“Success in a Consumer Focused Future” is the misleading title of today’s ARMA trade body conference exclusively for those working in the industry. Members have just watched a role out of the framework for it’s ARMA-Q project aimed to help continue “raising professional standards in the industry”.
ARMA CEO Michelle Banks, who was appointed at the beginning of the year, claims, with more than a little hope and a lot of faith, the new “self regulatory regime will mean reliable, professional and cutting edge service”.
The audience has also been hearing that Keith Hill ex MP is appointed as the new “independent” regulator. Keith is currently the Chair of the Lambeth Living which looks after some of Lambeth’s housing stock.
We look forward to interviewing Keith on his plans for regulation, but would point out ARMA’s track record on regulation is utterly appalling. Even in their most recent press statement dated August 21 they welcomed the Channel 4 Dispatches programmes, but continue to ignore the issue in front of their eyes. The press release states:
“The recent Channel 4 Dispatches programme raised important issues about leasehold property management in general and about service charges in particular. As the principal professional membership body for managing agents, ARMA has a wealth of information that is available to leaseholders about their rights.”
On the face of it, very laudable. But what ARMA fails to mention is that the company facing the biggest criticism in both of the programmes was Peverel, the trade body’s biggest member. No mention that ARMA has not taken any disciplinary action against Peverel, no mention of the fact that it is even thinking of doing so.
No mention either of any action being taken against Rendall and Rittner. In July one of its managers, Simon van Houten, 31, was jailed for 30 months. Simon was found guilty of stealing £122,000 of leaseholder’s funds. While R&R have paid back all the money, any competent self-regulatory body should have reviewed R&R systems and publish its findings, rather than continue with its self-serving habit of sweeping things under the carpet.
Maybe that was also why in 2010 Peverel were able to tell all ARMA membership:
“Working with ARMA, we underwent an independent audit of our work to date. The audit indicates that the steps being taken showed that our new systems and processes meet the demands of customers and the service management code fully. In no area were specific additional requirements high-lighted.”