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Don't Gamble with Our Homes

  We are ordinary residents of the Unwin and Friary Estate in London SE15 who don't want a Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) to run our estate. We want to remain with honest, transparent and accountable Southwark Council management.  

Full Lifecycle Analysis

In the environmental movement, we do something called Full Lifecycle Analysis to establish whether all the inputs and outputs of a process show a positive net effect on the environment and society, or whether it has a negative net effect - it's a "bad" for society rather than a "good".

For example, if you do a full lifecycle analysis for a well-sited wind turbine you would find that the energy, and materials inputs are small in comparison to the energy returns, and that most of the materials can be recycled and return on financial investment is often paid back in months.

A strongly positive full lifecycle analysis

Conversely, biofuels, often called agrofuels, such as bioethanol, use up vital food resources, cannot exist without subsidies, and barely have a positive energy output - some studies show they can actually have a negative Net Energy or EROEI in other words You have to put more energy in than you get out. An Energy Sink. This analysis showed a very poor outcome, and something society would be better off without.

It is not always easy to do this analysis because of the "Boundary Problem" - in a continuous complex system where do you draw a discrete boundary? Should you count the fuel for the vehicles that come to do the maintenance on the above wind turbine? What about the fossil fuel inputs to the maintenance worker's sandwiches or the air miles of his or her tea?

Applying full lifecycle analysis to Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs)

TMOs take a long time in development, use up a huge amount of development money, and need both local and central government support in terms of professional civil servant assistance during this process, then when they are running they still require extra personnel support, beyond the number of housing officers assigned to the estate. If they go into financial deficit (often for hundreds of thousands of pounds) this tab has to be picked up by the council. If they fail and are returned to council control the TMO still is a drain on council coffers or even if it is sold off and privatised, there will be considerable costs, usually borne by the council.

If there was a full financial lifecycle analysis including development costs and counting both the continuing TMOs and the costs of the ones that imploded, would the TMOs still be a success story as they claim to be, or would they be a money pit? To return to the environmental examples, when Nuclear Reactors get a full analysis of their costs, including uranium mining and its environmental damage, development, construction, then decommissioning and storage of their radioactive waste products, we find they are totally financially unviable...which is why none are being built unsubsidised at present, because no commercial company will touch them without oodles of government cash.

Here is a preliminary list of the Full Lifecycle Cost factors of a TMO, modelled on the UFTMO and its probable failure:

TMOs - the real costs, full lifecycle analysis

  • Costs of Pre-option Studies
  • Costs of Feasibility study
  • Development Process Costs
  • Costs of Independent Assessment
  • Costs of Ballot Process
  • Costs of creating office space - duplication of existing council facilities
  • Indirect Costs of Personnel support during whole of process and during lifetime of TMO - not a negligible cost when this is from both local and central government.
  • Loss of facilities to community and Council - e.g. loss of 3 shops, creche and TRA room
  • Use of TRA resource room and TRA hall - subsidised costs.
  • Duplication of purchasing effort and loss of economies of scale of council purchasing
  • Possible overpayment of wages to staff to compensate for non-career progression in a TMO

Costs of Failure

  • When everything goes wrong the council has to pay the budget deficit, which is often hundreds of thousands of pounds
  • To sell off/privatise or bring back into council control a failed TMO - a lot of money that the council is unlikely to have budgeted for

It is yet to be determined whether TMOs are a money sink, but in the years of austerity to come, they might well turn out to be a white elephant we cannot afford. This is an area which may well yield some interesting results in future.


Vote No to the TMO

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Vote No to the TMO

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© NoTMO 2010. All rights reserved. The moral rights of the author are asserted.