A council in the North East with around 19,000 homes has resolved to shut down its ALMO and bring housing management in house.
Gateshead Council’s cabinet agreed to scrap The Gateshead Housing Company (TGHC) at a meeting this week.
The authority said the move will ensure its housing stock is maintained “as effectively and efficiently as possible” and help to “deliver a new vision for all the council’s housing functions”.
It follows a consultation with residents, which indicated strong support for the proposal to shut TGHC with a 12% response rate.
Repairs and maintenance emerged as the most important priority for the vast majority of residents “with a clear expressed need to improve the current service”, an officer’s report to councillors said.
TGHC was placed under review by its parent council in July 2019, and the Labour-run council stated its preference to close the ALMO in March of this year.
The review came after the Regulator of Social Housing declared in April 2019 that the council had breached its Home Standard over serious fire, asbestos and electrical safety failings.
Gateshead’s new in-house service is expected to launch in April 2021 with TGHC dissolved around that time.
More than 800 employees from the ALMO are expected to transfer to the council following a consultation process.
Financial projections indicate that Gateshead Council’s Housing Revenue Account will fall into a deficit by 2025/26, meaning it does not currently have a viable 30-year business plan in place as required.
It is currently developing an efficiencies programme with hopes to save £6m through efficiencies over the next four years.
Reintegrating housing services “with the necessary leadership, capacity and focus on driving change and efficiencies will be an important first step to achieving a sustainable HRA”, the officer’s report said.
TGHC is one of a dwindling number of ALMOs across England.