Plans To Bring Housing Back In House
The management of South Tyneside Council's housing stock is to be brought back 'in-house', pending consultation with tenants.
Cabinet has taken a 'minded to' decision to return the delivery of housing and related services to direct council control.
The move follows an independent review of council housing, in anticipation of revised regulatory and legislative requirements, and to ensure the best outcomes for residents.
Subject to a ballot of tenants and leaseholders, services will transfer over from South Tyneside Homes, the council's Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO).
Cabinet also found that 'doing nothing' is not an option. Therefore, interim governance arrangements that will ensure shared structure and operational oversight will be put in place immediately.
Cllr Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: "Housing is about far more than bricks and mortar, it's a gateway to many other services and it's crucial that we adopt an holistic approach to provide more effective prevention, intervention and support for residents.
"The social housing sector is operating in a new landscape, with increased scrutiny, significant regulatory change and the implementation of a new inspection regime.
"The review has given us the opportunity to evaluate our council housing services and identify improvements that will make a difference to tenants.
"Since it was established in 2006, South Tyneside Homes has brought thousands of properties up to Decent Homes standard and beyond, improving conditions and enhancing residents' quality of life.
"We know from ward visits and walkabouts that residents continue to really value the work being done in their homes and communities. However, tenant satisfaction is mixed and it's important that as a responsible landlord we listen to and act upon their views."
The independent review was carried out by consultants Campbell Tickell, who following their investigation, proposed four different options for the future delivery of housing services. The independent review recommended bringing the services back under direct council management, with an integrated leadership structure as an interim measure.
Cabinet has approved the recommendations, however complete council control is subject to a formal six-week consultation period with tenants and leaseholders, which will take place in the New Year.
Cllr Foreman added: "Bringing council housing back in-house would give us the opportunity to ensure services are joined up and streamlined, helping us deliver our vision of building strong communities where people are healthy and well.
"It would also put the borough in a stronger position with regards to devolution, mirroring other local authorities in the region who have brought housing services back under one roof."
For further information, visit www.southtynesidehomes.org.uk/housingreview.