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Persimmon review into housebuilding scandal seeks views of 100,000 people


More than 100,000 people are being asked for their opinions on housebuilder Persimmon as it seeks to address a scandal around poor build quality, customer service failings and large payouts to top executives.

An independent review is this week asking suppliers, trade bodies, local authorities, customers, employees and civil servants for information on the under-fire company.

Persimmon is trying to rebuild its image, which has been tarnished by complaints about faults with new properties, and accusations that it has profiteered off of taxpayer-funded subsidies through Right to Buy. The review, launched in April, is now looking at all stages of the housebuilder’s construction and inspection process.


Stephanie Barwise QC, who is leading the review, told PA such an extensive review was rare in the private sector.

“I think it shows the genuine commitment that Persimmon has to resolving their customer services offering,” she said.

She added that more companies could consider using independent reviews to assess their operations, but it would require a “sufficiently confident executive”.

“It’s a very useful tool to examine your own business in a fairly ruthless way. It’s great if you’ve got the guts for it.”

Clive Fenton, the former chief executive of fellow housebuilder McCarthy and Stone, is providing assistance to the review as an industry expert.

The consultation period closes on 16 September, with findings of the review due by the end of the year.

Roger Devlin, chair of Persimmon, said: “It is important that we listen in order to improve and this consultation process is a vital step in hearing from our customers, employees, and many other people important to our business.

“We hope that as many of our stakeholders as possible will take the time to contribute to this important process and I am very grateful to them for participating.”

Persimmon faced criticism last year as it handed out hefty bonuses to executives, despite scoring relatively low for customer satisfaction in the industry.

Former chief executive Jeff Fairburn’s circa £75m pay package in particular came under fire.

He later stepped down, blaming the “distraction” of his pay deal.

PA


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