Housing officials paid bonus to cut maintenance

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Housing officials are being paid huge bonuses to keep spending levels down on maintenance work

A BBC London investigation claims that CityWest Homes – which handles housing stock for Westminster Council – runs a lucrative bonus scheme for staff.

In the past tax year CityWest split a bonus pot of almost £600,000 between 226 employees – with the highest single bonus paid being £39,769.

Company sources claimed the bonus scheme rewards officials for not agreeing repair contracts.

One staff member told the BBC: “A bonus of up to 5% is decided at the line manager’s discretion. If senior managers refuse repairs, staff are reluctant to fight a residents’ corner for fear of rocking the boat and jeopardising bonuses.

“A further bonus of up to 5% depends on a target set by the director. If the target is to save money, staff may prioritise their bonus over authorising repairs.

“It’s money driven – if you can save money you’ll be classed as doing much better. If you don’t achieve the savings target set by the director, that could cost you your bonus.

“If an employee is refused funding for repairs, they are never going to push for it. That might be seen as ‘affecting their performance’ and impact on their bonus.

“If you don’t follow their corporate outlook you won’t get a bonus, simple as that.”

CityWest chief executive Mark Hoyland said: “Our performance-based incentive scheme rewards staff for outstanding achievement and we believe no conflict of interest exists.

“The scheme is linked to customer satisfaction, operating within budgets and ensuring estates are well maintained.

“Our survey shows satisfaction with value for money and repairs has risen and overall satisfaction has gone up by 4% to 79%.”

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