Manchester City Council announces social housing review

Manchester City Council has launched a review into how council-owned social homes are managed in the city.

The review, Manchester’s first in four years, will look at the council’s arm’s length management organisation (ALMO) model, as most council-owned social housing in the city is managed by the ALMO Northwards Housing.

Independent consultants will undertake an ‘in-depth’ review of the ALMO model, including a consultation with Northwards tenants, to help the council decide how Manchester’s social housing is best managed in the future.

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “We want Manchester residents to benefit from high quality, well-managed social housing. The most recent review of the Council’s ALMO (arm’s length management organisation) was in 2016 and it is now timely that we do so again.

“Zero carbon retrofit, further fire safety investment and the need for continued investment in our existing homes brings with it huge financial challenges. It’s therefore right we should take the time to reflect on the challenges ahead and the best way to meet these.”

Northwards Housing currently looks after around 13,000 council homes in north Manchester after it took over their management in December 2005.

Currently Manchester City Council’s preferred option is to bring management of its social housing back in-house, subject to consultation.

One reason for this is due to changes to the Housing Revenue Account, with the council saying it ‘immediately’ needs to review its costs to support long-term investment into its housing stock.

The consultation will look at how well the properties are managed and whether the council is getting value for money.

Tenants of Northwards properties will also be asked for their feedback to gain insight into how well they feel their homes are looked after and their wishes.

Sue Abbott, chair of the Northwards Board, said: “We will continue to work tirelessly in the best interests of tenants, which is something I can say as a council tenant of many years’ standing.

“We recognise that the council needs to periodically review how best to manage and repair council-owned homes, and we will fully participate in the review to ensure that tenants’ voices are clearly heard.”

The independent business care review will be reported back to the council’s executive committee in September this year.

Photo credit: Northwards Housing

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