Councillors wrangle over plans to scrap housing trust

PUBLISHED: 15:04 08 October 2016

John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

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Welwyn Hatfield Council is set to scrap the housing trust as part of its restructuring.

In a letter sent to employees, seen by the WHT, chief executive Michel Saminaden wrote that after reviewing the original savings figure, “things have moved on even further”.

He continues: “We have now jointly come to the view that running one organisation will undoubtedly be more efficient than continuing to run two, and therefore the most effective way of delivering the savings we need to find in the years ahead will be to fully integrate all housing services once again within the council.”

He told staff there are “no plans to make significant changes to the services” delivered across both organisations, “including the number of people providing these services”.

Opposition leader Kieran Thorpe slammed the Tory’s “slash and burn attitude” to public services and officers providing them, adding the decision has “destroyed morale and led to numerous resignations”.

“Nearly a year ago, considerable amounts of housing money was spent on consultants to produce a report into this very issue, with no significant changes being made,” he said.

“After months of interfering with the management structures of a successful organisation the Tories have now decided to disband it.”

However, council leader John Dean said potentially getting rid of the trust was purely an “efficiency project”, and said the consultant’s advice to have one chief executive for both organisations and to make £500k savings was heeded.

He added: “The resignations were only from the housing board of trustees and they are not employed by the council, and they only stood down because they didn’t like that their favourite candidate [for one of the director positions] was not employed.”

Mr Saminaden said the council will now consult all relevant stakeholders before determining the next steps.

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