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.
The Compliance Recovery Progress Plan which goes to the Regulator of Social Housing shows that there are several hundred issues outstanding.
If the Councils would have acted back in May 2018, when we began our eighteen month investigation, this sorry mess would have been resolved and council tenants lives would no longer be at significant risk.
Tenants can do something about their situation. They as individuals can bring a claim of statutory nuisance against their respective councils under s82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A statutory nuisance is a criminal offence. What East Kent Housing and the four councils of Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Thanet have done to tenants since 2014, is in our opinion nothing short of criminal.
The Shepwayvox Team
The Velvet Voices Of Dissent