Kirklees Council plans ‘more direct management’ of council housing

Kirklees Council has declared its intention to bring the management and maintenance of its council housing back in-house.

The council’s cabinet says it plans to take a more ‘direct management’ approach to its homes, which are currently managed by the ALMO Kirklees Neighborhood Housing (KNH)

The council added that it has made the decision in order to meet the ‘changing needs’ of residents in Kirklees.

Cllr Cathy Scott, cabinet member for housing and democracy, said: “Taking back the management of our housing stock will help us to ensure people live in safe, affordable and suitable accommodation that meets the needs of individuals and families.

“As well as improving and maintaining the quality of the houses we own, we also have a real opportunity here to do so much more. We want to work closer than ever with people living in council housing so we can better understand the challenges they face and tackle them together.”

Kirklees Council currently owns and is the landlord for 22,000 homes in Kirklees – around one eighth of all residential housing in the borough.

The council says that the recommendations of the Local Government Association’s 2019 Corporate Peer Challenge, and the council’s aims to encourage ‘place-based working’ and reduce the carbon footprint of its homes, are just some of the reasons it plans to regain oversight of their management.

KNH staff have been increasingly involved with the council’s activities anyway in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it says.

The council stressed that ‘the time is right’ to bring its housing back in-house and ‘further build’ on the ‘key’ role that KNH has played in meeting the needs of residents.

Cllr Scott added: “We recognise the contribution Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing has made but like other councils, we will now consider a more direct management approach to housing support that will benefit our residents.”

The council now plans to consult with KNH tenants and staff to hear their views about the proposed changes.

Kirklees Council is not the only Northern council currently planning to bring its council housing back under its own management.

Last week, Manchester City Council announced it will review its relationship with Northwards Housing, which currently looks after around 13,000 council homes in north Manchester.

An independent business case review is set to be reported back to Manchester City Council’s executive committee in September of this year.

Photo credit: Richard Harvey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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