Croydon has appointed an interim executive director for housing to co-ordinate widespread improvements to how council residents are listened to and looked after.
Dr Alison Knight was previously Executive Director – Neighbourhoods at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in the West Midlands between 2017 and 2020, where she led on a major improvement programme for 27,000 council homes, delivered 600 new homes and introduced performance measures and a culture change programme that achieved high customer satisfaction levels on repairs.
She is currently acting as Strategic Place Advisor on housing delivery at Thurrock Council, and will join Croydon Council at the end of May with a brief to transform the way its housing services are run and give residents a much greater say in these improvements.
Her appointment is one of a range of immediate and long-term steps the council is taking to improve housing services across the board, after commissioning an independent report into unacceptable conditions at some of its properties.
Dr Knight, who has over 30 years’ experience in the public and private sectors, was previously a director at Cheshire West and Chester Council where she oversaw a portfolio including housing and regeneration.
“We are determined to improve everything about the service we give to our council residents, and this appointment underlines we are serious about raising Croydon’s housing standards, and at pace.
“I am really pleased to welcome Alison to Croydon – her experience in leading on housing improvements and culture change will be particularly invaluable in improving the way we meet our council residents’ needs and work more closely with them.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council
Dr Knight said: “I am passionate about delivering excellent services to local people, and this role is a great opportunity to help make sure everyone in council homes feels cared for and receives a really good, responsive experience across our teams. I look forward to meeting all the colleagues I will be working closely with and getting started.”
The council’s improvement plan drawn up in response to the ARK report will be discussed by councillors at Monday’s cabinet meeting.