By ANISAH ARIF
The independent review into Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing is asking Cabinet members to strengthen the governance of the organisation over the next 12-18 months.
A report was completed over the last year to ensure that the management arrangements in place are the most effective to deliver a high quality, value for money and safe service for tenant and the council.
Councillor Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The circumstances today are different to those when KNH was formed in 2002. At that time we saw the move to ALMO (Arm’s Length Management Organisation) as a way of securing huge investment to bring our homes up to standard. This was very successful, but it is right that we ensure that model is still the right one.
“In the light of the Grenfell disaster and the Hackitt report regarding safety, we commissioned the review to ensure governance is the best it can be, for assurance that tenants are safe in their homes and feel their voice is heard, and that we maximize the opportunities to integrate housing services with the Council’s wider services and the health and social care agenda”.
The report outlines two options for the future management of KNH – moving the service fully back into the Council or continuing as an ALMO but with stronger governance arrangements.
Councillor Scott said: “I will ask Cabinet colleagues to consider the report and agree the recommendation to put in place interim arrangements for 12 to 18 months to strengthen the governance structures in KNH. After that the Council can review the arrangements in the light of any new policy and regulatory regimes, including the expected government green paper.
“The aim of these interim arrangements will be to clarify the respective roles of the Council and KNH- where the Council has ultimate accountability for the homes, the policies, strategies and the Housing Revenue Account, who KNH will have a single purpose to manage and maintain the stock on behalf of the Council. We will all focus on improving services to tenants and residents”.
If Cabinet agree, a strengthened board will be formed in January made up of tenants’ representatives, councillors and a council officer.