Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Recent disquiet about Rubbish and waste issues on Harringay Online led to one member asking the Ladder residents' group to host a meeting about it.

Ian Sygrave gathered a handy group of folk from Haringey Council and Veolia to attend. At the meeting last week they set out their stall and responded to a wide range of residents' concerns.

The meeting was a well-attended as local residents' meetings go and there was plenty of involvement in what was a well-run event. I thought it was useful both in distilling the general sense of what the primary issues are as well as getting clear and unequivocal commitments from Haringey and Veolia on dealing with them.

Whilst the causes of rubbish are too complex to be fully covered in a relatively short residents' meeting, the group did appear to reach a consensus on what the key issues are. 

Whilst Haringey admitted that they have no magic wand to resolve the issues, their response seemed pretty clear to me and by and large constructive. Almost without exception, for every type of incident, either at the meeting or afterwards in my exchanges with them, they made a commitment to resolve each issue within, what I think seems to be a reasonable time-frame. 

To enable them take action, the Council need to be made aware of issues as and when they happen on an ongoing basis. With the current financial constraints, it's an approach that calls for residents to get involved and to be prepared to interact with the Council to mobilise resources, but surely it's worth giving a go.

So, following the meeting, I liaised with Haringey. Then, with their agreement I drew up a list of all the rubbish disposal issues that were raised at the meeting. For each issue I've set out the Council's commitment to deal with the issue, along with the available contact channels. I sent the list to the Council for comment and approval and they have approved it today. In effect they've signed off on the commitments it records.

It's certainly an advance for me. Bar anything I may have missed, there is now clarity on what issues we can report, how to report them, what the Council will do about it and how quickly. 

One of Haringey's waste disposal bosses said, "If you come across any of these issues, all you have to do is contact us and we'll get it sorted". I believed that he meant what he said. So let's test it out. Got a waste problem? Find it on the list and report it!

It may be an idea for people to share successes or failures they encounter, both here and/or at future LCSP meetings.

The list is attached below.

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I've added to the original post a copy of the "Useful Information" one-sider prepared by Haringey Council and distributed at the meeting. Thanks to Ian Sygrave for forwarding a copy. 

A copy is also attached below

Attachments:

Thanks to Ian Sygrave, for these notes from the meeting, just circulated today:

1. In his introductory remarks Ian Kershaw (Haringey Council) noted that:

  • Although there are obviously issues with fly-tipping in Harringay Ward, the worst affected areas are Tottenham Hale, Tottenham Green, Noel Park and Seven Sisters.
  • About 80% of fly-tipping in LBH is black bags/carrier bags.  Only about 20% are mattresses, furniture, bulky items, etc.
  • The bulky collection service offers good value at £25 for up to four items (as opposed to a £400 fine!)
  • Data on fly-tipping is very difficult to draw conclusions from because different boroughs interpret the reporting requirements differently. For example, in 2016/17  apparently similar boroughs reported very different fly-tip figures: Enfield 70,000, Haringey 35,000 and Hackney 3,000.  These figures say more about recording than incidence.
  • The key factors in fly-tipping are, as one would expect, the areas with the highest population density and the biggest turnover of tenants.
  • The use of cameras at fly-tipping hotspots is not the ‘silver bullet’ that might be expected; it is often difficult to see the perpetrator (whose distinguishing features may well be deliberately covered or concealed) and even if someone can be seen, how can they be identified?  There are also strict legal rules about the use of cameras in public places.  Having said that, Ian Kershaw is always willing to discuss individual problem locations with residents outside the meeting.

2. Residents urged the need for more posters/advertising, encouraging pride in the cleanliness of the local area and the benefits to all of a clean borough.  It was noted that the Keep Britain Tidy organisation still exists; indeed LBH is a member and SH stated that they carry out excellent work with schools and offer awards for cleanliness, re-cycling etc.  Parents/schools might wish to consider this either as an add-on activity or as part of the PSHE programme of lessons.

3. Residents also felt that the traders/restaurants/take-aways etc. in Green Lanes could do more to help.  Notices (in different languages) could be displayed encouraging the use of bins and not littering and take-away boxes/bags etc. could also carry an appropriate message.  IS agreed to meet the Chair and Secretary of the Harringay Traders’ Association to discuss these ideas.

4. Dave Shipp (Haringey Council) stated that enforcement is always ongoing, often in partnership with Veolia and other agencies.  Numerous Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs, i.e. fines) are issued every week in the Ward, not least in Green Lanes.

5. Councillor Zena Brabazon explained that the new Landlord Licensing Scheme comes into effect on 1st October, when it will be mandatory for every HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) to have a licence.  This can be used as an effective tool to control rogue landlords, who do not run their properties well, and allow their front ‘gardens’ to become dumping grounds.  As Harringay Ward has more HMOs than any other in the borough, this is of particular importance to us.  If you suspect a property is an unauthorised HMO please inform Councillor Zena Brabazon; you won’t be identified you, but the issue will be checked out.

6. Concern was expressed about the ever-increasing amount of graffiti on the railway bridge by Harringay Green Lanes Station; Ian Sygrave explained that the (former) Strategy Group had tried to engage with Network Rail about this, as it creates such a negative impression as a gateway to the area, but they are a notoriously difficult organisation to deal with;  Ian Kershaw undertook to see what he could achieve.

7. In the same content of graffiti, it was noted that graffiti in the central areas of Harringay Passage was apparently inaccessible to Veolia jet wash equipment, and could therefore only be painted over, which is not necessarily acceptable on attractive brickwork.  IK and AA agreed to look into the cost/viability of equipment which would be mobile enough to reach currently inaccessible areas across the borough, not just in the Passage.

8. Residents expressed a variety of concerns about dustbin collections; rubbish falling from bins is not picked up, but left in the middle of the road, bins are still being left in gateways (instead of being returned to where they were found), night-time collections in Green Lanes often seem to be carried out at break-neck speed, with collectors actually running behind the dust-cart, throwing bags in – and then missing.  This happens during the day-time collections as well (one resident had recently sent a series of photos to DS sharing just this).  AA will look into all of these issues, and remind staff of their responsibilities.  

9. It was also noted that street rubbish collected by sweepers in purple bags, and left adjacent to bins on Ladder roads, was very often left overnight (with obvious results from foxes etc.).  Ana Austin (Veolia) agreed that these should be collected by the end of the working day.  As Veolia can be fined for failure to collect on time, it is always worth reporting purple bags left overnight to LBH, so that they can reclaim some money.

10. The issue of ‘contaminated’ bins in front gardens is a difficult one.  Once the appropriate tag has been attached to a bin, it often stays like that for weeks on end; it was felt that there should be better follow-up with tenants/landlord and that Veolia should be quicker to deal with either emptying or removing the bin.  The HMO Licensing Scheme may help here but it was felt that there should be greater clarity and speed in dealing with the whole issue.  (Ian Kershaw and Ana Austin to liaise on this).

11. Noted that the Denmark Road area was often in a poor state; this was presumably the direct responsibility of L & Q as managers, but Ian Kershaw agreed to remind them of their duty of care to residents. 

Thanks for that Hugh.  I do take one of the quotes with a pinch of salt though

The bulky collection service offers good value at £25 for up to four items (as opposed to a £400 fine!)

As the standard blue patterned mattress you see adorning the streets of Haringey can come in at twenty to thirty quid new, 25 quid disposal doesn't seem that much of a bargain.  And yes, fining is a disincentive if it happens.  I’ve reported dumping of several mattress from one property, averaging about one a week for the past month.  In the reports I have explicitly asked that they knock on the door and raise the issue with the people living there rather than just remove the mattresses.  I was talking to one of the occupants last week who is just as sick of the landlord doing this as I am and she doesn’t think anyone has called.  One day the mattresses were there, the next day gone courtesy of Veolia.

Do you report to Veolia or through the Council? I was wondering whether it would work best for all but the must straihght-forward of issues to be at leas cc'd to Haringey.

For me, your reporting experience is not satisfactory. An effective reporting feedback loop is essential if haringey genuinely want to encourage reporting. Otherwise it will only ever have even a chance of working for the the most strong-hearted.

Your issue in particular as well as the issue it points to in general (reporting feedback) ought to be put on a list for any future meeting.

I always use the Haringey app Hugh so I and they have a record

For my money, the feedback loop on the app is poor. 

Agreed. You only ever see that your report is closed, not the outcome 

I wanted to comment on the Ap in the meeting but there was too much other stuff to talk about. For me it is not easy, I find it clunky, time consuming (at times) and as Michael says all you get is "Report Closed" communications, not any understanding of the resolution.

If we want engagement by people we need to remove barriers and make it easy, hence the use of Twitter as a preferred route by some. The biggest problem I find is if you are passing and do not have time to stop and make a report placing the 'pin' to locate the problem accurately is a real pain and can take several minutes. Who has time and energy to be doing this every pair of rails? I sometimes wonder if these thing are made deliberately difficult to actually slow down and stop the flow of reports ("see, no reports, how well are we doing this week?")

I reported two pot holes at the top of Pemberton, after involving Zena they came out and fixed one of them. I now have an image to send as a report to try to get them to do the other one... I have waited weeks as I just did not have the energy to chase it.

The app was developed by a guy called Nigel Tyrell for Lewisham back in 2005. Nigel was part of the whole excitement of using tech or local good. He was passionate about spreading his app. 

From conversations I had with Nigel way back when, I'm pretty sure it's his app that Haringey have bought into. So there are probably limits as to how Haringey can adapt it. What I'm not clear on is whether the low quality of the feedback is a development issue or an implementation one. It may be that Haringey can improve on the current feedback or it might be the case that only the developer can.

I took the trouble to follow the link in given in one the report resolution emails I got this morning - which I criticised as being poor yesterday. 

The email tells us little ( "the issue has now been dealt with, or passed to an external third party to deal with" is unsatisfyingly uninformative):

I think I might have followed the link to My Account in a previous email and then given up after the first screen:

....or was it the second:

...or maybe the third....(but if you look carefully, you can at last see a link to "View Your Street Reports"....

So the click to the fourth screen is with a great sense of hope.... (but no there's one more click...)

..until finally you get to see the report...and buried in there, you can see details of the report being completed:

So, on the positive side, the fly-tip was cleared in less than 24 hours and you can see the outcome. However on the flip side, you have to wonder how many people bother going through all those steps to see the report.

I seem to remember reading years back that good website design suggests the journey to a a desired web destination should be a maximum of three clicks away. 

Can it be that hard for the software to extract the info from the report page and put it in the email? That way, I open my email and I know exactly what's happened, without having to dig it out.

If there's an implementation-end solution to this I'd urge Haringey to take it. If it's a development issue, could they maybe lobby the developer. I think Nigel has now sold/passed on the app and it now appears to be owned by a company called bbits. I've dropped them a quick note to see if they can answer my query.

For those interested, below are my question to and answer from the owners of the App software:

QUESTION

I am writing to ask if the way the reporting feedback loop happens on the Haringey implementation is the standard way, or is it simply a reflection of the way it’s been implemented. See my comment at https://www.harringayonline.com/forum/topics/haringey-commits-to-ru...

In particular, I am wondering if sport emails can be changed to give the full outcome rather than merely a link to a circuitous route to discover the outcome.

Hugh

RESPONSE

Hi Hugh,

There are various things at play here.  Love Clean Streets are the providers of the app (and always have been, initially partnered with Lewisham) and the final page you view the report on and also the page with the ability to raise reports through the My Account portal.  However we don't provide the My Account portal and the ability to manage all other council related items through that medium.  You sign in to My Account and that single sign on allows you access to view reports you've made or raise other environmental reports.

Depending on your report category and the location they are allocated to different teams to be resolved and the feedback comes back through to our Love Clean Streets back office system and the report is updated.  You can see that update in the webpage via the route you have taken or on the app in your Reports Published Reports section.  When it is completed it will show a green flag and a status of 'Closed' or 'Completed'.

Haringey do chose to provide a link to the webpage of your report in the notification email on closure and yes you do have a few pages to go through as it requires authentication so that your report is not visible to the general public unless Haringey have made it so.  A link to the report and authentication to see it is more secure than the information being directly in the email.

We are always happy to consider improvements of course and if I understand correctly from your post/thread the issue is visibility of the closing comments from Haringey not just that it is closed?

KInd Regards,

Helen

I just tried this on my mobile and can’t get past the penultimate screen. 

I haven't found the geolocation to be too much of an issue. Like any geolocation function, it's not perfect, but it seems broadly correct. If the location doesn't look right, to save any fiddling about, I just put a very short location in the extra info section, like "o/s 39" (outside 39) or "alongside shops". Seems to work

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