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The Eagle

Living In A Tent To Save On Rent Will Get You Fired

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http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23864934-council-bosses-forced-me-out-after-i-revealed-i-lived-in-a-tent.do

A former London council worker told today how he had been threatened with disciplinary action because his employers objected to him revealing that he lived in Epping Forest.

Philip Hanman, 58, made headlines last year when it emerged that he was camping in a £30 tent while working four days a week as a benefits fraud investigator with Barking and Dagenham council.

He said at the time he had stayed in the post for four years because he loved the job and his employers had allowed him to work four extended days, giving him a three-day weekend with his wife and two children in Penzance.

But the council was unhappy with the publicity. Mr Hanman took voluntary redundancy in April.

[...]

Dodging the system is not allowed, how dare he not pay rent or a mortgage like eveyrone else?! :blink:

---

Edited by wise_eagle

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Living in a tent may be in vogue one day.

In the late 70s an ex boss used to mock me for cycling to work.

Two decades later I saw an article in the company magazine where he was boasting about his cycling.

Fashions come and go but hypocracy lives on.

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“Ironically, as soon as it became public, I was threatened with disciplinary action for speaking out. Despite the fact that I had gone out of my way to praise them, the council hated the publicity. Afterwards, almost everything I did they picked me up on and I could do nothing right at all.”

I guess this is true of most jobs. If you card is marked that's it.

The tent thing is a smokescreen. Read this bit:

Mr Hanman was also critical of the authority and the Government for cutting back on benefit fraud investigation, despite publicly attacking the level of fraud among claimants.

I would guess that's the real reason, plus he spoke out against an MP which probably didn't help.

It's interesting though - £7 a night to camp within commuting distance of London sounds quite good to me. If you got one of those big tents that you can stand up in, you could have a camp bed etc and it wouldn't be too bad. I'd like to know more about the site's winter quarters as well.

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I lived in a tent for about 4 months. Quite liked it. Rain at night was rather soothing - If you are all protected.

It is actually the heat that is more of an issue IMO than the cold. Cold is fine - you can do something about. A tent on a roasting hot day sitting in the su is unbearable.

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Hang on, sounds like the Council were quite accommodating of his needs. Working four extended day's meant he only spent three nights in an entire week living in a tent and the rest in his house. It looks like this was done for his convenience rather than the convenience of the Council/Council Tax Payers (i.e. people who paid his salary). Also

four extended days at a council sounds like a waste of time as come 16:30 most of those places are ghost towns so I'm not sure what he was doing late in the evening??

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Hang on, sounds like the Council were quite accommodating of his needs. Working four extended day's meant he only spent three nights in an entire week living in a tent and the rest in his house. It looks like this was done for his convenience rather than the convenience of the Council/Council Tax Payers (i.e. people who paid his salary).

But that was because he lives in Penzance, not because they knew he was sleeping in a tent.

Also four extended days at a council sounds like a waste of time as come 16:30 most of those places are ghost towns so I'm not sure what he was doing late in the evening??

As a benefit fraud investigator he probably had to make surprise visits to the suspects (or their neighbours) at all sorts of times not just 9-5pm (make that 4pm since this is a council we are talking about <_< ).

I'm a bit surprised quite a few people here immediately suspect him rather than the council.

I guess even on HPC inventiveness and non-mainstream behaviour are frowned upon by the majority... :(

Edited by wise_eagle

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But that was because he lives in Penzance, not because they knew he was sleeping in a tent.

Sure, but it was still done for his benefit not for Council Tax Payers right? Councils seem to bend over backwards to be flexible. Surely he should be a bit more local as you allude in your next point he needs to do field work, that can't just happen Mon-Thurs? I bet he sloped off early Thursdays too to "beat the traffic".

As a benefit fraud investigator he probably had to make surprise visits to the suspects (or their neighbours) at all sorts of times not just 9-5pm (make that 4pm since this is a council we are talking about <_< ).

Field work all the time? Sometimes sure, I'll concede, but all the time? I doubt it.

Edited by pl1

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Sure, but it was still done for his benefit not for Council Tax Payers right? Councils seem to bend over backwards to be flexible. Surely he should be a bit more local as you allude in your next point he needs to do field work, that can't just happen Mon-Thurs? I bet he sloped off early Thursdays too to "beat the traffic".

I sense some envy here...

Even in the private sector it's not uncommon to have arrangements like this one, I don't see what that has got to do with the fact that they made him quit when his sleeping in a tent became public (which should be none of their business).

Edited by wise_eagle

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yes but it takes more effort to maintain hygiene in a tent rather than a regular house

no running water for starters

I've checked the campsite in question online and it has a shower and toilet block, so washing wouldn't be a problem.

Point taken about it being uncomfortable on very hot days, but since we only have about 3 a year of those in England it's unlikely to be a problem.

My main worry would be security of my possessions and keeping clothes free of damp, mildew etc.

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I've checked the campsite in question online and it has a shower and toilet block, so washing wouldn't be a problem.

Point taken about it being uncomfortable on very hot days, but since we only have about 3 a year of those in England it's unlikely to be a problem.

My main worry would be security of my possessions and keeping clothes free of damp, mildew etc.

Many campsites have lockers you can rent by the day. Bikers often have such problems on big tours.

Simply they don't bring anything precious or have a jump bag where they have everything valuable. Or they have a hard box on their bike which is lockable. Presumably (even though campsites would charge for the parking cost) you could even buy a beat up old non MOT car parked off the road at the campsite. And even share it.

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I sense some envy here...

Even in the private sector it's not uncommon to have arrangements like this one, I don't see what that has got to do with the fact that they made him quit when his sleeping in a tent became public (which should be none of their business).

No not at all; is it possible to critique this working practice without being accused of this? And critique it I do for the reasons I cited, nothing to do with envy, it was clearly arranged for his convenience.

Are you sure there's no Daily Mail type backstory at work here?

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...

My main worry would be security of my possessions and keeping clothes free of damp, mildew etc.

If he's commuting back to Cornwall each week I'd guess he has a car, and given the work he was doing he probably used the car during the day. He only needs 4 days clothes so that could easily be kept in the boot. Maybe a small telly too if the pitch has an electric hookup.

I used to house share with a contractor who did similar - either camping or YHA - but he also felt the need to keep it quiet. (no he wasn't one of those mega bucks earners).

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That doesn't surprise me. All the best fraud investigators tend to go under cover.

There's a lot of stress on those guys. They probably peg out early...

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When I was in the middle of moving up North - I was between homes for a week or so and I camped at a place on the Lea Valley in east London for a few days one Feb.

It was OK and surprisingly I wasn't alone on the campsite. Did get very cold at night though - frost on the inside of the tent and everything - still I was cosy enough in my sleeping bag.

Another time and place - I missed my last train home so I bedded down under my coat with my rucksack as a pillow in the nearby woods. Perfectly doable for one night and certainly makes you appreciate the mod cons we have.

Living wild for a night is highly recommended for any young chap.

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When Thatcher's cuts made many people unemployed and homeless there were many tents along the Embankment in London.

It is hard enough to get work when unemployment is high, but virtually impossible when you can not give a home address.

Why do we have to learn this lesson again?

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I sense some envy here...

Even in the private sector it's not uncommon to have arrangements like this one,

...yep...it's called flexible working hours and accommodates many in today's work places..... :rolleyes:

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Camping in Holland one year we met a family doing just that. Rather than commute to Den Haag, they put up a great frame tent with fridge, telly, all you need for the entire length of the summer holidays. Mother and kids walked 100m to beach every day, dad cycled a couple of kM to work. The even extended the season by a few months, depending on weather, dad staying just on his own, but family together at weekends.

Why not?

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  • 259 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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