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Housing Management transfers to the Council
On the 1st of March the Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, finally took over the day-to-day management of all of its housing stock, over 9,000 homes, from the TMO. An event that had been eagerly awaited and much anticipated by many, many residents.
The transfer of management responsibility also involved the transfer of a significant number of staff from the TMO to the Council. Staff that had previously been employed by the TMO are now employed by the Council. This was a legal requirement and one the Council could not easily avoid.
The Council also took ownership of Repairs Direct. Repairs Direct was a wholly owned subsidiary of the TMO created by the TMO to carry out responsive repairs to the housing stock. Repairs Direct, the company, is now owned by the Council and will be carrying out the same work for the Council.
The Council has also taken on most, if not all, of the TMO contracts. Contractors that had been previously employed by the TMO are now employed by the Council.
Many residents have mixed feelings about what has just happened. We, the Committee of the World's End Residents Association, have mixed feelings about what has just happened.
The Council have been reassuring residents and Resident Associations that these changes are for the better and that the services provided to residents will improve as a result. We certainly hope this will prove to be the case.
There can be little doubt that some members of staff at the TMO have performed, and in some cases behaved, very poorly in the past. There are few residents who do not believe that unprofessional and immoral behaviour was rife at the TMO. The Council must take action to deal with those members of staff whose past behaviour has, quite frankly, provided ample evidence of their unsuitability for the posts they still occupy. The Council must act decisively to root out and get rid of such "rotten apples" at the earliest possibly opportunity.
The Council has published plans to deal with the most serious deficiencies at Repairs Direct. These plans promise significant improvements in the responsive repairs service over the coming months. We hope these improvements are delivered as promised.
The Council has not indicated what actions, if any, they intend to take with regards the many TMO contracts it has inherited. Unfortunately many of the contractors involved have provided very poor services to residents for many years. We therefore believe the Council must take action to ensure that these contractors deliver what they have signed up to do and, should the contractors fail or refuse to do so, terminate such failing contracts at the earliest opportunity and re-tender them so as to employ companies that are actually willing and able to provide the services required.
Of all of the challenges facing the Council this may be the most serious – these contractors provide the bulk of the services received by residents, and many have become accustomed to providing those services on their terms and to the detriment of residents, the TMO having failed to manage or monitor them properly. Early signs are that some are adapting to the changing circumstances but some are not. The Council should not hesitate in terminating the contracts of those who do not.
We hope that all of this represents a meaningful and long awaited improvement to the services provided by the Council to residents. The TMO had become an ineffective, inefficient, and uncaring organisation. It will not be missed. The Council’s challenge is to prove that it will be a better steward of its own housing, by both managing and maintaining its housing stock to a better standard and ensuring that the voice of residents is heard.
This page is published by the World's End Residents Association.