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People living on URH estates will not be affected by closure decision

People living on housing estates supported by United Residents’ Housing (URH) have been reassured that they will not see any impact following its decision to cease business.

United Residents’ Housing (URH) will stop business following a decision made by its board at an extraordinary meeting.

URH – which supports four tenant management organisations to manage 2,500 homes on behalf of Lambeth Council – made the decision for a number of reasons.

URH was set up when Government policy stated that councils required arms length management organisations (ALMOs) to manage their housing stock in order to get access to Decent Homes funding. This is no longer necessary and the council felt that one ALMO (Lambeth Living) is sufficient to manage its housing stock, and offered better value for money.

Councillor Pete Robbins, Cabinet Member for Housing Management, said: “Recently, the council has had reason to question the role of URH as we no longer need a separate ALMO to access Decent Homes funding for the four estates they managed.

“The Housing Commission recommended that Lambeth retain Lambeth Living as its main housing management provider and for that reason, the council has had to reconsider the role of URH. We came to the conclusion that URH does not presently deliver value for money.

“The URH board has accepted that recommendation. Its responsibilities will now be taken over by the council and Lambeth Living.  We believe this will lead to improvements in services to tenants on the four estates previously managed by URH and will offer much better value for money.

“We’d like to thank and recognise URH and its staff for the work they have done for tenants in Lambeth over the past six years. Under URH’s leadership, it achieved a two star rating from the Audit Commission and its constituent TMOs achieved a 68 per cent satisfaction rating in 2011 from residents. It also managed a successful Community Energy Savings Programme on the Loughborough Estate where energy improvement works took place, including the installation of new gas boilers and central heating, windows and doors to over 600 homes. In addition, a number of excellent community initiatives have been developed and the council is committed to ensuring this excellent work continues.”

United Residents Housing was a management organisation for four resident-managed estates in the London Borough of Lambeth (Blenheim Gardens RMO, Loughborough EMB, Roupell Park RMC and Waltham RMO).

Following this decision to close, a six month plan will be implemented, which will focus upon a number of issues, including transferring relevant clienting functions to Lambeth Living and the council as appropriate and arranging alternative employment for its staff.

The estates will still have the same on site management through their TMOs, and residents will continue to be represented by the same tenant representatives. Residents will not notice very much change in the short term, but in the longer term we expect the new arrangement will lead to better value for money and an improved service.

Investigations into a whistle blowing allegation at URH have been concluded and no evidence related to this has been found by the council’s internal auditors. These investigations had no bearing at all on the council’s decision to recommend closure of URH.

 

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