The new structure for council housing in Cornwall got the go ahead from the Council's Cabinet this morning. It means that council housing will be transferred to an 'arms length management organisation' - a private company which will do the job previously done by the authority itself. The new company will collect rents, manage repairs and run the HomeChoice allocations service.
In Cornwall, there are council houses in the former North Cornwall and Caradon areas and an existing ALMO in the former Carrick. That organisation (Carrick Housing) is a three star business which is recognised as having done a great job for tenants there.
The ALMO may be a private company, but the organisation will be limited by a set of restrictions which mean that tenants themselves will see virtually no change. The organisation will be run by a board of 6 tenant reps, 6 councillors and 6 independent people brought in for their specific expertise.
The process of changing to an ALMO has involved lots of consultation with the tenants reps and door knocking exercises on many housing estates. I regret that there won't be a formal ballot for all tenants, but I have no doubt that, if there were, the majority of those who vote would back the change.
This isn't going to be a major change for most residents (most won't notice the difference) but it is a step in the direction of seeking to provide a better service to the tenants of Cornwall.