Move to boost council housing
Published on 4th April 2012
Town hall chiefs in Sandwell are to seek the views of council tenants on a new plan to keep improving their homes and services.
Leaders believe that bringing Sandwell Homes - the organisation that runs council housing in the borough - back home to the local authority's control would save substantial money.
This saved money would be ploughed into improving homes and services.
29,000 council properties are currently run by Sandwell Homes, which is separate from the local authority and run at 'arms length' from it.
Today, Councillor Mahboob Hussain, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for service improvement, said the local authority would be launching a consultation later this month to ask tenants what they thought of the plan.
He said the move followed the ending of money from the Government for Sandwell Homes to invest in upgrading council housing.
Councillor Hussain said: "That money is no longer available.
"Sandwell Homes has done a lot of good work to improve housing over the years for thousands of tenants through its 'decent homes' programme - and we thank Sandwell Homes' board, chair and employees.
"As a council we need to find ways to carry on improving homes and services, building on the good work already done and making things even better for council tenants.
"Bringing Sandwell Homes back home to the council's control could save substantial money through greater efficiencies.
"We believe we can save cash by slimming down the organisation's management structure and cutting out duplication of 'back office' services.
"Every penny saved would be money available to invest in improving homes and services to tenants."
Councillor Hussain said services currently run by Sandwell Homes could be brought under council control by April 2013, with earlier efficiencies taking place sooner subject to both organisations' agreement.
He added: "Tenants' views on our proposals are very important and an independent tenant advisor will carry out this consultation."