Tuesday, 24 January 2017


Sarah  Paton
Image result for culture of fear pictureand a culture
of fear

Fourteen years on and Riverside Housing Association has at last been  forced to confront many of the serious accusations of bossiness and bullying that have dogged it over those years.

A “culture of fear” is how one senior councillor described the appalling working situation to fellow Carlisle councillors.

The councillors were meeting to thrash out a new relationship with the flawed Merseyside-based Riverside following its appointment of Ms Sarah Paton as the new boss of its 6,000 homes in the city. Ms Paton is also Riverside`s north regional director.

The council meeting was very significant.

Previous meetings between Riverside and the council during those 14 years have been tame affairs. They were dominated by Riverside propaganda, by Riverside spin and by Riverside gobbledegook which no one could understand.

Riverside, the city`s biggest landlaord got away with

murder… its continued bossiness and  its appalling inefficiency in the way it ran its homes.

Now it  appears that the gloves are off.

The meeting was of the council`s Communiy Overview and Scrutiny Panel. It heard the story of a deteriorating relationship over the years as Riverside became less and less accountable as it moved itself away from the council`s influence.

Riverside`s decision to scrap its Carlisle regional governing board, four members of which were councillors, was the last straw. 

A senior councillor explains:

“The Council has serious concerns with regard to the way Mr Dean Butterworth the previous Carlisle director disbanded the regional board, without the consent of the Council.

“ We have made it clear that even if there is a view that the previous board format is no longer working effectively, there must be an alternative method for decision making to be transparent, for accountability and to provide a clear way of raising concerns and having them dealt with satisfactorily.

 “Our Community Scrutiny Panel is now leading on developing this and Ms Patton has indicated that she is supportive of this work”.


Carlisle Tenants and Residents Federation which has battled for four years to get justice for an estimated 60  suffering Riverside tenants has had this latest report from the council  following lobbying by the Federation:  

“With regard to the specific issue of Longtown heating concerns, it is correct that we believe that there was a lack of consideration of the buildings where the heating systems were installed and the residents who would be using the new heating systems.

“ However it was considered that there was insufficient detail to make a judgement on the whether the Council could agree or disagree with the broader scope of the reports.

“We have raised this matter with Ms Paton and asked her to look again at these issues and report back to

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

Tuesday, 10 January 2017




Sarah Paton and the

commitment phobe

It sparks off many a joke in the office…the commitment phobe.  The man -usually it is  a man -  who struggles to makecommitment to a relationship with a woman. So we have a laugh about him and pull his leg.

But commitment phobe is no joke or leg pull to some others in a similar plight as the disappointed woman. For  example, Carlisle city councillors.

The councillors could be said to be victims of a commitment phobe in their relationship with the city`s biggest landlord, the giant Riverside Housing Association which owns 50,000 properties nationwide.

A commitment phobe is what the councillors implied a month ago after criticising Riverside, notably criticising the extent of its commitment to the city and its communities.

This is what the councillors said:

“ Members felt that the community commitment that Riverside had shown at the time of the transfer had diminished and they were disappointed that Riverside had not consulted or communicated any changes in recent months with the Council directly”.

The criticism came during questioning of Ms Sarah Paton, the new boss of Riverside in Carlisle and the  organisation`s North Regional Director at a meeting of the council`s Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel a month ago.

Is Riverside  a commitment phobe as the councillors appear to allege?
Ms Paton gets a chance to answer that accusation when she returns to again address  the panel on Thursday.

Of course she will deny it.

But Riverside`s 14 year appalling record  running its 6,000 Carlisle properties backs up the councillors. It is a record of closing down community groups as a matter of policy and threatening those groups that remain with its obnoxious Persistent Complaints Procedure.

Pity the victims of this appalling procedure.They face  a dictatorial Riverside regime acting as policeman, prosecuter,  judge and jury.

And there is no appeal.

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