Monday, 9 July 2012

EastendHomes fails to comply with Council resolution

Paul Bloss, the Chief Executive of EastendHomes has failed to ensure that EEH complies with a Tower Hamlets Council resolution within the specified time limit.

The Council Resolution on 29 November 2011 - which was unanimously agreed - urged EastedHomes in the strongest possible terms to hold elections in each local estate area for resident representatives to the Main Board within six months ie by the end of May 2012.

This has not happened.

At the Council Meeting on 29 November 2011,  Tower Hamlets Council considered serious allegations about the behaviour of EastendHomes with respect to the lack of proper resident representation.

The quoted sections below come from the Minutes of the Council Meeting on 29 November 2011.  The headings explain the process adopted within the Council meeting.

A written question to the Council from a member of the Public

6.1 Question from Mr Ares Zaimes:-

Residents are deeply concerned that the estate has no elected representative on the Main Board of East End Homes.

East End Homes has terminated the rights of residents to be represented on its Main Board by an elected local board member, who has proper delegated authority from fellow residents, and who can relay to the Main Board the concerns of the community living on St George’s Estate. This is at a time when we are grappling with a mass of problems in relation to a major construction programme that could meaningfully be resolved only at Main Board level.

East End Homes has effectively eradicated accountable resident involvement in the organization's strategic thinking and operational decisions on St George’s and other of its estates.

Do you agree that it is now time for a full review of East End Homes’ governance arrangements and the reinstatement of resident rights to Main Board representation that is accountable to residents?
Response by Councilllor Rabina Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing
Thank you for your question. This is not the first time that this matter has been raised with me and I receive many letters and e-mails about East End Homes (EEH). After previous enquiries I managed to arrange a meeting with St George’s estate residents and EEH. At the meeting it was very clear that residents were extremely upset and concerned that they were not being properly represented or listened to. I asked that they be made fully aware of the terms of the EEH formal Proposal document and that copies be made available to them.

Tenant involvement on the boards of housing associations is extremely important. I am committed to ensuring that this is the case for all our RSLs and that tenants are treated well.

It may be that the current involvement arrangements conform to the constitution for EEH but that is not good enough.

I have worked with the Tenants Federation to improve resident involvement on boards and the St George’s estate board decided to convert to a TRA A Panel is to be introduced that will be able to refer such complaints to the Housing Ombudsman. Have St George’s residents been approached on this matter?

[Mr Zaimes replied that they had not.]

No supplementary question was asked.
Change to Order of Business

As a result of the above, a motion relating to EastendHomes was revised.

Councillor Emma Jones MOVED, and Councillor Tim Archer SECONDED their amended motion with respect to EastendHomes
Following debate, the motion as amended was put to the vote and was agreed. Accordingly it was:-RESOLVED
This Council notes that:-
1 A Council-organised meeting was held between East End Homes residents, councillors and representatives of East End Homes on 11th April 2011. A representative of EEH was also in attendance.
2. The minutes of this meeting clearly show that each estate felt that improvements in resident involvement and representation on EEH’s board were needed urgently.
3. The St George’s estate has currently undergoing extensive construction work and it is important during this time that the estate is democratically represented.
4. Currently the EEH management board does not have a representative elected by St George’s estate residents.
This Council believes that:-
1. RSLs have a responsibility to ensure democratically elected representation for tenants, leaseholders and freeholders on estate management boards.
2. The election of resident representatives to the Main Board of EeH is documented in the Memorandum & Articles of Association of the Company and is integral to the Council’s original intention in establishing EeH as a stock transfer organisation.
This Council resolves to:
1. Urge EeH in the strongest possible terms to hold elections in each local estate area for resident representatives to the Main Board within six months.
MERA was represented at the meeting with Councillor Rabina Kahn in April last year.

MERA also received a letter from Councillor Kahn following the Council meeting which we will be publishing tomorrow. Readers will note from the above that Cllr Kahn was very familiar with complaints made about the conduct of EastendHomes.

MERA will be following up the lack of progress on this matter with Tower Hamlets Council and in particular the Councillors identified above - with specific respect to:
  • the failure of resident involvement and representation due to the conduct of EastendHomes
  • the lack of elected local representatives within 6 months
  • the fact that representatives are being screened and pre-selected for elections by EastendHomes

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