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Westminster takes back control of housing management

Westminster City Council has brought the management of its housing stock back in-house, after deciding the service was failing residents.

The management of the stock returned to the London borough last week from CityWest Homes, which has run Westminster City Council’s housing services since 2002.

There are 12,000 social housing tenants and 9,000 leaseholders in properties formally managed by CityWest Homes, who will now be supported by Westminster City Council housing services.

The council decided last autumn that the service was failing residents.

Since then a six-month listening programme has been held in which more than 1,000 residents shared their views on what went wrong and what improvements are needed.

A total of 13 listening events across the borough and five open door events were attended by 660 people, with many of the 600+ face-to-face conversations lasting over 30 minutes.

Three hundred and thirty-five residents aged over-85 were visited in their properties. There were 380 online surveys completed.

Many residents were highly critical and said they felt that they have been let down by CityWest Homes in recent years.

They said it took too long to get through to the call centre, the complaints process was too slow and they wanted more of a say in how the service is run.

Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for housing services, Cllr Andrew Smith oversaw the handover and is focusing on making quick improvements.

‘I am committed to putting our residents, at the heart of the new service,’ said Cllr Smith.

‘While some things will take time to sort out, I hope you will see improvements very quickly.’

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart

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