Council tenants ‘misinformed’

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A LEADING member of Sheffield Homes claims tenants are being denied the chance to make an ‘informed decision’ in a ballot about the future management of their houses which closes tomorrow.

All 42,000 households managed by the company are being asked to vote in whether management should stay with Sheffield Homes - an ‘arms-length management organisation’ or return to council control from 2014.

Sheffield Council said it favours a return to direct management of housing because it would be more efficient, with a layer of management stripped out.

But Janet Dean, who chairs Sheffield Homes board, said: “It is my personal view that tenants have not had the benefit of hearing ‘the case for an Almo’ in the run up to the ballot, but have heard the council put forward its view strongly at the consultation events.

“I have expressed this concern to the council, but understand the process is theirs to design.”

Ms Dean said she believes work by the council to draw up a new management structure for housing - to take place after the ballot - should have been carried out beforehand, with alternatives for management under the council and Sheffield Homes.

She said: “Tenants could then make an informed decision about the management of their homes. Since the management agreement with Sheffield Homes was not due to expire until March 2014, there would have been plenty of time to do that.

“I think I understand some of the reasons why the council wants to manage housing inside the council.

“In my view, most ALMOs, including some very good ones, are working more collaboratively with their councils to provide new and innovative services.”