Sunday, 01 March 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.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Melvin Bone

    So someone can get an ALMO to work then...

    Maybe a lesson here for the others?

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  • Most places that had ALMOs had them working well, and in almost all cases working better than the housing departments that preceded them, even if some still had/have a way to go. Most ALMOs were taken back on a political rather than efficiency basis, under a thinly disguised veil of saving a very small budget percentage.

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  • Ernie Gray

    The decision when made says everything about the leadership style of the CEO, Robin Lawler who is currently President of the CIOH. I worked with Robin when he was at Leeds and then as the CEO for one of the six ALMO's at that time. His ability to lead, developm, encourage at all levels and work in collaborative partnerships is a lesson to all ALMO'S.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Do ALMOs still get loads of government dosh to carry out Decent Homes work or can they borrow it?

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  • What a great move in terms of stability for the tenants and customers of Northwards, and what a show of faith in the management and staff.

    I have to agree with no win no fee when he says some decisions to take ALMOs back in house are political. Take Sheffield Homes as an example. The ALMO was always one of the best performers, but the tenants still voted in favour of its demise. Perhaps its a case of 'you don't know what you've got til its gone'!

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  • Well Done to Northwards Housing in gaining the next 30years deal for the ALMO. I know that being involved up to the stage of my heart attack I was involved with the Tenants Advisory Group representing the Fourways Panel, I believe I was part of the process that helped to get where we are today as I was representing the Charlestown area. To those volunteers that continued the good work of the TAG committee Well Done! to them for their ardent support to conclude the paperwork,which unfortunately due to my ill health couldn't continue. Well Done to everybody who was involved . Happy New Year for 2013

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