Saturday, December 18, 2010

Newham Homes ALMO returns to Council

Good news! "Newham Council have agreed that housing services should be brought back under direct control of the council in order to save money and continue to deliver good housing services.

The council's Cabinet agreed on Thursday (December 16) that an agreement with the arms length management organisation, Newham Homes, be ended from next April.

Newham Homes has received £225m of Decent Homes programme funding over the past five years. However, many of the advantages of having an arms length management organisation (ALMO) have now disappeared. The council can now bid for decent homes funding directly from the government and it will be cheaper for the council to deliver housing management services directly.

Consultation with tenants and leaseholders was carried out in November. Some 56 per cent of those consulted supported this change with only nine per cent against.

Councillor Andrew Baikie, executive member for housing, said: "It is simpler, more efficient and more effective for the housing management service to be returned to the council. Significant savings are likely to arise which can be used to fund service improvements.

"We can cut duplicate costs - and the biggest benefit for tenants and leaseholders would be that customer services, neighbourhood management and community safety would be provided by one organisation."

Discussions are under way with staff at Newham Homes and trade unions about the transfer. In the meantime, business continues as usual. Services to tenants and leaseholders should not be affected and the transition of services back to the council should be seamless.

Newham Homes was originally set up in 2005 to access government funding to improve council housing and deliver the Decent Homes programme. A bid for additional decent homes money will be submitted to the government in January". (topical seasonal picture from Newham Story of Newham Homes Repairs depot in Abbey Road).
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