Skip to main content

Patrolling My Patch: A Housing Officer’s View

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Accommodation

Having heard from Anne Terry about the introduction of Patch Management, Richard McCance tells us what it means on the ground.


I have worked in military housing for the MOD for almost 22 years, having joined the DIO’s predecessor when I left the Army after 23 years’ service. On completion of my service with the Army, I took on the role of Estate Warden at Catterick Garrison.

My role covers many aspects of Housing and without going into depth, I look after 318 Service Families Accommodation properties within Catterick Garrison. This can be a very interesting and rewarding task.

Photograph of Richard McCance (Crown Copyright)
Richard McCance walking his patch. (Crown Copyright)

We’ve recently reintroduced a system called Patch Management. Under this idea, each Housing Officer is allocated an area and is expected to get out and about on their patch. I pound the streets for about an hour on each of my allocated estates on a weekly basis.

 Problems on the Patch

I am amazed at how much fly tipping I find on the patch. Rather than taken to the tip, unwanted items are sometimes just dumped - behind garages seems to be a hot spot! Damage to road surfaces is always ongoing, and there are often abandoned cars and illegally parked caravans. During the winter months it does amaze me when I see so much damage to the grassed areas. I know some of the damage is caused by cars but a lot is caused by furniture removal companies unloading furniture to families’ houses. The damage will in due course be repaired and have to be paid for.


I have always been keen to meet the families using the accommodation. Before Patch Management was introduced I would usually see families at the move in and then the move out, but that’s all. I am now able to talk or chat to them to discuss issues or concerns that they may have and personally address their problems. As a result, I am building an excellent relationship with families on my patch.

An example of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) at Catterick (Crown Copyright)
An example of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) at Catterick (Crown Copyright)


Within my patch there is a lot of work going on, including new kitchens, road repairs, damp proofing, fencing, ground maintenance, replacement doors and windows and other property enhancements. I have never seen so many contractors working to improve the accommodation for my Service families. I know it is all very disruptive to everyone but the families can be reassured that the ultimate goal is for them to have somewhere nice to live.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

1 comment

  1. Comment by Fiona Shedden posted on

    Well said Richard!


Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.