Big change in air over council homes

THOUSANDS of council homes in Sheffield could be managed again directly by the council.

Tenants are being asked whether they want to revert to the old system or stick with Sheffield Homes, an arm’s length management organisation, which has been running the service for the past seven years.

However, the Labour council is making clear that its preferred option is for homes to return to its direct management.

A consultation exercise is starting, and, whichever option is chosen, it is being spelled out that repairs would still be carried out and rents would be still set in the same way.

The authority believes there may be financial benefits in returning the system in-house, with a commitment to ploughing any savings into houses and housing services.

As well as being the landlord, the council would be responsible for day-to-day management, with all housing work being brought together in a single and subject to decision making through the council’s cabinet.

However, no decisions are being taken until tenants have been consulted and a ballot held in February, before a verdict in March.

An information booklet is being delivered to each of Sheffield’s 42,700 council homes, including a letter from cabinet member Harry Harpham and executive director of communities Richard Webb.

Coun Harpham said: “This is the first part of our consultation with our tenants so we explain in a straightforward way what the two options are and what they would mean for people who live in council housing.”

A touring exhibition will be on the streets from mid-December until mid January.

The present management contract with Sheffield Homes ends on March 31, 2014.