The Barbican Estate Office
The Barbican estate and its services are managed by the Barbican Estate Office, which is a department of the Corporation of London. The Estate Office has offices at Lauderdale Place with a ground floor reception. The Estate Office is your contact for all landlord and estate management services.
Contact details: Barbican Estate Office, 3 Lauderdale Place, Barbican, London, EC2Y 8EN. General Enquiries: 020 7029 3958.
The Estate Office staff are very helpful, so give them a call if you have a problem, or drop in to their reception.
The Barbican Estate Office currently has a system where each block has a specific House Officer allocated to it, and this is the person you should contact for specific issues and day-to-day problems.
The City’s website www.cityoflondon.gov.uk contains a lot of very useful information for Barbican residents.
Service Level Agreements
‘Service level agreements’ are agreements between the City and us, through our representatives, about what services should be provided as part of our service charges, and how much we should pay for them. Our representatives for this purpose are our house groups.
There are ‘service level agreements’ for the estate or tailored to individual blocks covering a wide range of services.
If you want to know exactly what applies in your building, or what the arrangements are for particular services, you can obtain details from the Barbican Estate Office.
Barbican Residential Committee
The landlord of the estate is the Corporation of London. It delegates management responsibility to a committee of the Corporation called the Barbican Residential Committee – ‘BRC’ for short. Some members of the Committee happen to be Barbican residents. But, ironically, any member who also happens to live in the Barbican can speak, but is not allowed to vote, on any issue concerning the estate, because of local government rules against councilors voting on issues in which they have a personal interest.
The BRC is mainly involved at the level of policy, budgets and strategy. Day to day issues are the province of the Barbican Estate Office. But the BRC has the final word on any issue.
Residents Consultation Committee
The Residents Consultation Committee is an organisation purely of Barbican flat owners and residents. It is an advisory group – a way for the residents to be heard in management strategy and day-to-day administration.
Although all power in the strict sense still lies with the BRC, the Residents Consultation Committee – ‘RCC’ for short – has an influential role. The Estate Director (the head of the Barbican Estate Office) must report to the RCC on a regular basis. So residents’ legitimate concerns are taken into account in the planning stages. The RCC can also take the initiative and request reports on issues from the Estate Director.
When anything is to be considered by the BRC, the RCC will receive papers in advance so that they can comment and make recommendations. Since the BRC doesn’t have the time to go into everything in huge detail, the RCC’s recommendations can be decisive.The RCC has a major role in determining the services we receive and in ensuring they are value for money.
The committee monitors service level agreements. In many ways, this is the real substance of our every day lives.
Each house or block has a House Group. If it contains a sufficient proportion of the block’s residents, then it also qualifies as a ‘representative body’ for the block which the Corporation of London must consult on some important issues relating to building works and services. So it is beneficial to be a member, even if you don’t attend meetings. That way you help ensure that the house group has enough members to be a representative body. (It is open to owners and occupiers.)
This is the estate-wide residents’ association, but it has really ceased to have any management purpose now that the RCC – a faster, more efficient vehicle for protecting residents’ interests – exists; and the House Groups are more approprate representatives at grassroots level. (It is open to owners and occupiers.)
It retains a useful function as organiser of social events and the Barbican Life magazine. It has always been a Jekyll and Hyde organisation. Sometimes the monster stalks the high walks, objecting to everything. In recent years, the friendlier Jekyll side of its nature has been more noticeable.