After more than a year of investigating by the Shepwayvox Team, East Kent Housing looks like it may have run its course after eight years of existence.
On Wednesday 9th Oct Canterbury City Council Policy and Resources Committee voted to withdraw from EKH and bring its housing services in-house subject to consultation with residents
It follows Dover District Council agreement last month to start consulting on pulling out of EKH
Our Council, Folkestone & Hythe District Council will vote next Wednesday 16th Oct on officer recommendations to do the same, with Thanet District Council to follow suit on Thursday 17th Oct
Final decisions on EKH’s future are expected early next year.
Last month the Regulator of Social Housing issued a critical-report which found all four councils non- compliant with its consumer standards over the failings.
The Shepwayvox Team spent more than a year investigating EKH and brought to light issues with P & R who provided central heating, emergency 24/7 gas and hot water repairs to over 17,000 council homes across Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet, otherwise known as East Kent Housing.
The four councils suspect “a pattern of charging that appears to be a systemic fraud” may well have happened by P & R, potentially costing all four councils £1.5 million. P & R’s contract with all four council had a value of £27 million over 5 years. The potential fraud was something we said was more likely than not happening when we first wrote about P & R in May 2018.
Questions about all four council’s failure to ensure P & R’s undertook Landlord Gas Safety Records – Gas Safety Certificates between April – June 2019 were raised in the House of Commons in late June of this year.
The Shepwayvox Team also raised issues regarding electrical safety checks. All our efforts resulted in all four councils launching investigations into East Kent Housing. We hope this now means that the Chief Executive of East Kent Housing, Deborah Upton (pictured) and Director Matt Gough will lose their jobs as their management of EKH has been inept and dangerous to tenants lives. Mark Anderson, former Director of Property Services at EKH lost his job in June of this year.
Officers reports prepared for Canterbury, Dover, Thanet and Folkestone & Hythe District Councillors said sorting through the compliance issues at East Kent Housing is expected to cost more than £1 million between all four councils.
We hope that all four Councils and all Cllrs will bring the employees of EKH back in house – for they are the innocent party – as they have been failed by the leadership of Deborah Upton in our honest opinion.
(Part of this blog post first appeared in Inside Housing)
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime