This afternoon I had a meeting with Bill Wyatt of the London Borough of Sutton to go through the draft Allotment Gardening Guild which forms part of the contract between the London Borough of Sutton and idverde who have taken over the management of Allotments for the borough with the tenant.
The meeting was held in the offices at Denmark Road that I worked at for 18 years and during that time I had worked on three different floors as council departments tend to move around when they grow and reduce normally due to changes in legislation and increases and reductions in staff and methods of working.
Although I have been gone from there a long time there are still a small number of member of staff that remain that I recognised and they me. It saddened me to find the at Annex building top floor was completely empty and was being used as meeting areas. For all the criticism that council officers have had to put up with over the years, I can say that when I worked there, you did your best, you didn't hide behind a call centre and call back within 48 hours, you took ownership of a problem or an enquiry from a resident and dealt with it, because you were a public servant and felt a sense of duty and a duty of care.
The externalisation of services to save money has done the complete opposite the refuge collection service has been a complete nightmare for both the council and the residents of the borough and the experience with Allotments going out to external management has equally been as poor in the first year, but luckily for them the council have had bigger fish to fry.
As a result of the meeting we will finally have an updated document that correctly defines who is responsible for what, missing sections of the document have been re written and it has been reviewed by all member of the Allotment Gardening Group i.e. The Council, Idverde and the Site Rep Association.
So now I just need to type up the final edits and we are good to go for the Allotment Gardening Group meeting in February.