Democracy and transparency

We think that there should be a much more democratic structure in Genesis.

The Chief Executive Officer argues that resident members of committees give a sufficient mechanism for representation. But this is incorrect. For example, resident volunteer’s contact information is not circulated to residents who cannot therefore raise issues of concern.

As Genesis wrote to Genesis Residents: “For confidentiality reasons I[Genesis] will not be sharing the names & contact details of residents who are part of any of our customer forums and committees.

Additionally residents can only attend such meetings as ‘observers.’

The residents who volunteer, while impressive and committed, are not ‘representatives’ nor are they elected. They cannot fill the role that Genesis alleges they play to ‘represent residents.’

To give another example, Genesis decided to create a new committee in mid 2016, the ‘Customer Services Committee.’ At no time did Genesis ask any residents if selected residents on a secret committee reporting to the Board was what they wanted.

Its three resident members are paid and selected by Genesis – not elected by residents. Again they are probably good people who are trying to do their best for residents, but they are not elected. They are not ‘representatives’ like your local councillor or MP.

Residents volunteers are there for the Board of GHA not residents says CEO

The Chief Executive Officer says in a letter to Genesis Residents in August 2016, that this new committee does not aim to be representative of residents – it is a committee of the Board: ‘It is a committee of Genesis’ board, rather than a representative body for customers.’

And who decides what it does and how it works? The Board of Genesis – not residents. The CEO notes ‘It is for the board to determine its purpose, membership and structure in the same way that it does for its other committees (such as Audit and Risk).’ 

It is difficult to see how the resident members on this committee could be called ‘representatives’ of residents.

New selected residents Board member – but no resident input at all

Just recently Genesis has again said that they will select another resident to be on the board. No elections, no sounding or publicity to see if that is what residents want.

To be fair on the CEO he has never hid his impatience with the idea of democratic housing associations. In an interview in August 2015 he lambasts regulation of housing associations and states that:

“It needs to concentrate on the key things like are we a financially viable organisation, and are we governed well. That’s the key standard all the rest is pretty peripheral. Customer engagement, what’s that about?”

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