Saturday, April 20, 2024

Race to the bottom? as Tories slam english language lessons for Thurrock Council housing workers

A WAR OF words has broken out between the Thurrock Tories and the ruling Labour group over Tory claims that housing repair workers are being given english lessons by Thurrock Council.

The Thurrock Tories claim that there has been repeated complaints from residents that Council contractors are turning up to undertake work without a basic grasp of English.

A spokesperson said: “Thurrock Council has started to teach contractors english rather than insisting on contractors who already can already speak it.

Shadow Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor Sue Little said: “I was shocked to find that rather than having English speaking contractors, Labour-run Thurrock is spending taxpayers money on teaching foreign workers how to communicate, it’s a disgrace!

“This should not be done at the tax payers expense – why haven’t Labour insisted on employing Thurrock workers who do speak an acceptable standard of English?

However, the council has denied that they are responsible for providing english lessons for housing repair workers.

A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “The paragraph referred to states that the (english) lessons are provided by the contractors not the council.

YT checked back on the records and located the relevant paragraph in the report. It states:

“The Housing department is committed to driving continuous improvement and providing an excellent level of service and works to residents. Since the programme commenced, a number of processes to assist with improving the quality of customer-care residents experience have been implemented.

These enhancements include:

1. Email alerts being dispatched to contractors to inform them when residents are not satisfied with the service they have received. Contractors are subsequently required to feedback how they dealt with these issues at the monthly governance meeting.

2. Developing detailed action plans for contractor’s whose performance slips. This has assisted with the vast improvements made by certain contractors in recent months. These plans have developed strategies to enhance the daily interaction residents have with staff during the works, and have included: English lessons for site-operatives to improve their communication skills, increased involvement of Resident Liaison Officers and quicker turnaround times to complete the works.

Orsett councillor, Sue Little has gone on to recommend that the council should not employ people who “cannot communicate properly with their customers”

Cllr Little added “When contractors are being trusted to work in residents homes, the ability to communicate is an essential skill. So when residents tell me the only English phrase a workman knows is “no speak English”, I wonder what has been missed when works are carried out.

“We wouldn’t employ a plumber who could fix pipes (sic) and we shouldn’t employ who cannot communicate properly with their customers.

“With Labour being being propped up by Thurrock’s only UKIP Councillor, we know the remedy won’t be putting the contracts with those who can communicate with residents, but to continue to throw tax payers money at the problem in the hope it will go away.

“We will pushing for answers on the costs at Wednesdays housing scrutiny committee.”


  1. Ed Firstly the only April fool is you! I’m currently involved in a case where it is quite clear that the English language has been overlooked with regards to communicating with the tenant. This contractor has shown disregard to an agreed plan of works, carrying out works off plan I suppose it must be difficult if you have little communication skills relaying to tenants that “I really don’t have a Scooby Doo what I’m doing but I will walk in your property unannounced and when challenged “no understand” I’ll throw your kitchen and bathroom together and leave you with sinks leaking in both the bathroom and kitchen as ”
    no understand” and do sub standard work as “no understand”and Thurrock Council are so clever at passing their responsibility to tenants to deal directly with their contractors and not them as Thurrock Council obviously “No understand” or care quite frankly. Does Thurrock Council understand that they are the Landlord here and they are responsible for the works being carried out by the “no understand” contractors I ask Thurrock Council in five years time will they start to correct the sub standard work currently being carried out under this supposed 67million pounds being spent to line the contractors pockets or will it once again be one of those legacy’s where this Labour run Council have run out of money and tenants are left with not fit for purpose improvements. Interesting to see that the one and only UKIP Councillor appears to be in support of this current out of touch Labour run council. Please see it for yourself listen to the full council recording on Thurrock Council’s website from Wednesday 26th March at 10.29 p.m where this UKIP Scrappy Doo Councillor is also recorded to be in support of merging with Barking and Dagenham Council! Siding with Labour promotes their current working practice of workers who struggle to communicate with Thurrock Council Tenants. Rather odd don’t you think.

  2. There are no plans to merge Thurrock with Barking & Dagenham. This is just a lie that is told by idiotic Conservatives hoping to hoodwink the electorate.

  3. As far as I know, wasn’t it the Tories who basically transferred all council housing work over to one private company a few years back? Please note, the word private – it’s a private company, so I would imagine it’s that company who employs there workmen, not Thurrock Council? Wasn’t Morrison’s the original company (which are even worse than the present lot) put in place by the Tories???
    Interesting that UKIP seem to be getting the boot now from the Tories, expect the Tories are running scared?

  4. jonno66 – When the Conservatives were in charge of Thurrock Council they had a pet BNP Councillor who kept them in power and whom they could rely on to vote the way they wanted. They are unable to make a pact or alliance with the UKIP Councillor hence the bile and venom directed at UKIP. The Conservatives show they really are running scared.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More articles