More Tim Burness music on YouTube

Finding New Ways To Love (2004)

Finding New Ways To Love (2004)

More tracks from my albums are now up on YouTube. Mumbling In The House Of Commons (originally written in 1981, final version released in 1989) is a punky little number and the nearest thing I’ve had to a “Greatest Hit”. It has featured on several releases down the years.

The two albums below feature Fudge Smith (ex-Pendragon, ex-Steve Hackett) on drums, Keith Hastings on bass, Monty Oxymoron (The Damned) on keyboards and myself on guitar, vocals and keyboards.

From Finding New Ways To Love (2004) there is the upbeat Open Man and the darker and rockier Walk Through The Darkness, both popular tracks. I have also uploaded Heal Your Soul and Love Is For Giving and the short instrumental Beneath The Surface.

Vision On (2007)

Vision On (2007)

 

From Vision On (2007) there are the ambient pieces Undercurrents and Undercurrents II, the space-rock of Broaden Your Horizons and the instrumental progrock of Can You Hack It?

I think they’ve stood the test of time but of course I’m biased!

Humorously exaggerated stereotypes

HumorouslyExaggerated

Rather good, although unfortunately I can take no credit for them! If you like these, you may also enjoy the Cheeky Horoscopes which I co-wrote a few years ago.

Housing association complaints – no regulation of service quality!

This updated blog post on housing association complaints is for anyone who has had serious problems with housing association complaints, Sanctuary Housing and Sanctuary Group in particular. For more on serious complaints see also 2016 post A nationwide scandal – Sanctuary Housing and the original 2009 post Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? and others here.

If you have had serious problems with Sanctuary Housing or Sanctuary Group, please join the independent facebook group Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group – Countrywide, which has over 800 members (December 2016). It offers support and advice from others who have suffered at the hands of Sanctuary Housing – the incompetence, the frequent breaking of tenancy agreements, the threats, the lies and all the rest of it.

The information below is also relevant for complaints about other sometimes shockingly bad, usually very large, housing associations. Hyde Housing, Affinity Sutton, Metropolitan and Orbit are some that I have heard mentioned.

SanctuaryHousingIf you are reading this, you may already be familiar with the official procedure for housing association complaints, including Sanctuary’s. This consists of firstly trying to sort things out at a local level, then going through the housing association three-stage complaints procedure, then contacting a designated person (MP or local councillor). If all else fails, contact the housing ombudsman. In reality, for a large number of reasons, this process is not working for a very large number of people. The endless bureaucracy can be a complete nightmare and housing associations will often use every trick in the book to avoid taking responsibility for their poor services and sometimes diabolical treatment of vulnerable people.

An attempt to expose Sanctuary Group’s bad practices

poundsignukTowards the end of 2013 (prompted by the news that registered charity Sanctuary had made a “surplus” of £72 million – this was apparently later revised down to £54.5 million, once the acquisition of Cosmopolitan had been taken out of the equation) – I sent out a very carefully-worded physical letter to 34 contacts: Inside Housing, Private Eye, The Guardian, Homes and Communities Agency, 38 Degrees, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Taxpayers Alliance, Shelter, the Public Accounts Committee, two Commons Select Committees, the then Housing Minister Mark Prisk and 11 other MPs. I focused on the following:-

poundsigns1. Illegal and morally questionable practices.
2. Repairs being done very badly, or not at all.
3. Many properties in very bad condition, sometimes unfit for human habitation.
4. Complaints going missing and being ignored.
5. Blatant lying and dishonest manipulation of language in order to deflect complaints.
6. Bullying, harassment and bad treatment of tenants, including the elderly and disabled.
7. Inadequate soundproofing.
8. Bad communication and a lack of consultation with communities.
9. The lowering of service standards as a result of Sanctuary takeovers.
10. Bullying and mismanagement of Sanctuary’s own staff.

Under each category I selected a few quotes from the 500+ comments on the blog Are Sanctuary Housing above the law?. I tried to include (nearly) everyone who had contributed up to that point. Although yet again there was no media interest, I had two lengthy replies, one from the Homes and Communities Agency and one from Margaret Hodge of the government’s influential Public Accounts Committee.

Replies from the Homes And Communities Agency (the social housing regulator, mainly concerned with financial regulation) 

Email: mail@homesandcommunities.co.uk  Website: http://homesandcommunities.co.uk

Postal address: Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team, Homes and Communities Agency, 1st Floor, Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds LS11 9AT

HACagencyInitially, the following reply gave me some hope:- “Thank you for your letter, sent to the Homes And Communities Agency and other organisations, containing a number of allegations about Sanctuary Housing Association… (We have) now considered the information you have provided and would like to invite you or others who have experienced difficulties to provide us with further information.” Carole Harrison, Referrals and Regulatory Enquiries Team, Homes and Communities Agency, 28.10.13

Several Sanctuary tenants sent extensive details of very serious complaints soon after – they were completely dismissed. On behalf of many tenants and others who have been badly treated by Sanctuary, I decided to have another go myself. In early 2015 I sent a carefully presented 80+ page document with extensive evidence (text, photos and newspaper articles which taken together represented 150+ Sanctuary tenants around the country) of illegal and immoral practices to a number of “authorities” and media. This included quotes from tenant-run Sanctuary facebook groups and detailed evidence of a fraud against the Scottish Housing Regulator by Sanctuary in Scotland.

The second reply from the Homes and Communities Agency was arrogant and completely dismissive. Why did they bother asking for further information if they obviously had no interest whatsoever?

Reply from Margaret Hodge MP and the Public Accounts Committee

Email: pubaccom@parliament.uk  Website: http://www.parliament.uk/pac

Postal address: Committee of Public Accounts, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA

Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the P.A.C. in 2013

“My committee retains a strong interest in how the system of social housing provision as a whole is operating and I am grateful for the information you have provided… thank you for drawing these matters to my attention.” Margaret Hodge then went on to say that “the Homes and Communities Agency does not actively monitor social housing provider performance against, or compliance with, the consumer standards, responsibility for which rests with the Boards of social housing providers” Margaret Hodge, Public Accounts Committee, 6.12.13

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but this is confirmation by the government that following on from the abolition of housing inspectors at the Audit Commission…

THERE IS NOW NO GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF SOCIAL HOUSING FOR THE QUALITY OF SERVICES PROVIDED TO TENANTS.

A selection of June 2016 tenant posts from the 700-strong Sanctuary Housing Independent Complaints Group on facebook

Truth“They are useless! Our house flooded today and none of them wanted to come help!”, “We get a newsletter and it seems to be filled with happy, content tenants. Not sure where they get these people from but it’s certainly not in any Sanctuary house I’ve ever known”, “I am appalled with sanctuary housing! If anyone is offered a house through them avoid at all costs!!…this is beyond a joke and i will make sure everyone is aware of how sanctuary actually treat their tenants!”, “So, adaptations were requested in February for my disabled three year old. They were signed off by sanctuary on March 28th but…. nothing. I’ve been calling for 10 weeks and each time I’m told they will send an urgent email to the housing officer but still nothing. My little girl can’t walk, they knew she was having surgery in March and would be in a wheelchair”, “I feel like I’ve been backed up against a brick wall, the bullying tactics sanctuary use”, “Today I heard that Sanctuary have taken over Housing 21. Why are they still taking more on when they can’t get the stock they have in decent shape?”

The relentless Sanctuary corporate PR machine paints a different picture

OhReallyFrom a June 2016 press release:- “Over 85,000 residents across England and Scotland have benefited from community investment and support from Sanctuary Group during the last financial year. The leading housing and care provider invested £1.55 million in community initiatives during 2015/ 16 to make a difference in communities nationwide. Under five strategic themes – employment, education, skills and training; health and well-being; community safety and infrastructure; environment and financial inclusion – Sanctuary’s investment has helped support more than 600 community initiatives with over 300 community groups…. Another key commitment for the Group is helping to reduce social isolation, particularly amongst vulnerable residents. 830 people have benefited through Sanctuary’s funding in the last year to help address loneliness and create more opportunities for people to feel more connected to their community.”

Why I am still writing blogs about Sanctuary Housing

SanctuaryHousingEven though I wasn’t a Sanctuary tenant myself, I had my life temporarily destroyed by Sanctuary’s useless, uncaring, arrogant and disgusting mismanagement back in 2007 and 2008. Intitially, it was all about an anti-social neighbour and non-existent soundproofing but the main problem soon became the utterly diabolical management of Sanctuary Housing. A total of eight employees (including Chief Executive David Bennett) and other contractors showed themselves up with various SanctuaaryGroupcombinations of incompetence, arrogance, blatant lying, blatant bullying and plain negligence. They lied and lied to our MP and the police, both of whom quickly saw through them. In the meantime, I lost my relationship, my home and almost my sanity. Months later, after threats from Sanctuary managers, I started a blog called Are Sanctuary Housing above the law?  As can be seen there, this company does an awful lot of harm to an awful lot of people. I have worked in supported housing, care homes and homeless hostels myself, so I have a pretty good idea of the difficulties that Sanctuary often have to deal with. They do SOME great work with people and communities, SOME of their properties are as good as the glossy Sanctuary PR pics. But they are also failing large numbers of people in countless ways and regularly trying to cover it up. In my opinion they have simply got too big TimBurnessand too greedy to function properly. Eight years on and with the help of the government and support from the Church of England, they are still expanding their property empire of 95,000 homes whilst badly letting many, many tenants and others down. No-one is stopping Sanctuary, a rogue housing association if ever there was one, or organizations like them.

(Sanctuary’s Chief Executive David Bennett was made a CBE for services to social housing in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list – an absolute disgrace.)

The Sanctuary Group Board

Jonathan Lander

Jonathan Lander

John Doughty

John Doughty

Dr Gareth Tuckwell

Dr Gareth Tuckwell

Nick Baldwin, Group Chair

Nick Baldwin, Group Chair

Robert McComb

Robert McComb

Elwyn Roberts

Elwyn Roberts

On the Sanctuary Housing Group website, you will find pictures and brief biographies of Directors and Executives with lots of letters after their name. Naturally, I would not wish to show any of the Sanctuary Board members (David Bennett, Craig Moule, Ian McDermott, John Doughty, Jonathan Lander, Liz Meek, Nick Baldwin – oooh, LOTS of letters after his name, that must be why he’s the Group Chair, Robert McComb, Thelma Stober, Elwyn Roberts, Dr. Gareth Tuckwell – even more!) or other Executives and Operatons Directors (Amanda Gonsalves, Peter Martin, Nathan Warren, Sophie Atkinson, Steve Wood, Simon Clark, Gordon Laurie, Dennis Evans, Chris Munday – wait a minute, according to the website Chris hasn’t got any letters after his name! OMG!) any disrespect. I myself am Tim Burness L.A.Y.N.A.M. – Letters After Your Name Are Meaningless.

David Bennett, Chief Executive

David Bennett, Chief Executive

Craig Moule

Craig Moule

Such impressive credentials! The author of a book called “A Question of Healing” who has been involved with the hospice movement, an Accredited Mediator, a woman who has worked to improve services for people with schizophrenia and for ex-offenders. Ah… oh dear, here comes the stench of Big Money – two ex-partners of PwC the massively powerful firm of accountants, an investment banker, an ex-Chief Executive of Powergen.

An investment banker? The head of an energy company? Can you hear those Corporate Rip-Off alarm bells ringing!?

Please see previous blog Are Sanctuary Housing Above The Law? and its 500+ comments for how bad this company can be.

I would absolutely refute any suggestion that I might have the view that, whether they realize it or not, these individuals are a money-grabbing, hypocritical bunch of fraudsters who front a totally corrupt and morally bankrupt organization. Any such suggestion that I might think this, or anything like it, made by anyone would leave me with no alternative but to invoke my Persistent, Cereal and Herbacious Complainants Procedure against them.

Yes, Sanctuary Housing Association does some good work – but nationwide neglect and abuse of tenants, including the elderly and vulnerable is no joke. An exempt rip-off registered charity that lies, cheats and bullies people is no joke. Bad services, incompetent contractors and substandard properties left to rot for years is no joke.

£72 million surplus last year. Shame on you, Sanctuary Group Board.

(The above figure was apparently later revised down to £54.5 million – they make around £40-50 million every year. Unbelievably, Chief Executive David Bennett was awarded a CBE for services to social housing in 2015.)

Liz Meek

Liz Meek

Thelma Stober

Thelma Stober

Ian McDermott

Ian McDermott

Sanctuary Housing above the law on Facebook – lies

SanctuaryFeedback
Stephanie Michelle
Biggest bunch of lieing , incompetent contractors I’ve ever known !!! Thankyou housing association for booking the appointment then havin the cheek to say uve called, my house and mobile and buzzed my door where’s your missed call or message ??? Why hasn’t my door entry sounded?? LIARS !!!! Wasted day for me and my son AGAIN! Thankyou For your incompetence on such an important issue .
LikeLike ·  · 15
  • Stacey Babi likes this.
  • Kerry Prime i can see today-they have deleted all the tenants complaints on here there were about 100 on here a couple of days ago
  • Sanctuary Housing Hi Stephanie Michelle, we would really like to look into this for you. Please can you send us a private message with your address and contact details. Thanks.
  • Sanctuary Housing Hi Stephanie, we’re sorry to hear this. Please can you private message your details so we can look into this for you? Thanks.
  • Donna Leah Ramonicci You are so right Stephanie, these lot could not lie to save their life. I love how they when you write on the website they all of a sudden reply saying ” we’ll look into this for you”. They do this to cover their mistakes 
  • Stepahnie Michelle There is no point , because this happens to me way too often then I’m told after myself and my 3 year old have waited in all day that the contractor came and I wasn’t in ! What rubbish . My house and mobile have not been phoned nor messages left like I was told by ur call center. I’ve wasted yet another day at home for an app that was for the pm to then be told he came just b4 12 which is not on anyway when I was booked in for 12 till 6. But like I said no point inboxing u as I’ve made my views and dissapointment of this happening yet again to your call center and rebooked, so ill be waiting in another day in this nice weather!. not good sanctuary.

Sanctuary Housing above the law on Facebook – deceit

SanctuaryFeedback
Rikh Hart
Just wanted to say thank you to the home ownership team for all of the disinformation and deceit, and for the resulting delays. This has added to an already stressful move for us, and has even contributed to the buyer threatening to pull out of the sale. I sincerely hope that the paperwork is now in the post (I have my doubts, I’ll confess), and that we never again have to deal with Sanctuary Housing again.
LikeLike ·  · 13
  • Stacey Babi likes this.
  • Rikh Hart We have a number of issues regarding the company, from failing to conduct planned maintenance and improvements to the property (due for completion April 2013, not yet started, with the subject being adroitly avoided when it is raised), to failing makeproper repairs when requested. The current issues I have are down to the fact that we have been awaiting a leasehold pack to be sent to our Conveyancers. We were never informed how long this would take, but were instead repeatedly told that our request was a priority, and was next to be dealt with. After a week of this, I complained, and received a prompt call back with apologies, and a promise that it would be sent the next day (last Wednesday). We phoned on Thursday, and were relieved to hear that the documents had been sent. Today, we checked again, as our conveyancers had not received them. Not surprising, given that apparently it was actually sent on Friday! Right now, our buyer is threatening to pull out due to repeated delays from people supposedly working for us, and every days delay brings increased risk that this will happen. I’m sure you can see why I’m angry at being repeatedly lied to.
    • Rikh Hart And 1 week after it was supposedly be posted via recorded delivery, still nothing. The proposed solution? To e-mail it directly to the conveyancing team. Fantastic thinking, well done. One has to ask though; WHY THE HELL WASN’T THIS OFFERED AT THE START?!?
    • Sanctuary Housing Hi Rikh Hart, we will send you a private message.
  • Sanctuary Housing Hi, Oops this is not good and sorry to hear of the issues you have had. Please can you private message us with your address and contact details. We can then look into this for you. Thanks
  • Rikh Hart Btw, if anyone is looking here for information regarding Sanctuary before buying/renting one of their properties, I’d strongly advise you to pay attention to the long list of comments here regarding problems or complaints. Many of these are issues that have not been previously resolved, and many directly bring up issues that indicate that the complainant feels that are in breach of their tenancy agreement. Our own experiences are much in line with these comments, going back several years. I would also take note of the large number of serious issues that Sanctuary have not even bothered to respond too…