Haringey Council looks into taking back control of housing
- Credit: Ken Mears
Haringey Council has begun moves to take its housing arm back in-house, but faces accusations it is trying to “sneak through” the change.
Council leader Joseph Ejiofor said the plan is part of a review into building a “fairer” borough.
Haringey Liberal Democrats have questioned the timing of the proposal during the pandemic, when it says opportunities for consultation are "limited”.
Homes for Haringey, set up in 2006, is an arms-length management organisation responsible for council housing, managing more than 20,000 properties and employing around 750 staff.
A consultation will look into bringing it back under council control.
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Cllr Dawn Barnes, Haringey Liberal Democrats’ housing spokesperson, said: "This is not the time to undertake an expensive service reorganisation.
"Labour is using the pandemic as an opportunity to sneak this change through when opportunities for consultation are limited.
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“We have yet to see evidence that bringing Homes for Haringey in-house would have any impact on service delivery, but we know it will cost the council money, at least in the short-term.
“Labour should focus on the issues which are affecting our tenants and leaseholders now, not start yet another needless ideological crusade."
In 2015 the council decided to retain Homes for Haringey following a review of the service by a panel including Cllr Ejiofor, who voted for it to remain.
The review stated that the organisation's performance was “steadily improving”, its satisfaction among tenants was “strong”, and that it had a “significant record of financial savings and efficiencies”.
In a statement, Cllr Ejiofor said: “Housing is our number one priority because we know that a decent, safe home for everyone is one of the most important ways we can build a fairer borough.
“Housing isn’t just about bricks and mortar, it is the foundation for living happy, healthy lives. We are constantly reviewing how we can best deliver on these responsibilities.
"Now more than ever, it is essential that we look for ways to strengthen resident voice, improve accountability, and ensure that we join up services in a way that supports our residents to thrive.
“To this end Cllr Emine Ibrahim (Haringey’s housing chief) and I have asked our staff to begin the process of consulting on bringing Homes for Haringey back in-house as part of Haringey Council."
Full details of the consultation, which will include residents and staff, have not yet been disclosed by the council, which has written to affected parties including tenants about the move.
Any changes will be subject to a vote by the council’s cabinet.