Council set to axe Ashfield Homes and bring council housing back in house

10-2986-1'Ashfield Homes
10-2986-1'Ashfield Homes

The company that manages council housing in Ashfield is set to be scrapped - with the management of the district’s housing stock brought back under direct council control.

Ashfield District Council’s cabinet is set to discuss proposals to return the management of council housing to the authority at a meeting being held next Thursday.

A report on the issue states that moving the service in-house would offer the greatest opportunity to improve service performance and value for money, deliver better financial viability for council housing and would remove organisational barriers.

The move would mean tenants and leaseholders would see no change to frontline services and it would be delivered by the same members of staff.

Ashfield District Council owns over 6,800 homes in the district.

Ashfield Homes Ltd (AHL) was in 2002 as an ‘Arms-Length Management Organisation’ (ALMO), whereby Ashfield District Council delegated the majority of its housing management functions to AHL.

The council is the sole shareholder of AHL and retains ownership of the housing stock being managed.

There is a 25-year shareholder agreement between the parties, with break clauses allowing termination or continuation of the agreement, every five years.

As part of the current five year review, a thorough review of the housing service and Ashfield Homes Ltd was recently undertaken, considering value for money, performance, financial viability, stakeholder views and links to Ashfield District Council corporate priorities.

The recommendations are that the best outcome for tenants and residents would be for the housing service, currently provided by Ashfield Homes, to be brought back in house.

Housing is a priority for Ashfield District Council and the recommended approach would mean the council has more control over the future of council housing in the district, as well as making sure housing is aligned with other council priorities.

If given the go ahead by cabinet, the council would carry out a test of opinion of tenants and consult leaseholders and other residents to find out their views on this proposal, before a final recommendation to a full council meeting on March 10, 2016.