Have your say on plans to improve council housing in Brent

22 December 2016

 

Tenants and leaseholders in Brent can have their say in a consultation on plans to improve council housing in the borough.

 

 

Since 2002, around 11,500 local homes have been managed by Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) which is a company owned by the council but operates independently.

 

 

The council no longer believes that BHP is serving the best interests of tenants or leaseholders and wants to make improvements. It also believes that a different approach is needed as the cash available to spend on housing is falling due to changes in Government policy nationally.

 

 

The consultation follows a review of council housing arrangements in Brent which considered the following options: bringing the service back under direct council control; continuing with BHP but with changes or entering into a partnership with another organisation.

 

 

The review included an independent survey of 600 tenants and leaseholders, focus groups with tenants and leaseholders, interviews with young tenants and vulnerable people, workshops with residents' groups and BHP staff and meetings with BHP board members and councillors. It found that some progress had been made in a number of areas but despite this, the review also found that important areas of concern remain which are reflected in poor levels of customer satisfaction particularly when it comes to repairs, anti-social behaviour and overall satisfaction.

 

 

It is clear to the council that residents expect better service standards and improvements and so its preferred option would be to bring council housing management back under direct council control. The council believes this would be the best way to improve services to tenants and leaseholders.

 

 

Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

 

 

"We know that BHP is not performing very well. We know that things are going to get more difficult because of the Government's cuts so we have to do something to improve housing services. Our preferred option is to bring housing management under direct council control but we are launching this consultation because we want to hear from our tenants and leaseholders before we decide what to do.

 

 

"Whether it is making sure repairs happen on time, cutting the grass or servicing the lifts properly, we need to radically improve the quality of services council tenants and leaseholders get. To achieve this we believe we need much better joint working between our housing services and other parts of the council.

 

 

"If the council decides to bring council housing back under its direct control following the consultation, all tenants will remain council tenants with all the same rights they have now."

 

 

The council has now started a 12 week consultation which all tenants and leaseholders can contribute to - Consultation ended 17 March 2017.

 

 

The results of the consultation will be considered by the council's Cabinet who will make a final decision on future housing management services next year.