A month ago we brought you a Long Read blog about P & R and how badly they were performing in relation to the £27 milllion pound central heating, emergency 24/7 gas and hot water repairs Contract they have with East Kent Housing (EKH).
East Kent Housing is the largest arms length management organisation(ALMO) in the country, managing the entire social housing stock, for the four councils of Canterbury, Dover, Shepway & Thanet – a total of 17,000 homes.The Almo’s main objective is to achieve economies of scale that will improve tenant services.
On March 12th 2018 the EKH-board agenda mention P & R no less than seven times.
The Director of Property Mark Anderson (pictured) reports:
Whilst improvements in the heating and hot water contract service delivered by P&R had been made, the Director highlighted a slight increase in customer complaints which could be attributed to increased service demand at this time of year.
It goes onto say at page 128 of the agenda:
Unfortunately, residents have continued to experience service deficiencies and failings from P&R. These became apparent in the immediate lead up to the Christmas and New Year break and have resulted in an escalation of our management of the contract and the development of a further Improvement Plan for the period January – April 2018.
At page 129 it goes onto say:
We have also established that despite P&Rs commitment to increase; out of hours resource, temporary heater availability and van stock provision, that it was not able to fully meet the service demands placed upon it during the extreme weather (27 February to 2 March). This resulted in the need for EKH and P&R management intervention and crisis management on the evening of 1 March.
The recording of complaints by P&R is also a concern; January – 23 complaints and February – 21 complaints, as the number that are being recorded do not correlate to the number of follow up calls and expressions of dissatisfaction being brought to our attention through resident representatives, Area Boards or direct contact with EKH. The number of reported complaints is being investigated and it forms part of the Improvement Plan.
Mark Anderson did not raise the issues around gas safety certificates, fire safety, overcharging or potential fraud to the board, which we mentioned in late May. We have since discovered P & R are having issues with retaining staff and blamed bad weather in late Feb early March hampered their efforts to keep on top of Gas Safety compliance. Also we have discovered the Councils were informed of the overcharging in May 2018. EKH has so sources tell us, withheld this data from the Councils for close to 12 weeks. Why weren’t they more candid with the Councils?
P & R will NOT lose the £27 million pound contract they have with the Councils and managed by EKH, for the foreseeable future. However, sources inside EKH say that staff are only inspecting around 1 in 3 of the 30 contracts. This definitely means their will be wider compliance issues, such as electrical safety issues we sent to former Cllr Brimm Cabinet Member for Housing at Thanet, in Dec 2016. These lack of inspections have been ongoing our sources suggest since early 2017. Issues around the management of data and the loss of data after a clear out in 2017 were also raised by our sources.
It is our opinion that Director of Property Mark Anderson, along with Deborah Upton – the Chief Exec and Matt Gough -Director of Customer Services, are NOT fit for purpose. They should we honestly resign over the continuing failings to comply with their and the four Councils legal obligations of their 30,000 plus tenants Health & Safety. The Councils ought to sort out this mess or they’ll find themselves in front of the Regulator of Social Housing.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime.