Westminster council housing staff get �600,000 bonuses

Anger as CityWest Homes employees earn up to �40,000 in individual bonuses

THE company which runs Westminster Council’s housing stock has come under fire for rewarding its employees with bonuses of up to �40,000.

CityWest Homes split almost �600,000 between 226 employees in the last tax year as part of its staff incentive scheme, with the highest single payment totalling �39,769.

The performance-based scheme sees bonuses of up to 15 per cent available for employees based on targets set by themselves, their line manager and the company director.

However, fears have been raised that the bonuses may create a conflict of interest between employees servicing residents’ needs and attempting to save money in order to hit targets.

Westminster Labour leader councillor Paul Dimoldenberg has written to the chief executives of both Westminster Council and CityWest Homes to call for an independent investigation.

He said: “I think it’s outrageous that CityWest Homes staff should be awarded bonuses for minimising the amount of money that’s spent on properties in need of repair.

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“It goes against everything that the housing service is supposed to be about. Staff are supposed to spend their money on repairing houses and flats, not on awarding themselves bonuses.”

The scheme sees bonuses of five per cent available for each of the three employee performance elements depending on whether they meet the targets set by themselves, their team and the company.

CityWest say all targets include an element of value for money and quality of service delivery.

Although employees can earn up to 15 per cent of their base salary, the average bonus paid is six per cent.

Dolly Cuthbert, who organises an over-50s club in Lisson Green, has lived in her CityWest Homes-run flat for 20 years.

Ms Cuthbert, 82, said: “I had a meeting of the club today and when I told everyone about the news they were all against it.

“They are putting our rent up 6.5 per cent in April and it looks like they are giving the money to their employees for bonuses.”

CityWest chief executive Mark Hoyland said: “Our staff incentive scheme only rewards outstanding performance and people only benefit from this scheme if their targets are met. If they are not, nothing is paid out. No conflict of interest exists.

“The scheme is linked to a high level of customer satisfaction and recent figures show that overall satisfaction has increased by almost 10 per cent in two years to 79 per cent.”