Twenty Five Years Loyal Service to Housing – Monday 25 February 2013

It was with great pleasure that we were able to welcome Lambeth Living to the parlour on Monday in celebration of achievements by colleagues who had successfully completed twenty five years loyal service. The occasion was a timely centre piece in acknowledgment of how far the local authority had advanced over the last decade in meeting challenges posed by housing and yet, when faced with finding lasting solutions to those longstanding issues raised at Neighbourhood Forums and Tenants Council, the rewards for this steady progress seem slow and irritatingly small in comparisons to other areas of our advancement.

However, as each recipient was congratulated by Keith Hill Chair of Lambeth Living, I became very conscious of what we had achieved as a local authority and that it was only our historical past that prevented us from giving it full recognition, because the light at the end of the tunnel so often turned out to be yet another train heading towards us and more than ready to derail the process and comfort the doubters. 

Well on Monday last I was confronted by a deeply ingrained and professional enthusiasm for a no surrender approach as an endorsement of progress in difficult times by five highly committed members of staff each with 25 years of loyal service.

As a long term subscriber to the learning organisation I was heartened by what I heard as we began to network following the awards in being told about the introduction of the Solutions Team.  An intuitive response to addressing gaps in service delivery that 25 years service would not be slow in revealing, such as those interfaces where we have not been able to learn enough, or not communicating the learning that we have, or perhaps even more worrying, still not able to learn from mistakes that can be rectified. 

According to one contributor, we might not fully appreciate service gaps within the Client, Contractor and Sub-Contractor relationship.  A vital information chain from which the links are too often missing or simply not seen as necessary, leading to delays, disappointment and then anger aimed at whoever is next in line to pick up the customer service phone. 

We wish the Solutions Team every success in finding the gaps and learning from mistakes but I do hope recipients of the awards will be asked if there are any lessons still to be learned in moving from a housing operation offering customer service to delivering a contractor regulated service to a housing operation.

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