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Lewisham Council to consult on bringing housing services back in-house

Lewisham Homes tenants and leaseholders are set to be consulted on the option to bring housing management services back to the Council.
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Lewisham Homes was set up as an Arm's Length Management Organisation – or ALMO – in 2007, and currently manages about 20,000 homes on behalf of the Council.

A break clause in the contract is coming up, which provides an opportunity to consider how best to deliver – and improve – these important services. Both organisations want to improve services for residents, provide a more joined up service (linking housing and other Council services that residents rely on) and strengthen resident voices.

Other changes also make this a good time to consult residents about bringing services back to the Council. When Lewisham Homes was set up as an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (ALMO) in 2007, ALMOs were able to claim extra grants that councils could not, but this funding is no longer available.

Following the Grenfell fire tragedy, new regulations will also come into force later this year, which will give landlords extra responsibilities which must be carried out by the Council.

It is also expected that bringing the service back in-house could provide better value for money, by not duplicating services.

At a meeting on 6 July, the Mayor and Cabinet agreed to consult tenants and leaseholders on the option to bring the service in-house. They will also be asked about their priorities for their home and what improvements could be made to the service they receive.

The consultation will take place later in the summer and autumn, and will be shaped by early conversations with tenants and leaseholders to make sure the right questions are asked and as many people as possible are reached.

A further report will go to Mayor and Cabinet at the end of the year, when they will make a decision about whether to bring housing management services back in-house.

Cllr Sophie Davis, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness, said:

“This is an important decision, so we’re keen to hear from as many people as possible. Over the summer we’ll be making sure we get out and about to listen to people and understand their thoughts and priorities around service improvements, before making a decision about whether to bring housing management services back in-house. In the meantime, we’re working with Lewisham Homes to invest in our properties, fix repairs and improve standards.”

Ainsley Forbes, Chair of the Lewisham Homes Board, said:

“Our ongoing priority is making sure our tenants and leaseholders receive the best possible services. Lewisham Homes is working closely with the Council to support their consultation and encourage people to have their say.”

Lewisham Council and Lewisham Homes are writing to tenants and leaseholders to update them, and will inform them when the consultation is live.

A series of FAQs is available here.

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