Westminster residents will now get their chance to help shape the future of housing services. This comes as the Council’s Cabinet approved plans this evening to bring the management of housing services back in-house.
The decision means that services currently provided by arms-length management organisation CityWest Homes will transfer to the Council on 1 April 2019. Approval has followed feedback from residents and ward councillors, along with an independent report - all of which highlighted serious issues.
The council has been clear that engaging thoroughly with all of our tenants and leaseholders is key to restore trust in the service. Residents’ consultation events will start next month as well as drop-in sessions and meetings with residents’ groups.
Cllr Andrew Smith, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services, said: “As we’ve made clear, our residents deserve the very best. That’s why it’s important to hear their views at such an important time following the Cabinet decision to bring the council’s housing services back in-house.
“The independent review said that residents are being failed by CityWest Homes, and so this decision is in the best interests of our residents.
“We’re already working closely with residents’ groups and associations, and these residents’ consultation events will be key in helping us deliver the high standards they deserve.”
The residents’ consultation sessions confirmed so far are:
• 26 November 2018 from 3pm and 7pm, ETC Venues, opposite Pimlico tube station, SW1 2QQ.
• 1 December 2018 from 1pm to 5pm, Greenside Community Centre, NW8 8SR.
• 24 January 2019 from 3pm to 7pm, Stowe Centre, W2 5ES.
• 28 January from 3pm to 7pm, Moberly Sports Centre, NW10 3NB.
The council commissioned an independent review by Campbell Tickell in late 2017.
However, the council’s first priority was to improve the service and customer experience for tenants and leaseholders and, while the independent review was in progress, immediate improvement action was taken to address these failings.
This included changes to improve the customer contact centre, and action to address issues with the repairs service such as a new team focused on repairing leaks.
A preliminary report was submitted to the council by Campbell Tickell in March 2018. A task group of the Housing, Finance and Customer Services Policy and Scrutiny Committee was commissioned in June 2018 and reported in September 2018. The final review from Campbell Tickell was also provided in September 2018.
On the basis of the evidence provided by the independent review, the task group, and through feedback from residents and ward councillors, the council announced its intention to bring CityWest Homes back in-house on 20 September 2018.
The council is working closely with CityWest Homes employees over any proposed changes, and will consult with them on an ongoing basis.
Media enquiries - Westminster City Council media team on 020 7641 2259.
Notes for editors
• CityWest Homes provides housing services for over 12,000 social housing tenants and 9,000 leaseholders for Westminster City Council. It was set up as an arms-length management organisation (ALMO) in 2002.
• A copy of the Cabinet paper and independent reviews by Campbell Tickell are available at: https://committees.westminster.gov.uk/documents/s29431/CityWest%20Homes.pdf, https://committees.westminster.gov.uk/documents/s29432/Appendix%201%20-%... and https://committees.westminster.gov.uk/documents/s29433/Appendix%202%20-%...
• Tenants and leaseholders’ statutory entitlements are unaffected by this change in housing management.
• The plan is to bring housing management services back in-house with the agreement of CWH. The Council will inform the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government of its decision in due course. There will be an extensive consultation with residents and leaseholders on the future of the service.
• Engagement has taken place since 2017 with the interviewing of residents, staff and other stakeholders alongside the Campbell Tickell review of CWH. In March 2018 and September 2018, Campbell Tickell released reports detailing levels of engagement.
• Further engagement also took place during June – Sept 2018 with the Council’s Scrutiny Committee appointing a Task Group to review CWH. The Committee’s report of September 2018 listed those who were interviewed during that process.