North London social landlord Barnet Homes has taken on responsibility for additional housing services from Barnet Council.
The transfer is one of only two instances in London where housing needs and resources services are being passed from a council to an arm’s length management organisation (ALMO).
Besides managing and maintaining 15,000 tenanted and leasehold properties on behalf of Barnet Council, Barnet Homes will now be responsible for advising customers on housing issues, preventing homelessness wherever possible, and assessing whether those who have (or are about to) become homeless are eligible for housing in the private or social housing sector.
It also becomes responsible for maintaining the supply of these properties and for managing temporary accommodation.
The transfer of the services means people will deal with one organisation only from the point of becoming homeless to the stage where they may no longer need a council tenancy.
The move, which sees more than 80 council staff transfer into Barnet Homes under TUPE arrangements, will also generate savings to the taxpayer by reducing duplication of tasks.
Barnet Homes Chief Executive, Tracey Lees, said: “Bringing these housing services together into one organisation will benefit both the customer and the taxpayer.
“By combining a public sector ethos with a business mentality, Barnet Homes has been able to cut operating costs by more than 15 per cent over the past few years while overseeing increased resident satisfaction with services.
“We look forward to achieving similar success with the additional housing services, helping us deliver on our vision of great service at great value.”
The transfer of the housing services comes just two months after Barnet Homes became part of The Barnet Group, a new local authority trading company owned by Barnet Council. That move also saw the creation a sister adult social care company, Your Choice Barnet, following the transfer from the council of a range of services for people with learning and physical disabilities.
Barnet Homes business support staff, such as finance and HR, are now providing services across The Barnet Group, and the group also shares a Chief Executive and Chair.