Monday, 22 January 2018


The Impact 

Following news of the planned merger of two Cumbria housing associations, the following letter has been sent to the Carlisle newspaper News and Star about the  mystery of two versions of the same story.

January  22 2018

News and Star

Dear Editor

Readers are puzzled  and concerned by your story “Homes providers plan merger deal” (News and Star January 10).

They wonder why the same story when it appeared in another publication contained  disturbing facts which were absent from the News and Star report.

Perhaps you can help.

The story was of the possible merger of Impact, the Workington housing association  with the Liverpool association, Riverside.

Your story claimed that the reason for the merger plan (according to Impact) was to “improve long-term prospects for their homes, tenants and staff.”

Your story went on to quote the Impact chairman, Mr Mark Costello about “challenges that have led to us seeking a partner organisation.”

What the challenges were was not explained in your story.

Perhaps you can explain why there was no explantion of these challenges in view of the disturbing facts I mentioned earlier.

These facts were outlined in the other story mentioned earlier which appeared in the national housing industry magazine Inside Housing.

The headline on the Inside Housing story was:”Non-compliant Impact selects Riverside as partner”

That story went on:

“A troubled Cumbria-based social landlord has opened talks with a large housing association, with a view to joining it later this year.

“Impact was downgraded to non-compliant by the social housing regulator in May last year for both governance and financial viability.

“The judgement, which was issued following an in-depth assessment, said there was not sufficient “headroom” in its business plan should things go wrong.

“It said it had lacked assurances that the board of Impact was managing its affairs with “an appropriate degree of skill, diligence, effectiveness, prudence and foresight”.

The difference between the two versions of the same story has been the subject of considerable comment on social media and by housing activists.

The community group Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation which meets this week will be discussing this difference and what appears to be the troubling situation at Impact.

Members of the federation are also puzzled and concerned about why the facts of this situation were not contained in your report.

Members have asked me to write to you seeking an explanation.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely

John Barker
Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation 

Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation publishes this blog. Information about the Federation is available on 01228 522277 or 01228 532803

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