The Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Cllr David Mackintosh, has tonight welcomed new plans for the future managment of Council homes which were approved by councillors.
Over the past 15 months, an in-depth review has been carried out into how Northampton’s 12,100 council homes are maintained and managed. The review is now complete and has recommended that housing is transferred to an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO).
The review was prompted by the need to find a financially sustainable way to update the council’s housing stock and provide local people with decent homes and improvements in service.
The review has been carried out by two panels, one of tenants and one of housing staff. They have looked in detail – using advice from experts in finance and property – at the work needed to raise the standard of homes and neighbourhoods and how this could be funded.
The panels examined six options for the future management of the council’s housing, including transferring the stock to a completely independent body, or simply leaving things as they are. The options were then scored on their viability and the quality of service that they would provide for tenants in Northampton, before both panels made a recommendation.
Both tenants and staff said that an ALMO would provide the most stable and sustainable way to manage housing for the future. They said that this route would create a locally-focussed organisation that was able to concentrate on maintaining and improving homes and that would allow for greater involvement of tenants and staff in setting its direction.
Under an ALMO, the housing stock would still be owned by the council and tenants would remain as council tenants, with all their current rights protected. An ALMO would focus solely on managing and improving these homes while the Council would still be responsible for the wider, strategic issues.
Cllr David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said that this option would provide a more efficient and effective service to meet the needs of local people.
“We want to make sure that our tenants receive a high standard of service from their landlord and that they will have better homes in the future. Tenants quite rightly have high aspirations and they have decided that based on the facts, an ALMO is the best way to make sure that their voices are heard so that they can play a part in making those aspirations a reality.”
“New rules on housing stock transfer mean that financially, transferring our homes to a completely separate body is no longer an option but we need change to help raise the standard of council homes. I agree with the tenants’ view that a new, local management organisation would have the strong focus and clear accountability to tenants that would lead to improvements in the service in Northampton.”