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Shapps to cut back Government role in council house transfers

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Shapps to cut back Government role in council house transfers

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

Shapps to cut back Government role in council house transfers Shapps to cut back Government role in council house transfers

The Government is planning to cut back its role in the process that allows council tenants to takeover the management of homes and estates, under proposals published today.

It wants to streamline the 'Right to Manage' regulations and cut back the piles of paperwork involved in transferring management responsibilities to a tenant organisation, speeding up the handover process.

Currently just two percent of council homes are managed by tenants, with around 250 Tenant Management Organisations exercising their statutory 'Right to Manage', affecting some 80,000 homes.

As such, tenant organisations exist across the country including the Bloomsbury Estate, Birmingham, the Childwall Valley Estate, South Liverpool and the Pembrooke Estate, Plymouth.

In order to speed up the process, Mr Shapps wants to scrap the requirement on councils to notify the Secretary of State of the results of the ballot of affected tenants; and also bin the requirement to send a copy of the TMO management agreement to the Secretary of State.

The requirements were originally intended to enable Government to satisfy itself about the level of support for tenants’ proposals and to monitor take-up of the Right to Manage.

However, it feels it is no longer necessary and that they only "serve to reinforce a perception that Government has a role to play in local Right to Manage decisions, or subsequent monitoring."

It adds that responsibility for transferring the management of local services to tenants "is a matter for local decision; not one for Government".

Shapps also plans to strengthen the right of council tenants where they request the ownership of council homes in their neighbourhood be transferred from the council to a local housing association.

Mr Shapps said: "Last year's 'broom army' action in the aftermath of the riots demonstrated the real difference a community can make when they come together for the good of their area. The rights I'm strengthening today can put decision making power into the hands of the tenants who know their neighbourhoods best.

"I want to make it easier than ever for council tenants to take charge of local services, from minor repairs to major regeneration. And it will no longer be acceptable for councils to dismiss tenants' proposals for improvement out of hand.

"Nobody knows the needs of a neighbourhood better than the local community. Now I want to see tenants use these powers to prove us right."

The consultation runs until 23 May 2012.

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