Westminster set to bring housing ALMO back in-house

Westminster City Council is set to bring its housing arms-length housing organisation (ALMO) CityWest Homes back under its control.

CityWest Homes was set up as an ALMO in 2002 and provides housing services for over 12,000 social housing tenants and 9,000 leaseholders for the London borough.

Westminster City Council’s cabinet is due to vote on bringing it back in-house on 15 October, following concerns about its performance from both residents and councillors.

Westminster City Council has commissioned an independent review into the issues. Whilst this review was under way, the council introduced immediate improvement action to address failings.

This included changes to improve the customer contact centre and action to address issues with the repairs service such as a new team focused on fixing leaks.

A task group of the housing, finance and customer services policy and scrutiny committee also looked into the matter.

The task group’s report further confirms the issues at CityWest Homes raised by residents and ward councillors, including the need for a culture change and reform of the management board so that residents are at the heart of the service.

‘We’re clear that our residents in council-owned housing deserve the best service. Concerns from residents and ward councillors, which have been confirmed by an independent review and now the latest findings from the task group, demonstrates CityWest Homes is failing to provide this, despite action we’ve taken to date,’ said cabinet member for housing and customer service, Cllr Andrew Smith.

‘Along with the council’s leader and cabinet, I believe there is no option now other than to bring the management of council housing under the council’s direct control. We believe that this will be the most effective way of driving through the improvements that our residents need to see,’ added Cllr Smith.

‘Working closely with resident groups and associations, we will now take the necessary steps to restore confidence. Whether renting or leasing a council property, we’re determined to make sure our residents get the service they expect so that they have a safe and secure place they call their home.’

To read the full task force report, click here.


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