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Rossendale tenants’ group was ‘bullied’
A ROSSENDALE tenants’ group was subjected to ‘corporate bullying’, according to a report by the parliamentary ombudsman.
Bacup and Stacksteads Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), which looks after 960 homes in the Valley, was the victim of maladministration by the former social housing regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, the report found.
The authority failed to properly investigate the TMO’s complaints after it had its funding stopped by Together Housing Group’s Green Vale Homes in February 2010.
It also ignored previous recommendations by the Independent Complaints Reviewer ruling that it should review the way it handles complaints.
Bill Pearson, chairman of the TMO, said his group felt ‘totally disconnected’ after its concerns were ignored.
He said: “We work voluntarily on behalf of our households and, after Rossendale Council set up Green Vale in 2006, a number of agreements we had in place were scrapped, meaning we could no longer campaign on our tenants’ behalf to the same extent.
“Our funding went from £18,500 per year to nothing.
“We had our status and allowances taken away without question.
“We had to move our offices from Bacup to Whitworth because of flooding problems.
“Now we have four volunteers operating on £3,000 a year that we raise ourselves, and we still get problems solved, but it’s difficult.
“Our tenants weren’t fully consulted on the changes that were made.”
The Tenant Services Author-ity has since been replaced by the Homes and Communities Agency, whose chief executive, Pat Ritchie, was told last month to apologise to the TMO’s sec-retary John Challinor.
Mr Pearson said no apology had been forthcoming so far.
A Homes and Communities Agency spokesperson said it was considering the ombud-sman’s findings, but was unable to confirm whether Ms Ritchie will apologise, or not.
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