Magazine article Public Finance

Almos Start to Reconsider Their Contracts

Magazine article Public Finance

Almos Start to Reconsider Their Contracts

Article excerpt

Council-owned housing companies are reviewing their contracts with their parent local authorities as part of a drive to achieve better value for money.

Audit Commission inspectors have told arms-length management organisations that they should not assume their council is the most efficient provider of legal and financial services, human resources management and information technology.

Gwyneth Taylor, policy officer at the National Federation of Almos, said an increasing number of more established Almos were studying the service level agreements they had initially signed.

Although she expected most of them to stay with the council, it was possible that some could turn to new providers, or that smaller Almos could team up and negotiate better deals with a single local authority.

Others might even use the threat to outsource as a means of getting a better deal from their council.

'It's a delicate balance,' she said. 'Almos don't want to jeopardise their relationship with the local authority, but they also need to demonstrate to inspectors that they are getting value for money.'

CityWest Homes, which manages housing for Westminster Council, took finance, HR and some IT inhouse when it was set up three years ago. …

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