WDC Council tenants - forgotten by WDC but not by Labour

Wycombe Labour accused WDC today of reneging on its promise to monitor Red Kite’s

In 2011, when WDC proposed the sale of its Council homes to Red Kite, Wycombe Labour told WDC its monitoring arrangements would be ineffective and unenforceable.

The then Leader of the Tory Group and the then Cabinet member for Housing said:

- WDC would take its monitoring responsibilities seriously
- a new senior post would be resourced to monitor Red Kite’s performance
- there would be quarterly meetings for at least 5 years to ensure Red Kite delivered
- Red Kite would be held fully accountable and the promises to tenants would be
contractually enforceable
- WDC would hold accurate and up to date information on delivery and performance
by Red Kite.

At the Council meeting in November 2011 when WDC voted to sell the homes, Councillors found out that the risk of Red Kite not being able to deliver its promises was assessed by WDC officers as high.

For this and other reasons, Wycombe Labour did not vote for the transfer.

So what has happened in practice?

The last time WDC monitored the performance of Red Kite was in Nov 2013. It produced a superficial report consisting of two and a half pages and many Appendixes written by Red Kite praising its own performance.

The report covered only 5 of the 109 promises made to tenants and leaseholders in 2011. Of the 5 promises, which were about improvements to the homes, only one – the replacement of front doors - would be completed on target at then rate of work.

The report concluded the Red Kite had a “lot to achieve” and “it would be useful to gauge progress on the major promises over the coming months”.

The Council has not monitored performance since.

In the meantime, Wycombe Labour has learnt through a freedom of information request that Red Kite has decided to reduce WDC’s representation on its Board from 3 to 2.

According to the contract between Red Kite and WDC, Red Kite is required to take three nominations for representatives to Red Kite’s Board. It is not for Red Kite to dictate how many Board members the Council has.

The relevant WDC Cabinet member seems to have accepted Red Kite’s unilateral decision without question and not informed all Councillors.

Councillor Ian Bates, the Leader of Wycombe Labour said “The Tories just aren’t interested in monitoring Red Kite to make sure the promises are delivered.

We told the Tories repeatedly in 2011 that they needed robust monitoring arrangements and the means to enforce Red Kite’s promises. As normal, they promised a lot and have delivered very little.

They just want to forget all about their ex-tenants. They just want to forget that they are responsible for making sure Red Kite deliver.

But the Labour Party won’t forget. We will keep monitoring even if the Leader of WDC and his representatives won’t.”

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