ALMO improvements put on ice after poor rating
An arm?s-length management organisation will have to delay its improvement programme after it received only one star in its Audit Commission inspection, meaning it cannot yet draw down any government funding. The Gateshead Housing Company, which is in round three of the programme, will have to get at least two stars in its reinspection before it can access the money to improve homes. Only five other ALMOS have previously failed to meet the quality standard. Four of them were in Leeds. The commission praised the organisation?s customer care and performance on rents. But it said it had a weak approach to allocations. Bill Fullen, chief executive of the housing company, told Inside Housing he was bitterly disappointed with the result, but he hoped to have a reinspection in around six months? time and get two stars then. He said he was still confident the ALMO could meet the decent homes target. Housing Quality Network chief executive Alistair McIntosh said: ? I am completely bewildered by this decision. I have never seen better looking or better kept housing estates than in Gateshead.? In separate reports, the Audit Commission also gave Redbridge Council a no-star inspection rating for its housing management service ? just a year after it was given no stars in an assessment of its repairs and maintenance service. In a statement, the council said many issues identified in the report had already been addressed. Fylde Council has become the first council to move its housing service out of the Audit Commission?s ?support and supervision?. It has now been given one star for its private sector housing service and promising prospects for improvement, following two consecutive no-star ratings.