Is this the ultimate in accountability or a desperate bid to win back public support for a company damaged by the leasehold scandal and fat cat bonuses?
Persimmon, the developer at the centre of two such controversies in recent months and years, has announced an independent consultation.
It’s to be chaired by an independent QC, Stephanie Browse, and wants to gather the views of 100,000 people through direct consultation, a website for comments, and interviews.
The subject of this exercise? Well it’s to find out what the public think of Persimmon.
A statement says: “The consultation is specifically hoping to hear from customers, suppliers, employees, trade bodies, local authorities, civil servants and experts across the wider industry as the review team seek input to their report.”
This consultation has just opened and closes on September 16.
The review team says it wants views on construction and inspection; quality assurance processes, customer care approach, systems and culture; snagging and finish rectification processes; speed and consistency of response to issues; advertising and marketing protocols; and how its use of incentives help satisfy customers’ needs.
“My team and I will have directly contacted 60,000 stakeholders and hope to see further input through the consultation website from a wide variety of people and organisations who have a relationship with Persimmon. I look forward to receiving extensive feedback to inform our findings” says Barwise.
And Persimmon chairman Roger Devlin adds: “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.”
The findings will be announced towards the end of the year.
Persimmon faced fierce criticism last year as it handed out huge bonuses to directors - at the same time as it was stridently backing Help To Buy, the government scheme described by some as effectively a subsidy system for boosting developers’ profits.
Former chief executive Jeff Fairborn had reportedly been offered a £75 pay package; he then stepped down, describing his windfall as “a distraction”.