Work from the Property Review gathers momentum
In January 2012, we commissioned a review of our property-related functions, to ensure that the Diocese has the best resources and approach to meet the challenges of Capital Vision 2020 and to build on the good work already done. The 57 review recommendations were unanimously agreed at the Bishop’s Council in November 2012.
We have made significant progress since then and are on track to implement the majority of these recommendations by the end of this year. Find out what’s changed and what this means for you.
More resources to help parishes
A critical factor of the Property Review was bringing in additional resources to better meet the needs of each parish. In June we made two appointments to complete this recommendation.
Paul Stark joined the team as Building Surveyor, responsible for the quinquennial inspection and cyclical repair programme. Paul reports to Kenny Cathro, Head of Operational Housing.
Jo Love also joined us as Investment Property Asset Manager reporting to Will Hagger, Head of Property Investment. Will and Jo are enabling us to sell a number of properties that do not meet our required performance targets and purchasing properties that can better support mission and ministry.
To ensure value for money and quality we now have a formal procurement, vetting and management procedure for all our contractors and sub-contractors. An essential part of this process is sign-off and feedback from clergy. Please complete and return the customer satisfaction form when works are complete.
Another key recommendation of the Property Review was to improve communication and we now have a communication strategy to improve understanding of property matters across the Diocese, including service standards and expectations.
We are making improvements to the information available on the diocesan website and have published one central email address and phone number to make it easier for you to contact us if you’re not sure which person you need to speak to. You can now email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7932 1250 to be directed to the right person.
Enabling investment in mission projects
David Gregory, Development Manager for Parsonage sites, is progressing a number of schemes through the planning process and we are on track to release capital from these projects within the next six months. This contributes to our target to release £10 million by 2020, for investment in mission projects.
The Property Team are currently supporting 47 parishes with projects at different stages of the development process. Planning permission has recently been granted for St John-at-Hackney and St Peter Stonegrove.
Redevelopment of the site next to the church of St John at Hackney will provide a major part of the funding, circa £1.7 million, for the repair and improvement works to the church building.
The construction of a new church and community centre at St Peter Stonegrove will provide the community hub at the heart of a regenerated estate. Work is due to start in January 2015.
Your feedback is important
In the survey carried out as part of the review 76% of you were satisfied, or more than satisfied, with the service provided by the operational housing team and our appointed contractors. This was a pleasing result but as we strive to provide an excellent service we recognise there’s room for improvement. To check our progress we would really appreciate five minutes of your time to complete a short online survey.
When meeting a member of the clergy recently it was good to hear that the way Kenny Cathro and the contractors under took the recent quinquennial works to his property “was exemplary”.
We are reviewing and updating our property management systems to improve services and make better use of our resources.
In the future you will be able to use the website to submit maintenance requests for clergy houses and requests for advice from the Diocesan Advisory Committee. You will also be able to submit online requests for approval by the Diocesan Authority (formerly known as the Custodian Trustee) for properties that that London Diocesan Fund own as Diocesan Authority on behalf of the Parochial Church Council.
Sadly, Matthew Cooper has left the Parish Property Support Team to join English Heritage as Assistant Inspector of Historic Buildings. Among his achievements Matthew helped raise £4 million for the repair of churches in the Diocese for which we are grateful and wish him well in his new role. If your church is within English Heritage’s East London and City area and your project requires input from them, it could well be Matt who you speak to. We are currently recruiting for his replacement.