December 17, 2018

ARHM expels Retirement Security … Did it oppose role of Keith Edgar?

RetirementSecurityThe trade body the Association of Retirement Housing Managers has expelled one of its long standing members: Retirement Security.

It was purged because of opposition to an ARHM board decision by Retirement Security’s chairman Bob Bessell – himself a former chairman of the ARHM.

The decision is a mystery and, in a further twist, one of his fellow directors is Sir Alan Greengross, husband of Baroness (Sally) Greengross, the president of the ARHM. So the ARHM president has just seen her husband’s company booted out of the organisation.

Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation has been critical of Baroness Greengross, a former head of Age Concern, who has trivialised the problems faced by elderly residents in retirement leasehold. In April 2012 in the Lords, she famously compared malcontents to “barrack room lawyers” with too much time on their hands.

It is speculated that the reason Retirement Security was purged from the ARHM was because Mr Bessell opposed the involvement of Keith Edgar, the former head of Peverel Retirement, who was appointed “new business manager” in March 2013.

Edgar represented the ARHM at the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation / LKP right to manage round-table on March 11 at Westminster, hosted by Sir Peter Bottomley. But he has since left the  trade body.

ARHM has been contacted for a statement to clarify why a member has been expelled and what implications this decision has on residents.

The news of Retirement Security’s expulsion from the ARHM was made on the organisation’s website.

A statement to ARHM members states that “a review of our business objectives and purpose in 2013” was “formally challenged” by Mr Bessell and Mr Peter Barker, of the Harewood Housing Society (now part of Together Housing Group).

“… As a consequence of Mr Bessell’s actions within that period and during the latter stages of his service on the Board, it was necessary to expel Retirement Security from the ARHM.”

Bob Bessell

Bob Bessell

It appears that Mr Bessell and Mr Barker “insisted that an independent review be instigated to determine whether the ARHM Board had acted outside the scope of its remit and delegated authority”.

Baroness Barker (LibDem) carried out an investigation.

“We are very pleased to report that the ARHM’s position was entirely vindicated in the report and there was significant evidence presented that, in some areas, we had operated with a high degree of good practice.”

No comment was made about Mr Barker or the Harewood Housing Society, although it may no longer qualify for independent membership as it is part of a larger housing association.

At that time, Debbie Matusevicius – a leasehold consultant with the Anchor Trust – was chairman of the trade body. It is now Paul Silk, of Hanover housing association.

Keith Edgar

Keith Edgar

Insiders suggest that the appointment of Keith Edgar to the trade body was the cause of the rift. A number of ARHM members were deeply uneasy about the appointment of such a senior Peverel figure.

The ARHM has been repeatedly criticised by Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation for complacency in the face of irrefutable abuses in the sector – there has been complete silence over the Peverel / Cirrus collusive tendering scandal, for example.

The Office of Fair Trading reported last December that Peverel / Cirrus presided over a price-fixing racket that involved 65 retirement sites. Elderly residents were “likely” to have been cheated, the OFT says.

Residents at six of the affected sites have come forward to mount a class action against Peverel by engaging lawyers on a no win, no fee arrangement.

The full statement to ARHM members is reproduced below:

NEWS FROM THE BOARD

Members will recall that we previously communicated with you regarding structural changes within the ARHM, following a review of our business objectives and purpose in 2013.

This decision was formally challenged by Mr Bob Bessell of Retirement Security Limited and Mr Peter Barker of Harewood Housing Society (now part of Together Housing Group) on the basis that they did not consider the Board alone had the authority to implement the necessary changes, Messrs Bessell and Barker insisted that an independent review be instigated to determine whether the ARHM Board had acted outside the scope of its remit and delegated authority.

Whilst the changes had already been implemented, and the Board felt that it had acted within its powers, we agreed to an independent investigation which was carried out by Baroness Barker.

We are very pleased to report that the ARHM’s position was entirely vindicated in the report and there was significant evidence presented that, in some areas, we had operated with a high degree of good practice.

 As a consequence of Mr Bessell’s actions within that period and during the latter stages of his service on the Board, it was necessary to expel Retirement Security from the ARHM.

We are very much looking to the future now, as we roll up our sleeves and get on with the work in hand to raise standards and promote and support good practice in the leasehold sector.

Comments

  1. Michael Hollands says:

    I very much doubt Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation will get an answer to their question.
    I have asked ARHM for their reaction to one of their members being found guilty of Price Fixing and what they intend to do about it.
    After about six reminders I am still waiting for a reply. It appears the sole purpose of this organisation is to protect the companies who finance it.

    • Michael,

      Are you aware that in 2003 Peverel Management Services Ltd were stating they were:

      A FOUNDING AND LEADING MEMBER OF ARHM

      OPERATORS OF CARELINE CIRRUS

      Remember Cirrus who in 2005 to 2009 were involved with Peverel Group in Price Fixing and were given impunity because Peverel Group handed in their friends who along with Cirrus cheated 65 developments that they owned up to and many more according to the OFT and the Peverel Group in 2010???

  2. Michael Hollands says:

    I doubt Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation will get an answer from ARHM.
    Some time ago I asked them for their reaction to the guilty verdict of Price Fixing against one of their members. And what action they were going to take as a result of it.
    After about six reminders I am still waiting for an answer.
    It seems the main purpose of ARHM is to protect the companies who finance them.

  3. A Reviewer says:

    Hi

    I spoke recently to another [founder] member of AHRM and asked him direct why they have not expelled Peverel, and why Edgar was employed.

    Simple answer – NONE !

    I suspect that all is NOT well there …

    Happy days

  4. The fact is that the ARHM is a discredited organsiation. How can it have any credibility if it ignores the OFT ruling on Cirrus price-fixing? It may argue that Cirrus is not part of the ARHM, but Peverel paid all the bills, carried out the consultation and surely knew about the price-fixing. A clear breach of its own Code of Practice. And then it employs Edgar [… REDACTED]. The ARHM is not fit for purpose.

    Hopefully, it will implode and disappear for ever

  5. M. Epstein says:

    Am I correct in thinking the Baroness Barker who carried out the “independent ” report, is the very same Baroness Barker who worked for Age Concern alongside Baronees Greengross?
    Have i misread the article? Did the report say “There was significant eidence presented that in some areas we had operated with a high degreen of good practice”
    So evidence was “PRESENTED” (which is meaningless unless proved) and get this! In SOME areas we had operated with a high degree of good practice! Does that not mean in other areas they did not operate with a high degree of good practice?
    Since it is ARHM that sets the “trade” standards, i would have thought they should operate with a high degree of good practice all the time.

  6. My neighbour who has left our development and who had supported me in my attempt to have monies refunded.
    They have given me an early copy of the Peverel Purchasers Information Pack which covers:-

    1. Purchasers Information Guide dated 2003
    2. Peverel Residential Insurance 2000 Norwich
    3. Girlings Rentals Retirement Options
    4. Peverel Guide to Buying Retirement Property

    What an Information Pack it is, my neighbour was forced to pay over £311.00 for a sales pack before they could sell the flat, Is this what they paid for, as I was not required in 2006 to purchase an Information Pack?

    In this pack it states that:
    Peverel were formed in 1982
    Largest Owners and Managers of Retirement Development’s
    Employs 2,500 people
    Manage 2,000 developments
    Units 100,000

    Also
    Founder and leading member of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM)
    1996 Appointed Peverel Independent Ombudsman
    Operators of Retirement Homesearch
    Operators of Cirrus Careline

    The Forward by Nigel Bannister states:-
    We attach great importance to effective communication with residents on matters of major importance.

    It is a shame that on all other matters they fail to be open and transparent.

    What happened to the 2,000 developments and the 2500 employees?

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