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TPO looking for a new Property Ombudsman

The current Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, is giving up the role in November after five years in the post.

The closing date for applicants is February 18

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Established in 1990, the Property Ombudsman (TPO) is a government approved scheme providing fair, free and independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. Responding last year to nearly 30,000 enquiries, and instructing agents to pay over £2 million of awards, TPO is the primary source of industry standards and consumer redress in an industry with widespread consumer impact. 

TPO is proud of its reputation, its strong connections with policy makers and its focus on quality, rigour and reach. However, operating in a competitive landscape, and in a sector which touches the lives of millions of people, means that TPO is not an organisation that can ever afford to stand still.  The head of the current Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, stepping down in 2020 after 5 years outstanding service, TPO are looking for an outstanding leader to fulfil this key leadership role, and continue to take the organisation forward.   

TPO’s new Ombudsman will play a critical role in raising the profile of the organisation and its work, improving its performance, impact and influence, and ensuring that it has the culture, partnerships and resources in place to be sustainable over the long term. They will nurture, develop and inspire TPO’s staff team, based predominantly at the Head Office in Salisbury, and represent TPO externally, including to sector leaders, policy makers, the media and a range of other cross-sector audiences.  

TPO would welcome applications for this role from people with strategic and operational leadership credentials, and a strong track record in external engagement roles and influencing policy. We need an Ombudsman with a confident and sensitive leadership style, who can motivate and energise our people and stakeholders. An understanding of redress and ombudsman services and/or of the property sector is highly desirable.  

Saxton Bampfylde Ltd is acting as an employment agency advisor to the Property Ombudsman on this appointment.  For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit www.saxbam.com/appointments using reference QAQDB.  Alternatively telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880(during office hours).  Applications should be received by noon on Tuesday 18 February 2020.

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TSB announce 82 branch closure location

TSB has announced the 82 branches it plans to close in 2020, with much of the country affected.

Earlier this week, the bank announced there would be closures as part of a plan by new chief executive Debbie Crosbie to make £100m of cost cuts by 2022.

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The bank said that 370 positions would be hit by the closures.

It said it would offer help to customers and staff affected by the move.

The bank is repositioning itself following its IT crisis last year, which affected 1.9 million customers.

Robin Bulloch, customer banking director at TSB, said: “We will fully support customers through this transition.

“We realise this is difficult news for our branch partners and will do everything to support those affected to offer voluntary redundancies and redeploy as many people as we can to other roles.”

At the end of 2020, TSB will have a network of 454 branches.

Source: BBC News


Thinking of buying a property?

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UK Greetings card chain Clintons in survival talks with Landlords

Greetings card chain Clintons is considering shop closures and rent cuts as part of a survival plan.

The retailer, which has about 2,500 staff, is in restructuring talks with landlords in another sign of the High Street crisis.

A spokeswoman told the BBC no decisions have yet been made.

Clintons was responding to reports on Sunday that it wanted to close 66 out of 332 shops, with landlords slashing rents on most of the other stores.

The restructuring would involve a controversial scheme known as a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency process that allows companies to continue trading while pushing through closures and rent cuts.

A Clintons spokeswoman said “discussions are continuing with our landlords but no decisions have been made”.

But she declined to comment on a Sunday Telegraph report that the company told landlords 90 of its shops were loss-making and that sales were expected to continue to decline.

Source: BBC News

UK Babycare retailer Mamas & Papas has gone into pre-pack administration

British maternity chain Mamas & Papas has reached out to administrators as part of an effort to stem losses in a ‘pre-pack’ deal with administrators Deloitte, resulting in six store closures in the UK and dozens of job losses.

The struggling retailer is the second babycare brand to call in administrators this week after rival Mothercare announced the closure of all 79 of its UK stores on Tuesday.

The ‘pre-pack’ deal between company owners Bluegem Capital, which acquired Mamas & Papas in 2014, and administrators Deloitte aims to cut store losses by selling off assets to other companies within the Mamas & Papas Group.

Six unprofitable stores in Aberdeen, Preston, Milton Keynes, Lincoln, Leamington Spa and Fareham have now closed with 73 members of staff losing their jobs.

A further 54 jobs are at risk as the store looks to “review and simplify” operations at its head office in Huddersfield.

The company says its 26 remaining stores will continue to trade as normal and online orders are unaffected by today’s announcement.

Riccardo Cincotta, Executive Chairman of Mamas & Papas, said: “These actions are always difficult but they are also necessary in a challenging market to ensure Mamas & Papas achieves its considerable future potential.

“We remain fully focused on maintaining our position as the UK’s most popular nursery brand.

Source: Manchester Evening News

Property firm WeWork recue by Softbank with $5b

Softbank, the firm’s biggest outside investor, has agreed to invest billions in the firm after the collapse of WeWork’s flotation plans and ouster of co-founder Adam Neumann.

In a statement, Softbank said it would provide $5bn (£3.9bn) in new financing and up to $3bn for existing shareholders.

The deal will see Softbank increase its stake in the US office-space sharing start-up to roughly 80%.

The deal marks the end of a tumultuous period for WeWork – once valued at nearly $50bn – that saw Mr Neumann step down as chief executive as questions over his leadership emerged.

The former boss is expected to be handed a sizeable payout. The Wall Street Journal reported the deal could see Mr Neumann receive nearly $1.7bn as he sells his shares in the company and through other fees.

Co-founder Adam Neumann will leave the board but retain “observer” status.

WeWork leaders have warned staff to expect major job cuts after a shake-up at the struggling co-working company.

The company, which rents shared office space and helped to popularise co-working, has grown from a single office in New York City to more than 500 locations around the world. But it lost about $900m in the first six months of this year.

The firm’s share offering received a lukewarm reaction from investors, who raised concerns about the firm’s financing and governance. WeWork officially dropped the flotation plan last month.

Questions about its complicated financial ties to Mr Neumann also frustrated plans and led to him stepping down from the top job.

Source: BBC News