December 6, 2019

Stop keep asking who our members are, ARMA tells pensioner

Michael Hollands, an indefatigable letter-writer on retirement leasehold issues, has been told to stop writing to ARMA for to find out who are the current members of the trade body.

The ARMA membership has been in a state of confusion since the January 1, the supposed deadline for application through the more rigorous ARMA-Q membership criteria.

Michelle Banks subsequently told LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation that a new deadline was set for February 1, but that, too, came and went.

The organisation has displayed a void of leadership that has dismayed those who support ARMA’s initiative to raise standards – including many of its own members.

Instead of saying officially which companies are now formally part of the ARMA membership, the trade body has issued syrupy congratulations to individual firms via messages on Twitter.

But these add up to just over 100 members – a sharp decline on the ARMA membership of 300 members in 2014.

ARMA insiders reckon at least a 20 per cent fall-off of membership is likely. Among those not signing up to the new criteria is Countrywide, the second biggest managing agent in the UK after Peverel / FirstPort.

At some point, we are assured, it will be announced who the ARMA membership is.

Until that point, any leaseholder RTM or RMC seeking a new managing agent should closely question a proposed management company about its membership status.

That is, if ARMA membership is an important consideration to leaseholders.

Veteran leasehold activist Shula Rich, of the Brighton and Hove District Leaseholders Association and an associate of the Federation of Private Residents Associations, says ARMA membership is not an indication of a better quality managing agent.

Mr Hollands, who is not a leaseholder but a putative buyer of a retirement flat, has been firmly told by Mrs Banks:

“You have made clear your desire to see a list of managing agents that have successfully achieved ARMA-Q accreditation, and as I have previously explained, as soon as this is available we will notify you.

“In the meantime, please will you kindly refrain from contacting our Chairman and members of our Regulatory Panel on this matter.

“The latter are not involved with the accreditation process at individual level and are not able to give any further information. The emails you have sent to Martin Perry [the ARMA chairman], and members of our regulatory panel have been re-directed to the ARMA secretariat.

“I regret that we will not be able to enter into further correspondence with you on this matter, other than to notify you as explained above.”

Mr Hollands has replied: “I note what you say, but nothing will stop me campaigning for a better deal for the elderly leaseholders.

“They have been neglected by some for far too long and I look to you to help put this right.”

Comments

  1. Michael Epstein says

    Pure speculation of course (and I am not one to gossip) but i understand that questions are being asked as to how much longer Michelle Banks will retain her position as CEO of ARMA?

    • Michael,

      As you speculate, have you been to Specsavers lately, I called in last week to our local and guess who I bumped into?

      “EVERYBODY”

      [REDACTED …]

      As the ARMA-Q has now similar pre-requisites to LKP (Leasehold Knowledge Partnership) and Peverel now FirstPort would not qualify for LKP, as they could not achieve the High Standards set by Sebastian?
      how will they Achieve for ARMA-Q but not for LKP???

      Am I correct in my assumption that ARMA and ARMA-Q is second rate?

  2. It would be a shame if Michelle Banks stepped down. She and Keith Hill are undoubted assets, and she probably sees herself as the executive of the trade body’s board (which seems pretty timid).

    Nonetheless, the position ARMA has put itself in is utterly absurd. If you were a company that had paid up for ARMA-Q and gone through the criteria, you would have grounds to be very cross at the present situation.

    On the other hand … if ARMA-Q fails, it does emphasise what ARMA and LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation believe: that these leasehold managing agents need statutory regulation.

    • Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation,

      Your understanding that both Michael Banks and Keith Hill are assets, may be correct and true?

      Having in the past worked with and understood “BS 5750 Quality Insurance” including teaching the subject to First Year Degree Student in the early 1990s, then it became “ISO 2000” I believe, correct me if I am wrong.

      The Quality requirement in these Quality Assurance Systems, can be readily interpreted.

      The need for STATUTORY REFORM was again mentioned in the Houses of Parliament today by our good friend and supporter Sir Peter Bottomley, who continues to provide great support to us pensioners and we thank him again and again.

      “Peverel Retirement”, now “FirstPort” would fail at the first hurdle as they are required to be OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND HONEST?

  3. A Reviewer says

    Guys

    It is simply appalling that ARMA has NOT insisted on its members becoming accredited to ISO9001. Thats is an internationally TRUSTED standard and relates to SERVICE.

    What is important is
    a) A firm or organisation is accredited by a TRUSTED body like Lloyds Register Quality Assurance – google LRQA for more info. There are several such organisations in UK. DNV, BV, etc etc
    b) These firms are themselves REGULATED and ASSESSED, therefore they can be TRUSTED.

    ARMA let alone ARMA-Q simply cannot be trusted ……………………

    So they are meaningless, like so many Ombudsmen services which are often simply a few guys out to make a few quid … paid for of course by the industry then pretend to represent.

    Happy Days

    • Michael Hollands says

      Reviewer
      You keep saying so but E&M are members of this and I read of many complaints about them.

    • A Reviewer,

      Peverel Retirement now “FirstPort Retirement Property Service” note not a limited company, just another brand name, used by “Peverel Management Services Ltd” who traded as “Peverel Retirement” can not be trusted as they, through Customer Relations Director, Mr Chris Owens, continue to refuse to any internal investigation to discover who at Peverel, of the Senior Managers/Regional Managers/Area Managers knew of the Price Fixing from 2004 to 2010.

      Chris Owens accept that the Price Fixing did happen, but refuse to comment as it is not in his or their interest, as they attempt to “put the Price Fixing behind them” even though some of the employers who over saw the contracts still work for Peverel/FirstPort.

  4. Michael Epstein says

    Given the importance attached to the success of ARMA-Q, and the apparent shambles the implementation of ARMA-Q has fallen into, i wonder if any consideration has been given to the RICS taking a role in ARMA to save the project?

  5. Michael,

    The RICS is aware of the facts, but remains in the background?

    I believe that the “RICS Code of Practice” which may be now an “ACOP” has kept very quite during these past years, I wonder why?

    In the 1980s the RICS was considered to be the elite of surveyors and held in very high esteem, what has happened to them?

  6. Michael Epstein says

    Another open letter to Michelle Banks ,CEO, ARMA
    Dear Miss Banks,
    I think we can agree that ARMA-Q was seen to be the very last chance for freeholders/managing agents to demonstrate that they could in a proper fashion self regulate themselves.
    That it now appears the largest member accredited to ARMA-Q, namely Peverel/Firsport (who have two very senior members and one former senior member of Peverel management) currently serving serving with ARMA, does raise certain doubts as to the credibility of ARMA-Q, does it not?
    After all, ARMA could not be in the position that their very own senior management hold key positions in a company that could not qualify for ARMA-Q could they?
    Whilst i realise the implementation has given ARMA a temporary financial boost, and that profits have been made by instituting various cost cutting measures, it must be a cause of concern as to how many members have no longer subscribe to ARMA, and to the genuine anger of existing members over the farcical manner in which ARMA-Q has been introduced..
    In addition, the possible ending of your lease next year, which will either force you to find new accommodation or agree to a higher rent to extend the lease must be causing uncertainty as to the long term future of ARMA.
    Can you confirm or deny that RICS are very concerned, to the extent of exploring the possibility of taking over the functions of ARMA?

  7. Michael,

    Surely RICS would not lower the requirements of Leasehold to incorporate a Body like ARMA, would it?

    I have sent email to ARMA over 3 weeks ago only to be informed that it has been passed on, do you know how long they take to respond to complaints?

  8. A Reviewer says

    Guys

    Here’s a paper I came across … its all aboutr a how to create a TRUSTWORTHY quality scheme.

    The way that ISO9001 operates is TRUSTWORTHY
    ********************************************************
    First there is the standard itself which sets forth the requirements of a Quality Management System.
    Different manufacturing and service industries, professions, regulators, charities and any other type of organisation require different interpretations of the standard.

    Secondly therefore are the user specific interpretations of the standard. The depths to which these go can vary.

    The structure of ISO 9001 operations is as follows:
    • At the top level is the International Standards organisation who publish the standard. They rely on the work of a sub-committee which in this case is ISO/TC 176.
    • The standard is then adopted within various communites [i.e. in Europe by CEN], and countries [i.e. in Britain by BSI] who actually publish the standard and ay amendments.
    • Each community has a system of acreditation to authorise certain parties [Accreditation Agencies]. In Britain this is provided by UKAS – The United Kingdom Accreditation Service.
    • The accreditation agencies, having been authorised, then provide the Accreditation Service.
    • An organisation who considers that they meet the requirements of the standard then applies to an accreditation agency for assessment. Once assessed as meeting the standard, the assessed body may display a logo advising that they meet the standard.

    ISO 10002 is for the organisation who PRODUCES a product viz report or provides a service about which a complaint has been made. so if you complain to the local council about inadequate emptying of bins, then it applies to the way the council handles your complaint.

    Example of the application of ISO9001, ISO10002
    ******************************************************
    ISO9001 configures the manner in which the PRODUCT viz report or service is produced or delivered.
    So for example the way in which rubbish bins are emptied by your local council must be covered by a method statement.
    • ISO9001 requires that a complaints procedure exists. ISO10002 defines how that complaints service should operate.
    • Under ISO9001 when a complaint is received, then a non-conformance must be raised, then an inspection is required to VERIFY the complaint.
    • IF verified, then a CORRECTIVE action is required to get the specific instance of the non-conforming bin emptying process corrected – like collect the spilled rubbish;
    • then a PREVENTIVE action to stop bins falling off the loader whilst being emptied and spilling rubbish – which might be better machinery, better training in the use of the machinery, or redeployment of the operative ….

    Escalation
    ************
    ESCALATING the complaint to a DIFFERENT organisation means that said different organisation should have ISO9001 to control the way that said different organisation works. Said different organisation must have a complaints procedure to handle complaints against it which procedure should meet ISO10002.

    So what should be the output from the different organisation to whom the complaint has been escalated [aka an Ombudsman] ?
    Answer: a report pointing out the deficiencies in the PRODUCING organisation.

    Unpleasant Outcomes
    *************************
    What if the sins in the organisation who PRODUCES the service etc are ones which are breaches of Health and Safety, or some other rule like failing to stop one employee abuse other employees – then the PEOPLE who manage the production of said service should be held to account.

    That may be a police matter – and that is what some wish to happen, or it may be a matter for a union to negotiate a solution – including having the abuser redeployed, or retraining the abuser….. it all gets a tad messy.

    But the extent of all of these process’s may be to delay resolution of the matter complained of so it is “out of time”. That is a major problem with the various Statutes of Limitation.

  9. For older people to have to spend all their time and energy on this nonsense is a scandal.

    Glad I’m out of the ‘retirement sector’!

  10. Michael Epstein says

    Taken from the ARMA website.
    “We encourage leaseholders to seek out ARMA members as property managers who have already committed to achieving high standards service by signing up to our self-regulatory regime ARMA-Q”
    If only Michelle Banks CEO ,ARMA would be kind enough to tell leaseholders who the members were, rather than keeping it a state secret!

  11. Michael Epstein says

    Via Twitter, ARMA has announced after a considerable delay that Chestertons and Knight Frank, two of the most well respected companies in property management have been given ARMA-Q status.
    Doubtless these companies will be most unhappy to have been accredited so long after companies such as Y&Y and Peverel. They both should have been one of the first on the list to qualify.
    according to a source connected wirh ARMA informed me that unbelievably problems were encountered with property management firms that exceeded ARMA-Q requirements as a matter of course!

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