In December 2022, Mayor & Cabinet decided to bring the housing services back under direct management of the Council.
A decision of this type has many complexities. Tenants need to be informed how to contact their new landlord – Lewisham Council.
It should be remembered that Lewisham Homes was an ALMO – an arms length management organisation. This means that it had a separate and distinct management structure, a separate Board and separate accounts. The accounts were included in the overall financial accounts of the local authority as a group account shown separately.
Staff and their contracts require formal consultation. Lewisham Council has announced that this is now closed for all transferring staff. Some 56 staff have now transferred to the Council.
Lewisham Homes had a development function. It built some of the social homes that Lewisham Council promised to build. This part of the operation returned to the direct management of the Council on 1st February 2023 and ICT, Technology, Data and Digital, Finance, Temporary Accommodation and Tenancy Management Organisations services on 1st May 2023.
Lewisham Council state that Service Level Agreements are in place and Lewisham Council will provide both finance and ICT services back to Lewisham Homes until the remaining services transfer on 1st October 2023. This will enable Lewisham Homes to carry out the residual functions that it has today.
Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Sophie Davies said: “A robust reporting and monitoring programme structure is in place with closer working and joint workstreams across both organisations. The programme will now concentrate on the final transfer target date of 1st October 2023, involving around 500 staff, whilst ensuring minimal impact on services to residents.”
A restructure of the senior management of Lewisham Council to incorporate the housing management changes is underway. The formal Appointments Committee to fill the Executive Director of Housing post was held on Monday, 22nd May 2023.
In answer to a further question, promises were given to update Lewisham Council’s website with details of all the housing related restructure plans as soon as possible.
A report on progress of the Housing Futures programme is due to be presented to Lewisham Council’s executive Mayor and Cabinet in June.