013 8.21pm
Ring London Tonight or Southwark News? They might be interested in a story
Sunday 7 July 2013 11.33pm
Thanks Pops - I'll have a look into this
Monday 8 July 2013 4.44pm
Right, I sent her yet another invite to visit us residents. I'm curious what response I will get this time. Judging by previous experience I assume I will be fobbed off again.....

Dear Ms Kelley

I read with great interest in local media that a programme is about to be aired on Channel 4 with you participating as undercover boss.

This comes as an enormous surprise to me given the fact that yourself (CEO), Strategic Director of Housing, Head of Major Works, Head of Investment as well as Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council continuously and repeatedly refuse to visit a couple of us Draper House residents in our homes to see with your own eyes under what miserable conditions we have been living in our homes since November 2012 when refurbishment contractor was suspended resulting in the eventual termination of the contract. Breyer Group subsequently even received a staggering 314,000 pay off for their spectacular failings in order to enable Southwark Council to terminate the contract due to lack of inclusion of a break clause within the contract.
If you're sincerely interested what really happens on the ground then you surely should have visited us residents a long time ago to get a thorough insight into Southwark Councils operations. If you genuinely wonder why residents (not only us at Draper House by looks of it) are so frustrated, upset and have lost trust in Southwark Council management you really must come and meet us to get some proper understanding what's going so wrong at Southwark Council. You can also rest assured that visiting us will take up far less time than filming a tv programme, or attending MIPIM (international real estate show) in Cannes, France.
Maybe your initial lack of interest to visit us was due to the lack of tv cameras being present when visiting us? Please rest assured that you are most welcome to bring as many tv crews with you as you like should you or your senior staff members finally change your minds and visit us in our homes.

Are you finally changing your mind and pay us a long deserved and well overdue visit or will you continue to hide in your Tooley Street headquarters afraid to meet your residents in person?
So far Southwark's senior housing management's excuse not to visit some of us residents has always been that the actual project managers report back to senior management and henceforth management knows precisely what's been happening and what the situation is / conditions are at Draper House. This excuse is simply not good enough as frankly there is no such thing as seeing utterly failed building works with your own eyes to fully understand what impact this really has on residents lives on a daily basis. Please also remember that this project has not only failed due to Breyer Group, but has also been seriously mismanaged by Southwark Council as is evident in the scrutiny meeting reports. Henceforth the repeated refusal to meet us is only adding insult to injury making matters much worse than they are already.

I am looking forward to your response advising when you or your most senior housing staff will be finally available for a visit. As I said before you're most welcome to bring as much press along as you like. Alternatively I expect a detailed response from yourself how you as well as remaining senior housing management continue to justify not to visit some of us residents in our homes.

Yours sincerely
Tuesday 9 July 2013 11.23am
This show wasn't on last night, it's next week.

TAK: Draper residents have a great, under-used resource in their TA Hall, which looks pretty groovy from the outside, with its location, opposite St. May's churchyard, and the tables outside, shaded by trees.
Why don't interested residents come together to run a community cafe at the Hall, providing a pleasant place to hang out while your building is shrouded and an opportunity for neighbours to come together and organise?
I live nearby, on Pullens, so contact me if you wish to discuss the practicalities of such a project.
Tuesday 9 July 2013 12.04pm
Hope you receive a response TAK. Let us know how you get on. Do they have an agreement to write back to tenants within a certain time frame?
Tuesday 9 July 2013 8.33pm
@ Russel Cronin - thanks for your message.

We have an absolutely fantastic T&RA hall on our estate. I know it very well as I used to be involved in our T&RA many years ago. However, from my experience it's really hard to get residents involved these days as most people have such busy lives with work etc. and for the past year a good number of us have been involved in constant battles with the council in regards the refurbishment works and the councils management of these which have not been going well a long time before the former contractor (Breyer Group) were suspended.

You're idea is great and it would be fantastic to have such a thing operating. At the same time, even if there was a community cafe on the estate, if would not make up for the loss of quality of life we encounter on a daily basis due to the problems we had with these works. Nothing can really substitute one's own home - it's such an important place especially when living in such a busy city.

I'll forward a link of this thread to the current chair of the T&RA.
Tuesday 9 July 2013 8.36pm
@ Pops

No response yet, but I think Southwark Council has 10 working days to respond to letters sent to them.
I know some local councillors frequent this community forum at times. Can anyone advise / confirm to me what the council's standard guidelines are in regards to response times please?

Many thanks in advance!
Wednesday 10 July 2013 3.49pm
The residents at Draper House were at a Council meeting earlier this year and spoke about their issues. I was there, I heard them speak. Their spokeswoman was very eloquent. I understand that works are resuming with a different contractor. And having met Eleanor she is a nice woman who does care and is a lot more interested in the local residents than her predecessor, Ms Annie "Get your shoes" Shepherd.
Monday 15 July 2013 4.40pm
Still waiting for a reply from Eleanor Kelly.....I'll be curious though how she'll do on telly tonight.
Can anyone confirm what the response time is within which council staff (and presumably CEO's too) should respond to enquiries?
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