Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Clare Cummins, Cabinet Member for Housing Services, presented the report which updated Members on the in-principle decision to return the management of housing stock to the Council’s direct control following a Strategy Housing Review and Tenants Test of Opinion. Members discussed the report, welcoming the proposal to transfer functions from 15 January 2024. The significance of the governance review was noted, as was the importance of including tenant voice through a forum or within the Board itself. It was noted that governance work was on track, and the ambition was for Six Town Housing to align with the neighbourhood approach elsewhere in the Council.
Members had a discussion in Part B regarding staffing during the Strategic Housing Review, and it was noted that proposals would be brought to Cabinet in due course regarding staffing structures to ensure sufficient leadership capacity from both the transfer of Six Town and the new regulatory responsibilities for Social Housing.
1. Noted the work undertaken since the last update to Cabinet in October 2023;
2. Approved the return of Six Town Housing to direct Council control through a mutually agreed termination of the Management Agreement;
3. Agree that, subject to the support of the recognised Trade Unions through the Local Government Services Consultation Meeting:
· Consultation with affected Council staff on changes to structures and responsibilities should begin on 13th November for a period of 30 days.
· The Director of People & Inclusion should ask Six Town Housing to commence formal TUPE consultation with Six Town Housing staff following the same timeline
4. Noted the transfer of housing management functions will take effect from 15th January 2024;
5. Instructed the Director of Law & Governance to enter into legal arrangements to support the termination and the return of stock to Council ownership; and
6. Approved the restructure of Council Chief Officer responsibilities to support new responsibilities, subject to the outcome of consultation as described in the report.
Reasons for the decision:
To approve the return of housing management to the Council.
Other options considered and rejected:
· The Council may continue with the existing management arrangements and continue to have the Housing Stock managed by Six Town Housing. This option has been rejected by the Council as tenants’ views which were reported to the October Cabinet were in favour of a return to the Council directly managing the stock. Six Town Housing agree to the mutual termination of the management arrangements.
· The Council could consider a hybrid arrangement where the management function could sit across a range of third-party providers, this option was discounted as the Council needs to ensure compliance with new social housing regulator standards by 1 April 2024. The contracting and procurement work required to appoint a third party would take time and resources best spent ensuring compliance with the housing regulator standards.
Publication date: 09/11/2023
Date of decision: 07/11/2023
Decided at meeting: 07/11/2023 - Cabinet