Repairs charter – more of the same blather from CiH

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CiH) Repairs Charter has been published at the annual squandering of tenants funds event aka CiH Housing Conference 2012.  At least they moved the venue to give hostelries in Manchester the opportunities to benefit from squandered tenants rent money instead of those in Harrogate.  The contractors were in full “lets buy everyone a drink” mood on June 13th.  Glad the tenants are paying for this? Shame on you CiH.

As I said in a previous blog

…………Of particular interest to many attending will be the report on the nine month exercise called ‘Getting the Basics Right’ to create a ‘Repairs Charter’.   A contractor, who stands to benefit from access to this data, is jointly conducting the exercise with the Chartered Institute of Housing.  I wonder if philanthropy or competitive advantage is at the heart of this arrangement?

Given that a closed- question questionnaire was sent out by CiH to selected senior personnel in housing organisations, the ‘conclusive evidence’ in support of the ‘Repairs Charter’ will no doubt be predictable stuff.  They have adopted the approach of ‘let us give you the opportunity to answer the questions we want to ask you.’  No opportunity to ask the questions organisations might want to ask or to make their own suggestions.

Well, blow me down, if they didn’t go and publish a Charter of Mediocrity as I predicted.

No suggestion or idea that the main problem facing housing organisations is the way they are currently structured and the way senior leadership have been bullied in to thinking in a Command & Control manner by organisations such as the Audit Commission.  It might lose CiH some membership if they engaged in real change.  Not much challenging thought or changes in sight any time soon then.

On 13th June (unlucky for anyone listening to these ‘experts’), CiH and Mears actually explained to the audience at the Housing conference what so-called best practice looks like.  It looks like the same old dysfunctional costly wasteful nonsense as per normal.  Just like I predicted.

  • Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are the way forward. Funny that; Mears advocates this rubbish, linked to their Mears Contract Management (MCM) software.
  • Dynamic Scheduling software; all this is is a way to give a tenant any appointment that doesn’t actually meet what they need.  “you can have any appointment, so long as it’s not the one you want” Funny that; Mears advocate this rubbish.
  • Diagnosis software; you know, the idiotic notion that a piece of software is better at diagnosing a plumbing problem than a plumber.  But of course it all ties neatly in to the view that there has to be a Schedule of Rates (SoR) to cost the job.  Nice way to ‘build-up’ the work too.  Nice work, if you can get it.
  • Incentivised pay based on single minute value was advocated too.  Links nicely to the accountants view of the world, where every minute can be ascribed to a job.  Doesn’t matter if it wasn’t actually done on that job.  Just get it on the PDA.  Lovely jubbly!!
  • Best bit of the Charter launch show was where Mears (you know, the company on the CiH ‘steering committee’ ‘guiding’ the so-called charter) had a client stand up and explain how they are charged a price per property, UNLESS the repair is over £400 and then Mears gets paid for that too.   So, is this what the CiH are advocating as their so-called Charter?  God help the poor tenants.   You couldn’t make this nonsense up.
  • So; all in all, same old rubbish from the same ‘suspects’.  What a waste of time and money and sadly, I predicted it in January this year.
  • CiH, you should be ashamed of yourselves. But; you wont be.

Interesting too that on page 6 of the so-called charter CiH take the opportunity to do some promotion of their consultancy arm, no doubt ‘re-peddling’ the suggestions of others.  Nice work if you can get it.

The real opportunity CiH missed is to do something significant for the benefit of social tenants.

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