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.
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.
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.