'We retain the confidence of the regulator ... I am proud of my organisation despite the recent reports.
The board has reaffirmed their support ...' -- Mervyn Jones, Pavilion chief executive
'Rushmoor Council is keen to see the association improve its service .... until the association can improve within the Housing Corporations assessment we will not make further capital investment in the association and we will now consider what further measures we need to take.' -- David Welch, Rushmoor housing portfolio holder
'In the light of this we cannot conclude that the board has come to terms with the issues raised, nor can we have any confidence that the board is positioned to drive through the necessary changes.' -- Housing Corporation
In an as yet unpublished report, the industry regulator, the Housing Corporation, has slammed Pavilion for its piss-poor performance.
The Housing Corporation has drawn the same conclusion as the Audit Commission, that Pavilion is way below par, but whereas the Audit Commission focused on poor quality of repairs, state of properties, treatment of tenants, which implied the management was not up to the job, the Housing Corporation has concentrated on the governance of Pavilion and explicitly said the management are not up to the job.
Pavilion was found wanting in a number of key areas
- lack of a clear strategy or measurable targets
- not following up on complaints
- not learning lessons
The Housing Corporation went on to question the expertise of the staff and executive, and the failure to deal with criticism.
The Housing Corporation has also criticised the attempts by Pavilion to merge with Atlantic, a Housing Association based down in Eastleigh. A merger that is opposed by the tenants of both groups.
Following the damning Audit Commission, Mervyn Jones was expected to resign, but he decided to ignore calls for him to go and try to brazenly toughen it out, ignoring all calls for his resignation.
Jones seems to have lost all grasp of reality. He claims to have the full support of the board and to be heading an organisation of which he is proud!
This of course brings into question the board. If the board backs him, the board should go.
What were the three Rushmoor councillors doing who sit on the board, sleep walking whilst all this was going on? Three councillors who are currently under investigation by the Standards Board for England for helping to push through a planning application for an unwanted town centre redevelopment in Farnborough to which Pavilion are a party. A planning application which will result in Pavilion tenants being kicked out of their homes.
Arab-financed developers KPI, a St Modwen front company, are wishing to demolish half of Farnborough town centre to build a superstore. The superstore will face out of the town centre. Social housing owned by Pavilion, 28 maisonettes arranged around a grassy area, is earmarked for destruction for the car park for the superstore.
Whoever these three councillors were acting for, it was not Pavilion tenants.
A report on the Standards Board for England investigation is expected to be published soon.
What was the head of Rushmoor housing doing? She works hand-in-glove with Jones, maybe that is the problem, but not once has she alerted Rushmoor councillors to the problems at Pavilion. Maybe she should go too.
Following the damning Audit Commission report (July 2004), Jones drew up an action plan. Any idiot can draw up an action plan. No one has any confidence in the plan, it is a worthless bit of paper whilst Jones, his senior management, and the board remain.
No one has seen any improvement since publication of the Audit Commission report. According to Pavilion tenants, the situation is rapidly worsening.
Rushmoor councillors are now openly calling for Jones to go, Pavilion tenants are calling for Jones to go, and privately, his own staff are calling for Jones to go.
Following the as yet unpublished Housing Corporation report, Rushmoor has suspended all grant aid to Pavilion. It is difficult to see that grant aid being restored whilst Jones remains in post.
Now all it needs is the City to get wind of Pavilion's problems, pull the plug on the loans to Pavilion and Pavilion will go into financial free fall.
Pavilion, owns what was once Rushmoor council housing, privatised a decade ago. If the tenants knew then what they know now, they would never have agreed to privatisation. Pavilion have been an unmitigated disaster. Tenants have seen repairs not carried out, their homes deteriorate, yobs terrorising the estates.
The piss-poor performance by Pavilion should serve as a stark warning to any council tenants being forced into privatisation of their homes. No matter what you are promised, it does not materialise, and once privatised, there is no accountability.
Prior to these reports, one lone voice had campaigned against Pavilion, for justice for the tenants, community activist, now also an Aldershot LibDem councillor, Peter Sandy. Peter was vilified by Pavilion for doing so, he received blatant threats for standing up for tenants rights, he was threatened with eviction, anti-social behaviour orders, all for standing up for tenants.
With these two reports, Peter Sandy has been more than vindicated. It will be nothing less than poetic justice to see Mervyn Jones ousted.
All that now remains, is for Pavilion, as a registered charity, to be investigated by the Charity Commission.
6-30pm Wednesday 3 November 2004, a meeting has been called to discuss repairs, merger with Atlantic and anti-social behaviour. Representatives from Pavilion, including Mervyn Jones, and the police, will be there to answer questions. Few expect Jones to still be in position. Connaught School, Aldershot (off Tongham Road).
Defend Council Housing are holding a National Conference 10-30am to 4.30pm Friday 29 October 2004 at the TUC, Congress House, London.
Rebecca Chard, Pavilion faces fresh roasting, Aldershot News, 15 October 2004
Steve Flux, Housing groups in merger talks, The Southern Daily Echo, 11 October 2004
Inspection report: Pavilion Housing Association, Audit Commission, July 2004
Keith Parkins, Audit Commission savage Pavilion Housing Association, Indymedia UK, 27 July 2004
Keith Parkins, Crisis meeting at Pavilion Housing Association, Indymedia UK, 24 August 2004
Keith Parkins, Pavilion Housing Association in Crisis, Indymedia UK, 25 August 2004
Keith Parkins, The Scandal of Firgrove Court, Indymedia UK, 31 August 2004
Keith Parkins, Pavilion v Atlantic, Indymedia UK, 6 September 2004
Keith Parkins, Pavilion and Atlantic Housing Groups to Merge?, 13 September 2004
Keith Parkins, Community activist Peter Sandy quits Rushmoor LibDems, Indymedia UK, 28 September 2004