In the last few days, the four Chief Exec’s of Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe & Thanet Councils have been meeting with East Kent Housing staff.
The four chief execs are also the four directors of East Kent Housing board, who manage the 17,000 plus housing stock owned by the Councils. They took over after dismissing the old board on 12th Dec 2019.
Thirteen days later via an email from the four Chief Executives of Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet councils to all EKH staff, it said:
“Deborah Upton has considered her position in light of the four councils consultation with tenants and leaseholders on taking housing services back in house, as well as the recent changes to the board, she has decided now is the right time to step aside.”
The consultation about whether or not to bring East Kent Housing back in house ended on Friday 20 December. A final decision will be made by Councillors in February 2020.
Fast forward to this week and the board’s chairman Colin Carmichael of CCC, who earned £117,000 in 2018/19, made it clear to all present at both meetings, they (the board) “were making it up as we go along”; which might not inspire confidence in EKH staff
Although no explicit statement about the housing coming back in house was made by the chief execs, it was made clear that it is more probable than not this will happen.
They made clear there were more jobs than people available; and that those eligible for TUPE (not many are, as we understand) will be transferred back in house and those who are not will have to re-apply for their jobs.
Dr. Susan Priest of FHDC made it clear there will be a senior housing job advertised on the Council’s website in the next few weeks.
As we understand Thanet Housing has been advertising jobs to EKH staff, offering a one year contract. This means that if a person took up the job offer, then after a year Thanet could be got rid off the individual and they’d not be entitled to any redundancy pay, as we understand.
It cannot be reassuring for any of the East Kent Housing staff who were so badly let down by Mark Anderson and Deborah Upton, to hear from the Board’s chairman that they don’t know what they’re doing; and they’re making it up as they go along.
The staff of East Kent Housing need leadership & certainty not wishy-washy statements, the like’s Colin Carmichael as board chairman gave them. In their shoes, we would be deeply concerned too.
The Shepwayvox Team
The Velvet Voices of Dissent