Joint housing team could save £80,000

Creating a joint team to provide housing services in Malvern Hills District and Wychavon could save £80,000 a year between both councils.

Under proposals being considered by councillors in Malvern Hills next week and Wychavon in February, combining the housing service would allow savings to be made while increasing the service provided to residents.

Both housing teams provide a number of support services ranging from advice on finding accommodation, energy efficiency and issuing grants to helping disabled people make adaptations to their home. They also work with people to prevent homelessness, with more than 2,000 households helped across the two areas in the past five years.

The savings will be made by removing a management position and other vacant posts within both teams.

If approved, the new arrangement will come into force on 1 April. Homelessness prevention work will continue to be carried out in Malvern Hills District by Fortis Living, which has a contract to provide the service until 2018. Wychavon has its own staff responsible for homelessness prevention.

The proposal builds on the savings already made by both councils through working together. This includes £470,000 from sharing a Chief Executive/Managing Director and senior management team and £60,000 from a shared legal service.

Cllr Melanie Baker, portfolio holder with responsibility for housing on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Housing is one of the most important services we provide and this proposal will allow us to improve the service further but at a reduced cost to the council taxpayer.”

Cllr Richard Morris, portfolio holder for economy and housing on Wychavon District Council, said: “We know how vital the work of the housing team is to the well-being of our residents. This arrangement will strengthen that work.”

The decision will be subject to approval by both Councils in February.