Speech given Chair Yasmin Naqushbandi at the January 23rd EGM

Good evening ladies & gentlemen.

Before I start I would like give my personal thanks to all the Executives who have stepped in to deal with this rather complex and difficult situation.-
My thanks go to Amit who has stepped into the Chair position and led us forward.

Amit’s leadership has achieved the CWG and the Major Works group working together – this was the key point of contention and difference between the Chair, treasurer and myself as outlined in the emails.

Amit’s leadership has achieved a team working together all this within less than 1 month. Amit has also led on the organisation of this EGM, well supported by the election committee of Soroush, Claudiu, Dave, Hanesh, Alia and Chiraag. He has done this whilst dealing with an extremely busy job and a young family.

My thanks also go to Hanesh and Mira who were part of the first RA, which, within 2/3 years managed to get us all a reduction in our service charges of around £500 per flat. Both continue to work tirelessly and provide the stability and a voice of reason at this time, whilst still continuing to work in our finance committee and lead on major works. I would also like to thank Maria Pons, another resident working tirelessly on our behalf on major works.

Alia and Ali, Katie and Hemal young couples with professional and personal responsibilities, and newer members of the estate, continue to volunteer for the benefit of the estate. My respects to them.

There are others who are passionate about the estate and bring their expertise and academic ability to the table, like Paolo, Colin, Alex , Chiraag and Roman. These are just the executives, there are at least another 15-20 people who give various amounts of their time to specific issues in committees of the RA. My thanks to all of them.

Having worked with the Cladding working group over the last few months, I have found and been amazed at the wealth of knowledge expertise and talent not only in the RA but also within members which makes us all a very formidable team. A team that can stand up in its own right, and work effectively with Ballymore as an equal at the table.

Here is the result of what we can achieve when we work together: (watch this video)

I would also like to add that whatever the outcome of today, as a neighbour and a colleague I wish Humphrey and his family and Adeel all the very best.

So what do I bring to the table?

I am a retired doctor by profession, I have worked for the NHS for 35 years. I have worked as a Medical Director in two major hospitals, managing over 400 consultants and nearly 800 junior doctors. Under my leadership Queens hospital won the award for Innovation, beating major teaching hospitals like UCH and Guys I have worked in the Department of Health, so have a good understanding of how government organisations work. I have been on the Board of one of the largest indemnity organisation as a Non- Executive director for 8 years. So I fully understand the roles and responsibilities of Executive and non executives As part of my roles I have had to deal with major incidents, the media, including the Sun and The Independent, I have even been cross examined by John Humpreys!

I was voted Asian Professional Woman of the Year for GB in 2004 for my work in the NHS. My strengths are the ability to organise, find innovative solutions to complex problems and lead by example. The key things that I have learnt in my career is that to get the best outcome you need a diverse team, you need to listen to everyone’s views – and remember no one is indispensable. As a leader to gain respect you have to be honest, transparent, open and fair in your dealings and not be afraid to stand up and ask the difficult question, question when things are not being managed effectively, even though it may be unpopular to do so.

I have lived on the NPW estate since it was built – we were one of the first residents. My family has lived here and my friends live here and have bought properties because we encouraged them to invest in this Ballymore’s flagship development. This is a great estate to live in, the majority of the staff do their best under difficult circumstances. Every year since we have been here, we make Xmas lunch and dinner for the staff who are working on that day – once a year it is our pleasure to serve those who serve us for 365 days of the year. It is a small thank you. My belief is that it is not only the rights of residents to be happy here, it is also important for nearly 100 staff who work here to want to come to work, because it is a good place to work. So well expressed in the motto created by the first Chair of this RA, Hanesh Patel – “making our home and our community a better place to live”.

In 2015 a small group of residents met in our place and decided to set up this RA. Hanesh was the first chair, and I the secretary – and Maureen O’Brien who has left was the treasurer- we established the bedrock of what the RA is now. I am proud of what we have achieved to date.

We are the only recognized RA working with Ballymore, we have an excellent website managed by Claudiu , our response time to residents queries is 24hrs 90% of the time. We are an RA that other look to copy – we are in a different league – our membership is over 50%, and will shortly be over 80% – due to actions that I have taken in my role as Secretary – you will all have received an email from Ballymore asking if your details can be shared with the RA – this is a legal requirement for Ballymore to comply with.

Recognition of an RA is not a gift that is in Ballymore’s hand – it is a legal must do if the RA is constituted properly and has the right level of membership. Our memebership data base managed by Claudiu, Alia and myself is more uptodate than Ballymores.

W e have encouraged 19 leaseholders to be on the Executives ,
there are a further 20 people who give their time to operational issues, major works, security, leisure and garden.

With the use of technology and our website we need to progress our RA to
be more inclusive and representative of our membership – we are already working on that. The RA need to respond to the concerns of members all across the buildings, be it the continuing problem of lack of hot water and heating in Charrington, the fire in NPW, the discrepancies of ground rent in Ontario and the internal redecorations of Michigan. All the buildings need to have an equal voice – however our strength is when we support each other across buildings on issues – we achieve the best results.

What are the key priories that we need to focus on going forward

  1. The RA must continue
  2. We need to ensure effective representation of issues raised by membership using technology to identify what the membership consider as priorities
  3. Service charges and the major works affect us all and must be a priority
  4. Car is a key issue parking affects us all
  5. ACM Cladding issue needs to be resolved
  6. As an RA we need to ensuring that we listen to the voices of all the members from all the buildings – not only by giving them information by newsletters but also getting their feedback
  7. We need to get an ongoing improvement in Ballymore’s performance, by holding them to account – by measuring performance and ensuring that they understand the wealth of talent working for and behind the RA needs to be taken seriously
  8. We need to push Ballymore to get accreditation with ARMA – an accreditation system for managing agents which they don’t have
  9. Finally we need to learn from what has happened and urgently amend the constitution in a number of areas – a key area being that no-one person can hold the post of a Chair for more than 3 years

I have full confidence that the membership will do what is right of all the leaseholders and the RA will continue – the RA has been built to have its own resilience, it has been built so that its survival is not dependent on one person.

Thank you for your attention.