Headlines: June 30th, 2011

The ownership of council homes across England would transfer to the community for the first time if proposals published in a new report are accepted by the Government.

Community and council ownership on a large-scale is one of three options for the future of council housing considered in a report released by the National Federation of Arms Length Management Organisations – ALMOs . The new models aim to provide greater opportunities for tenant involvement in the running of council housing and to enable ALMOs to leverage off-balance sheet, private finance for the first time.

Currently ALMOs manage almost one million council properties across England, half of all council housing. The first ALMOs were set up in 2002 to provide council tenants with a greater say in how their homes were managed and to access the government’s decent homes programme of home improvements. However, most ALMOs have now completed their programmes and are seeking clarification over their future.

The report sets out alternative options which could involve a long-term management contract or transfer to a Community and Council owned organisation. This would be a fundamental change to the ALMO’s constitution and would transfer ownership to the community, but on a different basis to a current stock transfer.

All the options aim to retain the strong partnerships developed between ALMOs and their local authorities as well as the focus on tenant empowerment and involvement.

Alison Inman, NFA Chair, said: “This report is the culmination of many months of work looking into how the ALMO model could evolve beyond Decent Homes to remain attractive to tenants but also financially viable.”