My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Thanet Council Tower Blocks - No Advice. No Policies

Staner Court Ramsgate
Following the horrendous events at Grenfell Tower  there has been much, well deserved criticism,  of  Kensington and Chelsea Council   and its arm’s length housing management organisation (ALMO) the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation  for failing to protect their tenants and failing to effectively manage the aftermath of the fire.

Many commentators have pointed to the harsh spending cuts imposed on councils by the Tory Government as a contributory factor to the disaster. Others have argued that the outsourcing, tendering and sub-contracting of council services and the relaxation of safety and building regulations are part of the cause. And some people have said that because the residents of the Grenfell Towers were poor, vulnerable and lacking influence their longstanding concerns about safety were ignored.  They are all right.
Local Government today is a confusing mish-mash of dispersed public and private operations, run on shoe-string budgets. Local Government today is much less democratic than it was 20 years ago with the influence  of councillors and residents becoming  more and more marginalised in favour of developers, investors, and the Cabinet system of management which places 95% of decision making in the hands of a tiny clique of political bosses and senior managers. All of these changes have in one way or another contributed to the horrific situation at Grenfell Towers and like everyone else in the country my heart goes out to the those caught up in the terrible events  and their friends and families.
Not in any way wanting to be-little the Grenfell Towers situation, I have looked at how East Kent Housing Limited (the ALMO responsible for managing council housing stock in Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet) have reacted to events at  Grenfell Towers and I’m very disappointed.
At the time of writing this article (Sunday 18 June),  no guidance or reassurance has been published on East Kent Housing’s website or facebook page aimed at the residents of the three council owned tower blocks in Thanet or any of the other  tower blocks they  manage in the Canterbury, Dover or Shepway areas. This is very worrying and is not acceptable.

Furthermore, I searched  the East Kent Housing website to find their policies and procedures for fire risk management and managing major emergencies which might affect their properties and tenants. I found nothing,  which considering East Kent Housing's claim that it's "strong on health and safety" is something of surprise.
As the residents of the Kensington and Chelsea have been saying loud and clear this week and as many  experts have been saying  too, spending cuts, outsourcing, complex management arrangements etc do not absolve  local councils and their housing management organisations from protecting their tenants from harm, providing them with the  right advice when its needed and having  the right policies  and procedures in place to manage and deal with serious situations.
I say shame on  East Kent Housing for letting down their tenants by failing to publish advice, policies and procedures at a time when their tenants are understandably worried and need reassurance. Perhaps what's been said by many people this week is true, that council bureaucrats and their political bosses have developed an arrogant, disdain for the tenants they are supposed to be responsible for.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Ian: why are our councilors not speaking up?

    And Chris Wells in the Gazette is pointing out Riveroak will want night flights at Manston as before.