COUNCILS TAKE DECISIVE ACTION TO DISMISS EAST KENT HOUSING BOARD

The Four Councils who own East Kent Housing, Dover Canterbury, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet have today (12/12/19) dismissed the East Kent Housing Board and taken direct control of the organisation.

The Pennington Report  commissioned by all four Councils makes it clear issues are around, Legionella, Electrical Safety, Gas Safety Certificates, the P & R Contract and  Fire Safety were contributory factors to shutting EKH down

With regards Fire Safety EKH and the four councils are in breach of the legislative requirements and need an appropriate system in place to deal with these actions.

It is known that Ross House, Folkestone  is part of an ongoing investigation by Kent Fire & Rescue Service, using their powers under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, due to significant safety concerns.

Screenshot from 2019-12-02 16-01-43

The report makes it clear that ineffective leadership at East Kent Housing was a significant issue. As we know, this has been a problem which has dogged Deborah Upton (pictured), the Chief Exec of EKH.

On the 1st August 2019 Deborah Upton threatened to sue the Shepwayvox Team and sent a pre-protocol letter in her private capacity. She informed us that she had been defamed, which we asserted was simply not true, nor was it ever true, as we only published facts already in the public domain and our piece was demonstrably in the public interest as “a pattern of charging that appears to be a systemic fraudamounting to £1.5 million happened on her watch.

The Shepwayvox Team first began highlighting issues with East Kent Housing back in May 2018 and continued to do so. We are grateful to all our sources as they have helped shaped this outcome, which was so necessary.

More to follow:

The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime.

About shepwayvox (996 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

22 Comments on COUNCILS TAKE DECISIVE ACTION TO DISMISS EAST KENT HOUSING BOARD

  1. The net is closing in ! – keep up the good work people!

  2. So when DU told Cllr Prater the board are the ones that employ her and to all But bugger off at committee for suggesting she should resign she may now wish she hadn’t ?
    Let’s hope Cllr Prater took offence at her comments ?

  3. So the Councils have fired the Board. Wonderful but what about the Councillor directors? Untouchable?

  4. Did the councillors on the board vote to sack themselves ???

  5. doggerbank56 // December 12, 2019 at 17:16 // Reply

    Congratulations to Shepway Vox and to all the individuals who provided information to them. This is a just reward for tenacious reporting and hard work. Also, it is a good outcome for the tenants of East Kent Housing who are well rid of Deborah Upton. However, matters do not end here. KL rightly points out that some very detailed questions need to be directed at those Councillors (past and present) who had oversight of East Kent Housing. The light should be shone very brightly on them and they should not be allowed to skulk away quietly.

  6. So basically they can now keep the £920,000 they were given to do repaires to Thanet tower blocks 2 years ago and still haven’t spent a penny.
    10 fires this year in invicta house, people needing.medical treatment, aints by residence and fire bregaid and we still don’t even have smoke.proof doors.
    This is another grenfeld waiting to happen. It is a death trap.

  7. Given that it is a matter of record that as reported DU was rewarded to the tune of circa £10,000 AFTER her failings become known is it not about time some sort of public enquiry was initiated?
    We are all aware of the charge of misconduct in a public office but is there such an offence as gross negligence in a public office in terms of those that hired DU obviously did not show due diligence in checking her references and publicly known failings at Medway Council then Circle ?
    In my humble opinion truthful references from both employers might have contained words like fraud, over charging, contract mismanagement, possibly followed by incompetent, negligent and suffers from on over inflated ego .

  8. outside observer // December 13, 2019 at 09:46 // Reply

    Whilst there have obviously been failings at EKH, don’t forget that the ultimate responsibility lies with the client councils. They were the ones who decided to cut funding to to EKH, forcing unrealistic savings targets – the same as they have done to the other shared services in operation across east Kent.They were the ones who should have been maintaining client-side oversight of what was going on. So yes, faults at EKH, but also faults with council management teams and elected members.

  9. Interested observer // December 13, 2019 at 23:53 // Reply

    Worrying this, given that the Penningtons reports arguably slates the councils as much – and perhaps more than – East Kent Housing (particularly since the councils paid for the report)…
    Can’t help but feel there’s a much bigger problem with housing in east Kent than just this organisation, and actually think the situation is likely to worsen under the councils….also a bit suspicious that they did this prior to the consultation finishing – I wonder if actually residents weren’t giving them the opinion they desired, and this became the nuclear option….wouldn’t be the first time these councils have taken a massive dump on democratic process (the consultation itself was deeply flawed from what I could see). Just my tuppence worth!

  10. When EKH took over. My Daughter moved in to one of their house. Which to tell the truth was not fit for a dog. Morrison the Maintenance company at the time managed to complete a Gas test CP12 landlord test and a Patt test on the electrical system with out any electricity. I did remind The Head of EKH if I report this to Gas Safe they would have a wonderful view of Bars but not clubs or pubs. It did how ever make them panic it action. Also it took the threat of legal action to clear the garden of dozens of spent needles.

    The well being of their tenants was not at the top of their priority.

  11. Getting rid of the board is just the tip of the iceberg.
    The whole management team and junior staff need to be assessed.
    I have only been a tenant in one of the Sheltered Housing Blocks for a year. I’ve had sewer and drainage smells in my flat for all that time, multiple visits by Dyno Rod who are incompetent and the problem not fully resolved. Housing benefits claim took months to be sorted. I’ve been in rent arrears twice due to EKH buggering up my direct debits.
    When I’ve made complaints I’ve been told to refer to my Independent Living Manager, that’s a joke.
    Mears the contractors are incompetent, the boilers have broken down 3 times this year. Gas Call who are now the current contractor dealing with heating have to cannibalise one of the 3 boilers for spares as they have to wait for EKH to authorise the purchase of spares, at present only 2 out of 3 boilers are operational.
    The building is dirty and the infrastructure is neglected and poorly maintained, ie outside doors rotting and heating systems antiquated, garden overgrown

  12. They should sack all the staff as well, they are all incompetent imho

  13. I came home yesterday after spending a lovely day with my children to my sheltered flat stinking of shit again.
    This has been apparent since I moved in November 2018.
    I’ve written numerous emails to EKH and had many interactions with their contractors Mears and Dyno Rod all incompetent organisations.
    The problem still hasn’t been resolved.
    I’ve terminal cancer and have chemotherapy 5 days in 28 to prevent the cancer progressing to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and my early death.
    I was told at my diagnosis that any infection would kill me sooner than the incurable cancer due to my poor immune system.
    Breathing these noxious fumes is affecting my physical and mental heath.
    EKH were made aware of this at the start of my tenancy but have as yet failed to resolve the problem.
    The scheme I’m in has now come under the auspices of Canterbury City Council.
    I’ve been battling for over a year with EKH and have no confidence that CCC will be any better.
    The NHS is spending a large amount of money ( I’ve had 65 monthly cycles of chemotherapy) and I’m being put at huge risk by the councils incompetence.
    I have emailed Colin Carmichael CEO of CCC, Rosie Duffield my MP and Matt Hancock Minister of Health today in desperation to help me in my battle to stay alive.
    I’m prescribed Diazepam to help cope with my increasing anxiety and stress.
    I’m in desperate need of help which is not forthcoming!!

  14. Further to my contribution above, I get the distinct impression that council tenants are treated as second class citizens, and the tenants in sheltered accommodation as mentally incompetent!!

  15. Further to my last contributions, as yet I’ve not had any acknowledgment to any of the emails I’ve sent to EKH or the Council.
    Not at all surprised, we’re second class citizens after all!!

  16. I finally got a reply from the “office of Rosie Duffield” saying they were contacting Colin Carmichael about the
    problem in my flat, that was on 8/1. No contact from Carmichael or EKH.
    Some years ago when I was still a house owner my MP was Julian Brazier, I had a problem that needed sorting. I had a written reply from him within a week and he got my problem sorted very speedily.
    Personal replies to constituents seem to be beneath Ms Duffield, and no action seems to be forthcoming either.
    It’s a huge shame that labour won Canterbury!!

  17. Further to the above shit smell in my flat for 13 months!!!
    In compliance with council complaints procedures I’ve today asked for an internal review by senior council officer and I will be consulting Local Government Ombudsman about unacceptable delay in dealing with my complaints.
    Copied MP too for what it’s worth

  18. Canterbury council agreed to official enquires and Housing Ombudsman is taking up my case with council.
    I think I may have to resort to press coverage

  19. The smell of shit has finally gone from my flat only to be replaced by a smell of drains.
    The source of the shit smell was the sewer inspection hatch outside my front door. Early in 2019 Dyno Rod lifted the hatch when they were onsite. I saw it being opened and the operative said the screws sealing it were missing,
    The sewage smell continued throughout 2019 and I noticed that the hatch cover rocked to and fro when stood on. I lifted the carpet covering this and observed that the screws were indeed missing. The bloody hatch had been leaking fumes for a year. I sent numerous emails to EKH in 2019 about the smell and was visited by an incompetent team from EKH and Dyno Rod who searched for the source OUTSIDE the block, it was inside of course.
    For all of 2019 I had been spraying the carpet covering the hatch with Jeyes Fluid.
    In November 2019 I contacted the then ceo Ms Upton who sent the Maintenance Manager to see me. He noticed the screws missing and replaced them himself, cost him £ 1.00 .
    EKH sent my MP who I had copied my complaints along with Colin Carmichael mentioning the “ alleged smell” which only I could detect. It was also mentioned that the flat above mine had drainage problem in her wet room which could be the source of the smell I was getting. I spoke to the tenant above me and she told me that she had excrement coming up her shower drain every time she used the shower. She also said she had been complaining about it for a year to no avail. They also said I had not taken my complaint to.stage 2.
    The smell of drains I now have is coming from the airing cupboard which I’ve only used to put items from my old flat when I moved in November 2018.
    After the smell of shit had been eliminated, which was overpowering I kept noticing an unpleasant smell now and then in my flat, I mistakenly thought I was imagining it !!
    Not my imagination though, last week an operative from Gas Call came to see me about replacing my room thermostat. He asked me where my fuse box was. It is situated in the previously mentioned airing cupboard.
    As soon as he opened the door his very words were “ it smells of drains in here, something off” he was correct it does. That is what I’ve been getting whiffs off, not my imagination after all.
    I immediately got in touch with the Maintenance Manager and he is calling to see me late Monday afternoon after my 1st day of my next weekly cycle of chemotherapy.
    I have also emailed Colin Carmichael advising that I’m taking my complaint to stage 2. I received an almost immediate reply that they would do this,
    Guess who EKH use to investigate my stage 2 complaint, an employee of EKH, hardly unbiased procedure.
    I have sent a huge quantity of email overhead past 13 months, the main concern of the council seems to be the complaint process and not taking immediate action to resolve what the complaint is about.

    I can appreciate that the must be a complaint process but there should be some flexibility in a case such as mine. I have terminal cancer and my life expectancy will be cut short. I’m extremely prone to infections due to my depleted immune system but this is ignored by the council.
    “ rules are made for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men”
    I sent this last paragraph to the Director Of Property Services David Lewis and Tyler French Business Insight
    Office. I have been told I’ll have a response by 11/3.
    No doubt there will be another lot of arse covering.
    I’m pissed off with all of this, I’ve high blood pressure, erratic heartbeat and am on diazepam to deal with the stress and anxiety this has caused me.
    A heart attack will probably end my life before the cancer

  20. The email I received from Tyler French on 27/2 confirming my complaint had been taken to stage 2 and would be dealt with by David Lewis, who I’ve learnt left employment at EKH on 28/2.
    Unbelievable incompetence!!

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