Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ALMOs and council housing - the balance sheet so far

The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently issued a Housing Research Summary on Arms Length Management Organisations: Early impacts and process lessons. It is based on research by London South Bank University on these relatively new council-owned companies managing increasing numbers of council homes. It is timely with the tenth ALMO getting the top “three stars” inspection rating last month.

The study’s found:

Overall, ALMOs are delivering significant improvements to homes, contributing to improving the quality of life and the living conditions of residents and communities in local areas.

Its key findings included:

ALMOs are seen as key drivers in creating stable and sustainable communities. Better resourcing of tenant participation is improving access and social inclusiveness. ALMOs are also providing new opportunities for tenant involvement through improved representative structures.

ALMOs have developed new partnerships involving construction and employment

ALMOs have led to significant organisational and cultural change. They are committed to staff, board training and development. There is an impetus to provide the best homes and services for tenants and leaseholders.

It also found ALMOs developing a range of services to local authorities and housing associations. Interesting, it also noted the possibility of ALMOs managing the stock of housing associations – an issue that I have discussed here.

The Study did identify problems and challenges such as the relationships with sponsoring local authorities – but the balance sheet for the development of ALMOs is generally very positive.

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