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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

TMO TO HOLD K&C OFFICERS AND COUNCILLORS TO ACCOUNT!

The Dame is perplexed and it is not often that the dear old thing is baffled by the Council or the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation.  

The website of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation says: "The TMO will scrutinise how the Council is performing with regards to residents' services"  whilst the Council consults residents about the future management of the Royal Borough's Council flats. 
The Dame remembers the Prime Minister telling Parliament shortly after the Grenfell Tower fire that the TMO was "not fit for purpose." 
The Dame also remembers that in December of last year the Tenant Management Organisation admitted that it was no longer able to provide housing management services. 

So here's the question....

How can the very same people who presided over the disastrous refurbishment of Grenfell Tower and who ran a housing management company that was "not fit for purpose" scrutinise the actions of those brought in to deal with the mess that the TMO Board and its staff left behind?

The Dame hopes that the tenants on the TMO Board are no longer being paid their so-called monthly expenses' allowance whilst they perform this "scrutiny" of the Council's performance in the direct management of Council housing and the provision of services to tenants. 

About fifteen years ago, the Dame heard that the TMO devised an expenses' scheme not quite as generous as the one bestowed on Kensington and Chelsea Councillors but one that enabled those tenants in receipt of means-tested Social Security benefits and Housing Benefit to have their lives made comfortable, courtesy of the Department for Work and Pensions. 
When the Grenfell Tower fire broke out, this so-called expenses' scheme bestowed generous monthly allowances in excess of £100 a month on the TMO's Tenant Board Members. 
Most strikingly, none of these Tenant Board Members ever incurred £100 a month of expenses in the performance of their official duties. 
If the Department for Work and Pensions knew that this expenses' allowance was really a fee for services to the TMO then all those Tenant Board Members would have had their means-tested benefits reduced. 

As the Council now has an opportunity to come clean, perhaps Barry Quirk,its Chief Executive, should investigate these payments and tell the DwP the truth.                 

58 comments:

  1. Knickers in a twist9 May 2018 at 13:27

    The TMO Board is deluding itself if it thinks it is capable of scrutinising the housing management practices of the Council.

    The TMO was a litany of fraud from gardening to giving tenants on its Board bungs.

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  2. One TMO Board Member used to brag that she incurred no expenses on TMO business because she had a pensioners' bus pass. The money she made on the side paid for her fags.

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  3. Balderdash and Boloney9 May 2018 at 17:51

    Kensington and Chelsea Councillors haven't got the brains they were born with. Fancy allowing the TMO Board to scrutinise the Council's housing management practices. It is time that Councillors got real.

    When services are directly provided by a local authority, officials are accountable to Councillors and Councillors are accountable to the electorate; not the deficient TMO Board. So what is this balderdash about the TMO "scrutinising" the Council's service provision to tenants. I have heard some nonsense in my time but this takes the biscuit.

    Has the Council learnt nothing from washing its hands of housing management responsibilities since 1996 by empowering the high and mighty but morally corrupt tenant management board with powers that brought the lives of 71 people to an abrupt end.

    Councillors need to be more "hands on" and sharpish

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  4. The lunatics have got hold of the running of the asylum

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  5. The TMO has got to retain a function otherwise it will disband and then there will be no organisation to be answerable to the police and the Grenfell inquiry. This is just a sop to keep them in business. No one really believes they are capable of supervising anything.

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    1. @ 20.15. Crap! The TMO, as a corporate entity, has to remain in EXISTENCE in order to answer for the deaths of 71 people but it does not have to RETAIN a function.

      One bloke who got elected to the TMO Board made it clear to the tenant spongers on the Board that only a negligible amount of the monthly allowance was spent on expenses. He caused quite a stir when he reported his profit from the allowance to the Inland Revenue so it could be taxed. Shame one of the ones on means tested benefits never did this.

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    2. There were AT LEAST 72 deaths, not 71 as widely reported. At least 72 people could be identified - there were also people whose remains could not be identified.

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    3. Sorry, I got the number of deaths wrong. Thanks for clarifying the number of people who died. EXACTLY, how many people died? Whether their remains could be identified or not is irrelevant, dead people are dead people.

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    4. Anon 07:49: Precisely. It is claimed that 71/72 was the toll. However, it should be '71/72 IDENTIFIED individuals and many more, who will never be identified. I understand, despite many official claims to the contrary, that there are still unaccounted for individuals. Where are they. I ask? The numbers is just a ruse...

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    5. This is bloody disgusting. We want the numbers of deaths, straight up, no messing. If there is any doubt about the number who died, let Cressida Dick say so.

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  6. Volunteers/willing tenants/leaseholders are changing the way housing is managed by actively engaging with the management. It's still an early stage to judge how it will pan out but I think it is moving in the right direction at least. The head of housing, Doug is very hands on and I bet Robert Black had no clue or wanted to know what was happening with TMO. Obviously, a whole lot of issues need to be addressed and it will take time to be implimented. It's time we stopped complaining and take action if not happy. Complaining alone does not change anything. Get stuck in if you want certain thing changed, your voice and action are needed. You may want to contact your RA but there will be a consultation process set up in due course so that everybody in RBKC housing will be able to voice their concerns, idea etc. Hold tight.

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    1. Are you mad? I don't trust the Council any more than I would trust the Tory Government over Brexit. If Doug were any good, he would have put his foot down and not allowed the TMO Board to scrutinise the Council's housing management practices. I am sure we will all be let down by the Council once again.

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    2. Labour man is right. We cannot trust Councillors or Officers. Why were so many Councillors, Conservatives and Labour, determined to indulge the TMO and why are they and Doug still continuing to indulge it.

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    3. If Doug Goldring wants the confidence of tenants and leaseholders he cannot run with the hare and keep with the hounds on anything to do with the TMO. If he is on our side he has to be anti TMO. Is he keeping an eye on that lot who worked at the TMO and transferred to the Council? Is he making sure that those people who are on, or have been on the TMO Board are not getting favours from former TMO workers?

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    4. @08:48
      First of all, I want everyone to know that I hated TMO like everyone else so I don't want you to think that I've been sent by Council. You can believe or not believe, it's upto you. Having got that out of the way...

      You said... "If he is on our side he has to be anti TMO. Is he keeping an eye on that lot who worked at the TMO and transferred to the Council?"

      YES. I said Doug was very hands-on based from what he told us in one of the recent meetings. It is my judgment based on what he told us how he spends his time and where etc. Judgment based on how he responded my questions and his ability to go in and out of different subjects. I kind of tested him this way how much he knows. How much do you know about Doug from your personal interaction with him 08:48? OR your comment based on assumption?

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    5. I have the measure of the man and the measure of a Council that has done down tenants constantly over time.

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  7. TMO Board resident members are paid approx. £1380 pa and the Chair is paid approx. £2064 pa IN ADDITION TO expenses. The TMO is “unusual in paying resident directors”. Council nominated members received no remuneration from the TMO but in the case of Tory councillor members' wards, lots of benefits in kind to compliant Tory-voting TMO residents, such as creating a private garden out of communal land for one of them.

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    1. Unchecked Tory Corruption: one for Quirk10 May 2018 at 14:15

      The corruption regarding the Tory Councillor that used to be on the TMO Board who secured a private garden for a woman on the Cremorne Estate on land that belonged to the estate is one of the scandals that the Black administration buried. What about the involvement of the gardening bloke in all of that?

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    2. Signed by a friend of the TMO10 May 2018 at 14:32

      08.56. Right, so the Resident Directors got £1,380 in EARNINGS for being on the TMO Board and the Chairman EARNED got £2,064.

      Did the TMO report the income that it was paying Resident Directors to:-

      The Inland Revenue so that the taxman got his pound of flesh

      The Department for Work and Pensions so that the means tested benefits of any Resident Director on these benefits could be reduced.

      The Council so that any Resident Director on Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction could have their entitlement docked.

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    3. If memory serves me well Miss Dascombe, a TMO Manager, was unfairly out on her ear over a Tory Councillor obtaining an advantage for a personal friend on the Cremorne Estate and the allocation of money. Can anyone remind the Dame exactly what went on.

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  8. The Dame ought to put all her questions to Doug Goldring, who is presently running the whole housing show, together with the Tenants Consultative Committee and its various sub-panels. I am on 2 of those sub-panels: the Interim Group & the Homes Group (for the small blocks without an RA). Those interested in the issue of the current & future management of council housing could also ask for copies of the minutes of the meetings which have taken place between last year & now.

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    1. Why does this Bruno D go under a non de plume. The Council does not know anyone called Bruno D

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    2. Yes, they do. I do know who Bruno is and those that have been actively engaging. 14:08, you are obviously not in touch...it shows in what you have written.

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    3. I phoned the Town Hall Housing Section. No one knows Bruno D.

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    4. @14:42 Did you get through to the right section? Obviously the switchboard would be clueless. Anyway, we are not going to waste our time with your kind of people. We have policy changes to think about; we will change it to the way we want amicably. There will be a lot of hard work and much time needed but what most of tenants/leaseholders want is more or less the same. We are taking back our power. We'll no longer be dictated by the management like TMO used to treat us. Got it? Bye.

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    5. I know better than to enquire of the Council's switchboard.One moment you are writing as Bruno D, the next you are anonymous. You are a capricious person; hardly desirable for someone so heavily involved in influencing the development of policy.

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    6. @15:19 Me & Bruno the same thing?! Assumption is a dangerous thing. I don't write as politely as Bruno for a start! Dame would know anyway since all IP addresses are recorded.

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    7. Sorry, I made a mistake about your dual identity. However, the Housing Department told me that they did not know who Bruno is. I am glad that you know him. It is better to judge Council Officers (Doug) by the outcomes they achieve not how the proceed during negotiations. I speak from bitter experience.

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    8. @ 16:33 I am not particularly speaking up for Doug. All I wanted to say was that we, likes of Bruno and other volunteer tenants/leaseholders are keeping watchful eyes on them. Unfortunately we have to give reasonable time to see if future implementations will be a success. I do hope so because we have suffered greatly over the decades and Doug know this.

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  9. Oh Dame, please don't pick on people whose weekly income is around £71. They're shields for scheming suits who can tick the box marked 'community engagement' and tell people who have no idea of how to run monstrously complex organisation how to vote.

    Go for the people with power, the tax avoiders/evaders whose tax would make a difference. Don't begrudge poor people a crumb of what rich people take for granted. Send baskets of jam and fags by all means but punching down is ugly.

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    1. Can we go back to talking about Cllr Palmer?

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    2. Utter bilge...the TMO 'bought' members with these allowances so that they would toe the line. In other words....bribes. Think before you come on all holier than the Dame

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    3. Scroungers' Charter10 May 2018 at 22:57

      @19.25 What a load of bollocks! Sort of thing that I would expect Jeremy Corbyn MP to say.

      Tax evaders, tax avoiders, and TMO Board members on the social who do not report their earnings on the side (courtesy of a TMO contrivance) are all scrounging from the government thanks to those of us who get off our arses and work for our money. There would be more money for the needy if the greedy parasites on the TMO Board reported their income to the DwP and the Council's Housing Benefit Office.

      The parasites on the TMO Board have an income of around £10, 000 a year. Many of whom have avoided the Jobcentre apart from attending to sign on the dole. They may well only get £ 71.00 a week in cash, (nearer to £160 if they are pensioners) but don't forget they get their rent and council tax paid in to the bargain. That equates to around ten grand a year tax free. Someone on the National Minimum Wage would have to work 25 hours a week to make that. Those of us who work have done it all wrong.

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    4. Clear and concise demolition of a very stupid comment from 19:25

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    5. Scroungers Charter11 May 2018 at 08:54

      Thank you 07.21

      The Labour Party nowadays thinks it is OK to fiddle if you are at the bottom of the pile "so long as you don't get caught." That's working class morality for you- "don't get caught" because if you do we will crucify you.

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    6. Leo Trotsky "shoot the parasites like partridges"11 May 2018 at 09:20

      Maighread Condon Simmonds was a Tory Director of the TMO- did she grass up Resident Board Members for non declaration of income?

      We need a workers' militia to judge Emma Dent Coad and Judith Blakeman for bourgeois ideology and keeping mum about parasitism.

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    7. This 'earnings' you lot is talking about is not going to go anywhere since the money was defined as expense. For example, if you receive a large sum of compensation money from the court, that does not count as earnings, equally if you sell your belonging on ebay, that is not count as earnings UNLESS you buy in some stocks and start selling the same item. So you may wish to look at the expense as earnings but it has already been defined. Dead horse.

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    8. Semantic Games at 10.57.11 May 2018 at 11:17

      Labelling something "expenses" or calling it "expenses" does not mean that it is reimbursement of out of pocket expenses. I am sorry but your feeble and vapid attempt at semantic games is weak and pathetically inadequate. n reality these so called expenses paid by the TMO to its resident directors is INCOME and is TAXABLE and deductible in the computation of means tested social security benefits; including Housing Benefit and Council tax reduction.

      The Courts have put this very well in a case on a totally different subject. Lord Templemen in the case of Street v Mountford said,
      "The manufacture of a five pronged implement for manual digging results in a fork even if the manufacturer, unfamiliar with the English language, insists that he intended to make and has made a spade.”

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    9. 11.17 must be a fellow lawyer. The law is very good at pulling people up short who play games with language to escape criminal or civil liability. It is scandalous that a Tory Council's Housing Benefit Officers know that the income derived from being a Resident Director of the TMO is income even though it is called "expenses."

      I appeared before Lord Templeman when he was a High Court Judge, Mr Justice Templeman. He was brilliant with his use of language and very stroppy with Counsel who pushed a point that did not agree with. His analogy in Street v Mountford is nothing to do with gardening forks or spades but it makes the point that the law will not allow you to call something, something that it is not and allow you to get away with it.

      The Allowance paid to TMO Resident Directors is an Income.

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    10. So unlike good Tories, TMO Board Members did not do a bit more for a bit less, they did a lot less for a lot more.11 May 2018 at 13:12

      Gordon Perry started this expenses' scandal. Robert Black took it new levels. Black increased the allowance to an all time high and reduced the number of meetings that the Board were required to attend. So unlike good Tories, TMO Board Members did not do a bit more for a bit less, they did a lot less for a lot more.

      I wonder how much Juliet Rawlings coined in whilst she was on the TMO. The Dame has told us all about the private medical treatment enjoyed by one Board member at the TMO's expense.

      Are they still getting their bungs for this fake scrutiny? Perhaps, Emma Dent Coad MP will have a word in the Prime Minister's shell like.

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    11. @13:12 I am guessing that Emma DC has more important things to think about since Grenfell will be discussed in the Parliament on Monday.

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    12. No lawyer will take up on such case anyway. No money in it for them. That's how it works. If you are a lawyer, don't you have more important thing to concentrate in the borough? How about doing something about Earl's Court or the Odeon cinema?

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    13. Lawyers do take on work that has no money in it for them. Have you heard of the term "pro bono?" Michael Mansfield QC has done such work.

      Qualified barristers looking for pupilage are expected to have obtained some experience of advocacy before they get taken on by a Pupil Master. Not all lawyers are money grabbing.

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    14. PS. The point that I was trying to make is that you say that the Resident Directors income on the side was "going no where" because it was defined "expenses." Surely you can now see that what you were saying is scratchy and intellectually on shaky ground

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    15. Grenfell case is different fgs! Comparing a major case like Grenfell and £1,200 pa expense matter...OMG. I can understand if it's a law student who might be willing to work on pro bono though. I know of someone who was on benefit while still had a limited company though it wasn't trading as such. Expense spent on behalf of the company such as acounting and other ongoing expenses were duly reimbursed and there is no issue there. Expenses are not income. Another example, when people are asked to go for an interview at a JobCentrePlus or one of assessment centres, one is reinbursed of transport cost which is not considered an income but expense. Even if you received a study help (can't remember the proper term for a minute) grant, it is not count as an income even though it might be in hundreds. Another one, compensation via the Court is also not considered an income because you haven't worked for it e.g. per hour etc. It's all in the contract. I'm sure the Directors signed a contract and it was defined in there.

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    16. @19.03 Your experiences of life are inadequate and your thinking is confused to put it mildly. You have conflated a number of issues. I can assure you that the monthly stipend paid to TMO Resident Directors is an "income" and cannot properly be described as "expenses" regardless of your posturing to the contrary. HMRC was quite happy to tax the profit on the monthly stipend when a former Resident Director reported the profits that he made out of that money to them. Why/ because it is an "income" and income is taxable. Similarly, income of this type is counted in the award of means tested benefit. If you look at the Regulations appertaining to any means tested benefit you will see there are circumstances when income may be treated as capital. This will confuse you even more and add to the erroneous information that you spout.

      You are very ignorant about matters of law.

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    17. @20:57 What I wrote are based on advices CAB gave. They searched a thick book which had all the relevant answers according to what DWP has set. Hence there was no dispute from DWP either. They knew this person still had a company. Everything was above board. I suggest you take the matters to HMRC and DWP or even go to Court to seek a clarificatin of their apparent 'misconduct'. That will be the best since you seem to know the way around and willing to work for free. You never know, you could be the person who rewrites some of the things HMRC/DWP have set. You'll be a legend. All the best.

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    18. 19.33. I am sure that Miss Dent Coad is able to multi-task. She is a mother and an MP. Mothers, like MP's, must be able to multi task to be any good at either job. She will be able to participate in the Grenfell debate on Monday and be able have word with the Prime Minister. You seem to be putting up obstacles to TMO Resident Directors facing the music about their financial affairs.

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    19. 08.46 Despite what you say the matter of TMO Resident Director "expenses" and the way that HMRC and the DwP has been deceived is not above board. You continue to conflate a number of issues in support of your argument which shows that you are not all that bright.

      The Citizens' Advice Bureau does not give authoritative statements of law, just opinions. They do a good job but some times get things wrong which is inevitable in a service like that. The quality of advice given by the Citizens' Advice Bureau is largely dependent on the skill of the individual Advice Worker and the information that the client gives during the consultation.

      The big book to which you refer could have been any one of any number of big books. However, a good Advice Worker would have known immediately the answer to the question of a monthly allowance being described as "expenses" when not all of the allowance is exclusively spent on defraying out of pocket expenses.

      May I refer you to a number of big books that will settle this matter to your satisfaction once and for all :-

      The Adjudication Officer's Manual published by the DwP's Chief Adjudication Officer. I can assure that this book does bear out what I say about the monthly allowance that TMO Resident Directors receive being treated as "income" and how the "cycle" of that income should be calculated in the assessment of a means tested benefit.

      The Guidance Manuals for any means tested benefit. The Guidance Manual is Guidance and not binding on Adjudicators but the Courts have said that DwP Guidance is strong persuasive authority and should not be ignored. Both the Guidance Manual and Adjudication Officer's Manual are consistent on this point

      You are making obstacles where there are none. Have you have enjoyed funds from our TMO and are trying to save your own skin? Otherwise, please explain why you are going to such painful lengths?

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    20. @09:19 "You said...The Citizens' Advice Bureau does not give authoritative statements of law, just opinions." So does lawyers hence some cases has to go to the Court to be decided who's interpretation stands. Having said this, just like Dame's new article published today, the same law could be applied or not applied depending on the target group. Clear evidence is the Grenfell. I am pretty sure if ordinary joe blogg were to commit a crime, she or he would be arrested there and then while Grenfell murderers are in full pay and allowed to do gardening.

      Have I enjoyed funds from TMO? No, because I'm not even a Board member.

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    21. 12.01 I agree with you especially about Grenfell and the prosecution of those responsible. But once again, you are conflating issues.

      You may be interested to know that there are also a number of Social Security Commissioner's decisions (a specialist judge appointed to hear appeals from Social Security Appeals' Tribunals on points of law) to support what I am saying about the apportionment of income in means tested benefit claims.

      Many people have been screwed by the TMO financially; especially over major works' bills and service charges. Those Board Members who enjoyed a rake off to maintain the status quo at the TMO now need to answer and their financial affairs need to be scrutinised. Like you, I want to see prosecutions for Grenfell.

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    22. @14:54 I wish you all the best if you decide to write to the Social Security Commissioner. Will you be including a point that the new law should be applicable retrospectively?

      Please keep us informed on the progress. I am sure you are the one to make changes.

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    23. It's not new law.

      The Commissioner only hears appeals against decisions of Tribunals, he has no power to investigate anything following receipt of a letter. He has the powers of a High Court Judge.

      There would be no difficulty in law for Social Security to determine the amount of overpaid benefit and recovering any overpayment.

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  10. @19:25 very well said.

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    1. And, I agree.... for whatever that counts...

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    2. Brimstone and treacle11 May 2018 at 19:44

      If 19.25 wants to spend their own money on fags and jam for TMO Board members that's fine. But it cannot be right that money given to the TMO by the Council for running the housing management service was inappropriately dished out to Resident Directors to keep them onside toeing Robert Black's line.

      No wonder all the dodgy practices at the TMO went unchecked; including the scandal around the Grenfell Tower refurbishment. The Resident Directors on the Social were doing nicely with a top up of £ 25 + a week; anyone who has ever been on the Social will tell you that £ 25 extra every week (on the side) is a very welcome perk. What is worse is that Resident Directors only occasionally had to get off their arses to attend a meeting to get the money; and toe the line that Robert Black wanted.

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    3. Strange values12 May 2018 at 17:59

      Why is it that left wingers think it legitimate for those on the TMO Board who are claiming Social Security Benefits to fiddle? There is nothing "ugly" about telling someone to pay for their own fags and to stop masquerading as a Company Director to get fag money through creative accounting and benefit claims.

      Surely 19.25 can see if that people are able to sit on the TMO Board, they could sit on their arses on the till at Waitrose for 40 hours a week. They could even use their experience as TMO Board members to convince Waitrose that they are trustworthy, having been a Director of the TMO a Company with a £ 11 million a year turn over, and therefore worth employing as Cashiers in the supermarket. If you want something work for it, don't expect people who go to work and earn their money to go along with those at the bottom of the pile who make a lifestyle choice not to work and get money by scrounging off the Government. If Labour ever gets in, they will justify Social Security scrounging.

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  11. I wouldn't do it for £500.00 a month!

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