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AHIPP Public Relations is Failing

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 10-Jun-07 02:04:03 PM

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP) has consistently - until recently - been bullish in its press releases. Before the HIP delay was announced, you could always count on AHIPP firing-off a press release whenever any interested industry representative voiced opposition in the press.

Just as you'd expect.

Except, in the weeks leading-up to the Govt's HIP stand-down, each press release seemed to blindly echo everything the Govt said - One could almost be forgiven that they were the CLG's un-questioning rottweiler.

They even started to adopt the same language at times: 'vested interests', being one such phrase mentioned in at least 7 of its own press releases which are searchable on its own site.

'Ignore the vested interests Minister! They know nothing! You are right and we stand right behind you, ready to deliver!' To paraphrase their statements.

Er... how much does it cost to join AHIPPs? £5,000, minimum! Who do they represent? HIP providers! What do HIP providers want? A HIP launch! Who did AHIPP want the Govt to ignore? The vested... interests: D'oh!

Come on AHIPP, don't treat us as fools!

But that's weak when compared to the statements that began to surface as June 1st approached:

The HIP industry has presented a united front in a recent letter to the Housing Minister, offering the strongest of reassurances that it is ready to deliver HIPs effectively and efficiently as of the 1st June this year.

Calls from those who wish to see delays, for whatever reasons or vested interests, should be ignored by the Minister, who should feel confident in delivering this consumer and environmental reform on the 1st June.

15th May - 1 week before the HIP delay announcement:

Industry is ready to deliver HIPs and the benefits that the packs will offer to both consumers and the environment. There will be enough energy assessors - our latest survey has identified that over 3,500 home inspectors and Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) will be ready to produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPS) as of June this year.

As we now all know, only 520 DEAs were ready to produce EPCs, just 1 week before June 1st. 

... Yes-men have their place, I suppose, but not when you're so obviously heading over the cliff.

Of course, hindsight is great. But AHIPP - with their resources and contacts - is/was/should be in the position to know better than most, what the real state-of-play is, surely? I mean, they even did a survey!


Even for those not inside their "club", it is embarrassing. Independant DEAs - for whom AHIPP effectively "speak" by extension -  are affected. It adds fuel to the public's perception that they are nothing but a money-grabbing bunch of under-qualified opportunists who will say anything to get their mitts on their cash.


May 22nd - HIP D-day - and another press release that makes a token gesture of disappointment at the Govt's decision to delay HIPs, but swiftly moves on to point the finger of blame at the RICS:

It appears to have been RICS, through their call for a judicial review, which has ultimately derailed this vital house buying and selling reform, so soon before its planned implementation.


It might be worth repeating: 520 accredited DEAs, just 1 week before the intended launch date.

And please, let's not hear of DEAs being afraid to commit because of negative press. Because just 1 week earlier, don't forget, we heard that: '... 3,500 home inspectors and Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) will be ready to produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPS) as of June this year'.

At all costs

Has anyone noticed the duplicity of the position that they have found themselves in yet?

On the one hand, they can't blame (or threaten to sue) the Govt 'cos that would risk closing-down the channel-of-communications and "influence" they enjoy (though how they can justify "influencing" the Govt to march over the cliff, is beyond me!).

On the other hand, they are rightly pushing their members' interests. But here's the rub... they were doing that even if it meant the catastrophic implosion of the housing market their members were entering!


Post HIP D-day, and their PR campaign continues...

On June 4th 2007, Mike Ockenden, Director General of AHIPP, did a podcast with Now if you think it's just me that's making note of these absurd statements, I'm going to let one of long-standing forum members - JonEBehr - summarise here:

In Part 2 he acknowledges that the certificate won't actually cause anyone to conduct the works [recommended] and that education, awareness and grants (eg via an adequately-funded Energy Savings Trust) are among the ways to reduce energy wastage. However, the acknowledged fact that any works suggested in an EPC won't necessarily be conducted, doesn't prevent him from subsequently quoting a figure that the delay in introduction will cause 250,000 tonnes of carbon to be pumped into the atmosphere. I haven't checked the purported sources of the statistic but the inconsistency of his statements is obvious. 

If you need proof that members of the public can see-through the snake-oil sales-tactics, there you go!


I'll be honest, I squirm whenever I read the press releases - They are pathetic and, IMO, do more damage than good. If AHIPP want to be taken seriously, by both Govt and the industry it purports to serve, stick to believable facts and double-check any relied-upon sources.

Don't treat either the public, nor DEAs, as un-intelligent half-wits incapable of thinking... it is they, afterall, who will face each other in-the-field. And it is the foot-soldiers that AHIPP "represents" who will cop the flak.

There should be enough goodness in HIPs without resorting to hype and FUD - Focus on them, or be quiet.


Ya know, as much as I squirm, I have read an interview with Mike Ockenden in which he seemingly speaks candidly. Indeed, he (mostly) does in the podcast too. And he comes across well! Much better than in his press releases.

If you're reading Mike, I hope you are reading ;)

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Posts: 1
Post read
Reply #1 on : Wed August 15, 2007, 18:46:41

just reading your column and i do think looking after the interests of DEAs is paramount as they are the guys and girls doing the hard chore.

Our company although a panel are trying to keep prices as high for the individual DEA as possible and have one of the highest rates for a panel being paid and will try to keep them on the high side whilst others screw them into the ground,

We like to think we are realistic on pricing as our clients need good prices also but we dont wont to get greedy. We as a apanel take a very small slice and pay the DEA as much as possible but have found that most panels charge lots and pay peanuts and we would hate to ever be in that catagory.

If there is anything you feel we should be aware of or could contribute to any schemes that helps out the DEA comunity then please get in contact as we feel we need to work together with those with the best interests at heart.

Thanks for reading if you didnt fall asleep.
Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 20:06:04 by siteadmin  
Posts: 1
Re: AHIPP Public Relations is Failing
Reply #2 on : Wed August 15, 2007, 20:15:40
Thanks Dave.

I haven't changed anything you wrote, just formatted it a bit, promise ;)

I should add - for everyone's benefit - that Dave is referring to (I presume), his company,

(Dave: Flash site = Bad... talk to me]

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