Announcement of Independent Review
09 April 2019
Since the appointment of a new Chairman and a new Chief Executive, Persimmon has been focused on rapid change and improvement of its customer care culture and operations, and on eliminating cases of poor workmanship. In order to assess the effectiveness of the new measures and processes and to determine whether they appropriately position the business for the future Persimmon’s Board, led by Chairman Roger Devlin, has commissioned an independent review.
The review will be led by an independent Chair, Stephanie Barwise QC of Atkin Chambers, supported by a leading law firm. The review will report to the Board and a timetable has been set for the initial findings to be presented in the final quarter of 2019. The findings of the final report will be made public.
The Review is expected to examine in detail, but is not limited to, the following areas:
- Customer care approach, systems and culture
- Snagging and finish rectification processes
- Speed and consistency of response to issues
- Construction inspection regime
- Quality assurance processes
- Advertising and marketing protocols
- Alignment of governance and incentives in meeting customer outcomes
It is anticipated that the Review will consult with a wide cross section of stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees, trade bodies, local authorities, civil servants and experts across the wider industry.
Additionally, although Persimmon does not construct high rise buildings, it is today committing to adopt the principles of the Hackitt Review which are designed to effect culture change within the construction industry.
Persimmon’s Chairman, Roger Devlin, said: “Persimmon is committed to listening carefully and changing rapidly as we seek to improve our reputation among the key stakeholders in the business. Our objective is clear: we must ensure that all our customers are provided with the care, service and high quality homes that they rightfully expect. An independent review is an important exercise which will establish whether the many changes we are making are going far enough and fast enough for the benefit of both our customers and our wider stakeholders in the business.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
The commissioning of the independent review is the latest in a number of important steps that have been taken in response to the reputational issues which the company faces.
Customer Care. At the final results announcement in February, Chief Executive David Jenkinson outlined a range of new measures and investments to improve the overall quality of customer care with a particular focus on delivering greater accuracy of anticipated moving in dates and the speed of response when fixing any snagging issues. This was followed in March with the announcement that Persimmon would be the first UK housebuilder to offer a retention – where 1.5% of the total home value (equating to around 6% of the build fabric costs) can be withheld by the buyer's solicitor until any faults identified at the point of key release are resolved.
It is Persimmon’s clear ambition to achieve at least a 4-star rating in the HBF Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Executive Management. It was announced in November 2018 that CEO Jeff Fairburn would leave the business. After an extensive external search process, David Jenkinson was appointed CEO in February 2019.
Remuneration. In 2019, as in 2018, no bonuses or PSP awards will be paid to Executive Directors. David Jenkinson’s remuneration did not change on his appointment as CEO. In addition, management remuneration has been further balanced towards improvement in customer care performance.
Real Living Wage. With effect from January 2019, the Group has adopted the payment criteria of the Living Wage Foundation for all its employees.
Stephanie Barwise QC
Stephanie Barwise is a leading commercial QC whose expertise lies in construction and civil engineering disputes.
Her practice is broad-based and comprises construction, civil and geotechnical engineering involving landslip/subsidence and augured/bored piles, mechanical and electrical engineering and infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, mass transit railroads, on and off shore refineries and biofuels plants, ship building and refits, wind farms, IT problems in computer automated cranes and trains, and procurement including major PFI projects such as hospitals and schools.
Stephanie appears as an advocate in the Technology & Construction Courts, the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the Court of Appeal as well as in international and domestic arbitrations. She also has considerable experience in alternative dispute resolution methods including adjudication and mediation.
Stephanie appeared for the manufacturer of both trains and the signal in the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry. She is currently representing the larger of the two groups of victims (survivors, bereaved relatives and former residents of Grenfell Tower) in The Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, a group represented by four firms of solicitors.
Stephanie has been consistently recognised as a leader in her field in legal directories such as Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide and The Legal 500.