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Social housing privatisation scam

Keith Parkins | 02.11.2004 15:42 | Analysis | Repression | Social Struggles

Across the country council housing tenants are being conned into signing away their homes in the privatisation scam.

'The safe and secure world of these not-for-profit companies is starting to face long-term financial risks ... large scale voluntary transfers (LSVTs) are in practice, highly leveraged buyouts ... the loss-making structure of these LSVTs significantly increase the risks of the sector.' -- The Times

'During the course of our inspection we conducted a tour of the housing stock. We observed the poor state of external and internal communal areas ... The monitoring of complaints is muddled and confused. The association tolerates poor environmental conditions on its estates and lets residents down by failing to ensure that communal areas are clean and well maintained.' -- Audit Commission Report on Pavilion Housing Association

'They must have the right to remain as council tenants and have the resources to get their homes up to the decent standard.' -- Clive Betts MP

'Housing association chief executive salaries are increasing to almost fat cat levels. The money comes out of tenant's rents and housing benefit.' -- Brian Iddon MP

'Is not the whole gambit of transferring stock bound to lead to the payment of inflated salaries to the very people who are currently administering our housing stock?' -- Ken Purchase MP

Across the country, tenants are being conned into the privatisation of their homes. On offer is a crock of fools gold for those who are gullible enough to vote yes.

Waverley, south west of London in leafy Surrey, is no exception, where the housing department sing from the same government hymn sheet.

Waverley head of housing David January and a few of his housing department cohorts, having been touring the borough with a roadshow, feeding the tenants bullshit. Not to be left out, Waverley chief executive Christine Pointer, has been applying her ha'peth of bullshit.

According to Christine Pointer, the literature (aka expensive propaganda) pushing privatisation has been scrutinised by ODPM to ensure that it is fair and balanced. So that's alright then, Prescott's department, that is pushing privatisation, has decided Waverley's privatisation propaganda is 'fair and balanced'!

One of the claims by David January was that there was nothing in it for him and his department, in pushing privatisation. He even tried to claim senior salaries are not increased, post-privatisation.

This flies in the face of the evidence, where once privatised, senior salaries shoot up. At lower levels the job gets ever shittier. Which explains the very high staff turnover in housing associations.

Hauled before a Rushmoor council committee to explain his piss-poor performance following a damning Audit Commission report, Pavilion chief executive Mervyn Jones said he was trying to get staff turnover down to only 20%!

Staff turnover in RSLs is running at 50%.

Waverley privatisation propaganda claims 'terms and conditions of staff would be protected'. Not according to Unison, whose members are adversely affected, and therefore they should know. According to Unison, pay and conditions worsen, as do pension rights. And that is for transferred staff. For new staff, it is far worse.

Sunderland's housing stock was privatised three years ago. The senior staff have never had it so good. The chief executive of what is now Sunderland Housing Group, Peter Walls, saw his salary go up from c £70,000 per annum as former head of Sunderland housing department, to £135,465 as the chief executive of Sunderland Housing Group. The post was not advertised.

No doubt it did not cross Wall's mind that his salary would double when he conned the Sunderland council tenants into privatisation.

Sunderland is rife with rumours of nepotism and corruption.

David Bennett, managing director of Sanctuary Housing, one of Britain's biggest housing associations, received a total pay package of £213,000 last year! Part of that pay package included £65,000 for moving house from Hertford to Worcester. Five senior directors at Sanctuary shared between them £201,000 for relocation.

John Prescott and the Housing Corporation have called for an end to the fat cat salaries. Rather a bit late in the day and a case of shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted. Also somewhat hypocritical, if council housing was not privatised, there would not be the opportunity for fat cat salaries.

Pay rates for housing association chief executives are top of the public services salary league table.

Commentating on these fat cat salaries, the Housing Corporation said:

'It is inappropriate for organisations whose purpose is to provide for some of the most vulnerable members of society to pay seemingly overgenerous amounts to their staff.'

The Housing Corporation went on to warn:

'If boards operate outside the spirit of this guidance, they risk bringing both themselves and the sector into disrepute. We take failure to deal with matters of executive pay responsibly as a sign that a board is not properly in control. In these circumstances we will take regulatory action.'

But it is not only the fat cat salaries that are causing concern, RSL chief executives are receiving massive pay-offs for failure, even though the Housing Corporation has warned: 'contracts should not permit payment for failure'.

There has been a number of £200,000 plus pay-offs in the sector, culminating last year in a severance package of almost £500,000 for the departing chief executive of Central and Cecil Housing Trust.

In 1998 Riverside Housing Association was condemned by the Housing Corporation for paying a £204,000 pension top-up to its departing chief executive.

In 2001 the Housing Corporation found Liver Housing Association guilty of mismanagement for planning to pay its chief executive £837,000 in a severance deal. And in the same year CDS Housing paid an extra £246,000 into its departing chief executive's pension fund.

Despite the warnings, the gravy train continues.

Last March, West Sussex-based Downland Housing Group former managing director Bob Herbert was awarded £233,291 on his early retirement on top of his £117,000 salary.

The Public Accounts Committee criticised the sell-off of council housing as being sold off on the cheap.

Sunderland sold off its housing stock at £6,273 per property. Even for the deprived north east, this is a knock down price.

The RSLs who acquire the properties can then revalue the properties and borrow on the open market using the properties as collateral. One reason why tenancies change from 'secure tenancies' to 'assured tenancies'.

The RSLs do of course invest this money back into social housing. Er, no. Not only are they not required to, the Housing Corporation is actively encouraging them to diversify into other areas. The Housing Corporation allows RSLs to borrow against their housing stock to finance non-social housing projects, ie tenants' homes are put at risk. The Housing Corporation allows 49% of rental income to finance non-social housing projects, ie tenants' rents goes on non-social housing projects.

In his presentation to tenants, Waverley head of housing David January emphasised that RSLs were 'social landlords'.

The truth is they are unaccountable private property developers.

Pavilion cannot find the money to carry out repairs, but could find the money to finance a multi-million pound student block at Surrey University.

Many RSLs are clearing whole areas of social housing to build property for sale.

Pavilion is forcing tenants out at Firgrove Court, 28 maisonettes arranged around a grassy area, so that their homes can be demolished to make way for a car park for a superstore, part of an unwanted town centre redevelopment. So-called consultation has been carried out, but the tenants are not allowed to veto the proposals, ie no is not an option. The tenants are being offered homes in two blocks of flats, but even this may not materialise, as Pavilion do not own the land and there is no sign of any building work taking place. If this fails to materialise, which looks increasingly likely, the tenants will be offered 'alternative' accommodation. To encourage the tenants to move, the property is being allowed to 'fall down around their ears' to quote a Pavilion spokesman.

In the manner in which they treat their tenants, Pavilion behave like medieval landlords, their tenants reduced to serfs. In a letter sent to their tenants at Firgrove Court, a letter seen by their tenants as a crude attempt at intimidation, Pavilion instructed their tenants not to talk to anyone who attempted to talk to them about Firgrove Court, and if anyone tried, Pavilion were to be alerted immediately.

Pavilion in collusion with the developers, have by hook or by crook, slowly emptied the properties at Firgrove Court. Around a dozen or more properties are now lying empty. Pavilion have gone in and deliberately trashed every empty property, ripping out bathrooms and kitchens, to make them uninhabitable. This in a borough in which there are a couple of thousand people on the council waiting list.

Not a word of protest from the head of the council housing department.

Councillors and tenants sit on the board of Pavilion. Not one has spoken out against what is happening at Firgrove Court. The three councillors who sit on the board, also sit on the local council planing committee. All three spoke in favour of the planning application to destroy Firgrove Court and helped push it through. All three voted for it. All three are now under investigation by the Standards Board for England and facing the real possibility of disqualification for five years.

In Liverpool, whole areas are being cleared, to make way for yuppie apartments for sale.

The same is taking place in Sunderland. Social housing is being destroyed for luxury homes for sale.

On any former council housing estates, there are going to be a sprinkling of owner occupied homes, where the former tenants exercised the 'right to buy'.

In Sunderland, as the tenants are forced out, their homes are either demolished or left boarded-up and vandalised awaiting demolition, leaving little isolated outposts of owner-occupied homes. The owners see the value of their homes plummet, often to less than what they paid when they exercised the right to buy. At this point, the ever-generous RSL, steps in and offers a pittance to take their homes off them. If this ploy fails, the ever-helpful council will step in with compulsory purchase orders. Unable to get back into the property market, the former tenants cum home owners, are forced back into the rented sector.

The same trick has been applied at Firgrove Court in Farnborough town centre. Four of the maisonettes were owner occupied. Having seen their homes hit by planning blight, now almost worthless as earmarked for a car park, the developers stepped in with a derisory offer. To help the process along, the council offered to step in with CPOs, if the home owners refused to take the offer. The stress proved too much for one home owner, he had a heart attack and died.

RSLs are more and more looking liking private property companies. The biggest are pushing to become for-profit companies. Currently, under English Law, RSLs are private companies. When there was a move to have them reclassified under European Law as public companies, this was vigorously opposed by the RSLs themselves, the industry regulator the Housing Corporation and the government.

Pavilion was referred to by Waverley head of housing David January as a bad housing association, a bad landlord. With a damning Audit Commission report and an equally damning as yet to be published Housing Corporation report, his comments were more than justified.

The tenants and local councillors would like to see the Pavilion board, chief executive and senior staff fired, but all we see is mutual arse-licking, and nothing getting better.

Pavilion has recently appointed a new chairman, Claran Devane, only he is not that new as he has sat on the Pavilion board for the last two years. Thus just as responsible for the piss-poor performance and equally unsuitable as the rest of the board.

Along with the rest of the board, chief executive and senior management, Claran Devane should be kicked out.

Claran Devane claims he has a strong team in place, following changes. What these changes are, no one knows, as the same chief executive is in place, and an internal appointment has promoted a person the tenants regard as a useless nonentity to the post of operations director. A man who whatever he is asked, has the stock answer of 'I don't know', a man who is widely seen as the fall guy.

Recently, the new operations director was taken on a tour by one of the tenants. It was all new to him. He was asked to deal with the repairs that had been highlighted on his tour. One was faulty guttering. The guttering was taken down, no new guttering is in place, and now, every time it rains, water pours down the walls. Last year, before he took up his new post, he was asked at a meeting of tenants about proposals to turn Pavilion into a charity. He was not able to answer a single question. When asked, he could not even state what the charitable aims were.

The chief executive in turn praises the new chairman, the outgoing chairman, and says he has an organisation to be proud of.

If councillors fail, they can at least be kicked out. Who chose this new chairman, certainly not the tenants or the local community.

The chairman regards himself as suitable for the post as he is a management consultant. Claran Devane is one management consultant not to be recommended if what we see of Pavilion is a measure of his ability.

The measure of a management consultant is that they cost you the earth for stating the obvious. Claran Devane is no exception: 'By raising the standards of our housing they will require less maintenance.'

Tenants have been telling Pavilion this for years!

Tenants have had enough of consultants, carpet baggers who criss-cross the country feeding off the corpse of social housing.

Pass the sick bag please.

Meanwhile, for tenants it goes from bad to worse.

A lady with a six year old son had water pouring through her ceiling in the early hours of the morning from a burst pipe. It took nearly three hours for anyone to turn out. In the meantime extensive damage had been caused. In their generosity, Pavilion offered a couple of decorating vouchers. They are refusing compensation for the extensive damage caused.

An elderly disabled gent has suffered botched repairs, water damage. The response of Pavilion was, fix it yourself, we have not got the money!

To ascertain the views of their tenants, Pavilion have formed a few focus groups. It makes the tenants feel important, a classic case of 'divide and rule'. No more notice is taken of these tenants than the rest of the tenants, who Pavilion fail to listen to. It looks good, as though Pavilion are doing something. But no one is fooled, least of all the tenants, except maybe those in the focus groups.

It is not only at Pavilion where there are calls for resignations.

Tenants are calling for the resignation of the chairman and chief executive of Community Housing Association. Grounds include that relations between the tenants and the RSL have 'fallen to the lowest level ever' and that the association has 'failed to deliver adequate services to tenants or deal with their concerns at any and all levels'. What has particularly incensed the tenants is that Community Housing is trying to dissolve an elected tenants' panel to be replaced by tenants chosen by Community Housing. Chief executive Mick Sweeney has said calls from the tenants for his resignation, including any formal resolution passed by the tenants, will be ignored.

Only 10 months after joining, chief executive Charles Clayton was forced to quit Shaftesbury Housing Group, after the Audit Commission described the Surrey-based RSL as 'one of the worst-performing housing associations' in the country. Criticisms included poor management of empty homes and sheltered housing. Shaftesbury had diversified away from its core business of letting affordable homes, into riskier areas such as key worker housing, student accommodation and care homes.

The parallels with Pavilion have been noted.

The message does not yet seem to have got through to the chief executive of Pavilion that he has to go. He blames every one bar himself, even the Audit Commission was blamed for producing a damning report, and furthermore he claims to head an organisation to be proud of.

Pavilion are now trying to push through a merger with Eastleigh-based Atlantic. The views of the tenants, as with everything else, count for nothing. The first the tenants knew of the proposed merger was when they read about it in their local newspapers.

For the senior management, who are pushing the gravy train, it will be just another excuse for a massive salary hike. After all, if there is a bigger empire to run, it must command higher salaries commensurate with the increased responsibilities. It also gives Pavilion chief executive Mervyn Jones the opportunity to gracefully depart from the scene with a massive pay-out before he is kicked out.

Pavilion cannot even run what they have, without making other people's lives a misery.

Acquisition of council housing stock by housing associations are in reality highly leveraged buyouts. As with all such leveraged buyouts, something has to be squeezed to recover the investment. In the case of council house transfer, it is the tenants, there is nothing else left to squeeze.

RSLs have to generate profits to oil the wheels of the executive gravy train.

If ballots took place anywhere else with bribes on offer, there would be shouts of 'foul', UN monitors would be called in.

Why then, are council tenants being bribed with new kitchens and bathrooms to vote yes? Only the promises rarely materialise. Fools gold on offer for the gullible.

Pavilion tenants found they were conned. In Coventry, privatised tenants have had good kitchens ripped out and replaced by shoddy kitchens by white van man. Then their rents were increased to pay for 'home improvements'.

The Audit Commission criticised Pavilion for the poor state of communal areas. Pavilion is now trying to charge its tenants for cleaning up these areas.

Tenants are told they will have a say, seats on the board. What they are not told is that they will be in a minority, denied access to 'sensitive' information, kicked off the board if they are perceived as 'troublemakers', or how they will be selected. Nor are they told that as company directors, they have a fiduciary duty to act for the RSL not the tenants.

Three board members were axed from the board of Bradford Community Housing for the heinous crime of complaining to the industry regulator the Housing Corporation. Two tenants from Hackney were kicked off the board of Canalside Housing Partnership for publicly criticising proposals to break rent guarantees.

Pavilion set up 'fake' tenant organisations. Community Housing in London, told tenants who had lodged complaints with the Ombudsman, not to bother applying to be on the board.

Waverley are telling its council tenants they may sit on the board, so long as certain unspecified criteria are met. They are not telling their tenants that if they sit on the board they will be powerless, and that if they try to act for the their fellow tenants they will be kicked off the board.

The Audit Commission on the TCG (tenants consultative group) set up by Pavilion to represent the tenants:

'The TCG (Tenants Consultative Group) approves and monitors draft policies prior to their presentation at the board. Tenant representation at the board is only constitutionally allowed through the TCG. Consequentially the same potential policies are endorsed twice but by the same tenants ... Tenants we spoke to expressed concerns that TCG was accountable to Pavilion and not tenants.'

Pavilion TCG has set itself up as a kangaroo court to try and sentence tenants who dare to publicly criticism Pavilion.

The climate of fear that Pavilion has created where tenants who speak out were threatened with eviction and serving of ASBOs is not unique to Pavilion. Fortunately, due to the courageous actions of a few who refused to be intimidated and silenced, more and more tenants are prepared to stand up and be counted and publicly condemn Pavilion.

The Audit Commission has found no benefit in tenants sitting on the board of RSLs.

Community Gateway, is the latest privatisation con. Little more than a re-branding exercise. Currently these are being test marketed by the Housing Corporation.

It is claimed that this will lead to tenant empowerment, but in the first pilot in Preston this claim has already proved to be false.

The tenants are to have seven seats out of fifteen board seats, so still a minority. The tenants were not happy and asked for this to be changed, also 'community empowerment' to be an explicit objective of the new company. Absolutely no way, was the emphatic response of the Housing Corporation.

Prescott's department, ODPM, has a task force that is advising councils on privatisation. A small team with average salaries in excess of £40k. It points councils in the direction of bankers and lawyers and consultants.

This task force should be fired. In its place, a task force with experience of running quality housing stock. They could then be parachuted in to failing council housing departments. It is done for schools, so why not council housing?

The first place to start, would be Waverley housing department. First to be out the door would be head of housing David January, followed by his senior staff.

The irony is, that if Waverley council housing is privatised, it will be the same failed senior staff running the show. The only difference will be that they will be on higher salaries with less accountability, less transparency.

When all else fails, call in the dirty tricks department.

Waverley casts all sorts of slurs on any of its tenants who dare to question or criticise the sell-off of their homes. Austin Mitchell is the Member of Parliament for Grimsby. At first he stood idly by, but when he could no longer stomach the lies being put out by the council to their tenants, he drew up a leaflet to set the record straight. When the local council got wind of this, they pulled forward the date of the ballot. Nottingham did the same, and even bragged off the fact that they had pulled forward the date of the ballot to wrong-foot objectors.

Like modern-day carpet baggers, consultants criss-cross the country feasting on the rotting corpse of what was once social housing. They claim they give 'independent' advice.

In what smacks of panic measures, the 'independent' adviser to Waverley tenants has pushed out a last minute newsletter. In big bold typeface, the tenants are instructed: PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY.

The tenants are told they have a choice of two variants of privatisation – ALMO or stock transfer – they are not told they can vote NO.

The tenants are told they can elect representatives to a 'shadow board', which appears to assume privatisation is a foregone conclusion. They are not told that their 'representatives' on the board are impotent and cannot act in their interest, only the interest of the RSL or ALMO on whose board they sit.

The latest newsletter ends with a warning:

'Over the next few weeks, you are likely to hear all sorts of rumours about this process and what might happen to your home. If you have any concerns at all please contact us. We are YOUR independent advisers, working for tenants and leaseholders, we can give you the facts.'

The only people not giving the tenants the facts are those who are pushing privatisation. Or are we to conclude that the Audit Commission, National Audit Office, Public Accounts Committee, ODPM Select Committee, House of Commons Council House Group, Local Government Association, leading trade unions, independent academics and researchers, are all spreading rumours?

Do these consultants get a bonus if they deliver privatisation?

In one year alone, £65 million was spent on the privatisation gravy train. The cost of consultants is currently running at £430 per tenant. £800 million was earmarked in one year alone for debt write-off for privatised housing.

We are spending millions of public money to give away billions of public assets.

Would tenants not wish to see this money, public money, better spent?

Across the country one does not find council tenants clamouring to have their homes privatised. If that was the case, why is it thought necessary to have to bribe them to vote yes?

Hal Pawson, senior research fellow at the school of the built environment at Heriot-Watt University, a leading academic on housing, has attacked the housing privatisation scam as 'blackmail':

'[Stock transfer] proposals are hardly ever bottom-up in the sense of being motivated by tenant preferences and yes votes are generally achieved only where the council is fully behind the proposal and presents its case forcefully.'

He has gone on to argue, that granting a single choice, ie privatisation, with a heavy financial penalty if you vote the wrong way, is no choice.

Pawson also said that against government’s wishes, there had been very little genuine consultation with tenants over the decision to set up new housing associations to take over council homes rather than transferring them to existing organisations.

'Even where tenants are involved in these processes this will usually involve only a small number of individuals whose status as “representatives” is often questionable.'

Privatisation of the railways was a disaster. PFI/PPP for schools and hospitals has proved to be a disaster. Why should privatisation of our homes, of social housing, prove to be anything less of a disaster?

Charles Dickens made Victorian England familiar with the squalid Victorian housing conditions. Following two World Wars, housing conditions improved and there was a wide political consensus and a national pride in the improvements that were achieved. We are now rolling back those achievements and legitimizing the Rachman landlords of the 1960s, the type of landlords we thought we had seen the back of once and for all.

A meeting of Pavilion tenants and interested parties has been called to discuss repairs, merger with Atlantic and anti-social behaviour. Representatives from Pavilion, and the police, will be there to answer questions. 6-30pm Wednesday 3 November 2004, Connaught School, Aldershot (off Tongham Road). The meeting will start promptly at 6-30pm, so please arrive early. 01252 329919

There will be a tenants meeting with consultants on 4 November 2004 at Godalming Baptist Church in Godalming at 7pm (opposite end of Godalming town centre to the railway station). Contact Dome Consultants for details. 0800 919994



Mario Ambrosi, Almost half of new association staff want to leave jobs in first year, Inside Housing, 30 July 2004

Kai Andersen, Council Tenants - Heads we lose, Tail we don't win, Indymedia UK, 31 January 2004

James Bowman, Cross-border spat between councillors over housing transfer, Farnham Herald, 29 October 2004

Liz Cairncross, Changing Boards, Emerging Tensions, Oxford Brookes University, Spring 2004 {presented to the Housing Studies Association Conference, Spring 2004}

The Case for the 'Fourth Option', the House of Commons Council Housing group, June 2004

Consortium pair plan merger after criticism, Inside Housing, 10 September 2004

Keith Cooper, Tenants call for chief's resignation, Inside Housing, 28 October 2004

Steve Flux, Housing groups in merger talks, The Southern Daily Echo, 11 October 2004

Government attacked on choice agenda, Inside Housing, 29 October 2004

Shirley Green, Rachman: The Slum Landlord Whose Name Became a Byword for Evil, Hamlyn Paperbacks, 1981

Roy Hattersley, Give council tenants a real choice, The Guardian, 5 July 2004

Housing: Improving services through resident involvement, Audit Commission, June 2004

Nicholas Harris, Come and see how it can be done, letters, Farnham Herald, 29 October 2004

Just fix it yourself: What Pavilion told a disabled man, 77, Farnborough News, 29 October 2004

Daniel Martin, Sanctuary directors face quiz on payouts, Inside Housing, 5 September 2003

John Martin, Council housing transfer plans 'betray' tenants, The Guardian, 3 September 2004

George Monbiot, Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain, Macmillan, 2000

New chairman appointed as Pavilion seek to turn the corner, Farnborough News, 29 October 2004

Keith Parkins, Farnborough town centre – compulsory purchase orders, Indymedia UK, 16 October 2003

Keith Parkins, Social landlords are deviating from their intended purpose, Indymedia UK, 20 January 2004

Keith Parkins, Social housing landlords the new corporations, Corporate Watch newsletter No 17, January-February 2004

Keith Parkins, Privatisation of council houses in Waverley, Indymedia UK, 17 February 2004

Keith Parkins, Registered social landlords – the new corporations, Indymedia UK, 18 February 2004

Keith Parkins, Misuse of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Indymedia UK, 5 July 2004

Keith Parkins, Social housing under attack, Indymedia UK, 5 August 2004

Keith Parkins, Social housing crisis, Indymedia UK, 12 August 2004

Keith Parkins, Privatisation of council housing, Indymedia UK, 16 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?, Indymedia UK, 13 September 2004

Keith Parkins, Waverley to force through housing sell off, Indymedia UK, 19 October 2004

Keith Parkins, Waverley propaganda on housing privatisation, Indymedia UK, 22 October 2004

Keith Parkins, Pavilion Housing Association lurches from bad to worse, Indymedia UK, 22 October 2004

Keith Parkins, Waverley housing privatisation propaganda, Indymedia UK, 26 October 2004

Keith Parkins, A sell-out, not a sell-off, letters, Farnham Herald, 22 October 2004

Pavilion is the latest to hit out at inspectors, Inside Housing, 23 July 2004

Christine Pointer, Clear choices for tenants, letters, Farnham Herald, 22 October 2004

Rushmoor councillor's advice to Waverley tenants, Farnham Herald, 15 October 2004

Janet Sillett, A level playing field, The Guardian, 28 September 2004

David Singleton, ALMO ownership by 2006, Inside Housing, 3 September 2004

Tenants' meeting reveals firm divide on Waverley housing transfer issue, Farnham Herald, 22 October 2004

Alan Walter, Let us decide, The Guardian, 29 June 2004

Waverley councillors cut the options for future of council homes, Farnham Herald, 1 October 2004

Matt Weaver, Prescott demands curbs on fat cat pay, The Guardian, 15 January 2004

Matt Weaver, Chief exec resigns from 'worst-performing' housing group, The Guardian, 22 March 2004

Matt Weaver, MPs attack 'dogmatic' housing policy, The Guardian, 7 May 2004

Matt Weaver, Warning over fat cat pay for housing bosses, The Guardian, 29 June 2004

Matt Weaver, £233,291 pay-off stuns housing sector, The Guardian, 23 September2004

Matt Weaver, Prescott defeated on council housing vote, The Guardian, 27 September 2004

Writing on the walls, Rotten Boroughs, Private Eye, 29 October – 11 November 2004

Keith Parkins
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Hide the following 2 comments

Truthful Information

11.10.2005 13:48

Whilst reading your somewhat lacklustre page a few facts I thought should be brought to bear when considering a poorly written arcticle that switches subjects at random, before switching back again
- compare salary levels with those in other sectors. Don't forget some staff are responsible for £m turnover companies and 100's of staff
- I'm a Director level staff member and have spent 5 years at university to obtain the correct qualifications
- you see it simply as repairs, renting, cash collection. How about diversity, social gate-keeping, structurism, .......shall I go on?
- what about the endless bounds of regulation (Housing Corporation, Company Law, ODPM, Supporting People, and not to mention the endless codes and good practice)

As the saying goes, it's so easy to critisise. I'd give you a week doing my job, of which I would expect you to last about 3 days. It's not just the hours (usually 8:00 til 8:00), or the pressures, but the knowledge - something your article clearly shows you to be lacking!!!!!

A Senior Manager

Frontline Worker

20.11.2007 12:26

With due respect to the 'Senior Manager' - as a frontline maintenance worker for one of the biggest RSLs - it is almost unique to discover one tenant with a good word for their landlord. As several observers have remarked - perhaps some of those at HQ (including this 'Senior Manager') should go home to one of the properties they manage for a week ... but hey, would he last for even three days!

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