ALMO - outcome of the offer to tenant's consultation
Report of the Chief Executive attached
This report provides the Committee with the conclusion of the test of opinion of tenants and leaseholders. The report details a summary of the opinions indicated and recommends that the decision to insource the housing management and maintenance function is now confirmed. The report also includes a summary of key actions and milestones, risks and process to develop post-transfer governance arrangements.
The Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive, which provided Members with the conclusion of the test of opinion of tenants and leaseholders as part of the Northwards ALMO review. The report provided a summary of the opinions indicated and recommended that the decision to insource the housing management and maintenance function was now confirmed. The report also include a summary of key actions and milestones, risks and process to develop post-transfer governance arrangements.
Key points and themes of the report included:-
· Tenants and leaseholders have been consulted on the proposal to take direct control of the management of the housing service from 5 July 2021;
· A total of 1633 people voted (1572* tenants and 54 leaseholders). This was 12.52% of those able to participate (12.57% tenants 11.87% leaseholders);
· 1524 (93%) people voted in support of the proposal to bring the management of their council home into direct management by the Council;
· The response rate of 12.54% was consistent with other local authorities who are proposing to or have recently taken their ALMO services in-house;
· The result was not binding but was one of the factors that were to be considered in making the decision about the future management of the service;
· An outline of the practical steps for the delivery of the transition;
· Consideration of the governance and accountability arrangements; and
· Intended timescales, including critical actions and milestones.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· Whilst the response rate was in consistent with other local authorities, some members still felt that this was low;
· It needed to be recognised that the consultation had strongly implied that transferring the ownership back into the Council would improve the service offered to tenants and it was hoped that this could actually be achieved;
· There was a need to safeguard the successful rent collection that had been achieved to date and the welfare support and financial advice available to tenants form Northwards currently;
· It was felt that scrutiny of the final governance arrangements had been omitted from the milestones within the proposed timescales;
· More detail was needed on how returning control of the ALMO to the Council would improve community safety and anti-social behaviour within those communities in North Manchester and if these existed now, should be implemented now;
· More discussion was needed as to why the repairs and maintenance contract was proposed to continue to be outsourced
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration commented that the challenges identified by tenants existed as a result of the impact of cuts over many years. She advised that conversations with tenants would be honest around what would be achievable and it was envisaged that the proposals to bring the ALMO back into the control of the Council would improve joined up working with tenants at a local level. It was also acknowledged how successful rent collection had been under Northwards and a commitment to safeguard this was made alongside the welfare and financial support that was offered to tenants.
It was agreed that scrutiny of the final governance proposals would be factored into the timescale milestones.
In terms of the repairs and maintenance contract, it was explained that it would have been desirable for this to come back into control of the Council as well, but there was a need to remain realistic insofar as what was deliverable in the timescale of the wider management of the housing service returning to the Council. It was commented that this would be something that would be explored in the future with tenants.
The Director of Housing and Residential Growth advised that he would be looking to maximise the interaction and interrelationship with Neighbourhood Services and other agencies to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour and Community Safety, providing a single point of contact and clear accountability to tenants.
(1) Endorses the recommendations to the Executive, those being:-
1. Note the outcome of the” test of opinion” consultation and the support for the council’s proposals.
2. Note the proposals contained within the report about how the new council-controlled service governance is being developed and how tenants will be involved and empowered in the decision making about services to homes and communities.
3. Note the appointment of a project lead, and the indicative project stages and timetable for the delivery of the insourcing project.
4. Members confirm support for the retention of “Northwards” as a brand identity for the council housing service.
But in doing so request that the Executive take on board the comments made by members.
(2) Welcomes the commitment by the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration to review the control of the repairs and maintenance contract at a future point.
(3) Agrees to add to its Work Programme further scrutiny of Manchester Move and Yes
- HRA Northwards report, item 3. PDF 304 KB
- Appendix 1 - Test of Opinion questionnaire, item 3. PDF 2 MB
- Appendix 2 - Test of Opinion results, item 3. PDF 218 KB