The decision was ratified by the boards of both Leazes Homes YHN following a year-long due diligence process designed to develop a closer working relationship between the two organisations.
YHN, the arms-length management organisation responsible for managing Newcastle City Council’s tenancies, has a long-standing partnership with Leazes Homes.
In recent months, it was determined that the two organisations could deliver more in partnership than they could alone, particularly as the need for the specialist accommodation that Leazes Homes has become expert in providing increases in the city.
Both organisations share similar goals and say they are committed to responding to the needs of Newcastle’s aging population and the increasing demand for supported housing.
‘Great news for Newcastle’
Commenting on the move, Leazes Homes chair Dawn Keightley said: “Leazes Homes’ board has had clear ambitions around developing exemplar accommodation solutions in the supported housing market for some time, but was also aware that Leazes Homes’ existing operating model would not be able to gear up to deliver against those ambitions and other solutions needed to be considered to bring in the capacity, knowledge, and resources required.
“Given the close relationship with YHN and that Newcastle City Council is our key stakeholder, we are delighted to join the YHN Group so they can provide some of that capacity to enable us to deliver on the board’s vision.
“We consulted our tenants on this decision and were pleased that they too were happy for us to proceed.
“While there will be no changes for our tenants in terms of their rights or security of tenure, we believe that they will benefit more indirectly from the coming together of two such successful organisations.
“Our aim to develop a bespoke repairs and maintenance service for our specialist schemes, for example, will be more aligned with the needs of those in supported housing and access to an energy efficiency programme will make our properties more comfortable and cheaper to maintain.”
YHN chair Tony Gates said: “We’re pleased to be welcoming Leazes Homes back into the YHN group structure and look forward to working together to strengthen our existing partnership.
“Specialist housing is a potential growth area for YHN, and we’re thrilled to have the expertise of the Leazes Homes board taking on strategic oversight of this for us.
“Having a registered provider in the group structure could lead to more opportunities to develop housing, and we look forward to working together to deliver more tailored services for customers in the spirit of the new Social Housing White Paper.”
Eamon McGoldrick, managing director of the National Federation of ALMOs, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Leazes Homes will be collaborating with Your Homes Newcastle going forward.
“This is great news for Newcastle City Council and its residents.
“I very pleased that the Board of Leazes Homes has chosen to join an ALMO partner.
“ALMOs are firmly rooted in their communities and work closely with their parent Councils, which ensures local needs and listening to residents comes front and centre of all they do.”
Leazes Homes will maintain its own identity and Leazes Homes’ assets will remain within the ownership of Leazes Homes.
The partnership arrangement will be set up through an intra group agreement that will include specific protections for the security of the assets currently in Leazes Homes’ ownership.
Leazes Homes’ board will take responsibility for the strategic and operational oversight of the supported housing and services for both partners.
YHN, while retaining responsibility for the group as a whole, will focus on the strategic and operational oversight of general needs accommodation and services.
The organisations will work together to respond to specific elements of the Social Housing White Paper, including building safety, tenant involvement, and complaints processing.
They will also benefit from a joint approach to the challenges posed by the Carbon Neutral Agenda.
Image: (l-r) Dawn Keightley, chair, Leazes Homes; Tina Drury, managing director, YHN; Tony Gates, chair, YHN
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