Council plans to change the management of council housing in Kirklees
Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has agreed to start to engage with tenants to hear their views about the local authority directly undertaking the management and maintenance of council housing in the borough.
The Council owns, and is the landlord for, 22,000 homes in Kirklees (about one in eight of all residential housing) which are currently managed on its behalf by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH).
What does this decision mean?
Today (2 June 2020), Cabinet has set out its preference for this to be done directly by Kirklees Council in the future and is now seeking the views of tenants and staff about this change.
Why has this happened?
The proposals are part of the council’s objectives to encourage place-based working – which means working closer with residents and better understanding and addressing challenges individuals and communities face.
They are also consistent with the recommendation in the 2019 Corporate Peer Challenge which recognised the contribution to the Council’s ambitions that KNH colleagues make and could make further if part of the Council rather than a separate organisation.
The decision to take back management of housing also aims to help residents to remain well and independent in their homes for as long as possible.
KNH has played a key role in meeting the housing needs of Kirklees residents and this move allows the council to further build on this.
However, in line with national trends, Cabinet believes that the time is right to bring this service in-house.
KNH staff have been increasingly involved in supporting the broader council activities and have played a critical role in recent weeks particularly through supporting the community response to the coronavirus pandemic.
There will also be a renewed focus on reducing the carbon footprint of council houses to support Kirklees’ ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.
What happens now?
The council will now carry out an engagement with tenants on the proposed changes so they can help shape how housing management will work.
Cllr Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing and Democracy said: “This is a decision we have made to meet the changing needs of our residents in Kirklees.
“Taking back the management of our housing stock will help us to ensure people live in safe, affordable and suitable accommodation that meets the needs of individuals and families.
“As well as improving and maintaining the quality of the houses we own, we also have a real opportunity here to do so much more. We want to work closer than ever with people living in council housing so we can better understand the challenges they face and tackle them together.
“We recognise the contribution Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing has made but like other councils, we will now consider a more direct management approach to housing support that will benefit our residents.”