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SALFORD CITY COUNCIL TO TAKE £1.3MILLION HOMELESS CONTRACT BACK IN HOUSE FROM SALIX HOMES
 

Star date: 2nd February 2018

SALIX HOMES £1.3MILLION CONTROVERSIAL HOMELESS CONTRACT TO GO BACK TO COUNCIL AFTER LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS

Last October, Salford City Council controversially awarded a £1.377million contract extension to Salix Homes for its 'homelessness, housing advice, allocations and supported tenancies service'. It rejected the option of bringing the services back in-house stating that Salix was "providing good quality overall".

Now, the Salford Star understands, the homeless service will be brought back in-house from April 2018 when the Homelessness Reduction Act kicks in.

Full details here...


Salix Homes Rethink Housing
click image to enlarge

Nobody will talk about it – not Salix Homes, not the Salford councillors sitting on the Salix board, not even the trade unions...but the Salford Star has it on good authority from five different sources, none of whom will go on the record, that Salford Council is to bring back in-house the homelessness contract controversially handed to Salix Homes less than four months ago.

Back in October 2017, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett approved the extension of the contract for the homelessness, housing advice, allocations and supported tenancies services for two years at a cost of £1.377million per year.

The contract was controversial because, as the Salford Star pointed out recently, there was a huge conflict of interest. Salix Homes was evicting people from its social housing properties, only to be responsible for re-housing them as 'homeless' (see previous Salford Star article – click here).

Despite this, Salford Council 'considered and rejected' options to "Bring the services in-house in April 2018"; to "Tender these services bringing the current contract to an end in April 2018" or to "Extend the contract for one year while undertaking either of the above actions in 2019".

The Assessment of Risk was stated to be "Low" because "The services are performing well overall...and would provide the services with the consistency and stability needed to develop and embed the new ways of working in response to new Homelessness Reduction Act duties".

The actual report that led to that decision by the Mayor was kept secret. All that was stated in the decision notice to hand Salix the contract was...

1) "The services are providing good quality overall, meeting contract requirements and specifications. There are no performance reasons why the council should not want these services to continue to be delivered by Salix Homes in the near future.

2) During 2017 there will be considerable work for officers and managers in order to prepare for the new duties resulting from the Homelessness Reduction Act and a period of consistency and stability for the services is needed to facilitate this.

3) The new ways of working will require embedding and the services will need consistency and stability while trying to do so.

4) In April 2018 (due to the time frames involved) Salix Homes will be required to review and transfer all staff contracts to Salix terms and conditions. This is a big piece of work to undertake and the cost benefits of doing so for only a one year extension are not evident.

5)  There would be insufficient time to develop the new ways of working for the new Homelessness Reduction Act duties and prepare for a full tender process by April 2018."

So what has changed? No-one is saying, except the Salford Star understands that it was the Salix Homes board itself that decided to give up the contract. There are no Salix Homes board minutes made public, and when the Star emailed three of the councillors who sit on the Salix 'Independent Board', ostensibly to hold the company to account, none of them responded. Neither did Salix Homes itself.

This week, Salix Homes has launched its 'Rethink Housing' strategy, which has glossy videos enthusing over the new 'digital age' but states nothing about giving up its homelessness contract...

"The sector hasn't been ambitious enough in what we want to achieve and there's an underlying fear to grasp the bull by the horns and take some measured risks" Salix states in its latest press release "But these rapid technological advances, coupled with Brexit, political uncertainty, welfare reforms and a growing housing crisis, mean we can't just sit back any more.

"With these changes come opportunities – the chance to rethink who we are and how we do things" the company adds "The chance to create a truly digital service for our customers and the chance to develop a stronger, united voice to tackle the housing crisis."

Moving the contract for the homelessness, housing advice, allocations and supported tenancies services back in-house with Salford Council can only be a positive move, and the Homelessness Reduction Act comes with a large chunk of Government money for Salford.

But why the secrecy? Why the U-turn? And why isn't anyone being held to account for controversially outsourcing and extending the £1.377million contract in the first place?

Michael James Felse wrote
at 10:03:01 on 03 February 2018
Knowing what a difficult job our Mayor Paul Dennett is faced with in solving homelessness I thank him for making it a priority along with housing and I assure all Salford Council that I support every good action they take to help meet social needs. I urge Mr Mayor to open dialogue with Salford Star and let this growing number of almost 1000 likes and their reader families know exactly what is happening. It is a sure fact we look forward to good news coming along that makes Salford inclusive and proud.
 
Alice wrote
at 20:06:03 on 02 February 2018
Excellent news. The Council now have the opportunity to show that they care about the homeless. This is a sign of better things to come. Outsourcing, which Salix Homes is, is getting a bad name with the Carillian saga and other poor results from outsourced services. Let's trust the public services to do a better job. With the funds coming with the new Homelessness Reduction Act, the Council can show an ethical approach towards solving homelessness and lack of affordable houses. More of this approach will be good sign.
 
Bob the regular wrote
at 16:59:04 on 02 February 2018
Yes I am loosing the plot here, and I do not normally do that. This £1.377m. How much of this has been spent so far, and what on? How many people have been helped? Salix cannot have been sat on their arses doing nothing. They have to have done something, such as hosting "workshops" to investigate the problem, and all the usual associated bullshit these people dream up. This all costs money does all this bullshit, so they will have billed the council for it, and since its all "in the budget", it all has to come out of "the budget". So how much has been spent,and on what?
 
EveryOne stay Quite wrote
at 16:58:22 on 02 February 2018
How can someone who makes people homeless,then re use public funds it admit ers to put things right! I can't get over how the "unions" who use the Star to publicise their own issues can stay quite,but to point out the obvious since P.D was put in post they've been in his back pocket.....
 
Felsey wrote
at 16:58:10 on 02 February 2018
This Homelessness Reduction Act is new. It places new statutory obligations on the local authority and public services to provide fit for purpose, cost effective temporary accommodation. Recall of the £1.377million into house is a good start but will Council admin costs soak up the cash leaving little for a longer term solution. £1.377million is enough to house not only our 49 homeless each in a luxury property but an additional 100 from the Salford housing waiting list into a new home. It I was Mayor I would keep the 9 at risk Health Improvement Team staff to deliver the new HR Act that can house and improve 149 citizen's health.
 
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