Here We Go Again: Gas Safety Issues At East Kent Housing
Updated 17:00 22/06/20
More sources than the 57 varieties of Heinz have stepped forward and informed the Shepwayvox Team that as of 1st June 2020 there were well in excess of 200 Landlord Gas Safety Records (LGSR) outstanding across all four councils. This is not the first time this has been an issue.
Now of course, one might say that is because of Covid-19 and the fact tenants are self isolating. However, the Heinz sources are adamant the vast majority are NOT related to self isolating.
Their assertions are also supported by the fact East Kent Housing Risk Log last updated on June 11th 2020, states:
Gas and flats work behind, gas should be up to date by Oct 2020
These issues have been outstanding since the 10th Dec 2019 due to resource issues to complete the necessary work.
The next update to the gas issues will take place in July 2020.
But it doesn’t stop there. According to the risk log, there’s a necessity to employ consultants to develop missing contracts of which 43 are in contract and 49 outside of contract and need to be procured.
Dip in performance after transition is likely. Need to manage councillor expectation as staff adapt to the new working environment.
What do the Chief Exec’s mean by “manage” Cllr expectation?
But the most astonishing fact to emerge from the risk log is the heightened sensitivity to any incident at an EKH property resulting in death or injury, due to non-compliance during the transition period. This will be managed by Leo Whitlock, Canterbury City Council’s Comms manager and a former editor of the Kent Messenger Group.
So seven months after the former Chief Executive of East Kent Housing, Deborah Upton left Garrity House with a £160,000 golden goodbye, the issues of non compliance with LGSRs remain.
This goes to prove that Vivien Knibbs, the acting Chief Executive of East Kent Housing and the four Chief Executives of Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet Councils have not not got a grip on gas safety issues. It’s clear then no-one has the ability to resolve these issues. We can only conclude, that after seven months in charge, NONE of the Chief Exec’s are fit for purpose. They ought to step down and allow more competent persons to resolve these issues; which continue to place tenants lives at significant risk.
It is a case of lions being led by donkeys as we said not too long ago.
The East Kent Housing Risk Log makes it clear that gas is not the only issue outstanding.
Moving on each of the four councils are advertising housing personnel jobs, so that when EKH staff are brought back into each of the four councils, who own it, they’ll be enough personnel hopefully to manage their in-house housing stock.
Canterbury City Council
Dover District Council
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
Thanet District Council
Gas Call, the company who took over from P & R, don’t turn up for the appointments they book.
Typical of the four councils fobbing EKH with the cheapest option once again.
Do they not know the ending of the old adage, Pay Peanuts?
That risk log is brilliant. They’re talking about employing consultants, managing councillor expectations (because there’ll be a dip in customer service) and “increased sensitivity” to possible deaths….how is this not being more widely reported by the media….someone should leak let the Guardian know this is what our hugely overpaid councils are getting up to….
And as has already been stated, the contract with Gas Call was flagged to the councils as being likely to be undeliverable by the old board – apparently they didn’t heed the warning, and now tenants are suffering because the councils wanted the cheapest option…
Let’s hope this further exposes the Councils’ role in what has happened at EKH. Their refusal to play nicely with each other and demanding a bespoke service for each Council whilst demanding savings from a shared service is central to what has gone wrong.
The biggest spotlight needs to be shone quite brightly on the Councils’ client officers who let all this happen under their watch. On an operational basis, they are running EKH on behalf of the Chief Execs at the moment and we still have potentially lethal non compliance.