Con­sul­ta­tion costs £36,000

Stockport Times West - - BUSINESS -

COUN­CIL bosses are set to spend more than £36,000 on an ex­er­cise to de­cide the fu­ture of its so­cial hous­ing man­age­ment – de­spite the fact that things could stay ex­actly the same.

Stock­port Coun­cil is ask­ing res­i­dents to have their say on how the coun­cil’s hous­ing stock should be man­aged, with the pos­si­bil­ity of ser­vices be­ing taken back in-house.

A 10-year, £53m con­tract with arm’s-length body Stock­port Homes, to man­age and main­tain coun­cil hous­ing, is due to end in Oc­to­ber next year. The deal af­fects 11,500 prop­er­ties.

The coun­cil says the ‘op­tions ap­praisal’, where the fu­ture of the body is con­sid­ered, was al­ways planned to go ahead be­fore the end of the deal.

Ini­tially, there were four op­tions – main­tain­ing the ar­range­ment, mov­ing ser­vices back to the coun­cil, sell­ing-off hous­ing to an ex­ist­ing hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion or trans­fer­ring stock to a new hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion.

Op­tions have now been whit­tled down to two – main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo or tak­ing man­age­ment back in-house.

A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest by our sis­ter news­pa­per the Manch­ester Evening News re­vealed the ex­er­cise will run-up a bill of £36,019. So­lu­tions Hous­ing Con­sul­tancy, ap­pointed to in­de­pen­dently ad­vise ten­ants, will be paid around £21,000.

Stock­port Coun­cil faces un­prece­dented bud­get cuts of £22.5m in 2015/16.

The coun­cil says the ap­praisal was rec­om­mended by the gov­ern­ment and that bosses were ad­vised to em­ploy an im­par­tial ten­ant ad­vi­sor.

A spokes­woman said the ap­praisal has been ‘fair and trans­par­ent’ and the cash had helped re­duce op­tions for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Stock­port Coun­cil leader Sue Der­byshire added: “Even if we are do­ing things right, that doesn’t mean we’ve wasted that money.”

Labour group spokes­woman, Coun Sheila Bai­ley, said: “De­spite vi­cious cuts to our pub­lic ser­vices, af­fect­ing ev­ery res­i­dent in Stock­port and re­sult­ing in the loss of over 1,000 lo­cal jobs, tax pay­ers’ money is still find­ing its way into the pock­ets of con­sul­tants.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.