Cost-saving changes to management of council houses

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Council tenants in Northumberland are being reassured that it will be business as usual as the management of council housing is brought in house today.

Tenants are being advised that they should continue to make contact with the same officer, in the same ways as before, for housing-related matters and that the only changes to services they should see will be improvements.

Homes for Northumberland is the arms-length organisation that has been managing the council’s portfolio of more than 8,000 homes since local government reorganisation back in 2009.

From today, the management of council housing in Northumberland will be brought within the county council – a move which will save hundreds of thousands of pounds each year by avoiding duplication in support services such as finance, ICT and HR. The 250-strong team from Homes for Northumberland will now join Northumberland County Council’s housing service.

Coun Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council said: “While Homes for Northumberland has been doing an extremely good job, by managing council homes directly, we can save the significant costs of running a separate company. The council will strive to be an excellent landlord and we look forward to working closely with our tenants to provide good quality housing and a first-rate service.”

Counr Allan Hepple, cabinet member responsible for housing at Northumberland County Council, said: “We have been working hard to ensure there is a smooth transition to the new management arrangements. The Homes for Northumberland team have looked after our tenants well and we look forward to welcoming them into the council and working with them to continue to improve services and customer satisfaction, while providing value for money for our customers.

“The name Homes for Northumberland will be retained by the council and front-line officers who deal with tenants will not change. Tenants should continue to contact Homes for Northumberland, in the same ways they do now.”

The changes have been backed by tenants. During a recent consultation, 95 per cent of those who responded agreed that the management of council homes should be carried out from within the council, rather than by a separate company.