A contract for security patrols and waking watch services at Thanet council’s blocks of flats has been backed by Cabinet members this evening (November 18) and will go forward for approval by full council.
Twice nightly patrols at Staner Court, Trove Court, Kennedy House, Brunswick Court, Harbour Towers and Invicta House have been “extremely effective” responding to a issues, including rubbish and other items left in communal areas, noise and antisocial behaviour, blocked rubbish chutes and activations of fire alarm systems.
The patrols record and report all issues through to the council’s Housing Management officers so that any follow up actions needed can be arranged.
Cabinet member for housing Jill Bayford said services would now be procured “on a longer term basis.”
The estimated cost of the service is £108,000 per year and the contract would be for 2 years, with two 1 year extension options.
The proposal also incudes provision for the waking watch service 24/7 at Staner Court, Trove Court, Kennedy House, Harbour Towers and Invicta House focused on reducing the risks associated with fire and raising the alarm in the case of a fire:
The blocks are all fitted with an external wall insulation system that needs to be removed and replaced and a KFRS report highlighted the fire breaks in the system do not meet current standards.
A £5.8 million bid for government funding has been made for the work and has passed through the first stage with referral to Homes England.
The waking watch, which also assists the fire service on site with a managed evacuation, was put in place earlier this year.
Thanet council is installing new alarm sounders in every flat, and once these have been put in place KFRS has advised that there will no longer be a need to provide the waking watch service.
The report to Cabinet members discussed tonight says: “It is anticipated that the Waking Watch Service will be required for a period of approximately 12 months, dependent upon the timescales for the required alarm upgrades.
“The estimated cost of this element of the contract will be up to £812,000.”
Once the Waking Watch Service is no longer needed the previous nightly security patrols will resume.
Labour councillor Rick Everitt said although safety of tenants was “the number one priority” he was concerned at the costs which would be passed onto all council tenants, impacting on the poorest residents, and asked whether the council would recoup costs from the government.
Housing officer Bob Porter said that government funding had been explored but “so far there has not been an opportunity to bid for funding but if one comes up we will certainly take advantage of it.”
A contract for cleaning services in communal areas of council owned blocks was also approved to be put before full council.