S2
Monday, 10 December 2018
SBC
Index
Sunday 6 November 2011

Council chief ignores housing repair neglect

£186,000 Ruth Bagley fails to tackle shameful council failure


Two or three years ago, local campaigner Paul Janik took photographs of the shocking state of some Slough Council houses in a Britwell street.

Paul Janik photographed:-

  • large rat infested rubbish tip in one back garden
  • missing rear garden fence in another garden
  • large graffiti on the wall under a kitchen window
  • front door glass pane replaced by thin cardboard & Elephant Tape
  • external gas and electricity cupboards without doors

More than 2 years later . . . . . .

In April this year, Mr Janik walked pass the road and saw the repairs had not been done.

Mr Janik returned the next day and photographed the evidence.

A piece of thin cardboard used to replace the glass panel at the bottom of the front door. The glass was broken and replaced by thin cardboard when the previous tenant lived in the house more than 2 years ago.

Lazy, slovenly and incompetent Slough Borough Council had moved a new tenant into the house but did not care about the state of the council home.

Paul Janik told the Slough Times:-

This is shameful neglect.


Optimistically hoping the council's top official, the £186,000 a year chief executive Ruth Bagley O.B.E., could shake-up the council's housing department and order the repairs to be done, Mr Janik emailed the council.


To: Ruth Bagley (Chief Executive)
Copy: Neil Aves (Assistant Director of Housing)
Date: Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dear Mrs Bagley,

  1. You are cordiality invited to walk around the short cul-de-sac named ....... I hope you will be as shocked and 'deeply disappointed' as I was when I visited the street this afternoon. Conspicuous is the council's uncaring sloth and slovenliness because little has changed since I last photographed the place two years ago.
  2. If you are unable to pop along to ...... kindly let me know so I can photograph the decay and neglect which appears to be this council's corporate trademark.
  3. It is not the task of the three ward councillors - Pavitar Mann (Labour), Pat Shine (Independent), Sean Wright (Independent) - to identify systemic failings among the corporate management. It is your job to adequately manage your staff. Proud to be Slough ? Certainly not in .......

Yours sincerely,

P Janik.


Neither council boss Ruth Bagley or the Head of Housing Neil Aves replied. Instead one of Ruth Bagley's junior clerks emailed:-

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Public Protection and Housing services teams have been requested to investigate and confirm what actions maybe required.

and

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Public Protection are dealing with a couple of cases concerning premises on ........ For clarity, can you please elaborate on your concerns.

and

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Housing Service are fully aware of the problems at ....... They have consulted with tenants and will be pursuing a number of maintenance issues and working with other agencies and the tenants to improve the area.

and

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Housing Services are continuing pursuing a range of actions as explained in the response of 27th April.

6 Months later ....

Walking pass the end of the road on 27 October, Mr Janik was surprised to see the familiar flimsy cardboard attached with silver coloured Elephant Tape to the door frame of the council home.

Returning next day, Paul Janik photographed the results of 6 months hard-work by Slough Borough Council.

No Change


No Change

This picture shows the inside of the front door with the thin cardboad.


The invisible graffiti outside the kitchen window.


  • Replacing a missing meter cabinet door is quick and easy.

  • Making a council tenant's home safe MUST be the council's Number 1 prority. Anyone can easily push-in the flimsy cardboard and enter through the large hole in the front door. How many more years must council tenants wait for a new pane of safety glass or a new front door ?
  • Slough Council has failed to paint the front door. The wood is slowly rotting. The eventual repair will cost more than painting the door.
  • There is no excuse for lazy or incomptent council staff not removing the graffiti on the outside wall BEFORE the current tenant moved-in several years ago.

The responsible executive councillors are:-

  • Cllr Rob Anderson (Labour, Farnham), the chief councillor also known as the Leader of the Council.
  • Cllr James Swindlehurst (Labour, Cippenham Green), the deputy chief councillor also kniown as the Deputy Leader of the Council.

The Slough Times is not impressed by the council's efforts or by Ruth Bagley's silence on matters of importance to the public she is purported to serve

Housing repairs and maintenance is not complicated work. It is a routine task that many can do.

How can council staff not see these things ? Are they blind or incompetent ?

Council chief executive Ruth Bagley was awarded an O.B.E. (Officer of the British Empire) medal by the Labour government for unspecified 'services to local government' in Devon. Disappointingly Slough folk have yet to notice any improvements since Mrs Bagley's arrival 4.1/2 years ago.

Labour are paying the council's chief excutive £186,000 a year. That is more than the Prime Minister receives. The Slough Times questions whether the public are getting 'any value for their council tax money'.

SOLA 010645