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21.09.18

Westminster City Council to bring ALMO housing scheme back in-house after performance concerns

Westminster City Council is bringing its arms-length housing body back under the authority’s control as a key Cabinet member claimed there was “no option” other than the move.

CityWest Homes— the housing organisation for the council— had a number of concerns raised and highlighted by residents, leading the council to commission a report into the housing scheme.

The report, published yesterday, confirmed the issues at CityWest Homes raised by residents and ward councillors, and highlighted the need for a culture change and reform of the management board.

A formal decision on the future of CityWest Homes will be taken by the Cabinet on 15 October, subject to consultation. The ALMO provides housing services to 12,000 social housing tenants and 9,000 leaseholders for Westminster City Council.

Cabinet member for housing and customer service for Westminster City Council Cllr Andrew Smith said CityWest Homes is “failing to provide” the best service for residents in the council-owned housing.

In February the local authority fined the housing scheme £15,000 and listed it on Sadiq Khan’s Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker for consumer rights breaches.

“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,” added Cllr Smith. “We believe that this will be the most effective way of driving through the improvements that our residents need to see.

“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.”

The city council said they will be “working closely” with residents over the coming months to ensure that services are effectively delivered.

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Image credit: Wikipedia

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