September 20 2014 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Friday, March 7, 2014
Homes for Haringey’s chief executive has resigned after six years at the helm – but the council’s social housing arm refused to be drawn on whether his resignation is anything to do with recent problems at the organisation.
Paul Bridge stepped down from the role with immediate effect last Wednesday, saying in a statement it had been a “hard” decision to reach.
He added: “Key to this decision was my desire to explore some other opportunities, including my first project, which is likely to be working in a voluntary capacity in Africa.”
Keith Jenkins chairman of the Homes for Haringey (HfH) board, said Mr Bridge’s resignation had been accepted “with great reluctance”.
He also praised his “enthusiasm and commitment”, adding that HfH owes Mr Bridge “an enormous debt of gratitude for all that he has done”.
But HfH refused to directly answer questions from the Broadway on whether its chief executive’s departure was related to recent scandals – including the revelation it had handed out £3.6million in bonuses to repairs staff in less than three years.
There is also mounting anger at the way in which the Decent Homes programme has been carried out across the borough.
However, Mr Jenkins did indicate that change is afoot within the organisation, saying that how it works with the council “is changing”, adding: “We will be appointing a managing director to deliver those changes.”
Cllr Richard Wilson, housing spokesman for Haringey’s Liberal Democrat group, pointed out that whoever HfH’s next chief executive is, they would have a number of problems to deal with.
“After the home repair bonuses scandal, the many complaints about poor repairs and high charges, there is much to do to improve the service HfH provides to local tenants and leaseholders,” he said.
“The new head of the council’s housing arm will have a big job convincing residents that HfH is fit for purpose and can deliver good services.”
Cllr Wilson added that it was an opportune moment for the council “to get a grip on its housing arm” to “stop them wasting any more public money” and help make “dramatic improvements” to the repairs service.