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March 11, 2009

Council wants housing body to keep its promise

The saga of Glasgow Housing Association’s persistent refusal to fulfil its core obligation to transfer its housing stock into community ownership is inexplicable. Why is it being tolerated? Former landlords, Glasgow City Council, are clearly very unhappy about it

Extracts from Glasgow City Council response to Glasgow Housing Association’s
Business Plan 2009/10 – ‘Above and Beyond: Shaping a New Vision for GHA’
In relation to GHA’s new approach outlined in the draft business plan…..

“Previous GHA Business Plans have been firmly rooted within the strategic housing framework for the city underpinned by the obligations set out within the Stock Transfer Agreement. The consultative draft Business Plan ‘Above and beyond’ appears to be losing this focus. ‘Above and Beyond’ proposes to deliver a new approach by:-

• Becoming a ‘permanent large scale organisation, effectively ruling out Second Stage Transfers beyond 2011 and
• Developing its property, land and business services to maximise income in the longer term, and extending this role beyond Glasgow by securing West of Scotland Lead Development status for affordable housing development. This appears to be for the benefit of GHA and its tenants rather than for the city as a whole.”

In relation to GHA’s proposed purpose and direction……..

“GHA’s intention to develop its land and property, including for sale, and to deliver services beyond Glasgow as lead developer for the West of Scotland, is premature when so many of the original commitments are still outstanding and the organisation has yet to develop a track record in new build development.”

In relation to GHA’s commitment to Empowerment and Engagement….

“The consultative draft Business Plan effectively discounts any more SST’s except for those in the pipeline with the programme ending by 2011 after one third of the stock has transferred. The GHA should the restate the commitment to achieving SST (second stage transfer) as a core purpose.”

“The consultative draft Business Plan also proposes that regional committees of LHO tenant chairs should take over decision-making on services. This proposal appears to represent a dilution of LHO’s responsibilities and authority and if so may run contrary to the Stock Transfer Agreement. It would certainly mean a greatly reduced degree of local tenant influence and participation.”

“Local community ownership is a comer stone of regeneration.”

Summary of Glasgow City Council’s concerns that GHA needs to address in its Business Plan

“GHA’s proposed removal of the commitment to SST beyond the present round of transfers would be a unilateral decision that the Council would not accept.”

“GHA is a young organisation that still has to deliver the core promises for which it was established. A substantial change in direction beyond its original purpose is premature given these outstanding objectives and GHA’s lack of development track record. It would also require detailed consideration by the Council. Changes in direction must fit the agreed local framework and demonstrably lead to better outcomes for tenants, stakeholders and the wider Glasgow community.”