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‘Residents deserve better’ – Brent councillor responds to complaints report

A senior Brent councillor said residents “deserve better” when it comes to housing management in the borough following the publication of the council’s latest complaints report.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, who is responsible for housing and welfare reform at Brent Council, acknowledged the situation but said it was working hard to remedy regular issues faced by tenants last year.

It came in response to the annual complaints report for 2019/20, presented to the council’s cabinet yesterday (Tuesday, January 12), which showed more than one in ten (11 per cent) of complaints lodged concerned housing repairs.

“It’s not a great picture from a housing perspective,” she said.

“We know it’s not adequate at the moment and residents deserve better from us as a landlord – we’re on the case.”

The report noted the majority of complaints related to delays in repair works being carried out – the council noted the nature and volume of work in this sector, as well as weather conditions and other mitigating circumstances, are contributing factors to this.

While there were 38 fewer complaints in this area when compared with 2018/19, the council said it needs to focus on escalations.

It is also holding weekly meetings with contractors to highlight key issues of complaints and confirm remedial actions going forward.

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Furthermore, the council paid out £2,125 across seven cases replating to 2019/20 housing complaints which were referred to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Overall, the number of stage one complaints lodged to the council decreased by one per cent when compared with the previous year.

However, the number of stage two complaints was up by 22 per cent, while the overall performance – in terms of how complaints are handled – was down three percentage points for corporate incidents and six percentage points for statutory ones.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, acknowledged not everything is “hunky dory” but said he is generally satisfied with the way things are handled.


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