East Kent Housing board dismissed by Thanet, Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone councils

Housing Photo Tom Thain

The board of East Kent Housing, which manages local authority properties in east Kent, has been dismissed.

Thanet, Dover, Canterbury and Folkestone & Hythe councils took action today following a damning report into why problems with health and safety arose at  properties managed by EKH.

The action comes on the heels of revelations earlier this year that hundreds of council property tenants across east Kent had been awaiting gas safety certificates due to overdue Landlord Gas Safety Register assessments.

It then emerged that there were also grave concerns over potential further issues with electrical certification, lifts, fire safety and legionella testing.

The issue of electrical safety certification was first raised by former Thanet councillor Suzanne Brimm some three years ago.

In addition there was the possibility of a criminal case being brought due to contractor P&R overpayments to which could ‘constitute fraud.

P&R terminated its contract with EKH and work is currently being undertaken by Swale Heating.’

Report conclusions

The detailed report by independent housing experts Pennington Choices was commissioned by Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, Folkestone & Hythe Council and Thanet District Council.

Because of the report’s conclusions, the four councils today (December 12) dismissed the board at EKH and took direct control of the organisation.

In a statement, the Chief Executives of the four councils said: “After reading the conclusions reached by the independent experts into what went wrong at EKH, we had no choice but to take swift and decisive action to take direct control of the organisation, along with its hard-working and committed staff, to ensure any outstanding health and safety checks are completed and any faults found are tackled as a matter of urgency.

“While significant progress has been made on tackling health and safety issues and gas safety checks are now up to date, the new board will be better placed to direct resources to tackle the issues raised.”

The board is now comprised of the four chief executives, Canterbury’s Colin Carmichael, Dover’s Nadeem Aziz, Folkestone and Hythe’s Dr Susan Priest and Thanet’s Madeline Homer.

The Regulator of Social Housing has been kept informed of developments.


The new board is committed to working with tenants, leaseholders and EKH staff in the months ahead to continue the progress that has already been made.

The statement adds: “We are sorry for any distress this situation has caused to our tenants and leaseholders.

“We paid independent experts to investigate and we are taking their findings incredibly seriously because we have to recognise where we are before we can move on and rebuild the trust with the tenants and leaseholders who rely on us.

“Putting tenants and leaseholders’ needs first is at the heart of this process and we are working on ways we can have an effective two-way conversation so we always take their views into account when making decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.”


The report by Pennington Choices into what went wrong at EKH says a number of factors lead to the failure around health and safety compliance including:

  • The role of the board, appointed to set the strategic direction of EKH and oversee its day-to-day running, was not understood by either side effectively making it redundant
  • A lack of leadership at EKH combined with a lack of challenge and holding to account by the four councils
  • The perception of staff at EKH that saving money was a key priority
  • The poor quality of the data being used by EKH and a lack of IT capability
  • A collective failure between EKH and the councils to award contracts and engage suppliers in a timely manner
  • The difficulty encountered by EKH working for four different councils with different political, strategic and operational priorities leading to a dysfunctional relationship

The statement by the Chief Executives continues: “We are in the process of asking tenants and leaseholders for their views and they will be reported to councillors in each authority for them to make a final decision in the new year.”

A resident consultation over plans to axe arrangements with East Kent Housing is now underway. In October Cabinet members approved moves to get views on plans to bring council properties back in-house.

The consultation closes on December 20 and the outcome will be reported to Cabinet early in the new year.

Find the consultation on East Kent Housing and future options here

East Kent Housing (EKH) was launched on 1 April 2011 to look after the housing stock for Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Thanet District Council, amounting to some 17,000 properties.


  1. It has taken a long time to sort out EKH by the looks of things it’s looks like the council’s have given EKH a free unmonitored run when they were clearly not fit for purpose. All the councils are jointly responsible for allowing it to happen. Now they are acting as if it’s ‘nothing to do with us gov’. Disgraceful.

  2. Given a free run yes, but i’d guess it was at the councils bidding, there seems to have been a concerted effort to minimise expenditure and maximise income, i’d guess to enable the respective councils to flatter their housing revenue accounts and in turn use it to announce new builds which grab votes.
    I’ve raised concerns with two senior council housing officials and two local councillors and my mp over the last 5 years, all have brushed off my comments, will anyone at the respective councils be held to account? Thanet wants to take their property management back in house, seeing as a council officer once wrote to me explaining that the lapses in regard to fire safety would be totally unacceptable in the private sector but that being a part owner of ekh , tdc could not prosecute itself.
    But no doubt it’ll all be swept under the carpet and any tdc leaseholders expected to pay for the measures to put it right.

  3. Glad the report has highlighted the Council’s culpability here. They part owned EKH. They had Councillors on the Board. They had senior officers acting as “clients”. There should be some very searching questions asked about their role in all this.

    As for the perception of staff at EKH that saving money was a key priority. Well, it was. The Council has constantly squeezed EKH and its other shared services for more and more savings and have now comprised tenant safety as a result. Chickens have come home to roost and I really hope TDC’s role in EKH’s downfall is properly scrutinised

  4. I have contacted Channel 4 Dispatch’s program to investigate what’s been happening. The person I spoke to is very interested in it.watch this space.

    • Would you be happy to share contact details for your contact? I’ve a huge amount of paperwork and experience with EKH over the years. All been fobbed or gets nothing more than a basic apology.

      Evidence of poor maintenance and repair
      Fire safety failings admitted by tdc
      Legionella ignored
      Works that ignore hazards
      Goes on and on.

    • I’ve sent an email to the Dispatches contact address, if you have a contact name it would help tie things together.

  5. What, this is taking place in an area that’s just returned the Conservatives. Sorry, no sympathy, Thanet deserves all it will get. They must have been putting something in the water, we’ve been dumbed down just like the poor in the U. S. Look at Trump, who do you see…. He’s Blonde he’s rich and he hates the people he is supposed to represent. Welcome to the world of Boris.

  6. The majority of British voters have chosen the Tories, as if nothing but Brexit mattered. It will be interesting to see what they think by the time the next election takes place/

  7. Let’s remember, Suzanne Brimm’s information about electrical came from the Shepwayvox website, then she tried to pass it off as her own and it got her in trouble at TDC. That blog over in Folkestone has done all the running on this and uncovered the £1.5 million fraud, the Electrical, Gas and Fire safety issues and more. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t know anything I suspect, as too many newspapers just want things handed to them on a plate.

    • Suzanne brought up gas safety about three years ago, it is why she eventually got booted out of the Cabinet in 2017. Shepway Vox did a brilliant job but Suzanne had made her findings known prior to that. It initially got shut down by lawyers

  8. Let’s get this straight it was the Shepwayvox team that gave Brimm her information, verifiable by email and texts. Any claim by her otherwise is simply not the truth.

    • Doesn’t surprise me, councillors and mp i spoke with just listen and dismiss any concerns, many emails go unanswered, the social housing regulator is not in the slightest bit interested, and obviously tdc have a vested interest in not pursuing any complaints.
      EKH has evasion delay and diversion skills as good as any politician on newsnight, an organisation that is patently not fit for purpose, but letting TDC take over is purely “lunatics and the asylum” if private landlords were caught doing the same the council would have them is court asap, the dual standards are stupefying.

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