"Rachmanists with an equalities policy"

Tenants across Bristol of so-called “social” landlord Places for People are no doubt delighted to be receiving news of their increased service charges this week.

With the RPI standing at 0.9% and falling and the headline inflation rate at 3.1% and crashing towards zero for April, the greedy bastards have decided to raise charges by up to 30%!

That’s right. Some of the the city’s poorest people are being hit – by a charity that claims to “conduct our business in a socially responsible and economically sustainable way” – with charge increases at over ten times the rate of inflation at the start of the most brutal economic downturn since the 30s.

Places for People, of course, are the Housing association that pay their Chief Executive, David Cowans, a whopping £257,000 a year plus extraordinary pension benefits. Will Cowans be taking a pay cut to reflect the tough times and perhaps help reduce the financial impact on his tenants?

No reports yet of Britain’s sleaziest landlord removing his snout from the trough…

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96 Responses to "Rachmanists with an equalities policy"

  1. Noel says:

    I’m a places for people tennant, they do seem to be quite tight with their money. I’d heard rumours about their CEO being payed offensive ammounts of money before and now you just confirmed it.

    There is quite a bit of work that needs doing to this building that has obviously needed doing for many years. PFP are very reluctant to spend any of their cash right now.

    I havent heard anything yet about ths service charge increase but it is quite worrying. Its not really as if I have much choice about where I live, at least for the time being. My neighbours for example have been living here for 25 years. For a lot of people, once they get into one of these properties thats it, they are there for life for better or worse.

  2. inks says:

    There are some basic rules about service charges. If tenants think these have been broken they should look very carefully at the charges.

    Service charges should only collect what has been spent providing the service.

    The organisation is only allowed to charge 10% for admin and 5% profit. RSL’s routinely claim 15% for admin, forgetting to mention that 5% of that is a rake off.

    That 15% is all they can charge for staff time. If other staff time appears in the service charge it should be queried.

    The RSL must be able to prove what they have spent. Down the the actual invoices.

    The service charge should be for services the resident has received. So if eight units in a block share a communal entrance only they should pay the costs of that entrance. The other units, with their own front door onto the street, shouldn’t pay.

    At a guess the 30% increase is to collect increased fuel costs over the last year but it’d be well worth checking the detail. Don’t get fobbed off. If you feel fobbed off or don’t understand what you’re told it means they’re probably hiding something.

    Places for People are in financial trouble.

  3. old misery guts says:

    I doubt if Places for People are the only social landlords that need looking into. A year or so ago I had the misfortune to work for a charity that was taken over by one of these organisations. The “joint chief execs” (there were two, neither of whom cared about anything other than their own interests, and one of whom, despite being a small minded twat, had an ego the size of a small planet) were each taking over £200k salaries; one of them had a pet project converting a massive disused warehouse into a an arts centre/folly/white elephant, which according to inside sources had cost upwards of £30m. All done on the “profits” they had made from increased property prices, funded by the tax payer. I can’t tell you how much joy I felt when I heard that they were being investigated for dodgy practices. But you just know that the bastards responsible will walk away from it with their bank balances intact – and in the meantime hundreds of their staff at the coalface, who do a good job in difficult circumstances, are being made redundant. Quality. Much as I hate the fucking council, I can’t help but think that public ownership, in this case, is preferable to these vile quangos who operate without any real constraint on their behaviour, lining the pockets of the few at the expense of the many.

  4. Gary Hopkins says:

    Tennants have consistently voted to stay with the council for many of the reasons in the previous contribution and despite the fact that this government is tipping the playing field against council ownership and towards quangos.
    What is also essential is that tennants have a greater say in the running of the stock which was the origonal intention of the housing management board which has now been completely discredited by the way that it has been run recently.
    TMOs are an attempt to give tennants more control but do not underestimate the ability of the Labour party to corrupt or undermine the objective.

  5. inks says:

    In general I agree that housing should stay with the local authority.

    I can’t help but point out that Bristol City Council had big problems with the heating service charge in their communal housng blocks last year due the the faulty Chlorus (sp?) system.

  6. Gary Hopkins says:

    Quite right . That is why there needs to be more effective tennant control/involvement

  7. concerned Tenant says:

    Gary Hopkins.

    Surely the Housing Management Board is the saviour for council tenants our beloved Mr.sims tells us tenants that we have a greater say in how we run our housing service?Service user groups will give us all a better say in how our homes are maintained,are you saying this isnt the case?

  8. Des Bowring says:

    I’m a Places for People tenant (only one ‘n’ in tenant btw, guys) and I think they are a very good landlord indeed. It says here.

  9. Dona Qixota says:

    Gary Hopkins wrote: “That is why there needs to be more effective tennant control/involvement”

    I’m still puzzling over something another councillor mentioned on a previous thread with a discussion about this topic:

    “The reason the officers consistently gave for the new structure ie the HMB, replacing AHC’s with forums etc was due to a lack of widespread involvement of tenants – which these were intended to address.”

    thebristolblogger . wordpress.com/2009/01/09/city-council-budget-balls-go-figure/#comment-15476

    Is this apparent claim by officers actually true, or not? Surely it’s easy enough to prove or disprove by looking back over minutes of the meetings?

  10. BristolPatriot says:

    Ah so you’ve not heard of divide and conquor ?
    isolating involved tenants into seperate groups?
    insisting one sug group per tenant
    despite years of experience on overlapping subjects.

    Yes I recall what the officers said, I recall, the numerous recalls to Scrutiny to pass this Tenant ”Insolvent” plan ! LOL

    I recall tenant tours, tenants’ voice, tenant conference and even tenant ‘satisfaction and representation’ Gosh the memories come flooding back –
    Grass roots they called it – Cut backs they call it now
    Bygone days !
    Our Caretakers will all tell you – it’s just a mop up exercise these days.

  11. badnewswade says:

    I don’t understand why I have to be “involved” in the day-to-day minutae of running my council housing. I’m fine with being consulted when people want to do something with the area, that’s great, but I don’t think that’s what they mean by “tenant involvement”.

    Why don’t the council just shut up and do their jobs properly? There is a fine system to hold them to account when they inevitably screw it up (I can verify its efficacy), so what’s the problem here? If you ask me it sounds like they want the tenants to do a lot of low grade admin and planning work for free, then up the rent by 100% for whatever reason comes easiest to mind.

    Sod that. I’m voting to stay with the Council, at least they’re predictably crap.

  12. BristolPatriot says:

    Badnewswade said”Why don’t the council just shut up and do their jobs properly? ”

    What a great idea they havent managed that ever,What might think they could ever do a good job ,These so say housing professionals.

    The only and main reason the City-wide forum and AHC’s were shut down was the simple fact that Tenants were calling officers to account.
    The only way that they could stop that was to attempt to make that process appear defunct [lets not forget councillors used to be members of the AHC’s]
    Graham sims head of housing, did exactly that but not only has he taken away the real Tenants voice he made sure that Tenants also had no real future say in how Environmental Improvement Budgets were spent the majority of fiunancial decisions are now made directly by officers.
    The housing Management Board [HMB] are nothing more than a politically selected quango.
    Gary Hopkins has failed to give some information he might not be aware of he states above “Tennants have consistently voted to stay with the council ” A one point during the stock options appraisal 2.500 Tenants said they wished to stay with BCC when you consider at that time there were in excess of 30.000 Tenants that is hardly Democracy is it.

  13. Paul Smith says:


    TMOs that have developed across the country have been from bottom up community action with a strong co-operative ethos. The proposals in Bristol appear to be driven from area housing committees, lib dems and external consultants. There is no evidence of grass roots demand for taking over the management of the housing stock and area housing committee areas are not communities but administrative conveniences. The TMO proposals in Bristol appear to be little more than an attempt to split up the management of the housing ready for some partial sell offs

    Paul Smith
    PPC Bristol West

  14. badnewswade says:

    The Council might well be crap, but at least when things go wrong they are a least vaguely accountable, I’ve had two problems where I live, one was a noisy neighbour who just wouldn’t stop not matter what and ended up setting fire to his flat, the other was the clorious heating refund problem. On both occaisions local councillors get involved and sorted out what the system had screwed up.

    If council housing changes ownership it will inevitably lead to some kind of privatisation and the sort of horrendous ripoffs we’ve seen at the hands of housing associations- astronomical rents that keep people in the poverty trap, neglect (under the council there is constant renovation work going on) and absolutely no accountability as everything is sacrificed in the name of profits and/ or movie star wages for the management.

    Council housing works and we need more of it, not less. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  15. Spirit Homes ( admin) says:

    Paul Smith:

    You make a fairly sound judgemnent of the TMO’s that are starting in Bristol. However. Can I ask you to reconsider your overall remarks again?
    Let me enlighten everyone just a little bit further. Spirit Homes was the first TMO to put in the “Right to Manage” its leaders come from two BCC recognised Tenants Associations.Manor Farm Action Group & Horfield Neighbourhood Action Group who have jointly taken the Right to manage (RTM) route to bring a TMO to the north of the city , its proposed area of benefit vocers Manor Farm;Horfield ;Half of Lockleaze and some boundary properties. A total of 1239 properties in total.
    The RTM was started by the Conservatives and continued by the Labour party – we as elected individuals from our respective groups have decided touse ourt democratic right to take the RTM route. The central area & Bedminster areas who used to be former AHC’s have taken the same route for the same reason. The 4th group Housing Solutions are Tenants from the former new deal for communities area.
    Each has to by the regulations employ a reconised agency to undertake a great deal of the initial implimentation work and assist negotiations with BCC.
    The first 3 are using Open Communities & the 4th are using TPAS.
    None of the four groups I can assure you and DCH are looking at stock transfer, this is a wild accusation being plucked from the air by DCH. None of the four groups have entered into the stage where they will negotiate with BCC which of the Councils services they wish to undertake [ this could be as little as collecting the rent, to as much as taking on every service currently run by Neighbourhood and housing services.]
    Every Tenant who has entered into this process has to undertake over 18 months of training in order to be prove to Government that they are a suitable organisation to manage housing stock, The groups are monitored by BCC and by independent assessors and have to complete various stages. They cannot continue if they do not meet the required standard at each stage.
    On completion of the training a ballot is taken of all the Tenants and Leasehoilders in the area of benefit if the majority that vote are in favour then the TMO goes live.,

    As for your observation over the whole thing. Yes Tenants have spoken with all three main parties over our wish to create TMO’s and we by definition have cross party support.
    You said;”The TMO proposals in Bristol appear to be little more than an attempt to split up the management of the housing ready for some partial sell offs” I think you would be better looking to why BCC has started the HMB. and why Tenants voice has been directly removed from system then you might get to the root cause of why it is happenning. Ill give you a clue try loking at Plymouth over the last 3 years. If TRMO’s can avert that then every Tenant in this City might be very greatful that some brave Tenants are working the socks off.
    I thought you were a PPC? Iguess it just shows you know very little about the TMO process or why Tenants are taking this RTM That your party supports.

  16. Gary Hopkins says:

    You are quite right Spirit homes rep. Mr Smith ought to know better not only as a PPC but also from his time in social housing.
    No before anyone asks I am not going to even visit the fat cat area.
    Tennants have voted not to be sold off not because of massive enthusiasm for the council service but because they feel there might be some accountability and they prefer that to the quango ownership.
    Instead of sneering at the tennants who are prepared to do their bit to help themselves and fellow tennants Mr Smith should be applauding them.
    It should not just be those rich or luccky enough to own their homes that have a real say.

  17. Get out says:

    The last thing the Labour Party wants is citizens taking control of their own lives.

  18. Paul Smith says:


    Tenants are people not a type of lager!

    I have worked with TMOs so know a little of what I am talking about. They work if there are genuinely bottom up and represent a real movement by tenants in a community.

    A blanket policy to convert all housing in Bristol to TMOs does not sound like part of community led approach (although it could be in some areas).

    The effect is to split up the management of housing and to increase costs, such an increase can only be justified if the service quality is improved – this can be achieved through real tenant involvement at the local level – apart from the comments here from Manor Farm – I understand he is a Lib Dem candidate in the local elections – I have seen no evidence for an upsurge in resident involvement.


  19. Paul Smith says:

    Get out

    residents taking more control of their lives – great

    taking more control of other peoples’ lives, without proper accountability – no so great

  20. redzone says:

    paul you said . . . . .

    taking more control of other peoples’ lives, without proper accountability – no so great.

    what like the politicians & councillors? 😯 😀

  21. Spirit Homes ( admin) says:

    Mr Smith.

    You said; I have seen no evidence for an upsurge in resident involvement.

    You probably havent we are tenants and leaseholders.
    Can you so easily explain why the very sudden explosion of 4 totally independent TMO’s within the city all in the same year?
    With I might add others commencing investigation into RTM.
    After all are each group not using current updated Labour legislation to acheive RTM?

    Oh yes I nearly forgot Bristol City Council is supporting the process as well. I am quite sure if BCC do not think the proposed TMO’s are capable they will soon say so. The assessor will also say so .Indeed if tenants do not think so they will say so when the ballots are held.

    You also say “The effect is to split up the management of housing and to increase costs, such an increase can only be justified if the service quality is improved”

    TMO’s only receive the same money as N&HS have to run the same service – Government figures show that TMO’s provide a greatly improved service compared to the landlord.

    I am a local campaigner – is that a problem? If it wasnt for the likes of myself and my fellow campaigners very little would have ever been acheived in our area.

  22. badnewswade says:

    I still don’t get TMOs. I’d rather my area was run by democratically elected representatives and qualified experts, not local busybodies.

  23. Philip Morris says:

    Why are people not using their own name, are they hiding something ?
    I live in Barton Hill (a NDC area) What a load of crap it has been with no accountabilityto residents (private and council) of the whole area. The only organisation to have gained beneift from it is the Council. The NDC has spent the greatest sum of the £50m on the nine blocks of flats, by installing Cameras, fences and electronic dorr entry systems) the latter were started by the Council before the NDC came along, and according to Council records (which any one can view) the Council made a committment to istal an electric fob system into each block of flats at the rate of one block per year – the money being ‘ring fenced’. Then the NDC came along and the Council forgot all about its commitment to its residents and let the NDC get on with completing the job.
    The NDC has built a new Health Centre, Park, part funded the New Junior School, a Youth Centre Club, under the local church.
    As the NDC dies, so the Council are slowly moving back in with their usual collective incompitance. As an example in Corbett House they have cut 19mm off the bootom of all the internal doors – as a new vinyl floor is being laid, all good EXCEPT the contractors ahve taken up an old vinyl floor before laying the new one, so now all the internal door crash into the wall, damaging it, as the shortened doors ride over the door stops.
    The painters recently painted out the bin room – without washing and scrapping off the mess that was on the wall, when the area office and contractor were challenged as to why the mess was not cleaned off before the walls were painted “It is not in the contract – the contract was not written by us” claimed the SENIOR HOUSING OFFICER.
    Accountable – they ‘he professionals’could not fry an egg with fully written instructions as for the Officer named in many of the comments he should have been sacked years ago – lets hope the new CEO brings more of the Hull Mafia down here, as the cider drinkers have been unacountable for far too long.
    I as a resident am going around trying to find if residents want a TMO in our area. I went to the secret meeting in the Masons Hall last monday no residents had ed up all day it was so well advertised. In the evening session I arrived and found myself in an dicussionn with a die hard labour supporter, and he was proud of it, but he could see no wrong with the Council, it was democratic. For myself I can see no wrong with going down the road to see what a TMO can offer. It can be no worse than the deadheads we have at present and we may get some accountability at the end of the day, for after all NO-ON ELECTED THE OFFICERS, AND WHEN WAS ONE EVER SACKED FOR INCOMPITANCE !!

  24. BristolPatriot says:

    BNewsW – So you feel that living in council accommodations was the reason for your successes.

    As a resident would you not have had the same rights against your inconsiderate neighbour, as for clorius so glad you’re refund’s sorted. Shame you’ve either paid virtually nothing or way over the top for years, for other people’s use of a system drastically outdated, faulty in output and monitoring, maintenance and billing. I am surprised you are so pleased.

    ”Astronomical rents”hasn’t your council informed you they’ve been bringing YOUR rent UP inline with that of RSL’s and HA’s for years. ”Horrendous rip offs” mmm at least us not for profit HA’s invest back into homes not squander your rent money bailing out Bovis by paying YOUR RENT MONIES to Sovereign (did they ask you?) to ‘save’ the Prefab project over here, shame about the folks who died waiting and worrying while the administration colluded with the officers and gave away the land from underneath them.

    No accountability indeed a very serious concern, do you know the state your council’s books are in,have they told you the state of the HRA account, forget your clorius overcharges, ask for your electrics to be brought up to the current regulations – oops no that would bankrupt the city.

    ”If it ain’t broke” – ‘Decent Homes Standard/ cut backs/ renewed priorities/current performance/ target setting/deficits/recommendations/feedback/satisfaction surveys’

    FIXED or fix it??

    if these tmo tenants know what service they’re getting now, know what is needed in their areas and can aid staff into advising doing that then good luck. at least their entitled money can’t be swiped to mop up someone elses mistakes across the city. it’s not like they’ll do the work themselves is it they just over interact as a tenants board sounds democratic to me or are you suggesting tenants are below intelligence to handle business skills???????????

  25. Anna George says:

    Hello All

    Just in response to the discussion in general, why not let’s just give the new TMOs which a number of dedicated volunteers are puttng in numerous hours of work to organise setting up – a fair chance to prove themselves ove eh next couple of years and you never know you may be pleasantly surprised at the improvements and costs savings
    I’m with team at Spirit Homes all the way,
    Anna George

  26. Philip Morris says:

    Paul Smiith states
    “There is no evidence of grass roots demand for taking over the management of the housing stock and area housing committee areas are not communities but administrative conveniences. The TMO proposals in Bristol appear to be little more than an attempt to split up the management of the housing ready for some partial sell offs”

    Come to Barton Hill Paul, you work close by so it will not entail much of a travel expence for you, then you can judge it fhtere is grassroot support or not. I alsong with many more voted to stay Council tenants at the options for change meetings, the pity is that so few tenants turned up – partly due to the Council offiers inability to advertise or organise anything as an example just look at the advertising that went into the meetings on TMOs at the Council House (Freemasons Hall) last Monday, the meetings are being held again next Monday 9th Febuary between 10am – 12pm then 2pm – 4pm and finally 6pm – 8pm. Notices are just going up around Barton Hill this afternoon. “It has been advertised on the T.P.U. page on Bristol City Council website” was the responce when I questioned the secret nature of the meeting. Some officerss seem to think everyone has access to the internet – just shows B.C.C. employs quite a few fools.

  27. Paul Smith says:


    I would be happy to meet you (i think we have bumped into eachother a few times already) and any tenants in Barton Hill. It is the the sort of area where TMOs have worked in other local authority areas – close knit, defined community. I happen to agree that the NDC has been a dissapointment it was taken over by bureaucrats and paper shufflers once the money started coming in and the vision of local people taking over the control of public services has not been realised.


    Paul Smith
    my contact details are all on my website http://www.paulsmith4bristolwest.org.uk

  28. Gary Hopkins says:

    Sneering not having worked it now seems to be down to smothering.
    The Clorious issue was a shoking example of inappropriate self satisfaction. Even after being exposed there was an attempt to ignore very serious real concerns.Just as well there was a Cllr. who refused to shut up.
    I do not think that a tennant managed operation would have allowed matters to deteriate so badly for so long.

  29. Bristol East Prospective MP, Mike Popham Puts Paul Smith Right

    Paul Smith states that “there is no evidence of grass roots demand for taking over the management of the housing stock, and area housing committee areas are not communities but administrative conveniences. The TMO proposals in Bristol appear to be little more than an attempt to split up the management of the housing ready for some partial sell offs.”

    Bristol East Prospective MP, Mike Popham said “Labour’s Paul Smith should know that no less than 5 TMOs are already underway, and they could not have started without grass roots support. How can he say publicly that the TMO proposals in Bristol appear to be little more than an attempt to split up the management of the housing ready for some partial sell offs? Ownership of the housing stock managed by a TMO does not change. The resident members of the TMO create an independent legal body and usually elect a tenant led management committee to run the organisation. The TMO can then enter into a legal management agreement (contract) with the landlord. The landlord is not challenged over the ownership of the estate. It is the estate management, not its ownership that changes hands. Paul Smith should read http://www.nftmo.com/tmo.html and then he will understand just how valuable TMOs are to communities.”

  30. BristleKRS says:

    Bristol-based blogger BristleKRS said: “What sort of tosser talks about himself in the third person on a website comment thread?”

  31. Mike Chappell says:

    In reply to BristleKRS question – someone who jumps from the Tories to the Liberals ( http://www.bristolwest-libdems.org.uk/photos/81.html )and brings with him a set of beliefs that TMOs will empower tenants, when what they will really do is create the basis for private entities in the form of RSLs and Housing Associations, of whom Thatcher was such a great fan and who would no doubt be proud of Britains biggest – Places for People, who by the way were exploring flotation to PLC status – The end game for all this nonsense being Private Rachmanist landlords :- http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2007/dec/05/semiprivatisedempires

    Unfortunately it seems that certain local Liberals have fallen for this nonsense , instead of fighting for the re-instatement of BCC Area Housing Committees and democratic tenants involvement – surely something they could do as the largest party at Council?

    Locally it seems that TMOs are being championed by the Lib Dem party via Michael Popham, the (Tory) shadow housing spokesman, with several of the main proponents standing as Liberal Democrat Councillors or ex Liberal Councillors :-
    Easton and Ashley TMO EARTH – Trevor Riddlestone Ex LibDem Cllr
    SPIRIT TMO Manor Farm/Horfield – Tony Lewis prospective LibDem Cllr?
    Dove Street – ?
    Bedminster – ?
    Barton Hill – ?

    This has also no doubt been aided by a BCC Tenants Participation Unit Manager who sits as vice chair of Cheltenham Borough Homes ALMO – an ALMO (stock transfer/privatisation vessel) imposed on tenants by the Cheltenham Liberal Democrats. The TPU instead of being a force for supporting Tenant Associations and AHCs have been used in this role of TMO creation, which must also have significant in house costs.

    By the way TMOs are also the New Labour flavour of the month at Whitehall via the TSA, ask yourself why they are so keen on tieing councils hands by taking Rent money back (Negative subsidy around £5 million last year from Bristol) at the same time as supporting TMOs through agencies such as Open Communities (£36 an hour for Bedminster TMO steering group consultant) and significant TMO start-up costs (£200,000 for Bedminster, a portion of which will come out of your rents possibly around 25%!), because TMOs will become a transfer vessel for council stock transfer see NFTMO website :- http://www.nftmo.com/downloads/Stock_Options_Database.pdf

    The TMO truth is out there, and although TMOs sound good when small scale and grass roots that is not what is proposed for upto a third of Bristol tenants – Bedminster TMO if it goes ahead is going to be covering roughly 3000 homes in Bedminster, Redcliffe, Southville and Ashton and is currently run by about 6 individuals or less – now where was the Democrat in LibDems?

    The Lib Dems have some good national policies, but locally the push for large scale TMOs is a very questionable one!

  32. Thomas Cooke says:

    To inform, Bristol Council Tenants, on decisions taking place about their homes, without them knowing.

    Tenant Management Organisations. (TMO’s) are being set up in parts of Bristol, and are a slap in the Face of the democratic views of Bristol Council Tenants.

    A survey of 2500 Bristol Council Tenants, in 2005, voted 3 out of 4 to retain the (housing) stock under Council ownership & management“. We also voted AGAINST, a transfer to, (ALMO‘s) Arms Length Management Organisations, (PFI’s) Private Finance Initiative, or (RSL’s) Social Landlords. (Housing associations).

    This survey of 2500 tenants from around the City, is 250 times more than the few Lib Dems promoting TMO’s. How democratic is that? That’s not to say that any of the other main political party‘s, in Bristol, are concerned.

    The housing workforce also voted 3 out of 4 not to transfer. Although, it is said, TMO’s could ’hire & fire’. Most TMO’s see a “higher turnover of staff and poor terms & conditions”. (TMO web site).

    The Bristol City Council, Housing Management Board meeting on the 9th April 08 was told that a “TMO (Tenant Management Organisation) is a Company Limited by Guarantee“. So is an ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation) that the Council tenants of Bristol have already voted against. Un-elected tenants on the management, of TMO’s, would represent the company, not tenants, and part of the meetings could be closed to the public. How democratic is that?

    TMO’s would break up the housing stock of Bristol into smaller units. These TMO’s would make it easier to privatise/transfer Bristol Council Housing stock, against the wishes of Bristol Council tenants. As the Director of Housing said at the Housing Management Board meeting, 30th June 08, “The TMO does not have the power to stop a transfer…” and “It may also generate its own transfer proposals…” (The lib dem tenants promoting TMO’s know this).

    [Bristol Housing Management Board Minutes 9th April 08 and 30th July 08], & TMO web site.

    Once a TMO has been fully set up, they could stay as they are, but many become part of a bigger ALMO, PFI or Social landlord. [TMO web site] That the tenants of Bristol have voted against. Hardly any go back to the Council.

    We are told TMO’s are not privatisation. ‘YE-RIGHT’. We were told that about the ‘Busses, Airport & Docks. They’re privatised now.

    [TMO’s in Lambeth led to a PFI (Private Finance Initiative).
    e mail 27th OCT 08 >>> Thomas >>> The TMO where I live in Myatts Field North, Lambeth, encouraged tenants to go for a (PFI) (Private Finance Initiative, (55% voted in favour), which is now resulting in the TMO having to self- destruct because the PFI contractor and Lambeth council do not want a TMO in place when the PFI starts – they consider it a financial risk. Management will be through a PFI consortium. >> Stephen 27th Oct 08
    They used TMO’s to democratically get rid of democracy.

    Many other examples on the TMO web site.

    There are now no democratically elected tenants, within the Bristol City Housing structure, (no political party protested against this), and this has resulted in tenants promoting TMO’s. Up to 2007, tenants could be elected to Area Housing Committees and they were there to represent the democratic interests of Council tenants. (Un-elected tenants on TMO’s represent TMO’s, not tenants). All involved tenants, as good as they are, have now been selected by Council officials, rubber stamped by Councillors.

    All Political parties should get together and bring back ’DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED TENANTS’ NOW, instead of using Council tenants as cannon fodder for their own political ends.
    tom cooke 15 francombe hse bs1 6tg (name and address supplied not hidden).

  33. thebristolblogger says:

    Bristol Caretaking has some interesting things to say about TMOs:

  34. badnewswade says:

    How can they force TMO’s if most tenants are against them? Surely they have to have a poll or something?

  35. Let them eat cake says:

    Why don’t the tenants buy their homes under the right to buy and have done with all this nonsense?

  36. Spirit Homes ( admin) says:


    Thats correct at the end of the development stage TMO’s must hold a ballot. Tenants can decide then what they want. The DCH guys Mike Chappel & Thoms Cooke [ oh didnt they tell everyone?] seem to be getting half of the information correct and the other half wrong.
    At the BCC drop-ions they were clearly told by TMO’s that they are not looking at stock transfer, However. Nicky Dabbage[BCC] said:” As responsible landlords we always have to keep an eye on our options that includes ALMO or PFI” Likewise why would the director of houseing make this statement as quoted by Thomas “As the Director of Housing said at the Housing Management Board meeting, 30th June 08, “The TMO does not have the power to stop a transfer…” Unless maybe BCC themselfes are considering that as a possible option ?

    This is scarmongering. There are very valid reasons why tenants are taking the TMO route – One alone is the fact that BCC started the HMB [never mind who was the housing executive at the time]
    Forming a HMB is the first requirement in order for BCC to start either an ALMO or a PFI.
    Work it out for yourselfes whats going on here.
    Mike Chappell and Tom Cooke have the answer at their fingertips if they would only open their eyes and see, “LOOK AT EVERYTHING ELSE TMO’s ARE NOT THE PROBLEM HERE”

  37. Gary Hopkins says:

    As I said earlier the New Labour government are tipping the scales massively against council ownership.
    We are also seeing caretakers very upset with their present treatment by the Labour led council in Bristol.
    We have millions of pounds being taken from Bristol tenants and sent to other councils in Britain.
    There is also the genuine concern from tenants that they might be sold off ,under government pressure to a quango.Possibly even one historically associated with Mr Smith.
    There is a long road before a TMO can be set up and fully functioning.
    I think we should give tenants a say in the matter. Others do not.
    People actually taking charge of their own lives.!!Almost treason in the new Labour book.

  38. Paul Smith says:


    You need to catch up, the Labour Government is now encoruaging councils to build more council housing.

    It is true that TMO does not involve transfer of the ownership of the housing (nor does ALMO which bristol tenants have rejected). However they do transfer staff of the council to the new companies.

    As I have said TMOs can play an important role if they have a groundswell of support in the area where they are established. So far we have had lib dem activists hiding behind alias’ and a couple of their councillors pushing it forward. Apart from a tenant (Gary note the one ‘n’) from Barton Hill where is the groundswell. Is there a community that really wants this? Also what about the council staff you are being planned to be hived off (last lib dem administration it was home care staff), what are their views? Do they want to be privatised?

    What is Spirit Homes?

    Paul Smith
    PPC Labour Bristol West

  39. Mike Chappell says:

    Dear Spirit Homes, both myself and Tom Cooke have put our names out, so why don’t you please sign in as your LibDem Cllr colleague Gary Hopkins has done? Part of the problem with the current TMO steering groups has been the veil of secrecy!

    The real reason for problems at the heart of Council Housing servicing and stock management is the negative subsidy that the New Labour Government has forced on councils, £1.8 billion was taken from council rents and not given back to any Council last year, according to Defend Council Housing – I was commenting on BB on a personal basis by the way, but am more than happy to be associated with a cross party organisation that is putting forward the case for building more council homes and returning the negative subsidy ;-


    also you should be made aware that Paul Holmes the 2007 Liberal shadow housing spokesman gave a rousing speech at November 2008 DCH meeting in London

    TMOs will not go back once created, it is fine to say that no one is currently looking at stock transfer on these Steering groups, but the framework is there and if you could be bothered to look through the pdf file for stock transfers from the National Federation of TMOs you would see it is a regular occurance :-


    I also do not trust the current Housing Executive with respect to stock transfer, I believe Councillor Popham asked the pertinent question last year, after my prompting – i.e. were the Labour Executive looking at stock transfer- the answer at the time was no. As you say though, the Housing Board was set-up to replicate an ALMO or RSL board – by LibDem for Housing Cllr Kiely, although tenants were not elected – to make it easier to transfer?

    TMOs, as already mentioned, cannot stop stock transfer by the Council and can infact initiate it themselves, and would have to if they didn’t want to get caught up under an ALMO, which would also have the right to initiate stock transfer the same as the Council, who may just happily get out of the Housing business if they weren’t running associated services. I don’t suppose you have thought what will happen to the Housing left behind after these 5 TMOs are created – a perfect excuse by BCC for an ALMO or PFI.

    There is no hiding the fact that the New Labour PFI Privatisation turd way project has bitten hard in Bristol, Private Housing was the big economic banana until the financial crash, now is not the time to get out of Council owned and managed housing! Brown is changing his mind, slowly.

    In Reply to Gary, Caretakers – they are not happy of the TMO steering group comments ” Hire and Fire” in the Bedminster TMO steering group leaflets and are also not impressed with Spirit’s talk of “making staff redundant to make savings”! I’m affraid there is a level of ignorance here, it is bad enough with the review of services already being undertaken.

    Voting – Yes there will be a vote and tenants may even get some literature that is balanced if we put it through their doors, something we’re not paid to do unlike the TMO steering groups. Also the vote will be on the basis of a simple majority and may be accepted by the Council on a turnout of less than 16% (Mark Hibbard, Open Communities Agent).

    There is a reason why central government are promoting TMOs and it’s not just about tenants involvement! Tenants have lives as well and most would rather the current executive got on with the job they are paid for. A strong Council with cross party representation should be making it clear that council housing is here to stay and should lobby Beckett and Brown for the return of the negative subsidy, and make it ring fenced to the Housing account!

    There will be an exibition in the council house on monday at 10-12, 14:00-16:00 and 18:00-20:00 on behalf of the TSA (Tenants Services Agency) who are supporting this TMO nonsense, there will be TMO representatives there as well as the case against this move, put by myself and Tom Cooke. Come along and join in this important debate.

  40. Sceptic says:

    …the Labour Government is now encoruaging councils to build more council housing.

    I’m wondering why it’s taken them 12 years to get round to doing this. To me it’s clearly indicative of straws being desperately grasped to mitigate the recession.

  41. Philip Morris says:

    Bristol Blogger, shoulld come to Barton Hill and talk to residents and the so called, in name only, caretakers (CLEANERS) who have been down gradded time and time again in the 8 years I have been a tenant here in Corbett House. In Bristol there are no caretakers, so if you are one as you imply you are an over paid, privlidges cleaner. I have been fighting (both those twits, who live off your wages, so called Union officials in Cardiff and Council officers) to have the job discription of your employemnt enhanced – to that of a CARETAKER. In that I wanted to know why caretakers were not allowed to change light bulbs in the communial areas of the flats. According to the Union, it is an electricians job, my responce was well who changes the light bulbs in the cleaners flats when required?
    Why are the cleaners are not instructed to adhere to the caretakers review instructions that czme into force in Aug 2004, a copy of which I was preseented with as a member of area 8 AHC, it seems that the head of the ‘Caretaking Review’ which is drawing to a close has NEVER even seen a copy of it. Nor have any of the caretakers/cleaners in Barton Hill, as I have asked each and everyone of them them, I even gave out photocopied copies of the instruction to them and their Union rep.

    No wonder Bristol City Council is a 1 star council, it can not even communicate with its employees.

    Let the eat cake
    Is a fool and most a likely a confused labourite by his comment with his statement
    “Why don’t the tenants buy their homes under the right to buy and have done with all this nonsense?” I for one have no wish to buy my flat or be a private house holder again, I had no idea that Council Tenants were so pampered, until I became one. No way would I give up my ‘rights’ that I now enjoy as a council tenant.

    The only problem I have with the accomidation is the shite that the Council have a duty to house, and who have no respect for the accomidation they are given.

    I have no beef with any one slagging off the TMO idea But having met Mike and Tom last week at the Council House, I wonder why 1/.They came with such negative attitude ?
    2/.Why they never brought any of the ‘brothers’ with them ?
    I am NOT a member of the local TMO (yet) in that I am not on the board but I am going around listening to tenants and asking if they are in favour of the proposal for a TMO going forward to the second stage of a full ballot of ALL TENANTS. Only 1 resident so far has said NO from 14 I have spoken to within Corbett House. So chew on that FACT

  42. Mike Chappell says:

    Phil read the TMO pdf file on stock transfer from NFTMO (the organisation for TMOs) and see what is happening around the country. You and I are both happy to be Council tenants, why threaten it? Of course tenants are p1ssed off with the demise of services and facilities we used to take for granted and being charged more for those that were originally in with our rent.

    However ask the TMO question carefully i.e are you in favour of transfering your homes and services to a Housing Association that will be led by a handful of tenants and see what the answer will be!

    The negative subsidy is the real issue – whose rents do you think are paying for these TMO consultants and extra TPU officers necessary ( 1 manager + at least 5 officers) all working on TMO projects! 75% of housing stock value, when sold, also goes back to central government – chew on that when a TMO stock transfers – it’s almost self financing for the Gov, but not for the Council!

    I am no fan of New Labour PLC and would have brought my brothers to Monday’s meeting except they are in London and Exeter. We are all entitled to our own political ideas, however forcing them on unsuspecting tenants is an abuse – it should be made clear that the push for large scale TMOs has been led by the LibDem shadow member for housing (ex Tory) and several of his political colleagues, in a response to the LibDem setup Housing Board with it’s threats of PFI/ALMO and the demise of AHCs. The Liberal Dem Housing policy locally is a sham and I have raised this nationaly, but have got no response. I support a great deal of Liberal Democrat policy nationaly, but locally there are too many cockoos in the nest – this is New Labour/Tory policy !

  43. Mike Chappell was incomplete in his article about Tenant management Organisations (February 7, 2009 (2:51 pm).

    The oldest TMO in Lambeth is Wellington Mills TMC; this was set up by the former Greater London Council 30 years ago, not by Margaret Thatcher!

  44. Mike Chappell says:

    The arguement for small scale democraticaly tenant led TMOs may be of some importance, although the difference now is that TMOs are pushing, being pushed to go large undemocraticaly – however the risks are still there and in many cases it has been a case of TMOs cherry picking the best stock – not necessarily the case with Wellington Mills 138 homes (?), but it has stock transfered and is now an Industrial and Provident soc now read HA :



    Also Lambeth council from whom it transferred is in big time Sh1t – it has roughly the same size council stock as Bristol, has created an ALMO ontop of something like 15 TMOs (with 2 being developed), the HRA is in debt to the tune of somewhere between £7 and £20 million depending on where you look with £3 million fraud, with a PFI scheme taking over Myatts Field TMO – is this really the model we want for Bristol?!

  45. Get out says:

    Paul Smith is comical – he loves to see Lib Dem conspiracies everywhere! The Lib Dems are good at recruiting independent community activists so it’s hardly surprising that several of the TMO activists have ended up in the party not in Labour. Although Gilbert Webster of the Bedminster TMO is (was?) Labour and endorsed Sean Beynon on his 2007 election manifesto leaflet. So maybe it’s all a T&G conspiracy?? Heh. Or maybe it’s a largely a-political tennant led movement? Nah – if there aint scandal it dont sell newspapers…

    Oh wait, there’s an election coming up where Labour are staring at another hiding. Maybe it’s time to manufacture another public scandal, like the HOMESCARE one that was so successful at the last elections? Now that Labour privatised all the homecare anyway they need another LibDem bogeyman. Scandal, scandal, scandal! TMOs? Yes! We have a winner!

    Paul Smith you are Peter Mandelson and I claim my £5

  46. Mike Chappell says:

    Oh and did I mention Lambeth rent rises of 17% this year – Say No to TMOs!

  47. Scotch Mist says:

    Lambeth???? Which area of Bristol could I find that in mate?
    It is bad enough these Labour jerks are raisin my council rent every year to bring up to RSL levels without you making things worse

  48. Scotch Mist says:

    Mike C happell My man I dont see you complaing about the £400,000 each year it costs us Tenants to run the Tenant Participation Unit (TPU) or Tenant Provocation Unit as it is often referred.
    Or 2 million pounds on a brand new fleet of Mercedes vehicles so operatives can arrive to do sloopy repairs {because management wont buy decent materials}
    Or Tenants no longer having a vote on where £800,000 {now cut to £400,000} of the North investment budget gets spent.
    Wake up friend if we cannot get the Tenants voice heard again you probably wont have a council house to live in.

    Paul Smith. Labour might be talking of building new council homes but who pays????

  49. Bob a jobber says:

    November 2008 Conference Papers
    “In defence of Independent Tenant Organisations”

    Who are these Labour lackies chappell and cooke trying to kid.

    Go check out the documents

  50. Philip Morris says:

    At the end of the day, no matter what is happening anywhere else in this Country, it is the tenants of Bristol who can make a go of it or not – after all if a TMO makes a cock-up then the council have the right to take it back in house, have they not ?
    Apart from going on about all these TMO’s that are or are not ALMO/Stock Transfer/PFI or what ever, no-one has mentioned Bloomsbury (in Birmingham) I wonder why not ? It is the only one that I have been to see – and it seems to be working well 12 years down the line. Now I do realise that Birmingham is in the North, we north of Gloucester. (So it is unknown terrotory to you Gas Heads and Pirates, as I doubt if any of the teams have ever played a good team at a ground). But in Bloomsbury they have their collective heads screwed on (mind you Mansels Mild or Bitter is the order of the day not brain dead Courage or Scumpy). I know that they were the FIRST EMB in the country But local tenants make it work – sop why not use that as an example not the losers in Lambeth. After all there are No councils in London (Labour Run) that are a shining light is there ? Go on some one tell me Harringay, Lambeth, Hackney. Well anyone wish to add to the list.

    Lets not forget how John Channon treated the residents of Lawrence Hill, I wonder that this lot in power have not made him an Alderman in absentteeism.

    As for the latest 5 year plan from Number 10 about the building of new Council Houses, who will they be for – new Labour ? For, after all why should Councils build new houses only to have them stolen off them by the ‘right to buy’ lobby.
    On the subject of right to buy, how many of our City councillors (past and present) have excersised the ‘right to buy’ if not the house that they live in, then thier aged parents home, only to sell it one their death. I can name 2 (past)Labout Councillors and 1 ex Labour M.P. from this City.

    So come on TMO Things can only get better,

    By the way on Monday 9th Feb between 10am – 12 noon, 2pm – 4pm and 6pm – 8pm there will be a presentation at the Council House on TMOs I hope this time to be able to watch the presentation and be able to question the officer present WITHOUT

  51. Philip Morris says:

    To continue……… WITHOUT the interuption of the Die Hard Council Houseing we know best twins. No hard feelings Tom & Mike but unl;ike you I do NOT know everything there is to know

  52. Thomas Cooke says:

    Democracy, democracy, democracy, or is this a term of abuse.
    How democratic is it that unrepresentative individual tenants are deciding to transfer tenants homes against tenants democratic wishes?

    In a survey of 2500, 3 out of 4 council tenants of Bristol have made it clear they want their homes to be owned and managed by the Council. NO BODY ELSE. Any form of transfer must jeopardise that democratic decision and needs to be looked at with great seriousness. Were is that mandate, for TMO‘s? Where are those tenants?

    The tenants promoting TMO’s are given £1,000 to do so. The Council also have an obligation, to use our rent money, to help those tenants promoting TMO‘s. The majority of us that have already opposed transfer will be given nothing. How democratic is that? I have not heard one tenant who supports TMO’s asking that everyone should have, ‘a level democratic playing field’, not one. When a meeting took place in Redcliffe to promote TMO’s the W.U.F. (Waring, Underdown & Francombe) tenants group were not informed or invited, how democratic is that?

    TMO’s Political led
    W.U.F tenants group, (I am chair) invite council officers, our councillors & all political parties to give their view, given they agree with the tenancy agreement. Every tenant is leafleted and invited every month. (I will only name professional politicians). Paul Smith & Councillor Mike Popham came, at different times & gave their views. Councillor Popham gave significant support to TMO’s. (His web site). Paul Smith, neither one way or other. TMO’s are quite clearly Led by individual Lib Dems, who are not council tenants.

    Those Lib dem tenants who promote TMO’s should decide whether they represent the democratic interests of council tenants, or individual Lib Dems.

    How many tenants promoting TMO’s have had open equal debate in their tenants group, if they belong to any? Or the block of flats in which they live? Or want to?

    Where have these TMO tenants come from?
    The Director of Housing disbanded AHC. (Area Housing Committees)
    If any political party had, been against that decision, we’d still have AHC‘s. The reason given, for getting rid of AHC’s, was that tenants on them had ceased to be democratically representative of the council tenants of their area. A few of those same unrepresentative tenants have now gone on to form TMO steering groups. How democratic is that?

    Lets look at AHC’s (Area Housing Committees) & TMO’s (Tenants Management Organisations). To be democratic or not to be democratic? Or do they care?

    Tenants on AHC’s were there to represent the democratic interests of council tenants. All tenant were invited to vote through a postal ballot. Under TMO’s, un-elected tenants on them represent the company, not council tenants. Only tenants going to a meeting, if invited or notified, would be able to vote.

    The reason for looking at other councils is to see what happened to TMO’s there and what is likely to happen here. Those tenants supporting TMO’s, should prove ‘beyond reasonably doubt it wouldn’t happen in Bristol. Disprove what the Director of Housing said “The TMO does not have the power to stop a transfer…” and “It may also generate its own transfer proposals”.

    Disprove the Deputy Prime Ministers Office. That back up what has already been said, “Once a TMO has been fully set up, they could stay as they are, but many become part of a bigger ALMO, PFI or Social landlord. [TMO web site] Hardly any go back to the Council”. and “TMO’s would break up the housing stock of Bristol into smaller units. These TMO’s would make it easier to privatise/transfer Bristol Council Housing stock, against the wishes of Bristol Council tenants”.

    TMO’s are a vehicle to full privatisation. Once you board the bus there’s no getting off and its only going in one direction.>>>>>>>>>>>

    The bus to Privatisation.>>>>>>>>> AND YOU KNOW IT.

  53. Mike Chappell says:

    Phil you could have fooled me! You seem to have an opinion on everything, which is great, especially for Evening Post readers (I’m in favour of the barrage to by the way!), but the opposition to these TMOs hasn’t even started yet, mostly because tenants are not even aware of what is being pushed in their areas, it will come so don’t worry it won’t be just me and Tom you’ll be talking to!

    Both myself and Tom Cooke watched the demise of the AHCs and were not happy, which politicians opposed this, the same ones proposing TMOs?

    Both myself and Tom have critiscised the council for not publicising this issue and all we wanted to do was to get an open debate which is hardly possible when paid consultants are lobbying both council and tenants – if you had been at the morning session at the council House (masonic hall as you put it) you would have seen the only opposition to our discussion on stock transfer came from Mark Hibbard (Open Communities – paid to be there probably £36 an hour as per AHC meetings he attendeed!) although there were reps from 3 other TMOs!

    There is no doubt these agencies work closly with the TPU, and no Scotch Mist you got the message wrong – I am not happy with the TPU costs especially when I have experienced 1st hand their oposition to genuine tenants associations while at the same time supporting TMOs, which are a job creation scheme for this office – guaranteed work for how many years and a complete waste of council money, yes the TPU will also be training those that sit on these TMO steering groups while genuine TAs are left without help – why were’nt they sent in to help the AHCs that were floundering?

    The dice are loaded against any opposition to TMOs; –

    1) Central government are pushing them via the TSA, the reason for Mondays ‘exhibition’,

    2) There is political pressure on the current Housing Executive by the LibDems to support these TMOs (along with central government through the DLCG) even though it seems at least 2 of these TMOs do not have even have all the officer positions filled, this is for TMOs of over 2000 homes!!!!

    3) These TMOs have paid representatives in the form of Open Communities (OC) and TPAS to take on the opposition, including the council! One TPU officer who did complain about the way support had been underhandedly garnered and gerrymanderd had an official complaint put against him by OC.

    3) Any leaflets we put out have been paid out of our own pockets, not via TPAS or OC, did you know our wonderful leader of the TPU used to work for TPAS, yes it’s a small world, so thats ALMO in Cheltenham via LDs, TMOs in Bristol via TPAS and Open Communities oh and the Housing Board in Bristol via LDs, can you see a pattern developing here?

    So yes it does matter what is happening around the country and Lambeth is a prime example of what councils do when there is not a proper concensus on keeping council housing and services – an almighty F*ck up!

    TMOs have been corrupted from their original form which was small scale i.e. a block of flats – why should half a dozen individuals spread out over 3000 homes have the right to say where our services and homes should lie. if you want to go the TMO root be representative and go small!

  54. Philip Morris says:

    Tom I had some respect for your and your pig headed arguments but your rant about

    “The tenants promoting TMO’s are given £1,000 to do so”. is pure SHIT if I am to get £1.00 then you must get a free life time subscription to the ‘Morning Star’ You half baked loonie.

    Mike you are right I do have an opinion, of my own, not the party line. and as I come from Manchester (Heaven as known to those who watched BBCs ‘Life on Mars’). in the west Country no-=one seems to have an opinion only the party line – well those that do have an opinion keep it too themselves, incase they get buried in a wave of political correctness.
    By the way as Tom states, way up the comments Bristol City Council (when Labour led by a huge majority) sold off the Docks, and the Airport – Look they are NO LONGER a drain on the citizens of Bristol. If private industry can make a profit where the Unions and the Council could not then that must be good, must’nt it ? Oh I forgot when privatised they got rid of ‘workers’ like my pal David, who was a relief driver who was paid every day, wether he worked or not all he had to do was report every morning and get sent home, during his sent home days (on full pay) he drove a taxi, thats how he managed to buy a house next to mine in Pembroke Road Clifton. not Kingswood.

    In reply to Mike I also was agast at the demise of AHC although some of them were run as YES shops to the Council, at least Council Officers were accountable to someone. I have also expressed an interset in joining the HMB, for what it’s worth.

  55. Grass Rooting with a Cherry on the top says:

    why not complain about the actual facts

    The AHC’s were abolished back in 2007/8 first quarter, there’s been NO local Tenant representation for local needs since that date. Consider that a while – NO local Tenant representation structure made available to our Tenants.

    The SUGs are Subject specific with singular occupancy only.
    Tenants are forbidden to attend more than one.
    Divide and conquor?
    ISOLATE and ignore?

    The HMB with it’s ”SELECTED tenant reps” certainly does not represent anyone at Grass Roots level, who are these mysterious names we read of when HMB minutes Finally go public – [attachments and appendices absent] ! what local activities do these faceless indiviualists do, what do they involve themselves in, do YOU know how to contact them – er NO ? of course they refused to be contactable when the entire City Wide Forum (made up of AHC reps) requested the HMB tenant reps be translucent and accountable.
    Why can’t BCC fill their vacant HMB seats? TPU advertise ONE space being vacant, yet the Audit Commission recommended increasing the board tenant representation by near DOUBLE – and fell for BCC claiming they would do so!
    no surprise that was ignored when decisions affecting tenants were waiting to be ‘steered’.

    Tenant Participation is effectively DERAILED in Bristol
    Scatterred SUGS with limited information given, relying on good will support of the few who can stomach and afford attending them.

    BRISTOL hadn’t promoted TMO’s -their obligation
    the TSA Tenant Support Agency instructed them to do so
    They gave the TMO’s 2 weeks notice and NO support despite requests.

    They had to be asked by us to promote the event to Tenants
    A handful received a hurried email at that point
    ‘it was posted on Voscur and TPU site’
    GREAT if you knew you wanted to go there, to find out tif he event you knew nothing about was listed!

    They claimed staff and councillors knew – !!!They didn’t tell the Trade Unions until WEDNESDAY !!! after the first drop in had failed, visited by one solitary tenant – who may now join his local TMO board !
    They were supposed to promote the event in Housing News
    They ”missed ” the deadline !! mmm?

    They refuse to train the TMO tenants and are due to receive official complaint on such matters
    The TSA is in receipt of complaints and concerns
    They wish to meet the TSA to add their concept of the Approved Assessment

    The majority of their statutory financial support 25% is ‘IN KIND’
    The process was entered into 13 months ago – THEY KNEW THIS WAS COMING
    They appoint a TPU officer to represent BCC at meetings then tell TMO’s not to instruct the TPU officer and refuse to action regulated TMO requests


    Liberal Democrat support is welcomed, reactive and unique.
    Individual politics is also a right!
    Support is that – SUPPORT
    we welcome support from ALL parties that are prepared to put Tenants first

    ”applications open – ALL parties may apply”.

    TMO development is a step forward
    Proactive, reactive and responsible
    A commited devotion
    for local control of local budget
    with local accountability.

    TMO – Tenants Matter Overall.

  56. Philip Morris says:

    Good Night, off to watch the paint dry in the toilet.
    No doubt the comments will continue well into the night/day.

    Talking of whiich this ‘tread’ has come along way off the mark from
    Tenants across Bristol of so-called “social” landlord Places for People are no doubt delighted to be receiving news of their increased service charges this week.

    As I said previously Good Night.

  57. Mike Chappell says:

    No one is argueing over the wrongs of the AHC demise, appointed reps to the HMB and lack of democratic tenants involvement. There are however moves to vote in nominees from the SUGs to the HMBs which is a start, though you are right it’s far from perfect. We have also been lobbying Graham Sims on elected HMB reps, however you have forgotten who set-up this damn board which was the reason for the AHCs demise.

    It is one thing having political support, but when the grass roots have not even been engaged in this discussion then there is something wrong and it smacks of political tampering, if the LDs are the largest group and run the council at the next election lets hear that they will re-instate the AHCs and if the HMB remains have elected reps from the AHCs – it’s that easy!

    A TMO process has been started and is funded significantly from the HRA (£200,000 start-up costs for Bedminster Phil!!!!!) while some groups including Bedminster havent even filled all the officerial posts – those who have to use a ‘nom de plum’ are not helping this TMO agenda which has been secretive at best, because there was opposition from the start.

    The debate on TMOs should have been put to tenants before ‘jumping on the train’ , it is exactly this sort of behaviour that fuels the Director of Housing comments that AHCs, in some areas, were not democratic come the end!

  58. Gary Hopkins says:

    Well now Mr Smith
    Lets look at the national Labour record on social housing affecting Bristol.
    12 years of twisting councils’arms to transfer to various forms of housing association (which is your background)
    Massive “transfer away” of Bristol council rents with some going to other social housing some disappearing into the Brown black hole.
    An almost total reliance on section 106 spin off from private development which now that the bust that Mr Brown had apparently abolished has arrived has ground to a halt.
    Provision has stopped and is replaced with a vague wish.Given that this government controls council spendingfar tighter than Mrs Thatcher it will remain just that.

    Bristol Labour has
    Removed all tenant involvement by abolishing AHCs and perverting the origonal intention of the HMB to make it unaccountable and unreachable.
    Obstructed the democratic right of tenants to choose to go down the TMO route or not.
    Quietly cut budgets .

    What is the reaction from Paul(call me Nelson I see no ships)Smith. There is no desire for tenant involvement its all a Lib Dem plot.
    You couldn’t make it up!

  59. Sue O'Donnell says:

    I am one of the councillors for Lawrence Hill ward, and have been involved with the residents who are looking to set up a TMO in Barton Hill. I have been extremely impressed with the level of commitment and work these residents have undertaken to, firstly, find out how TMOs work and whether they feel there is any benefit to setting one up for the area.

    They have and are leading this process, and rightly so – They have been out knocking on all tenants doors across Barton Hill, talking to people about what a TMO can deliver, they are collating the feedback and responses from everyone they talk to, in order to establish whether tenants in Barton Hill want this. This is democracy, in my view !

    Previous posts have commented on the lack of tenant engagement with the Council since the demise of the AHC’s – Just looking at the issues tenants faced with the Clorius system, and the problems we have had in trying to resolve this bears this out.
    I know the HMB was due to replace the AHCs, but it does appear that the intention that was originally the basis for this board, has not delivered in practice. Service Users Groups are working, to varying degrees of success, but tend to be single issue focussed, and although the Clorius one seems to be working well in my opinion, I don’t see that tenants have the vehicle they want to be able to shape the services and partnership with the Council. If they choose (and it is the tenants who will choose, not councillors, not officers) to go for a TMO, and they are willing to undertake the work and commitment that setting up and running a TMO involves, then in my opinion, they deserve our support.

    Finally, tenants have the final say – They made their voices heard about keeping the Council as their landlord, and anyone who takes any action to change this, without full participation and consultation with all tenants involved, will be going against the wishes of tenants, and democracy.

  60. Popham – TMOs are ‘Hands On’, ALMOs are ‘Arms Length’


    1. TMO’s are being set up in parts of Bristol BY tenants FOR tenants – they are not therefore NOT a ‘Slap in the Face of the Democratic Views of Bristol Council Tenants’. TMOs are in fact a warm handshake between the Owners of the housing stock (the City Council) and the Managers of the housing stock (the tenants).

    2. The position of 2500 Bristol Council Tenants in 2005 who voted 3 out of 4 to retain the housing stock under Council ownership management is not changed:

    – a TMO is a tenant-led management organisation not an ALMO (an ALMO is arms length, a TMO is hands-on)

    – a TMO is not a PFI

    – a TMO is not an RSL or Housing association

    3. The Lib Dems are not promoting TMOs; the Lib Dems are supporting tenants’ self-determination which is the absolutely democratic change this City – and Country – needs to avoid course political failures like those seen over the past 30 years.

    4. A TMO is not an ALMO that is ‘arms length’. A TMO has a Tenant Board elected by the tenants, which may include politicians if the tenants want them.

    5. TMO’s would not cause the housing stock of Bristol to be broken up; they would all still be owned by the City Council.

    6. A TMO is set up in accordance with UK Law and therefore has much more power than tenants have now to prevent or cause privatisation or transfer of Bristol Council Housing stock. Tenants with few or no options have no power at all. A TMO gives Tenants options, therefore power.

    7. Currently, it is elected politicians, not tenants, who decide on the future ownership and management of the City’s housing stock.
    Therefore, currently, it is elected politicians, not tenants who decide to stay as they are or join an ALMO, PFI or Social landlord. A TMO gives Tenants power over these options.

    8. A TMO is not privatisation because tenants take over the management of the stock not its ownership that stays in the hands of the City Council.

    9. The Lib Dems abhor the City Council’s changes in housing management since 2007 under Labour, of course enabled by the Conservative Party. There are now no democratically elected tenants within the Bristol City Housing structure. The Lib Dems were the only Party to protest against this. The Conservative Party fully supported Labour’s undemocratic housing management changes to remove elected tenants from the Area Housing Committees.

    10. Tenants inspired the emergence of TMOs in the City. The Lib Dems listened to this and, because of our inherent highly democratic values (wanting tenants hands-on, not arms length), decided to support tenants who wanted them AND tenants who did not want them. Currently, there are only 5 TMOs involved in the process of change. The Lib Dems understand and respect tenant’s views that are contrary to the existence of TMOs where they live.

    11. The Lib Dems are against tenant’s decisions being driven by the current Labour administration via its unelected Housing Management Board and ‘unelected chat rooms’.

    12. The Lib Dems are against tenants being excluded from the Governance of Housing.

    13. The Lib Dems are FOR tenants being included by Law in the City Council’s governance of ITs housing stock FOR those tenants who want this.

    Cllr Michael Popham
    Liberal Democrat Councillor
    Shadow Executive Member, Housing, Regeneration and Capital Projects
    Bristol City Council
    Prospective Member of Parliament, Bristol East

  61. JOHN KIELY says:

    From John Kiely, former Lib Dem Executive member for Housing

    As the Housing Executive Member who created the HMB I wanted to set the record straight. The HMB was never conceived as the first steps to an ALMO, but a genuine attempt to involve Council tenants directly in the management of their homes. I held off setting up the board for a whole year because tenants were discussing their own consultation and involvement arrangements in the light of the demise of the area offices.

    I think that it is fair to point out to Paul Smith, that the closure of area offices and the other reorganisations that took place at that time were due to his Government cutting our grant, to punish Bristol tenants for daring to defy Labour’s ALMO policy, his party has created a two tier public sector housing service, which in my mind is pretty unforgivable.

    It is true that some senior managers wanted to end the AHCs as they felt no area office meant that no area committee was required. The model they wanted was based on ‘service areas’ but I was clear, whatever involvement model tenants proposed,
    even the retention of the AHC then I gave an undertaking that the Council would respect and honour their decision.

    I think that the HMB should by now be directly elected, Labour have tried to discredit the board because they don’t like involving tenants or others in decision-making.

    I believe that the next steps are the creation of local tenant management, like the Barton Hill tenant board, which I served on and saw first hand the commitment of Barton Hill tenants in wanting more control over their homes and the local area.

    With so much talk from the Council about local area agreements and community working, I cannot understand why the AHCs were axed, which did allow for local community involvement and held the Council to account.

  62. Charlie Bolton says:

    If we can leave the point scoring aside for a moment or two, it seems to me there are a couple of areas of uncertainty

    1. The impact of tmo’s on the wider housing stock

    2. The ability of supporters and opponents of tmo’s to put their case to tenants on equal terms

    The councils Quality of Life scrutiny commission is one possible forum to request a discussion of the issues (although not necessarily the best). But given that Sue O’Donnell chairs the committee, she is well placed to instigate something.

    What do you reckon Sue? (or Mike Popham, as a member of the commission?)

    A secondary issue is the whole democratic basis of the new tenants participation arragnements – whch I thought were going to be reviewed by the commission in any case…

  63. Paul Smith says:

    As someone who grew up in Bristol’s council housing and who served on my local area housing committee (I was there as a councillor but my mum was elected unto it and was chair for a while) I am and always have been a supporter of tenant involvement.

    The issue is to ensure that involvement is genuine and rooted in the wider tenant body. There are a large number of models for tenant involvement – ranging from practically nothing at all except the odd survey all the way through to full ownership co-operatives. The important point is that all the options are considered by tenants and that they make the decisions themselves. It seems to me that Bristol has tended to go for a one size fits all – Area Housing Committees – which did not always accommodate local tenant associations as well as they could, Housing Management Board – which to me seems a very centralised approach without some community based infrastructure and now TMOs.

    TMOs are not necessarily the right solution for a whole city and as I have said before here, they work when they are rooted in a real community not based upon some bizarre local authority ‘lines on maps to equalize the numbers’. Lets not kid ourselves TMOs do break up the management of the stock and do involve privatising some of the staff of the council housing department (in a sense this is no different to an ALMO except that the Board is almost exclusively tenants – plus those they may invite).

    The insults are rather childish, I have worked in tenant involvement for many years. I do not see discussions about forms of tenant and resident involvement here only about 1 of the many options available. For example an alternative to TMOs is Estate Management Boards where the staff do not transfer to the new company, but tenants oversee a service contract with the council.

    Paul Smith
    PPC Bristol West

  64. ManorFarm Action Group says:

    Paul Smith.

    I couldnt agree with you more.Unfortuanately I see no support from the “system” for Tenants and Residents groups.

    It is very clear that the HMB has not moved in the direction that Tenants were given the impression they would.

    A selected few faceless individuals who have been selected. They are certainly not elected by Tenants why not?

    As chair of MAG I was given a place on my local AHC to represent our local Tenants- I can tell you now it counted for very little. I represented at AHC in excess of 160 tenants and their views ,yet if it came to vote on anything I had 1 vote. and that carried as much weight as other tenants who simply represented their own interests . That is not Democracy.
    That said AHC were an excellent method of involvement.

    As was The idea put forwards by elected Tenants for a City of Bristol Federation [ CBF].Perhaps you are able to explain why the current administration denies us our Democratic voice?

    Sugs [service user groups ] Suggested by the CBF .However. When implemented by The current administration any Democracy they could have had was removed Why?

    Myself and other staunch Tenant activists spent nearly 18 months working to bring about better Tenant involvement in our City – upon the request of a senior officer when we completed this work which involved The HMB ,the CBF AND SUGS
    We Had our hopes and dreams of real Democracy taking place dashed when everything was turned upside down [once again ] by the current administration.

    The Labour group of 1983 brought in the AHC’s and they would have still been working well apart from the fact that some individual Tenants abused the power that they were given -AHC’s could still be working well now if a little thought had been taken and working practises updated to the here and now But no the current administration again decided otherwise.

    I know I keep saying the current administration . The point here is Iam talking fact not fiction.

    Now to the subject of TMO’s………

    Myself and other very active Tenants who had spent that 18 months helping to come up with new ways of working in the belief Tenants would have a say in how our homes were managed, Where is that say? That voice? That Democracy? I dont see it and Ill wager neither do at least another 20,000 plus Tenants in this city.
    You can say whatever you like but as an extremely active Tenant I can assure you I am a great deal more aware of what is going on than any HOMEOWNER or RSL tenant in Bristol ,where the democratic choice or decision making ability of Tenants has been removed since the AHC’s were abolished.
    Many or a groundswell if you prefer spent years lookinbg at our options to regain the democracy which was removed. We found it in Tory legislation. Recently updated by the current Labour Government and and this legislation is now 15 years old Were Tenants ever made aware of this legislation in Bristol? NO Why not?
    The “right to manage” RTM is a democratic right .However. Like anything in life yoiu cant get something for nothing.
    Those who apply for the RTM have to meet initially the following criteria.
    A constitution
    Take a vote of its membership in order that they are in favour [Democracy]
    Have an area of benefit recognised by BCC.
    They have to gain 20% support of all Tenant or leaseholder properties within the area of benefit.
    Then and only then can they serve a notice of RTM.

    Following that there are a great many hurdles to surpass over 18 months. before finnaly a vote is taken which must be in favour by the majority of those who vote.

    Paul it only sems to be yourself and our tenant colleagues Mike and Thomas who are talking about turning the entire city into TMO’s there were originally only 3 groups looking into going towards becoming TMO’s since then nearly 15 months forwards we have been joined by another Tenant group Housing Solutions [ who by the way have enjoyed many millions in NEW DEAL money .even with that investment Tenants there are wishing to go down the TMO route. But it does not end there others are also investigating the TMO models [yes there is morte than one]
    The pioint here is we are taking a legislative voluntary route under the requirements. We have the support of BCC [ who by the way will remain owners of the housing stock ] yet you and your Friends sem to think we are doing something wrong or underhanded. Why?
    Unless of course you are trying to stop Democxracy taking place?
    As someone recently said: that could be conceived as Treason.


  65. grotty hoveller says:

    Back to Places for People,
    who used to be North British Housing (with some of the most unkempt property in the city, Barton Court), who bailed out BCHA in 1999 and spent the following 8 years starving BCHA of funds, imposing a succession of their incompetent CEOs on the organisation as they set-up an ever more complicated group structure, removed local Boards and put tenants’ voices in with their ecky-thump-ferret-loving-cloth caps as all services became centrally run from the Star Chamber Central in Preston.
    Of course all this was delivered via glossy magazines that kept on telling us that we were receiving an excellent service, reinforced by sweet yet robotic local drones whose eyes would glaze over with “does not compute” should a tenant happen to mention they were living in a slum.

    Thank heavens for last year’s Audit Commission inspection when a six month intense blitz of activity plus shoving just about everything they could under they’re tatty carpet, dragged a failing organsiation somehow to 1 star!

    But hardly “excellence” is it? That is the term used by snout-in-the-trough New-Labour-groupie David Cowans in a recent P4P mag.

    This was followed by the news that P4P has no money to deliver any of their major works / planned maintenance programme FOR THEIR WHOLE 50,000+ stock across the country, including Bristol.

    They also added that all routine repairs (other than non-emergency and urgent repairs) would be “clustered” & done hopefully around every 6 months (unless of course you’re a ‘bad’ tenant in which case no routine repairs at all).

    Tenant consultation on this? none
    Impact assessment on how this might effect vulnerable tenants? none
    Any consideration that this may effect stock and end up costing money (i.e. risk management) … hahhahahahahahha ho ho, hee. oh uh, that’s a good one

    So excellent? …. hmmmm.

    Of course no mention of the build and sell & diversify into nurseries and banking, model that Cowans still promotes as “excellent” yet which has backfired on him. Do you think he gets bonuses & do you think these mighht be withdrawn? How would he be accountable then?

    So for P4P tenants & leaseholders its back to Rachman with a vengeance!

  66. Mike Chappell says:

    In Reply to Tony and others on the TMO bandwagon :-

    We have not seen tenant empowerment, but divide and rule here in Bedminster. If you give 6 understandably p1ssed off, but not fully understanding, tenants money and tell them they can make everything better using Tory legislation they will go for it. There is a catch here however, in that the other tenants who are not happy and see through this con will of course get no money to explain why they think it is such a bad idea.

    This is tenant empowerment of a few individuals who simplistically think that all the problems can be laid at the Council House door.

    The Tories who drew up the 1994 Right to Manage legislation were never ones to empower tenants by supporting re-investment in Council Housing from stock that was sold off ! There has been a decline in the support given to Council and Tenants by both Tory and New Labour governments, robbing them and the local authority of the funds to do the job properly, while at the same time increasing rents (to converge with HAs) service costs and the negative subsidy (rents up 6% this year and a further increase in Negative subsidy) – that means taking even more rent money back to central Gov.

    This has been the forced incentive to jump ship to the rosie pastures of TMOs and further down the road, but not necessarily that far, stock transfer to Housing Associations. The Council are I’m sure looking at suggesting this themselves on a large scale basis for their stock as they are happy to payout over half a million proping up the failed Bovis land grab for prefab PFI rebuid deal, via Sovereign HA, out of HRA, and I’m sure would be more than happy to see a few TMOs go down this route to HAs beforehand to please the department of CLG!

    BCC shut down Bedminster AHC (and Central it would seem) and then used it in it’s dying throws to create the TMO steering groups, one could suggest a conspiracy theory here, especially due to the size (nearly 3000 homes) and the lack of grass routes representation of some of these individuals.

    Of course the old court room adage “who benefits” should also be visited – Right wing Government get Tenants to enact their own sh1tty policies of cutting staff levels and privatising services and when they realise the funding is still not going to be enough and their miriad of consultants, that have been getting fat on all the cream given by the LCG, start advising on a stock transfer to HA, which of course the LCG will only be to happy to cough up the wonga for because of course they will immediately get 75% back – it will happen!

    It’s a scam don’t fall for it – listen to what people ar saying in HAs, there have been plenty of HA tenants at the Defend Council House meetings in London and our own – they will tell you how frighteningly bad it can get as grotty hoveller has mentioned and the title of this blog!

    It’s a frustrating time being an active LA tenant, “but the times they are a changing” and to hear new labour savaging bankers when Blair was creaming himself overthem not so long ago gives me some pleasure .

    Make sure your councillors are onside and that full scrutiny is given to the running of our housing – hold the fort pressurise the councillors and all you folks in HAs ask Margaret Beckett why you are not being given the right to manage!

    Cheers and as my good friend Toms says “With Respect”

  67. Popham: Tenant participation says:

    Dear Mike (Chappell),

    In reply to your comment “we have not seen tenant empowerment, but divide and rule here in Bedminster” and “TMO bandwagon”, a healthy democracy is one in which all stakeholders (owners, managers, staff, Customers, suppliers are able to impart their views, debate the issues, share knowledge and experience about the benefits, the costs, the pros and the cons…and go forward in a stable and sustainable fashion.

    The Greater London Council 30 years ago introduced tenant management of housing stock (Labour, I believe!). For our part, the Lib Dems are fundamentally driven by a desire to empower tenants to self determine their own direction. The Lib Dems are seeking to introduce the very best that can be had by tenants, whilst respecting their views in their communities. Easy as it is to become one, the Lib Dems are not centrists. TMOs may be best for some; that must be their judgement, but it may not be for others. The City’s Labour Group is on record (I know because I put the question at Full Council last year) as supporting TMOs. I include the Tories in that since (despite their recent fidgeting) they became wedded to Labour in 2007.

    As distinct from Labour and the Tories (make-over Cameron and copy-cat Brown) the Lib Dems are the natural party for the environment; as such we share the views on this of Cllr Charlie Bolton (“the options need proper debate”). The Lib Dem position has always been to empower tenants to self determine their own direction; this is a core Lib Dem value. Tenants need to debate (rather than be canvassed by a questionnaire) the governance of their housing and come to a view, fully informed, community by community. As I said, our position is to empower tenants to self determine their own direction. The Lib Dems do not ‘bandwagon’, we prefer to ‘pull the cart’.

  68. Thomas Cooke says:

    tom cooke

    Charlie Bolton // \l “comment-16057” makes these points.
    “1. The impact of tmo’s on the wider housing stock
    2. The ability of supporters and opponents of tmo’s to put their case to tenants on equal terms
    A secondary issue is the whole democratic basis of the new tenants participation arrangements”

    If I could take these points and treat them with respect. (I have not voted Green)

    1 The financial impact is the issue. However, any decision by one group of tenants in one part of Bristol has an impact on other tenants in other areas. It may be suggested that tenants have answers for one group of tenants in one area of Bristol and creates problems for others in other areas. In other words “hard look to those tenants who wont set up TMO’s”, or…..? Even if TMO’s were set up all over Bristol one group would have no concern of others. How democratic is that? do tenants care?

    2. This issue has been put. There is, ’a legal requirement’, to give resources to those tenants who support TMO’s but not, ‘a legal requirement‘, for those tenants who are against TMO’s. Massive resources have already been given, to those promoting TMO’s, but nothing like it will ever be given to those tenants opposing TMO’s. That is obviously a significant bias in favour of TMO’s. How democratic is that? Do tenants care?

    3.The Democratic involvement of tenants is the point.

    A TMO would be run by ‘un-elected‘, ‘selected from, a small group of tenants’, that are invited to a meeting. Tenants on a TMO represent the company not tenants. How democratic is that? Do tenants care?

    Under Area Housing Committees, all tenants were leafleted, with a possibility of a postal ballot. Tenants on, Area Housing Committees, were there to represent the democratic interest of all tenants. As has been said they weren’t working very well. But you don’t get rid of democracy because it isn’t working very well, You don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Or do you?

    with respect tom cooke

  69. Philip Morris says:

    Good Evening ‘grotty hoveller’
    You must be gettin glonely amongst all the rantings of TMO’s.
    As a tenant of a RSL you can start a TMO or join in to the Housing Solutions TMO if you and the other tenants wished, under the new regulations the RSL can not refuse your applixcation if you can demonstrate the tenats in your area wish to explore the possibilty of doing so.
    As I over look Barton Court, from a great height, I can say that I agree with you and your senterments entirely. I noticed the mass clean up and the eviction of the drug dealer, “everyone is against me and my family” was his cry.
    Someone made a bob or two from the scrap wheels. Not P4P though or could it have been !

    Returning to the issue of the TMOs IO just wonder why it is taht so few of the 1,000s of tenants who are not being represented are not and are in danger of losing their democratic rights are not writing on this blog ? Only 4 or 5 where are the other 29,000 in Bed ?

    Good Night

  70. Gary Hopkins says:

    The complaint about the removal of AHCs by this administration is entirely justified and as you will see from a previous contribution John Kiely had to resist pressure for their abolition before Laour replaced us as the administration (courtesy of the Tories) in 2007. It is also quite possible that there would be less of a drive for TMOs in some areas if there was proper resident involvement.

  71. Concerned Tenant says:

    Well I musy admit Inever thought I would ever hear a politition state that something said was the truth. All of us are very much aware that it was the Labour group who stopped AHC’s.

    The question might be what are the libdems going to do about it? if tenants/residents get the listening party backin ?

    Im not very clear on these TMO things but from what I have read they are just one of many ways tenants can have a better say in where our rent money does get spent and in having a greater say in how our homes are managed.
    As a concerned Tenant I must ask the question why have these highly paid housing officers ,Tenant participation not promoted these various options that our open to us?
    Or is this more a question of Labour rule saying youll do as we tell you no matter what you think or say?

    Reading up a little on the subject I can see that the majority of these TMO work better than any housing service and with the same money.Homes stay under council ownership.

    I also read of new”Local Management Agreements” The council are not promoting these either,Where tenants can manage and run any part of the housing service.
    I dont live in an area that has one of these TMO groups ,Lawrence Weston, but if if one was to start I must say I would be in favour.As Gary Hopkins says its Democracy that woul be my vote.

  72. Jozer says:

    Arms-length management is all about this- letting a private company do your dirty work while Labor-lite councillors claim their hands are tied.

  73. Rosso Verde says:

    agree with you there Jozer!

  74. Shannon says:

    “I for one have no wish to buy my flat or be a private house holder again, I had no idea that Council Tenants were so pampered, until I became one. No way would I give up my ‘rights’ that I now enjoy as a council tenant.”

    “where are the other 29,000 in Bed ?”

    Good question. A bit like “the mob” maybe, sleeping comfortably?

  75. FAIR COMMENT !!!! OR NOT says:

    Charlie Bolton.
    If we can leave the point scoring aside for a moment or two, it seems to me there are a couple of areas of uncertainty

    1. The impact of tmo’s on the wider housing stock

    2. The ability of supporters and opponents of tmo’s to put their case to tenants on equal terms
    A secondary issue is the whole democratic basis of the new tenants participation arragnements – whch I thought were going to be reviewed by the commission in any case…

    1, What impac would that be? Any TMO would only get the same money that the council already spends in that area. No more no less.
    The only impact is that officers will no longer be able to feed either the general account or use money from one area to feed another area. Tenants rent money would be spent directly where it is supposwed to be spent.

    2, Thjere maybe some valid argument here ,isnt that something to approach central government over

    With the other secondary issue. your absolutely right why have officers neglected that issue.If you ever find out why not let everyone else know

  76. Alexander Arch says:

    Paul Smith:
    “There is no evidence of grass roots demand for taking over the management of the housing stock and area housing committee areas are not communities but administrative conveniences.”

    The evidence you suggest is missing is in fact right in front of your nose! The right to manage has to come from grass root level as recognised by the council ,Council has recognised this and agreed the right to manage. Are current Neighbourhood Partnerships as they stand also not just an administrative convienience?

  77. Philip Morris says:

    Wheen all the arguments well aired on this blog are over. And the parties have scored their ow3n collective political points.

    I for one visited ‘Bloomsbury’ (in Birmingham) the first TMO in the Country, as I understand, But in those days they were called an ‘Estate Management Board, EMB’

    When I last visited them, I have been twice, they had in excess of £4m in the bank. All of this was from savings that they had made – from the budget handed to them by Birmingham City Council.

    The EMB supplied a 24 hour caretaking service. ( all the previously employed City Council caretakers, had become employees of the EMB, whislt keeping all of their employment/pension rights. The new caretakers enjoy the same rights as the tranfered employees).

    On my last visit to the EMB they were in the process of fitting showers in all the properties of those tenants that wanted one.
    Also the tenants of the houses had expressed an interest in joining the EMB.

    I have an email from a Senior Council Housing Office, in which he gave a breakdown of simple repairs. eg
    Replace a washer in a hor/cold water tap £72.60.
    Changing a light bulb in a communinal area 56.90
    Clearing a blocked sink, in a household £89.70
    Replace pane of glass in fire door £104.97

    All of these jobs are completed by the caretakers in Bloomsbury – that is where the TMO can make savings, with fully trained ‘Hendyman caretakers, not posh sounding cleaners.

    As I stated in a previious posting, I have no wish to go down the RSL/ALMO road, and as I understand it Bristol has a much chance of becoming an ALMO as I have of winning the lottery; as it always has and always will be a 1 star authority.

    No one has answerd the previously put question How many ex as well as serving Labour Councillors have bought their own or their parents Council Houses. I know of 2 who have, as well as at least 1 ex Labour M.P. for this City.

  78. Alexander Arch says:

    Philip Morris

    You really dont expect them to just drop in and answer you do you?

  79. Alexander Arch says:

    Arms-length management is all about this- letting a private company do your dirty work while Labor-lite councillors claim their hands are tied.

    Not according to Paul Smith!!

  80. Gary Hopkins says:

    It wasn’t long ago that Mr Smith was trying to push the ALMO option at the council. Why is he now so against TMOs?

    Is it because tenants can genuinely do it for themselves rather than have some quango controlled by you know who raking off the profits.

  81. Paul Smith says:


    I never bought my council house, unfortunately the tenant who moved in after me did. My mum moved from her council flat to sheltered housing and has no right to buy. Sorry that I couldn’t get to your meeting but the notice was too short for me.

    Gary – I was not pushing ALMOs at the Council just pointing out the options that were available at that time. That time has passed now. If you remember at the time the council was bulldozing council houses and handing over the land to private developers. Seem to remember that it made me unpopular with all the parties on the council at the time – no change there then

  82. Alexander Arch says:

    Paul Smith

    Quite riight you are:Pushing for ALMO as you did, did make you unpopular then and changing stance now will not heal the scars

  83. Mike Chappell says:

    Just a quick retort on the TMO funding issue – From a Freedom of Information request I’ve just received answers to:-

    BCC are putting aside £150,000 from HRA for TMO start-up costs in 2009-2010!

    So that’s £150,000 less in the environmental fund or elsewhere doing something useful!

    Also of course the issue of TMOs only taking what is owed to them is also wrong – if the housing stock in a TMO area is of good quality it will be easy to manage on the proportion of rents given, based on property numbers – however BCC housing stock cross subsidises i.e the poor stock is helped out by the good stock. I will re state what Mark Hibbard from Open Communities said in a public meeting in Redcliffe – tenants should not push for a TMO when housing stock is in poor condition e.g concrete cancer – it’s still happening here though!

    You see it works both ways, either the TMO is created with stock that is uneconomical and loads it with debt/major problems and then it get’s dumped back on the council or PFI’d or it ‘Cherry Picks’ the best housing (Mark Hibbard’s words again) and then leaves the problem housing for the Council to PFI/dispose of! Of course the bigger the mess housing gets in the better the excuse to stock transfer to an HA or PFI ontop of course of Lambeth like rent rises of 17% and yes Lambeth is in the UK it’s housing stock is around the same size as BCC (35k) so it is relevant!

    It’s great that Barton Hill got the New Deal money, but it looks to me like they may have also got more than they bargained for, is that HA developments that I see encroaching on the communal green space and in between flats, that once was housing land ? And what is Barton Hill Solutions – I’m told it wasn’t an EMB and if there are already HA representatives onboard it and if it’s not 100% tenant led then why is it being allowed to setup a TMO – perhaps Phil as a Barton Hill tenant you can enlighten me, see :-


    We already have representatives from Redcliffe Futures proposing exactly the same infilling for Redcliffe and yes they don’t have any tenant representatives !! Housing land is the latest privatisation – wether it is sold cheaply by BCC to HAs or as PFI land swap for build, breaking up the Housing Stock via TMOs allows this at a faster pace.

    Lastly the arguement about TMOs not wanting to stock transfer is a bit of a Red Herring, many TMOs do not want to stock transfer it‘s true, but they are forced into it by the local council who will otherwise stock transfer under pressure from the DCLG – One of the largest TMOs Kensington and Chelsea is in exactly this position having gone large (10,000 homes http://www.kctmo.org.uk/) and then having been persuaded by the Royal Borough Council to form an ALMO (after a New Deal size bribe of £34million) and then it seems pressurised into stock transferring :-


    Don’t get drawn into this trap, now is the time for cross party consensus on supporting Council Housing services and stock – they go together, separate one and you separate the reason for the existence of the whole. There needs to be more scrutiny for sure and there is no reason why the introduction of a handyman scale cannot be re-applied to the caretaking service, especially an on call one which would save a fortune in contractors costs.

    I also have to take issue with Alexander Arch(er?) – the main issue here is that the grass roots are not involved as there has been no proper debate,, at the moment 2 men and a dog would be given backing by the council to setup a TMO! Alexander are you involved perhaps with the Bedminster TMO steering group, which I’m informed hasn’t even filled all the officer posts even though it will cover nearly 3000 homes, what sort of grass roots support is that!?

  84. Gary Hopkins says:

    Mr Smith-your denial of a pro Almo stance is I am afraid all of a piece with your general trend. Push the new Labour party line,after all as chair of the Bristol party and campaign manager for a down the line Nulabour MP it would be suprising if you did anything else,and then backpedal and distance when it looks unpopular.
    Mr Chappell
    You refer to cross subsidy within Bristol.
    Can I suggest that the much bigger concerns are that Bristol tenants are having millions stripped off them by government to spend elsewhere,
    that rents are being forced up by government
    that government rigs the system to try to force housing down the ALMO route so favoured by Mr Smith’s party.
    Tenants have clearly voted not to go down the ALMO/privatisation route but under the present Labour administration in Bristol they have had effective representation stripped away from them.
    It is a requirement put in by government that TMOs have a legal right of support. A lib Dem budget ammendment today seeks to provide money for that from the council general fund.
    I hope that has your support.

  85. Alexander Arch says:


    Thank you for your overall support here if you would like to take a few moments to re-read your previous entry your argument is very clearly the same as those who have entered “by democratic process” the “Right to manage”.

    Further to your support:

    You had no need to seek a freedom of information request did you? on what officers are spending tenants rent monies on ? Please Mike, you can get that information directly from the minutes of the HMB.

    £150k from Environmental Improvement budgets (EIB), small potatoes when officers have steered away in excess of £400k from the EIB so tenants can no longer decide on where their rent money is spent.

    You say “Also of course the issue of TMOs only taking what is owed to them is also wrong” whos words are these?One thinks they are yours and you are trying to develop an issue that really is not there.

    It can be agreed that BCC is cross subsidising across the housing stock. The problem lies in the innequality of the cross subsidies!

    Mike .You are attempting to take Mark Hibbards (MH) words out of context here and misleading the readers,MH stated “cherry picking” as regards the services of the landlord that the TMO might undertake not which stock it might manage. The stock the TMO might eventually manage will be the stock within the area of benefit which includes good ;bad or indifferent not cherry picked,One hopes that will clarify your “cherry picking “of other peoples words to suit yourself. (Respectfully).

    Lambeth may indeed be relevent to Lambeth.However.Right now it is clearly not relevent to Bristol, unless of course the landlord is likely to announce they are looking towards Almo /PFI or stock transfer!! If they are looking at any proposals it is without consultation with directly elected tenants -Directly elected tenants have been removed,havent they Mike?

    I do not profess to have a great deal of knowledge on the Barton Hill scenario other than to express to the reader it is very clear why the TMO route is being explored when £50m is frittered away like it has been [not all of it] and no long lasting benefit has been achieved there remains only two alternatives Barton Hill is looking at one of them now.

    You wish to take issue with myself over “the main issue here is that the grass roots are not involved as there has been no proper debate” The entire TMO, RTM has to evolve from grassroots otherwise it cannot be accepted by either the landlord or government.
    Debate you say! Ican assure you real grassroots tenants attempted debate as has been optlined by other bloggers above.
    The real problem lies in the facts as also outlined that officers and the current Labour administration supported by the conservatives removed tenants from having decision making powers over the service that they have from the housing department.
    No I am not associated to either the person you name or the Bedminster TMO.
    I use a pseudonymn just like BB ;badnewswade any many others for the simple reason this is a blogging site which should be a little fun!! and at times offers any blogger in question the opportunity to give some classified or stiffled information to good people who otherwise might not be aware of what might be going on underneath their noses.

  86. Mike Chappell says:

    In Reply to Gary, Alexander Anonymous and the general TMO arguement, 3 inconvenient truths :

    1) FACT :- There has not been a debate amongst BCC tenants abouts the merits or dangers in setting up TMOs, so the ‘grass roots’ cannot have been engaged – I speak with respect to Bedminster and it’s near 3000 homes, although from what I can gather it is very much the same eleswhere – there has at least only been pro TMO debate – the landlord has not helped in that there have been no articles outlining what is happening in Bristol in either Housing News or Tenants Tribune (TT), apart from two pro TMO articles by Earth TMO proponents in TT , shortly before TT was disbanded.

    Debate needed to take place before the TMO process was kicked off, which is funded onesidedly and is politically supported being pushed locally by the Lib Dems! How many tenants in Bristol are really aware of what is happening?

    2) FACT – Labour, Lib Democrats and Tories all support TMOs so what’s the arguement? The arguement is they should all be supporting council housing and it’s in house services with proper funding (lobbying central government for a start), not having to watch why the council tries to deliver services with £5million of rent being sent back to Whitehall, a good excuse no doubt why environmental budgets were cut back, although bailing out failed PFI schemes such as Bovis grate!

    NL Central government has forced this issue, however the Lib Dems seem only to happy to enact central government housing policy (enhanced by the Tories it seems) after bemoaning what grief central government is forcing on local governments! LibDems cannot critiscise Labour if they are doing exactley what the New Labour instructed TSA say re TMOs!

    3) FACT – The Liberal Democrats ALMO’d Cheltenham Borough Council’s Council Housing without a vote of tenants! This was after 2 votes that rejected a transfer to an RSL. Of course the central government bribe was influential – something like £65 million of extra funding for around 5000 homes – but watch this space when it comes to stock transfer time – the privatisation divi that Central government are after!

    What people have to ask is why is there a push for TMOs, ALMOs, PFI and transfers to RSLs/HAs – It’s privatisation stupid! New Labour has been further down this road than the Tories and it is sickening. Ripping off council tenants has been all about supporting the private housing market pyramid which has now collapsed – it’s time to go back to decent socialist ideas of public housing which both Labour and LibDems have supported and help create in the past.

    Don’t play politics with our homes! And Alex chose a funnier name if you’re going incognito – too many TMO proponents have been inhibited in putting their real names out – which only adds to the suspicion that they know what the end game will be – Earth Spirit Housing Association anyone?

  87. Spirit Homes ( admin) says:


    Imust agree some of the points you have raised are fairly accurate but yet again you are misleading in some of your argument. Time and again the Facts have been outlined above I will endevour to be as factual as possible in order to address concerns raised.

    With reagrds 1) The tenants who have commenced the RTM have come from grassroots level as you label it,they have to in order to apply for the RTM . Lets not get carried away over debate here,if the process is followed correctly which it has as far as many are aware then each and every tenant who lives within the proposed area of benefit for each TMO have been kept clearly informed by newsletters and representatives of the agent visiting homes. There have been numerous invitations to all tenants within the areas of benefit to come along to open meetings to express any concerns they may have over the RTM and currently at least 3 of the 5 TMO’s have gained at least a minimum of 20% support from those tenants.
    The statute [law] that allows tenants to folow the RTM has been available for at least 15 years. I cannot answer to why the landlord Bristol City Council has not made this information widely available to tenants in Bristol. Perhaps Paul Smith can give a reply there? after all if councillors had listened to Mr.Smith a few years ago all tenants would now be in an ALMO!
    I am sure every tenant would agree that we would like to remain with BCC . Thank goodness with the TMO route those in a TMO will do so as the stock remains the property of BCC.
    You said:”however the Lib Dems seem only to happy to enact central government housing policy (enhanced by the Tories it seems) ” Mike, It is a right;statute,the law.
    Im quite sure you are trying to make a political mountain out of the proverbial mole hill here.

    2) Your quite correct here.Except if you were to review last Tuesday’s Budget meeting you would be very clear the Labour group who have abandoned tenants made it very clear their view on TMO’s [ review Cook /Walker on amendment 3] where as on the other hand. The Liberal Democrats & Conservatives made clear their support for tenants Democracy.
    Trusting you understand the process involved in amendments! you might also then understand they have to be supported by officers ,in that they are within the regulations to do so.So Ibeg the answer from you Mike? Why did Cllrs Cook & Walker go against the motion on TMO’s?

    3) Agreed. However. Bristol would have gone the same way if Labours Paul Smith had won his argument on ALMO. Just as well the Lib Dems stopped that in its tracks isnt it Mike?

    Do you know what Mike ? I really cant remember anyone playing politics in this until you raised the matter?

    Might I suggest you contact myself if you would like to do so? I am quite happy to discus your concerns – as a tenant myself I also share many of your concerns.



  88. Thomas Cooke says:

    TMO’s, in Bristol are a Lib Dem Front, for carrying out New Labour policies on ‘Council housing’. ”Councillor Popham”, as ‘Prospective Member of Parliament for Bristol East’, has made it clear on his web page. Since entering politics, (as a Tory), he has, (as well as other views), championed Tenant Management Organisations. As a Lib Dem Councillor, since May 07, he now says he is following tenants views. At the ‘events, on TMO’s’ at the Council House, on the 2nd & 9th Feb, It was mainly Lib Dem members that were propagating TMO’s. One tenant, having been a Lib Dem Councillor & one tenant standing as a Lib Dem Councillor. Councillor Popham came to, (W.U.F. Tenants Redcliffe) meeting, in April 08, and argued in favour of TMO’s. He doesn’t support tenants that don’t want change. He is initiating his own political views on TMO’s not following others. He seems to ‘intimate’, that he hasn’t changed his politics. It’s political parties following his views. As a non-council tenant, promoting TMO’s, he is following a consensus of views of all political parties.

    In talking about TMO’s I will therefore talk to the horses mouth.

    (1) (From the Deputy PM’s office 2002) An Evaluation of TMO’s, England. (p78, 5.21)
    “TMO’s are part of a continuum in which tenants groups may wish to travel“… “There is no reason why TMO‘s should not look towards (privatisation)”.

    This statement makes clear that TMO’s are a vehicle to privatisation. Once you get on that bus it’s going in one direction only. Those tenants promoting TMO’s must know this. In fact some of the names of the organisations promoting TMO’s in Bristol have ‘Housing association names. ‘Earth Homes & Spirit Homes’.

    TMO’s CANNOT STOP a TRANSFER to full privatisation. & a TMO could transfer itself. (Director of housing. Housing management Board meeting, July 2008. Whatever the facts, many do transfer. See below.

    Tenants promoting TMO’s choose to ignore all these views, (that have been put before), and therefore, if they chose to, (they don’t) would have no answer to transfers.

    We are told, TMO’s may be, “not-for-profit-companies”. YE RIGHT A company is a company is a company & so are ALMO‘s; that tenants have voted against.

    TMO’s come under ‘company law’. And a TMO would be run by ‘un-elected‘, ‘selected from, a small group of tenants’, that are invited to a meeting. Tenants on a TMO represent the company not tenants. Parts of the meeting would be closed. You wouldn’t know who’s voting what How democratic is that? Do those tenants promoting TMO’s care? Answer, Charlie Bolton’s questions.

    Under Area Housing Committees (AHC) all tenants were involved in a secret ballot. Tenants on (AHC) were there to represent the democratic interests of council tenants.

    (2) Elected councillors have a legal obligation to manage, all of the Council Housing in Bristol. Tenants voted in 2005 to keep it that way. There is no legal requirement for Councillors to be on TMO’s. Tenants on TMO’s may select Councillors from individual political parties to advise them. But not pro rata from all political parties. And tenants promoting TMO’s know that.

    Most tenants, don’t know what is happening and at the last minute, if they’re involved in voting, some obscure thing called a TMO will be presented to them. Tenants involved in TMO’s should be open to public scrutiny as councillors. Tenants have a right to know who are promoting TMO’s. How democratic are these anonymous tenants?

    (3) We are told. TMO’s are not a transfer or privatisation. Why is there a vote then? We are told, TMO’s can enter into a legal contract with the landlord”. We already have a legal contract it’s called the ‘tenancy agreement’

    (4) When they transferred the Busses Airport and Docks, they said they weren’t being privatised and the Council would always be in a majority on the management. THEY’RE PRIVATISED NOW

    (5) The workforce also voted 3 out of 4 not to transfer to TMO‘s. They don’t want to work for TMO’s. (From the Deputy PM’s office 2002 (p63, 4.110) “TMOs ‘are seen’ as having high staff turnover, poor terms and conditions of service, and a disproportionate number of employment tribunals“.

    Without workers in the Trade Unions, (1880’s & from 1900’s) we wouldn’t have council housing. Now, a few, tenants pushing TMO’s, some not in work, have said, TMO’s could ’hire & fire’, them. We wouldn’t be living in council housing without the Trade Union s. This is at least privatisation of the work force. (Yes I know the Liberals (Addison Act) presided over council house building in 1919. (Chamberlain 1923 – Wheatley 1924) So did Nye Bevan in 1945/6). All political parties today are a disgrace to these memories.

    (6) All political parties were united in keeping there mouths shut when the Director of Housing took away democratically elected tenants. The process was started under the Lib Dem & continued under Labour. No political party protested. against it.

    All Political parties should get together and bring back ’DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED TENANTS’ NOW, (under the old Area Housing Committee rules), instead of using Council tenants as cannon fodder for their own political ends.

    (7) TMOS IN TROUBLE: & GONE BAD Tenant Management organisations.

    [B] Myatts Field North TMO (Lambeth) was privatised (PFI) and they now don’t wont the TMO.
    [C] Kensington and Chelsea TMO is being privatised, even though only 14% of residents voted for it. http://www.ratmo.org.uk
    [D] IN 2005 the East London Lansbury West TMO’s housing stock was transferred to a Housing Association. (HARCA). They then seized the assets of the TMO and closed it down
    FROM Private Eye 1228 23 rd Jan 09
    The Arrest by the Met’s serious crime directorate of ‘the’ chairwoman of Lambeth Living Limited, (LLL) on suspicion of obtaining property by deception, is another blow for tenants who hoped last years transfer of Lambeth council’s 34,000 council homes to LLL would be a change for the better.
    A] Fewer than 12 % voted for a transfer to Lambeth Living Limited, (LLL), (London). Now A £22m hole has appeared in its finances, with 130 job losses and massive rent rises. ( South London Press 8th Oct 2008)

    TMO’s Have democratically got rid of Democracy. ‘Who kids who’ about TMO‘s.

    Those Lib dem tenants promoting TMO’s should decide whether they represent the democratic interests of council tenants, or individual Lib Dems.

    They choose not to discuss with tenants opposing TMO’s, unless the horses mouth tells them what to say. tom cooke 15 francombe hse bs1 6tg (name and address supplied not hidden).

  89. Spirit Homes ( admin) says:

    !They choose not to discuss with tenants opposing TMO’s, unless the horses mouth tells them what to say. tom cooke 15 francombe hse bs1 6tg (name and address supplied not hidden).”

    I would be more than happy to discus your concerns as one of many whom brought TMO’s to Bristol.

    This is a tenant lead Right to manage option. However. I would suggest you raise your concerns with Bristol City Council directly or even the Government!!

    More apropriately you could in fact contact the Bedminster TMO who I am sure would be very happy to address your concerns.



    No need to give my address as I have supplied my e-mail address should you wish to contact myself directly.

  90. grotty hoveller says:

    Back to Places for People:

    of course the much celebrated Dove Lane development is now on permanent hold. A £300 million white elephant development, lots of trumpets and fanfares at the launch, more glossy mags and “there will be jam tomorrow”, but now stuck in credit-jam housing collapse fiasco, along with the business model that has an organisation that cannot carry out effective repairs on its properties but can run nurseries and spend £000s on re-branding, re-structuring and paying a legion of robotic muppets to trot the latest catchphrase “you said, we did” ,
    ….(a pause for much snorting derision) & (don’t get me started on what has been said (by P4P tenants) and what hasn’t been done at all (by P4P), ta)

    It is this that the free-marketeers Preston-Massive have charioted us all towards because it didn’t matter a jot as long as they were on the gravy-train and somehow, despite having 50,00+ properties, the Audit Commission & Housing Corporation didn’t choose to inspect this behemoth’s general housing management until BCHA was done last year.

    If you ever get to Wellington, Somerset, check out the P4P properites there (makes Barton Court look pleasant!)
    Because a once charitable trust (BCHA), has been overtaken by the bottom-feeders of the “how can we shaft tenants and dress-it up as excellent services” brigade, whilst stuffing the dosh up their finely coiffeured shirts. Its the ponzi-scheme of housing, Bernard Madoff has competition I think!

    over to you lucky lot

  91. Spasbole says:


    Seems to me your still living in 2002

    Have no you idea what is going on in this city?

    Wake up man there is more to life than you complaing about Labour and Libdems.

    Wake up smell the coffee and come into the new age.

  92. Philip Morris says:

    “(4) When they transferred the Busses Airport and Docks, they said they weren’t being privatised and the Council would always be in a majority on the management. THEY’RE PRIVATISED NOW”.
    Tom you know only what you wish to know, Bristol Omnibus Company was a partnership between a Private Company and the then City and County of Bristol, No employee of the Bristol City Buses or Bristol Country Buses was ever a Council Employee. The P.B.A (Port of Bristol Authority) was sold off by the City Council – as it was a big drain on the coffers of the City Council, brought on by a combination of miss-management, restrictive pratice by the unions, as well as job protectionaisum. The same to a lesser degree happened at the airport. Is it not wonderful that the Docks, Airport and the loss making ‘Parnership’ on the Buses are now not a millstone around the neck of every citizen of Bristol, unless of course you had a crusty job for life doing nowt at either the docks or the airport, where these days they are very wel paid for a well done days work. i for one can not remember the last time I heard of a work to rule or strike at the docks Can YOU ?

    Getting back to the TMO debate, why are you and your fiend so anti anything that may improve the lot of Council tenants ?
    Come to Barton Hill this week and I will show you the standard of work being done by ‘Council Approved Contractors’. Shoddy is not the word I would use to discribe the standard, maybe this poor attitude to working on ‘Council Proerty’ is the reason why tenants want to explore whatever aveneues that there are available to them to get things changed – after all everything looks good on paper – but the reality is somewhat differant.
    The invertation is there anyway for you and anyone else to come prior to April 20th
    give me an email or write to me C/O N.D.C. Office, 210 Avonvale Road BS5 9SX

  93. snafu says:

    “A housing campaigner killed himself after receiving a £3,000 legal bill from lawyers for communities minister Hazel Blears.

    Neil Hill, who had challenged a rent rise for hundreds of tenants, e-mailed the Treasury solicitors saying: ‘By the time you receive this I will be dead, having committed suicide. I hope you feel very proud of yourselves.

    ‘Before you send another poor old person a bill for £3,000 please think of the consequences …

    He’d fought a legal battle to prevent housing bosses raising the rent for hundreds of homes by almost £5 a week, but had lost his case on a technicality….

    His brother Terry said: ‘Neil has been a thorn in City West’s side for some time. But he was campaigning for many tenants, not just himself. I spoke to him on the day of the court case. He said that within 30 minutes of it ending he had received a hand-delivered demand for £3,000 …

    In another email sent to a friend on the day he sent the message to the Treasury, Neil wrote: ‘I have protested to the judge that I am being denied justice and he just held his hands up. This is a whitewash!’


  94. Philip Morris says:

    Why has this debate died ? Could it be that ‘Places for People’ tenants as well as Tom and his friend have seen the light of day ?

    The Council are not co-operating with the Tenant Management Groups (Tom will be pleased to hear).

    In the last 12 months (here in Barton Hill) we had a turnover of almost 20% in tenants
    Neither the Council or RSLs inform new tenants of the existance of the proposed TMOs so with such a high turnover (ovwe 18% in 2009) the TMOs are strugling to get the message across – so Tom’s dreams of a total Council contol seems to be a reality.

    Happy New Year ot all, even Tom and his friend

  95. Philip Morris says:

    Why has this debate died ? Could it be that ‘Places for People’ tenants as well as Tom and his friend have seen the light of day ?

    The Council are not co-operating with the Tenant Management Groups (Tom will be pleased to hear).

    In the last 12 months (here in Barton Hill) we had a turnover of almost 20% in tenants
    Neither the Council or RSLs inform new tenants of the existance of the proposed TMOs so with such a high turnover the TMOs are strugling to get the message across – so Tom’s dreams of a total Council contol seems to be a reality.

    Happy New Year ot all, even Tom and his friend

  96. Mike Chappell says:

    Hi Phil and TMO debatees

    The debate hasn’t gone dead, just slightly in obeyance while those half a dozen Bedminster TMO steering group representatives (and others?) undemocratically proposing to represent 3000 residencies in South Bristol skim funding out of BCC (from our rents) and the department for Communities, or what ever it’s called nowadays. There is not only a high turnover of tenancies in high rise accomodation, but also representatives on the Bedminster TMO steering group it would seem, which has lost many of those proposing it’s setup initially, which adds to the arguement from what democratic tenants constituted organisation did this TMO come from – AHCs (area housing committies ) were not Tenant constituted bodies, else BCC couldn’t have shut them all down,! (watch this space!)

    Those who are also proposing TMOs elsewhere should also be asked this question, especially while in the case of Spirit TMO (H.A surely!) which may have come from an Action Group (not necessarily constituted) the Chair is now also a Liberal Councillor proposing the privatisation of council services (at least), from the council – surely some clash of interests here it would seem. Also the same said councillor, Cheryl Ann, also voted quite generously at the September 2009 Planning Committee to deprive the tenants and residents of Roegate House Hillfields of not only their garages but their gardens to, by voting for the planning application allowing Sovereign H.A to build 22 Houses on it, nice and oh by the way she lives in a house with a private garden – contempt certainly being shown to those who live in what can be a stressful high rise environment that especially need green communal spaces/ gardens.

    see BCC planning portal ref 09/02437/F or link :-

    Small scale repreeentative TMOs I can live with, large scale or unrepresentative TMOs that are probably feathering someones nest or that will be transfered to H.As I/we (council tenants) can do without.

    Cheers and Happy New Year

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