Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Housing matters

Some stuff I’ve nicked from the latest editions of Inside Housing. Last week it reported here that the new regulator the TSA is to probe the increasing salaries of housing association CEO’s. Have they become a self fulfilling prophecy? About time too. See here.

While here they report that many Housing association executives are not taking their bonuses due to the economic downturn. hmm? Good – leadership at last?

Why do so many MP’s hate us? (Or something like that). Barbara Thorndick, the Chair of Place Shapers Group says here that Housing associations are “the good guys”. She is introducing a report the group had commissioned that concluded that HA’s need to improve their reputation among MPs (and I would say among many Councillors and Assembly members!). I must admit that I have come across a number of MPs who have no time whatsoever for “dreadful” Housing associations – not just the “usual suspects” either.

Here we have the news that six HA’s on the TSA “at risk list”. Whose CEO, Peter Marsh , said there were four “presenting factors” – stand alone interest rate swaps, only 6 months bank funding, write downs on land banks and wrong assumptions about shared ownership sales. No doubt that some of these six will be suffering from all four factors.

The maddest story of all time must be here about Home housing group sacking a sheltered warden who may have saved a dying resident with an non-procedural “out of hours” visit. An employment tribunal found she had been unfairly dismissed and should have been congratulated not sacked. Think about it – if HA’s treat staff in such a “totally irrational” way then how do they treat their residents? Resident associations and housing unions ought to work together more closely.

Saddest story here is that landlords are freezing recruitment and cutting jobs due to economic downturn. This is bonkers that we are laying off specialist development staff when we have an absolute housing crisis and an economy that needs reflating. Hello? what’s happened to joined up thinking?

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