March 25, 2017

How we fiddled the Cirrus contracts, by an ex-Peverel employee

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This illuminating email has been sent in by a former Peverel employee, whose name is being withheld:

As an ex Peverel Retirement technical officer who was made redundant, thus incurring residents with extra costs for people like AEDAS with no reduction in service charges for services paid for and not given, I am in a position to tell you the real set-up regarding the price fixing at Peverel Retirement.

All Peverel Area Managers and Technical Officers knew the system.

Area Managers would highlight that a development was 20 years old and therefore in need of a system replacement. It was always based on age, never on reliability or capability of repair.

The technical officer would then contact Cirrus for a specification. The technical officer and the specifier from Cirrus would then visit the site and prepare the spec, specifying Cirrus equipment.

This equipment was bought in on a licence from Sweden (I think?) and rebadged. Only people trained by Cirrus were allowed to installed this equipment, and only three or four contractors were trained! (Glynn Jackson etc). This meant that only these people could quote!

Cirrus would prepare their quote and send it to Peverel. Peverel themselves would then prepare the inflated quote for the contractor they were using dependant upon which area of the country. That was why there were only ever two quotes. As Cirrus equipment was specified, other companies couldn’t quote.

These ‘Section 20’ quotes were then sent to the development and, of course, Cirrus was awarded the contract.

As Cirrus did not have enough staff to carry out all these installations the contractor was sub contracted to carry out the work, wearing Cirrus T-shirts!

Unfortunately all paperwork has been destroyed.

Hope this helps!

 

Comments

  1. A Reviewer says:

    Hi all

    I have little doubt that all maintenance and redecoration work go the same route.

    I have seen old dulux tins beeing refilled from a very dubious looking 50m gallon drum !

    happy flaking paint

    • PLEASE DO NOT NAME STAFF OF COMPANIES

      Hi Reviewer and Friends,

      The past Peverel Employer who is a Whistle Blower has added another piece of the jigsaw and now we are beginning to see what the picture is saying. I had recently last week mentioned the way Peverel had stated in 2009 that they know that money is short and will do what they can to help us save money, this is how they saved us money!!!!!

      1. [EDIT …] stated they will only increase Management costs by 2% in 2009.
      They then averaged increases of 3.5% per year for the next 4 years.(Saved Money NO)

      2. The Area Manager stated they will abolish the 10% charges for overseeing Large Contracts.
      They then employed AEDAS to oversee contracts and charged us 10% plus expenses for the Painting
      Program and then The Replacement Window Program. (Saved Money NO)

      3. The Fire Risk Assessment were undertaken by Area Managers and House Managers that’s why we paid
      £100.00 for the Health & Safety Training and £100.00 for the Food Hygiene Training.
      We now pay £690.00 to CARDINUS for doing what the Managers had previously undertaken.
      (Saved Money NO)

      4. We also had the same company CARDINUS undertake the Valuation of the Buildings at the same time.
      We paid £324.00 for the Valuation Peverel had not informed us that they had undertook the work.
      (Saved Money NO)

      5. [EDIT …] informed the House Manager to spend £1,000.00 for Plants/Planter in 2011/12 without
      informing us.
      The House Manager spent £2,500.00 instead before she was Sacked for Gross Misconduct.
      (Saved Money NO)

      6. [EDIT …] has admitted he does not have to check the Invoices in the Expenses File or the Trial
      Balance/Audit Trail.
      We ended up paying £1,126.00 phone costs for the Sacked House Manager. and over £1,000.00 for
      items that were not for our development or should not have been included in Service Charges.
      (Saved Money NO)

      7. We have been billed for the cleaning of the House Managers House after she was Sacked and refused to
      move out.
      We paid £80.00 for Rubbish Removal and the Cleaning of the House.
      (Saved Money NO)

      8. We paid £143.44 for Relief Managers Costs in 2006/07 repaid this year.
      [EDIT …] stated we were not entitled to any interest.
      (Lost Money)

      9. [EDIT …] refused to suspend the Phone Line in the House Mangers House.
      We have so far paid £255.00 in Line Rental Charges last year and £204.00 this year.
      (Saved Money NO)

      The best part of the Whistle Blower from Peverel is that it matches our development. We were informed in 2006 that the Warden Call System was Obsolete and would need to be replaced soon. The Warden Call System was Upgraded in 2007 at a cost of £20,000.00 and the two Contractors were, Wait for it!!!
      Yes CIRRUS & GLYN JACKSON the two contractors mentioned by Peverel Whistle-blower. Glyn Jackson tendered £25,000.00 and Cirrus tendered £20,00.00 both Tenders could have been part of the Cost Fixing as we the residents each had paid approx £800.00 each for what???
      [EDIT …] has refused to phone me and explain, the problems we have he visits the development and then 7 working days later he writes to me saying nothing that helps us. He is having to visit as he has let us down time and time again, [EDIT …] insisted that [EDIT …] visits but nothing gets resolved.

      The only people who have helped us from Peverel has been [EDIT …] after we pointed strongly over a 28 day period, that we had not asked or wanted the Plants/Planters, he eventually refunded £2,500.00 and [EDIT …] who paid us £1,126.00 refund after I took our complaint to the Part 2 Complaints Procedure. [EDIT …] also brought forward by 3 months the Budget and Audit and we were refunded £7,222.00 in July 2013 and we have thanked him.
      Chas

      • Hi Editor

        I take your point regarding naming Staff at Peverel, I do not agree with not naming but will refrain as you have requested.

        I had hoped that the Peverel Names would reverberate with our readers who would then send in similar problems with other developments.

        Living In Shropshire we have I believe 13 other Peverel Developments that may of seen my comments and responded.

        I apologise if I have over stepped the mark.

        Chas

  2. OMhostage says:

    Now can we get the painting and decorating information?

  3. Here, we have Cirrus equipment. Although we are not with Peverel, I assume we will eventually experience the same scam. Or perhaps we already have, in some way.

    • Anna
      When was the development built, and who are you with if not Peverel, they have at least 16 companies, not all companies have Peverel in their company name?

      Chas

  4. Peverel Retirement ex-Technical Officer

    Your inside knowledge is very valuable.

    But to be fair AEDAS are fully qualified surveyors. We were fobbed off for years by Peverel with cowboy repair jobs at our expense in the flooded underground car park until I put in a claim under the insurance warranty to the NHBC in 2010. It was then that Peverel was forced to submit a surveyor’s report to the NHBC and subsequently a structural engineer’s report. That was when all the Technical Officers were made redundant with only [EDIT …] left in charge.

    • Simon Williams says:

      I obviously do not know your individual case, but again, to be fair, as technical officers it was in our job description to bring in surveyors for anything we felt we could deal with. Why would Pevererl not do this? The residents pay for the report and if it becomes an NHBC claim then the residents pay for any excess which may in their policy. It costs Peverel nothing. I personally have been involved in many NHBC claims. I can only feel sorry for you needing to progress this as long as you have.
      Perhaps you had a duff Technical Officer ……..

  5. “Why would Pevererl not do this?” I don’t know either that’s the point. Why didn’t they call in a surveyor? The technical officers were not doing their jobs properly.

    For 10 years the leaseholders were paying for cowboy builders to do shoddy repair jobs that never worked. Outrageous.

    In utter despair I submitted a claim in 2010 as an individual leaseholder to the NHBC and Peverel were then forced to take over and pay for two professional reports.

    AT LAST, after a meeting with Peverel/Senior Area Manager this morning, we were told that all the repair work needed to the drainage system in the underground car park will be paid for by Pegasus and overseen by the NHBC.

  6. Simon Williams says:

    ‘The technical officers were not doing their jobs properly’. With respect fleeced, how many technical officers have you dealt with? How do you know we were not ALL doing our jobs properly? It may simply have been that your technical officer prioritised his work in such a way that your job didn’t reach the top of his list. I have seen comments supporting the fact that Area Managers have too many developments to look after. I agree with this. However when I was made redundant I looked after 226 developments, 25% of which I had to travel over 100 miles to get to. I never received one complaint and I resent you stating that I did not do my job properly, when you don’ t even know me.
    So much for trying to help – I got the same from you and one other on Peverel Action.

    • Please don’t take my comments personally.

      I am merely reporting what happened here. Pegasus/Peverel knew from the start in 2002 that when this building was being constructed there was a problem with flooding in the underground car park. So how did the building receive an NHBC final inspection certificate with an obvious drainage problem? I suppose Pegasus just wanted the flats sold and most likely there was no inspection and a dodgy certificate was issued? So the leaseholders were left to cope with the problem. Who knows?

      In 8 years the builder and the technical officer(s) responsible for this building ordered a number of cowboy repairs jobs to be done in an attempt to fix the flooding problem without ever calling in a surveyor. Barry Everitt is the Peverel National Manager so he is ultimately responsible for that.

      Can’t believe this dreadful nightmare is finally over – 11 years on… Wonderful to enjoy the sun for a change instead of worrying about that problem anymore.

  7. Michael Epstein says:

    Simon Williams,
    Often comments are written that can appear to target an individual, when that is far from the case. I and others feel you have acted with great courage and honour.
    We all know that not every Peverel member of staff is corrupt or very poor.
    We understand, that like residents, staff have been caught up in a web [EDIT …] .
    We understand that many Peverel staff do or at least try to do an outstanding job[EDIT …]
    Though, nominally you were contracted to work a 35 hour week, would it not be nearer the truth that you were actually working up to 90 hours a week to keep up with your workload?
    Was it not also the case that those working below you were making mistakes due to poor training and overloaded work schedules, forcing you to work harder to rectify the mistakes?
    Mai i ask, when you first started working for Peverel, how many developments were you responsible for as a property manager and how many as an area manager?
    You will have noted that an assurance was given at the time Peverel came out of administration, that” jobs had been saved and there would be no redundancies” Yet you say you were made redundant.
    I recall posting on the TTAS site that redundancies were about to be made. It would appear that i was able to find out before Peverel’s staff!
    Without giving any details, Simon, I hope you have found another job in the sector, and that it is far more rewarding than your previous job.

  8. Simon Williams says:

    Fleeced
    It does sound as if you have been very badly let down by Peverel, which I really cannot understand. We had to update [EDIT…] on all our jobs on a monthly basis and, believe me, [EDIT…] questioned any which looked ‘serious’. I can only assume from what you say that your technical officer(s) flagged your job as complete after obtaining their reports from their contractors. It certainly sounds as though it slipped through the net, and ‘well done’ to you for your perseverance. Enjoy the sun …
    Brian Epstein
    When I started with Peverel I looked after 135 Developments all within 70 miles of my base. Area Managers had around 20. And – yes – you are absolutely right, the workload was impossible to complete PROPERLY even working early mornings, evenings and weekends.
    Thanks for your wishes – I am extremely happy now!

  9. Simon
    Thank you for the help you have offered us, we as pensioners have rightly or wrongly entered a contract with landlords who we believed were honest.
    Please, Please continue to provide us with information that will finally free us from the likes of Peverel.
    Chas

  10. Michael Epstein says:

    Chas,
    As someone who has also had names edited i do not see it as “overstepping the mark” rather that Peverel are thrashing about trying to find any excuse to take the campaigning sites off the internet. For the greater good particularly at present i understand the position the editor has had to adopt.
    Imagine if the sites had to be suspended. Peverel could have kept quiet about Charter Quay and we would not have known about the price fixing scandal.
    Though Peverel would say they have published a response,so far i can only find it on the Cirrus and Peverel Group sites, not on the Peverel Retirement or OM Property Management sites, which is more likely to be noticed.

  11. Michael,
    I take your point and note what you have said.

    I have looked on the Cirrus Web-Page and of course it comes up on the Peverel Group Web-Page.

    Our Managing Agents are Peverel Management Services Ltd, they have decided not to inform us that allegedly and If I am correct it was the Peverel Group (Consensus Business Group) that had turned them selves in to the OFT in December 2009,

    I asked our Area manager last Thursday about the contract that we had in 2007/8 for the The Warden Call System Upgrade when Cirrus and Glyn Jackson were the only two companies that tendered for the work and how much he knew about what had happened and had he been involved in the Tendering Process?
    no comment was the answer.
    I asked had he seen the comments made by the Peverel Whistle Blower who had correctly stated that after 20 years Area Managers would send out letters stating that The Warden Call Systems were obsolete and need to be replaced, as had happened at our Development. We were written to in 2006 informing us that the Warden Call System was now obsolete and would need to be updated soon???? was it a coincidence?

    Was this the reason that the four Holding Companies that were known as the Peverel Group were later the following year put into Administration on 14/03/11, or was it another coincidence?

    Who were the Managing Directors and the people involved from any of thes companies, from 2005 to 2009 those being:
    Peverel Limited
    Peverel Group Ltd
    Aztec Acquisitions Ltd
    Aztec Opco Developments Ltd (together the Companies)

    Who was the person who decided that Peverel would benefit from owning up to Anti Competitive Tendering?
    Was it the fact that the news papers and the Carlex three had forced their hand?
    When Peverel made all those technical people redundant in 2009/10 were these the perpetrators who had known and or was responsible for the alleged Price Fixing?

    Chas

  12. Simon Williams says:

    Chas
    I really don’t think your last comment is correct. Whilst the Technical Officers knew about the fiddle, so did Area Managers, Regional Managers and above knew, and they were,not made regundant. The official reason the Technical Officers were made redundant was because the company needed to save money. The real reason was so that the company could still charge the residents for a service they no longer received and no longer receive, and charge th m for that service and probably receive a backhander for doing so.

    • A Reviewer says:

      Simon

      back handers are out with the law – brown envelopes etc

      but settlement discount is pefectly legal, as are staff bonus’s fro arranging same.

      BUT when the deeds / lease or what ever says “reimbursement of cost” the courts understand that as “net monies paid” so to charge residents the “quited” cost is actually “fraudulent misrepresentation” for which sometimes exemplary damages may be awarded by way of punishment.

      The only problem is that you would need a million quid to mount such a case – and all you would win is a worthless shell …

      happy days

  13. Simon
    Thank you for your help and I hope after being made redundant, you are doing some thing you enjoy.

    I remember in 2009/10 reading a comment from a person that stated, some 400 staff were made redundant after the new MD K.E. took over in 2008/9. (correct me if I am wrong)

    The MD was given a massive pay rise, and it was in 2008/09 that Peverel introduced a 10% levy on painting programs and large contracts? So they were able to save money on employees and we the residents pay for the supervision of our own contracts, (is this what happened?)

    Before the Peverel Group (Consensus Business Group) which had four holding companies were put into administration which company did you work for (Admin or Sebastian can email me unless you are happy to say)

    We had AEDAS undertake works and of course we paid 10% for the pleasure of them visiting us 4 times whilst our windows were replaced. We also paid 10% for the painting program.

    I asked our Area Manager at the time why are we paying the same for less and I am still waiting for an answer.

    Do you know if Peverel had other contractors that were asked to tender who were in league with the alleged Price Fixing.
    We had the following contracts:

    Painting Program
    Replaement Locks
    PVCu Window Replacement
    Warden Control System Update
    Arial Replacement from Analogue to Digital
    Tree Surveys
    Fire Risk Surveys
    Valuation Surveys
    Garden Contractors
    Phone Contracts
    Electric Contracts
    Roof Surveyors

    Peverel Management Services Ltd are our Managing Agents and the Senior Management work for Peverel Services Ltd.
    Chas

  14. A Reviewer says:

    Chas

    you missed off electricity and cleaning

    happy days

    • Simon Williams says:

      Chas
      As I was a technical officer and not an Area Manager I cannot help with a lot of the questions you have asked. However, you are absolutely correct when you state that Peverel has saved money on staff, taken away services that their staff used to provide, and now charge residents extra for that work. But this is a result of getting rid of the technical officers. They gave the minor works to the Area Managers and charged extra for the major works. The Area Managers became even more overworked. So they outsourced some of their work, such as the fire risk assessments, and guess who paid – the residents!
      With regard to reduce I can honestly say that when Peverel dealt with them, there were no payments (in whatever form you wish to call them) made to Peverel from the contractors. Believe it or not, painting was very cut throat business and, as long as the work was supervised and controlled properly, Peverel residents did get good deals. It was the supervision that mattered, and I am not sure this can be done with people like AEDAS making so few visits. You are correct when you say contractors can take short cuts, use cheap paints etc. But this cannot happen with spot checks made by both Area Managers and Technical Officers working together.
      Remember that Peverel are in partnership with Deluxe and for this Peverel receive a commission on the amount of paint used – that is why your specs are written in ‘types of product’ rather than areas, so that a calculation can be made of usage. But residents can call on Peverel to bring Deluxe in at any time on any job to check the paints used and whether they are being applied properly. Dulux are willing to do this – free of charge – as it is their product being guaranteed.
      So residents, if you are unhappy with your FedEx, ask for a couple of spot checks by Deluxe. As a partnership company – you are entitled to this!
      Replacement carpets was another area where Levees was paid a commission for using Heckmondwycke carpets.
      Roof surveys were introduced as a way to help residents keep insurance claims and costs down. However with the recent revelations that Levees were being paid to keep claims down, it appears this was another area where Peverel was making money at the expense of the residents.
      I am sorry, but that is all I can factually help you with regarding your lists. Like others, I have heard the rumours (from other sources than forums) but could not confirm them.

      • Simon Williams says:

        Just noticed – my spell checker has put Levees in instead of Peverel. Please amend above post as necessary!

    • A reviewer,
      Yes I did miss the electricity company as we have external lighting (silly me) and as yet we have not looked at how these can be reduced in costs.
      As for cleaners we do not have any communal areas only gardens. I am aware that other are checking the leases to find if we actually have a claim on the House Managers House??

      Chas

  15. Simon
    Having researched Peverel web-sites, where they state how many Area and Regional Managers they had including the number of developments. It was seen that they claim to have 1650 developments, 50 Area Managers (AM) and 10 Regional Managers (RM) By dividing the number of developments each AM can be expected to manage 33 developments and each Regional Manager (RM) can look after 10 Area Managers.
    .
    Janet Entwistle stated at one of her forums when asked the question, how do AM cope with such a large workload, Janet replied it was not the number of developments that was a problem but the amount of work required at each development. Peverel then, to reduce their workloads, removed some of the AM responsibilities ie
    1. Fire Risk Assessments (FRA)
    2. Tree Risk Assessment Surveys

    1. The Fire Risk Assessment was undertaken by an independent third-party organisation Cardinus Property Risk Management who they used as a partner organisation. They were chosen following a COMPETITIVE TENDER PROCESS ACCORDING to our RM have we not heard these words before??????
    The AM wrote to us stating that there was to be a Comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) and that the surveyor (Mark Hutchinson (MH) named surveyor) would require access to the roof space only for a few minutes at each of the 14 first floor flats.

    MH visited our development, viewed 10 out of 14 roof spaces, using his own ladder which meant that he could not climb into any roof space, he was seen popping his head up into the area, where we believe he took photos.

    We were not informed that MH intentions was to take photos, this like many things undertaken by Peverel, it was not deemed necessary to inform us. We also learned later that a re-evaluation was undertaken at the same time, also kept from us. After the FRA we were then informed by our AM that as the roof spaces were communal we were not allowed to use the space for storage.
    I challenged our AM on this information and asked why Peverel Homesearch and the Estate Agents were using the roof space area as a real selling point.
    The AM stated that the storage of items in the roof space was not allowed. As a previous Health & Safety Consultant who was aware of the changes in Fire Legislation.
    Why was it deemed necessary to undertake a Comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment of the whole development when we did not have any internal communal areas.
    We have spoken to the local Fire Department and other Fire Officers who see no real purpose for such a Comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment, when as it shows on the assessment that 16 out of 17 highlighted areas for assessment were NOT APPLICABLE and had a NIL RISK RATING. Of the 10 roof spaces surveyed 8 were classed as level 5 High Risk. This category 5 is considered to be the highest risk of all and I wonder why a rating of Level 5 was used?????

    2. Tree Risk Assessment Survey, this has been undertaken every 3 years at a cost of £60 a tree. We last paid £360 which must have been for 6 trees. The 6 trees that are easily seen on the development are not considered to be large trees as the diameter was less 150 mm and it beggars belief that we required a Tree Risk Assessments by an external company when we have an AM whose Job Description includes Risk Assessment.
    When we had a neighbours, Very Very Large Beech Tree that dropped 2 separate branches on to our drying area our AM sent the House Manager from our neighbouring development to assess. When questioned why a House Manager was sent the reply was we have been trained in Risk Assessment, (say no more.)

    Chas

  16. Michael Epstein says:

    Chas,
    You are right to point out how overloaded with work Area and Regional managers must be.
    It should be remembered this situation is made far worse when work is either not done or done to a very poor standard or simply overcharges. In these circumstances the workload on Area and Regional managers increases as they “Try” to rectify mistakes.
    In reality, though area managers may have 33 developments(which is excessive) because of the time taken for complaints it is as if each area manager was responsible for 45 developments.
    Janet Entwistle in her statement concerning Cardinus also made mention of the fact that a “Sister company” had used them so they were recommended.
    I am sure we would all love to know the details of any other company that bid apart from Cardinus?
    i wonder what ever happened to the former” Peverel favourite” Cunningham Lindsey?

  17. Michael
    There is this dichotomy that runs through Peverel Retirement Ltd, (PRL), Peverel Management Services Ltd (PMSL) and Peverel Services Ltd (PSL). We receive letters from Peverel Retirement (PR) that does not have Limited on the end, and these are from Our Area Manager (AM) and Regional Manager (RM). We receive our Ground Rent and Service Charges from PMSL and they are as you can see from another Peverel Company. ARE YOU STILL WITH ME.???

    When I receive a letter from the Head of Customer Services (HCR) on behalf of Janet Entwistle (JE), which has a heading of Peverel Group (PG) and on the bottom of the letter in very small print it states PSL and informs us where the the Registered Office is.

    Now we have this out of the way and I hope that you are still with me? What was I saying mmmmm

    Oh yes we have a dichotomy in that JE knows that the AM have to many developments to provide any quality in what they do. They firefight all the time and then the RM has to get involved who then also becomes a fire fighter and he then has to involve his boss and on and on it goes

    So we have the AM the RM and now the Head of Customer Relations (HCR) all involved just because the work load is such that the AM will never catch up and provide any sort of quality that we pay for and deserve.

    We are now no nearer sorting out the many complaints that we have and as the work load increases and the answers to simply complaints take months, not to resolve, but to be considered by our AM.

    Now I am sorry I have put you through this torture in reading this comment, but imagine this being ten times worse you might then have a concern for the Peverel Soldiers and not what I once stated that our AM was a Peverel Soldier or an Incompetent Fool. our AM has stated to me with conviction that he is not an Incompetent Fool and I have apologised to him.

    Chas

  18. Michael Epstein says:

    Chas,
    I was with you all the way up to the point when you wrote
    Michael,

  19. Michael
    Sorry you feel that way as we both have seen the havoc caused by Peverel Soldiers.

    I am waiting for a meeting to be arranged with myself and Peverel Senior Managers regarding the many complaints we have made, some 4 years old.

    Chas

  20. Michael Epstein says:

    Chas,
    Those that are familiar with my posts will know that my last comment was designed to amuse!

  21. Michael
    I was amused, and at the same time confused, but I do enjoy all types of humor.

    Insurance Claim £702.00 for Toilet/Carpet in The House Managers House Rejected by Kingsborough???

    Our Area Manager has for four years refused to accept that not recording a claim that was made to their sister company Kingsborough Insurance is the way Peverel are allowed to behave . As we pay £12,000 for Management Services we are expected to accept the Master and Servant situation where Peverel has now become the Master and we the residents, the Servant.
    Chas

  22. Michael Epstein says:

    Chas,
    According to Peverel, where damage is restricted to one flat the individual leaseholder should make a claim subject to a £250 excess charge. If damage has spread to another flat, the claim become communal so it becomes the responsibility of the whole block.
    We have heard the number of reasons as to why Peverel staff are encouraged to reduce claims and to place the financial burden on leaseholders.
    However this case highlights a difficulty Peverel have got themselves in.
    If they own the house manager’s flat, of course subject to restrictions being lifted they are free to sell it.
    But, if they own it, then by Peverel’s own words,since the damage was restricted to one flat, it should have been dealt with by the leaseholder and not passed to the service charge.
    On the other hand, were Peverel to argue that the house manager’s flat belongs to the development any proceeds from a sale would belong to the development not Peverel.