Ballymun Report

To the Chairperson and Members of the

North West Area Committee

Meeting: 17th December 2010

Ballymun Report

General

Furniture removal contract

The area office is managing the tender process for tenant relocation in the city.  It is hoped that a new panel will be in place in January.

Neighbourhood Offices

An assessment was recently carried out on the effectiveness of the Neighbourhood Offices in Sillogue, Coultry, Shangan, Balcurris and Poppintree.  It was intended to offer Dublin City Council services and other services from these offices on a 5 day week basis but due to reduced staff numbers this has not been possible in all locations.  Running these offices increases costs for Dublin City Council and given that the footfall in some locations was low, a decision was taken to close the offices.  This opens up the opportunity to use these spaces to relocate key local organisations such as the family resource centre, thus meeting two objectives – rehousing groups and saving money for Dublin City Council.  The centres will still house the neighbourhood forums and neighbourhood activities, but costs will be borne by the anchor tenants.

Networks

Staff in the area office continue to represent Dublin City Council on organisations and groups such as the Ballymun/Whitehall area Partnership, Ballymun Drugs Task Force, BRL Social Regeneration Sub Committee, Safer Ballymun, Nordubco, Ballymun Youth Resource Centre, CAFTA, Youngballymun, Poppintree Early Education Centre, Ballymun Youth Development Group, and the newly formed HSE Child Protection Committee for area 7, covering North West and North Central areas.  We continue to play an active role in the Ballymun Network for Assisting Children and Young People, the evaluation report for which was launched on 3rd December by Minister Pat Carey.

Community

Strategic Review of Community Groups Accommodation  Needs

The process of identifying and responding to the accommodation needs of community groups operating from flats and basements that are now required for demolition is continuing. Area staff in conjunction with Ballymun Regeneration Ltd have identified alternative accommodation and refurbished units for more than fifty community-based organisations.   A strategic review of all of the community groups and organisations remaining in the flat blocks was carried out during 2010, in a collaborative and co-ordinated manner by the local area office. This review was based on the following specific criteria: – Demolition programme, Level of community service provision, Target client group, Structural / physical requirements.   Further to this systematic examination, all of the 37 remaining organisations were classified accordingly. The community groups that met at least three of the above four criteria were the highest ranked group in terms of priority for re-accommodation. This review was presented to Senior Management of BRL and DCC (North West Area), the local community groups and organisations and most recently to the Elected Members at the September North West Area Committee Meeting The system of prioritisation has also been endorsed by the Community Facilities Forum, which is made up of the key stakeholders, Dublin City Council, Ballymun Regeneration Limited, Community Representatives and the Ballymun/Whitehall Area Partnership. The aim of the Community Facilities Forum is to devise a plan for the relocation of community groups in the area.   This is a key piece of work for the City Council.

Christmas tree lighting ceremony 2010

The Christmas tree lights in Ballymun will be turned on at 6pm on 15th December in conjunction with the Aisling Project’s Christmas concert, which is being sponsored by  Dublin City Council in the Axis centre the same evening, where more than 100 children will be showcasing their talents.

Sheltered Housing Liaison Officer

This position is now integrated into the community development structure in Ballymun.   The new arrangement has worked out well in the recent snowy weather, as it has enabled closer liaison with local community and housing staff.

Housing and Estate Management

The Ballymun Office continues to offer a comprehensive housing service, including allocations, rent assessment and arrears management, logging of maintenance complaints and estate management.  We manage the detenanting of the blocks, including relocation of tenants.  We also manage the refurbishment of voids, and have been very successful in reducing the number of voids in the area, which, along with the use of surplus affordable units has enabled us to significantly accelerate detenanting of target blocks, with subsequent significant savings in heating, lift and other maintenance costs.  The new lift maintenance contract is due to be in place from 4th January 2011.

Allocations

The Ballymun Area Office continues to allocate dwellings in the Ballymun area with the focus on detenanting the remaining blocks in Shangan, Coultry and Silloge and limited housing of persons from the Housing and Transfer lists.

Rents

All outstanding AR1 forms have now been processed. Efforts to fill the Rent Assessment Officer vacancy have been unsuccessful to date.  This is a key post which needs to be filled.

Arrears management

The staffing level in this unit has been enhanced by the allocation of a Clerical Officer from within the existing staff compliment.  When provisional offers are being made, tenants with arrears are referred to this unit in order to enter an agreement.  Where units other than those built by BRL are being offered, arrears are taken into account and tenants will not be made an offer unless they are preventing demolition of a block.

Anti Social Behaviour / Estate Management

127 formal complaints were received and 35 interviews took place in the Ballymun Area Office between July and December 2010. 4 Exclusion Orders are currently being considered, 3 Final Warnings have been issued, and 3 Notice to Quit/Eviction cases have been forwarded to the Central section for consideration of legal action.

Our Estate management team continues to meet bi-monthly with Dublin Bus and its union representatives, residents association representatives and the Gardai to determine a coordinated approach should there be attacks on buses in the area.  Shangan and SIllogue have been identified as problematic and are being focused on by the Gardai and our C.C.T.V. system.

Detenanting

We are now focussing on the remaining blocks in Shangan, Coultry and Silloge with a view to moving the most isolated tenants, in order to reduce the amount of difficulties tenants are experiencing on these blocks.  Blocks 1 and 3 in Shangan, block 1 in Coultry and block 4 in Sillogue are largely de-tenanted. The environment remains challenging and we are in frequent contact with the Gardai.

Working Wardens

The working Wardens service has begun with the former Housing Wardens staffing this service. The work which they undertake will be decided by local Management.  This will ensure that they remain an important resource for the Ballymun area.

Plunkett Tower and Balbutcher Lane

As these blocks will be the last to be demolished and are nearly fully occupied, we have been working on low cost initiatives to improve the conditions for residents.  Dense shrubbery has been removed, lifts have been deep cleaned and graffiti is being removed.

BALLYMUN LETTINGS   JANUARY/DECEMBER 2010

Points                                                                          11                                  7

Homeless                                                                    3

Medical                                                                                                              1

Welfare                                                                       1                                    6

Fire/Flood                                                                                                          2

Regen Detenanting (New)                                                                              55

Regen Detenanting (Interim)                                                                            8

Allocation Category                                      Housing list               Transfer List

Regen Detenanting (old house)                                                                      51

Inter Transfer                                                                                                    2

Surrender Larger Acc.                                                                                      5

Financial Contribution                                                                                       1

Unfit Accommodation

Estate Management                                                                                          1

Part V Planning Act.                                                                                        40

Sub Totals                                                             15                                    179

Total                                                               194

Ballymun RAPID

Ballymun CCTV Project

The much anticipated integrated CCTV system for the Ballymun area was launched by the Minister for Justice on 13th October and, along with the new Safer Ballymun website, formed the highlight of Safer Ballymun week.  The Ballymun CCTV system added new 42 cameras spread throughout the area to the existing 10 cameras in the public domain and several cameras in the parks.  It operates on a wireless basis, transmitting to a central control room, with footage also being viewable in the Garda station, and is monitored on a 24 hour basis.  Originally the 10 existing cameras were to continue to record to the old control room, but be monitored from the new one, but as the recording mechanism for these died recently the locations have been assessed and it is considered that 6 should now be replaced and fully integrated in to the new system.  The parks cameras are also being upgraded and will fully integrate into the new system also.  While the cameras have been handed over to Dublin City Council, the network will not be competed until 14th January, when it should also be handed over.  The G4S staff who monitor the system, in addition to the concierge system, have moved from Plunkett Tower to a state of the art monitoring room in Santry Cross.  Protocols have been agreed with An Garda Siochana and the Access and Disclosure policy has been agreed with the Dublin City Council’s Data Protection section.

It is envisaged that the installation of the system will contribute to the original vision of a safe and secure area with an overt, yet amiable security presence. The use of CCTV in the main thoroughfares, shopping areas, recreation areas, parks and other circulation and assembly areas will contribute to a feeling of safety for residents and visitors to the area. It will also actively contribute to the actions of the Garda Siochana in their ongoing efforts to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.

European Capital of Sport for 2010

As Ballymun’s contribution to Dublin’s role as European Capital of Sport for 2010 a sports week took place from 25th to 31st of October, covering the lead up to Halloween.  It was organised in partnership with Dublin City Council Sports Section, BRL and a number of different National Governing Bodies of Sport.  It promoted existing sporting facilities and services in the area through a week of activities intended to increase physical activity, health promotion and awareness of existing services for residents and groups in the area. Activities included Splash days, hip hop, tag rugby, futsal and eco adventures and participant ages ranged from the very young to the very old.  The week was funded by RAPID, the North West Area office, Dublin City Council’s Social Inclusion Unit and Ballymun Regeneration Limited. Leaflets and Posters of the activities were circulated around the area.