Fire risk assessments (open meeting); All change at the top; Date changes!

Welcome to your November 2017 newsletter from Camden Leaseholder’s Forum.

In this edition:
Fire Risk Assessments (including open meeting)
Camden Cabinet – All Change
Interested in getting started in writing or WordPress?
Forthcoming Meetings (date change!) and 2018 dates
Previous mailings
GDPR is coming

Fire Risk Assessments (including open meeting)
Fire Risks remain high on the Council agenda. The main focus remains on tower blocks and so national issues, but the Camden programme for fire risk assessments and ensuing works for 2017/18 has shifted to street properties. Over 1000 of our 9000 leaseholders will be seeing bills for about £3.5k as a result. If you have been affected and have gone to any of the explanatory sessions, let us know your observations or, even better, post your experiences on our Forum discussion pages.

Keith Scott, the new Director of Resident Safety has started work. His background is in risk management, and his starting point is that those who bear the risks should be part of resolving them. He has already been part of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review of the Building and Fire Regulations. We will be working with him on risks more widely across the capital and repairs programmes; anyone with skills who can share in this, please contact us.

Our main annual open meeting will focus on Fire Safety. It will be on MONDAY, 11th December at 6.45pm at Camden Town Hall. Currently, besides Mike Edmunds from Leaseholder Services, Keith Scott will be coming as will Councillor Meric Apak the Cabinet member for housing. Anthony Essien, the Chief Executive of the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) will be coming to discuss service charge implications. We are seeking a representative from the London Fire Brigade. We will therefore have experts on what is happening, what is likely to happen both to landlords and to leaseholders, and what happens in Camden. The aim is short presentations and then lots of time for questions. Please come.

Camden Cabinet – All Change
Camden has a new Leader in Councillor Georgia Gould, who is making openness and transparency key priorities. As you may recall, Councillor Patricia Callaghan was the member responsible for the housing portfolio. Although well intentioned, her background in social care meant it took her some time to get up to speed. In September she moved to being Cabinet Member for Tackling Health Inequality & Promoting Independence, and so back towards her previous area.

Councillor Meric Apak becomes Cabinet Member for Better Homes. He is a long-standing Camden tenant and previous tenant leader, who has had his own business as an electrical contractor. He chaired Housing Scrutiny before joining the Cabinet, and has attended our Forum. Councillor Danny Beales becomes Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities, and so responsible for Regeneration. Put simply, Councillor Danny will build, and Councillor Meric will then run new housing. Councillor Sabrina Francis takes over as Chair of Housing Scrutiny.

Click here for the full list of Camden cabinet members and their positions and the associated announcement (with the new Leader for Camden).

Interested in getting started in writing or looking websites?
The Forum’s writer-in-residence, Paul Ginsberg, has had to step down as newsletter-writer-in-chief as he is now working abroad. This leaves a number of opportunities/positions available for anyone who is interested. These positions can be done individually or taken together, and the time commitment is low. The only requirement is enthusiasm to writing and/or maintaining a website. An interest in leaseholders’ issues is welcome but not mandatory and full training and mentoring can be provided to suit your requirements.

So if you fancy writing or contributing to our newsletters (twice-yearly at a minimum), writing blog posts or guides, posting on social media, learning about leaseholder issues, or just to help maintain a website, let us know, speak to our Chair (at any meeting) or discuss it with any Forum member. You can also email Paul Ginsberg if you have any queries.

Paul adds: “I’ve really enjoyed my time handling the Forum’s communications. It’s enabled me to meet some really good, selfless people as well as interesting characters – and sometimes both at once! My writing style and confidence have also grown; I now regularly write well-received articles as part of my professional career. I also like to think that I have made a positive contribution to the lives of both leaseholders and tenants by, over time, improving some of Camden’s processes behind the scenes, using the knowledge and passion of our network.”

Next Meetings (date change!) and 2018 dates
Leaseholders’ Forum meetings will take place as follows, all at the usual venue of Camden Town Hall at 6.45pm and normally in the Council Chamber.
– 11th December 2017 (date change – this replaces the 28th November meeting)
– 16th January 2018
– 20th March 2018
– 26th June 2018
– 18th September 2018
– 23th October 2018
– 10th December 2018

Previous mailings
Our 2017 Spring and Autumn newsletters which were included in Camden Council’s service charge statements sent by post in March and September are now available online just in case you missed them.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a complete game-changer in terms of how companies interact with customers and even other businesses. Companies will need to prove that customers opted in to communications, amongst other matters. Even the Leaseholders’ Forum is affected!

When we first started this mailing list we didn’t think to keep details of when and where someone signed up to receive newsletters. To ensure we stay completely on the right side of this new legislation, next month we will be asking everyone on our mailing list to confirm that they want to receive our newsletter. We’re just getting the bits “behind the scenes” set up now, so look out for the email.

p.s. For all the news straight away (and other stories from other stories that we think might be of interest), follow us on Twitter! @CLForum

That’s all for now!
Camden Leaseholders’ Forum
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Camden Leaseholders’ Forum is a volunteer group representing all leaseholders in Camden Council properties and freeholders paying service charges to Camden Council. We scrutinise Camden Council proposals, examine working practices and lobby on behalf of leaseholders to Camden Council.

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About Camden Leaseholders' Forum

This is the official Camden Leaseholders' Forum account. Why not come along to one of our meetings to see us in the flesh? Alternatively email if you want to get in contact or, best yet, post to the Discussion Board and then you will not only hear from us, but also you fellow residents too, who have their own stories to tell and answers to give...