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Southwark Council CEO goes back to the floor as Undercover Boss

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Friday 3 March 2017 12.35am
TAK wrote:
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.

Midway through the beyond shambolic Draper House refurbishment works back in 2013 I repeatedly tried to arrange a site visit with Southwark's CEO, to no avail.

A few months later I read about the Channel 4 undercover Boss programme, where the CEO apparently wanted to find out what was happening on the ground.

Following announcement in press of upcoming TV programme and my renewed email to the CEO it suddenly became possible for CEO to visit us and the visit took place on 1st August 2013.

Meanwhile works have been completed to some level of standard, the final bills are in showing the project has cost in excess of 2m more which includes, amongst other positions, 400K for lost profits of Breyer Group whose contract was 'mutually terminated' midway through the contract.

I have written to the CEO about concerns of a senior council staff member lying at the FTT and asked the council to show us on site where the core ventilation system was LBS claimed at First Tier Tribunal existed and residents say does not exist.
The CEO and said staff member refuse to come and show us in person the existence of this disputed item and we just have to believe their word that they know better than us whom live in the building.

Through some luck a few months ago I happened to bump into the officer whom made those claims at the FTT outside Draper House and innocently asked him if he had a minute as I had a question. As it was cold outside I said let's go inside to reception where it's warm.
Once inside, witnessed by some other residents, I straight asked him if he please could finally show me that core ventilation system he claimed existed in Draper House.

Unfortunately, instead of showing me the core ventilation to proof he did not lie at the FTT the officer just mumbled 'not again' turned on his heels at speed and ran out of Draper House as if there was no tomorrow. It was a very funny sight to be honest as I've never seen anyone turn and run so quickly.

Naturally, I immediately wrote to the CEO again on this subject, as for me this behaviour signalled that indeed the officer in question must have lied at the FTT as otherwise he would have pointed out to me the core ventilation system given he was already in the building.
However, the CEO refused to investigate this yet again and continues to insist Draper House has a core ventilation system, yet southwark will not show it to us in person.

Ever since the CEO visited us in August 2013 I have sent her many more invites to come and visit us again to look at the completed works so we can all find out how it was possible for these works to escalate from roughly 5m to 7m.
I'm sure you can guess it, this CEO does not want to come to Draper House and meet us residents and learn lessons form the all the mistakes Southwark made.

It goes to show though that without the Channel 4 Undercover Boss Programme the CEO would most likely not have visited us at Draper in 2013 - but in run up to the TV programme in 2013 she simply had to visit us in order to give the TV programme some credibility, pretending that she wanted to find out what really happens on the ground.
None of the invites ever since airing that TV programme have been taken up, just as she refused to visit before the TV programme was know of.....
Given the history Draper House major works had and has, there is a lot to find out here as to what really happens on the ground....but this CEO clearly is not interested at all.

Maybe if the CEO reads this, you do have my contact details and you are still invited to visit again as refusing to do so is missing a huge chance in learning lessons from mistakes made.

I also would like this opportunity to invite the councils scrutiny committee to visit us again in order for everyone to learn some lessons and to ensure no other residents in the borough will ever have to go through a similar experience as we did at Draper.
Friday 3 March 2017 2.21pm
Tak, out of naive technical knowledge, after Major Works are carried out does the Clerk of Works not have to do inspection? Do they still have Clerk of Works?
Tuesday 28 March 2017 8.48pm
Jan the old one wrote:
Tak, out of naive technical knowledge, after Major Works are carried out does the Clerk of Works not have to do inspection? Do they still have Clerk of Works?

Yes Jan, Clerk of works do sign off the works for Southwark, but they seem to sign off pretty much anything. For example on Draper House 140 front doors were signed off by Southwark Council. When residents complained we were first told too late - they all had been signed off an nothing could be done about the defects. Following sever resistance by residents it then was found that well over 40 of the 140 signed off doors were indeed fault and they were eventually replaced again. I assume though that these doors were paid for a second time though as we had many repeat positions in final accounts. Just as all the faulty Windows Breyer Group fitted to 11 apartments that then were replaced again. They were paid for twice...

And yes, the CEO is not coming to Draper House nor the Housing director. One can only assume they know how bad the situation is and henceforth simply refuse to be shown. SO much for the CEO genuinely being interested in improving the councils performance. Meanwhile this council keeps wasting taxpayers money as if there was no tomorrow, and no-one is challenging this form our politicians.
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