In a surprise move Lambeth Council have announced that the Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) that manages housing in the Borough – Lambeth Living – is to be brought back ‘in-house’ under Council control with the ALMO being dismantled.
Whilst the press release is naturally positive, the fact that the Council feel it necessary to bring Lambeth Living back in-house, despite having a policy elsewhere (Communications, Events etc.) to spin out private sector businesses, suggests that they have finally realised that the unacceptable performance of Lambeth Living for tenants and leaseholders is, quite frankly, unacceptable.
We still need to see what the impact will be for tenants and leaseholders over the coming few weeks but there is certainly a feeling amongst some that any change has to be a positive given peoples negative experience of Lambeth Living to date. However, as we know all too well with Lambeth Council over the years – changing the name on the tin doesn’t change the contents – other structural changes with the way in which the organisation works and who it is accountable to are needed as well.
Pirate Party PPC for Vauxhall Mark Chapman said:
Whilst I am cautiously positive about this news – it has been long overdue in my opinion given the issues that Lambeth Living has persistently had over the years – it remains to be seen if Lambeth Council are willing to take the hard decisions about the structural ways in which Lambeth Living needs to change rather than just changing the name and ownership model. Ideally this would be a great opportunity for the new organisation to show the rest of Lambeth Council what it looks like to be responsible and responsive to tenants, leaseholders and taxpayers rather than to Council executives or shareholders. In order for this to happen however, it will require structural and cultural change of the organisation which I fear will not happen, with council residents continuing to bear the brunt of poor performance.