The decision, taken by Cabinet members on 20 October 2020, follows a major engagement exercise with tenants over the summer and lays the foundations for improvements to homes and neighbourhoods for over 22,000 Kirklees residents.
Since 2002, council housing in Kirklees has been managed and maintained by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH). Over the past year, the council and KNH have been looking at options for the future management of council housing that can deliver the best possible service for people, homes and communities across Kirklees.
An independent report by the Local Government Association, published in November 2019, recommended that the council’s ambitions would be better delivered through a new model of housing management. A council scrutiny panel also took a detailed look at all the potential options.
In June 2020, Cabinet agreed, in principle, that a single, council-run, service would meet its ambitions. By bringing housing management and maintenance services in-house, the council believes it could be more accountable to tenants and ensure that local priorities on issues like health, inequalities and the environment could be delivered more effectively.
Before making a final decision, Cabinet wanted to make sure tenants had a say. Since then, over 2,000 Kirklees residents have taken part in the engagement exercise during which the council put its proposal for bringing the service into the local authority. Most people who gave a view on the council’s proposal supported it.
Tenants also told the council about their hopes and priorities for the future. The council has pledged to use resident feedback to build the new service.
KNH’s responsibilities will now transfer to the council at the end of March 2021. The changes will not affect the rights and status of tenants.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Democracy, Councillor Cathy Scott, said: “This is the right decision and an exciting moment for the future of housing in Kirklees. Bringing Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing and the council together means we can achieve more for tenants and communities.
“A new model means we can work together more effectively to achieve the things that really matter to people and we will be accountable, as a single organisation, for delivering them.
“High quality homes are essential for people to thrive. So it’s right that we have listened to independent experts, councillors and - most importantly - tenants themselves before we came to this conclusion.
“That’s exactly how we intend to go on, because the most important people in all of this are tenants. This decision will give residents a strong voice in shaping their homes and communities for the long term. We’ve started this process with a listening exercise and that is the spirit in which we will continue. This is about delivering the very best housing that works for those who live here.”