Monday, 06 July 2015

Council set to agree 30-year deal for ALMO

A council will decide tonight whether to award its arm’s-length management organisation a 30-year contract to continue managing its homes.

Manchester Council officers have recommended to their executive that Northwards ALMO is given a 30-year contract with a five yearly break clause to manage around 13,000 properties in the north of the city.

The report for councillors says the agreement will allow the council to end the contract ’ if there is serious performance failure which is not rectified within agreed timescales’.

‘A long-term agreement will provide both the council and Northwards with greater certainty in terms of planning their business plans,’ the report states.

The agreement comes as other councils are dissolving their ALMOs and taking housing management back in-house. Sheffield, Charnwood and Islington councils are among those taking work back in house, and other local authorities, such as Oldham, have transferred their properties to a housing association.

In a value for money review of the Manchester ALMO, comparing it to five other ALMOs, officers found Northwards offered an ‘overall high quality service coming first out of the six benchmarked ALMOs’.

A survey of tenants found 88 per cent were happy for Northwards to continue managing their homes.

Robin Lawler, chief executive of Northwards Housing, said: ‘It shows that they have faith in Northwards and that they want us to continue the excellent work we have already done in north Manchester. At Northwards, we are about more than just homes.’

“We want to work with the council and other partners to make the area a great place to live, while improving people’s chances of getting a job and getting a good education.”

The report to the executive proposes the ALMO is paid £20.8 million in 2013/14 and its management fee will be negotiated annually and calculated on a per property basis.

Northwards will be expected to promote economic development of north Manchester, improve the lives of residents in the area and develop neighbourhoods as part of the agreement.

The executive decided to keep its properties in north Manchester and for Northwards to continue to manage the stock in July last year. The council and ALMO have been working on the content and term of the management agreement over the summer.

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