Today the Hendon Times reports that Barnet Homes, the quango which is responsible for the provision of Council housing in the London Borough of Barnet, has been nominated for an award for best customer engagement initiative category. When people ask me why I bother writing a blog, this is yet another classic example of the reason. It is because the local press fail to cover important local issues properly. You see there was another big story about Barnet Homes yesterday, but sadly you'd only have read it on this blog, because the local press are more interested in press releases where all the work is done for them by the PR departments of these large organisations.
If you read this - http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2012/02/scandal-exposed-abject-failure-of.html - you will read how a council report reveals that many disabled tenants of Barnet Homes are forced to live in crumbling tower blocks, where lifts are beyond repair and the emergency alarms don't work. What is more of a story? The award or the failure to maintain estates in a safe manner for a period of many years. The excuse? "Legacy systems" whatever this means? Given that they took over in 2004, they've had plenty of time to sort this legacy out. The other excuse is that the blocks are earmarked for demolition and this programme is "running late". As the blocks are likely to be around for the foreseeable future (a figure of ten years is mentioned, and who knows what will happen in that time), it is clear that Barnet Homes had no proper plan for regeneration and have failed thousands of their most deprived tenants in Barnet.
Once again, I urge the local press to start doing their jobs and report the real issues that affect the people of the London Borough of Barnet. For any local journalists who are interested, check out this site - www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk - who have been campaigning for an end to the scandal for many years.