From October last year every ward in Haringey has a Neighbourhood Action Officer to tackle street based issues.
Here's how the teams are organised:
I put a call in today to Tony Chapman, Harringay's officer and also the team leader for Haringey West. I spoke to him at a meeting a few weeks back about estate agents' boards on Green Lanes and haven't followed up. This call was to do so. He's away on leave at the moment, but a colleague, Kelly Peck, offered to see if the team could make a start on an audit of EA boards and the satellite dishes opposite the Arena Shopping Park. I live in hope that this will one day be achieved.
The officer for Harringay and St Ann's wards is John Foorde - firstname.lastname@example.org 077 9403 3346 / 020 8489 5587
Strangely, I can't find this service listed on the Council website anywhere. Is it just me?
I was prompted to follow up on this by a press release issued by the Council today:
Royal blue uniformed Neighbourhood Action Team (NATs) from Single Frontline are allocated to each ward to help tackle local environmental problems. These are new teams set up to cover pavement and road defects, monitor Veolia's street cleaning, refuse and recycling collection and carry out street enforcement.
Haringey is thought to be the first council in the country to combine these street based services in a single team.
Following consultation with Area Committees, Area Plans will be published helping to identify the different ward priorities, which will shape some of the work of the teams.
Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Nilgun Canver, said:
"I hope this helps put the community in the driving seat and leads to fast and sustainable solutions to local problems.The NATs will get to know their areas and the problem hot spots and can work with residents to tackle major issues."
The NATs will work to report and address problems or to enforce against a range of issues and persistent offences, including:
The NATs can issue warnings or penalties and can press for prosecution for more serious offences.
Within the NAT there is also a Tactical Enforcement Team that will operate borough-wide to deal with problems of a more serious or complex nature requiring high-level enforcement intervention, if necessary with the help of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams.
This is depressing. But not because of the named staff. They are people who, over the years, I've been in contact with about a wide range of environmental problems. I've great respect for them and their 'street-level' colleagues.
But I seriously worry about this Press Release raising unrealistic expectations. One consequence of the cuts was significant staff reductions. And reduced budgets for spending on, for example, "pavement and road defects".
As a councillor I always try not to make promises I can't keep.
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
This department may not be short of resource as it suggests to local councillors. Its quite conceivable it is short of resource because it is not using it to best effect.
As an example, when an unsafely overloaded skip had to be dealt with in this area, it should have sent out someone authorised under the Highways Act. Instead, it chose to send out someone else who could not take the requisite action.
Skips at this location have consumed a lot of Haringey resource quite pointlessly due to a poor process to deal with the issue.
Interesting priority list.
As rubbish dumped in front gardens is on there, I'll make it my business to do an audit of the streets around me and pass them on, though I am rather dissapointed that the team have not been proactive enough to pick these up themselves as many have been used as dumps for months and the team have been around since October. Or could it be as Alan says, raising unreasonable expectations?
and where, oh where, do the community volunteers (whose scheme has never officially been abandoned) fit into all this? Way back in the distant mists of 2010 I went on a walkabout with Brian, Geraldo and the SNT to input as a community volunteer on priorities. I asked for people to input hotspots via HOL (can't link to that post as it seems to have been 'archived') and shared them with the team. We were given to understand at our meetings that this would not be a one off but nowhere in this planning does it suggest that our band of stalwarts are to be included.
I suppose I must with heavy heart remove my picture of the Cabinet Member for environment from off the mantlepiece, take off my sensible shoes and hand in my notebook and pencil made from recycled polystyrene cups. It seems that we are no longer wanted but no one has got round to sending us the Dear John letter. Hell, they don't even answer the phone any more (do they Andy?). Here's some memories of the good old dayz and some photos of the days when Mrs E (my alter ego was born)...and I still have my free tea towel.
I'll get me notebook and pencil...
I've only ever heard a handful of views about the Community Volunteer Scheme. And these were sometimes mixed. In any case, having been involved in the past with various volunteer schemes, I know they can often "flower" and then die away "organically", depending very much on the enthusiasm and personal situation of key individuals.
But if the Haringey staff responsible for supporting the volunteers thought it was not working properly or needed changes, that could and should have been discussed with volunteers. With new approaches suggested and tried and new people with fresh energy encouraged to join in.
Letting the Community Volunteers Scheme fade away without trying to refresh and renew it, seems very short-sighted. Letting it go without even a thank-you is also very bad manners.
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
I think the 'rot' probably set in when we were moved from Green Team's nurturing embrace and thrust onto the front line next to enforcement. It may have been our own fault. We asked for more joined up thinking between waste management and enforcement teams and the next thing we knew we were sent up the line.
Under the Green Team, the emphasis was on recycling, sustainability and green policies e.g. energy usage with a small portion of the meeting devoted to frontline matters like dumping. We had well attended meetings, sometimes on Saturdays at the Reuse and Recycle centre (woo hoo mrs E) with fellow amateur devotees of waste manangement policies.
It may have been that removing our Green Champion badges and giving us Dumping Vigilante hats meant that interest dropped in the scheme. Certainly, some regulars stopped coming and we were a little put out to get presentations on helping the police in reporting criminal matters (it wasn't what we signed up for at all and we refused as a group to get involved). Robin Payne did see us as part of the enforcement process and promoted use of social media to help us report things, but I think maybe we started to lose our way, after all we weren't originally meant to be volunteer enforcement officers, and certainly after he left the council, we gradually discovered that our volunteer services were clearly no longer wanted but no one could be bothered to get around to writing the thank you notes.
I have asked Veolia about renewing the scheme under the old terms as volunteer green champions, especially with the big change over going on. Interest was politely expressed but no more was done about it. I guess we need to find other outlets for our enthusiasm for a more sustainable future, like the Transition Groups, Sustainable Haringey etc because it looks suspiciously like the council don't have the ability to channel it in productive ways.
I used to be a member of the Community Volunteer Scheme and thought it was a great idea. But it seemed to die as most things in Haringey seem to and so I dropped out being interested. Happens to me a lot in Haringey I'm afraid and I used to be a very good volunteer once upon a time.
I am both sad and angry reading this, Margaret. How long were you a Community Volunteer? Did anyone even write thanking you for the time and effort you put in?
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
Hello, this might not be the right place to put this but I'm interested in meeting local groups in Haringey to discuss the 'plan for tottenham' redevelopment and get some action research work on a proposal I have for a community art project. would love to be forwarded to anyone you think might want to see community art project.
I have a meeting with the ward corner coalition on monday.
I had a meeting today with Superintendant Wolski, and he is really interested in being involved. I also spoke with Bruce Castle museum councillors and they are lending my ear, and have advised connecting to local community groups.
This project goes beyond just the notion of community art, it involves communication, cohesion and skill building activities for various members of Tottenham specifically but Haringey as a whole.
look forward to hearing from you.