Beechwood and Ballantyne Community Housing Association Transfer of Engagements to Liverpool Housing Trust
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Approval for Council Nominated Officer to vote at AGM on proposal for Beechwood, Ballantyne Community Housing Trust (BBCHA) to merge with Liverpool Housing Trust as part of the Symphony Housing Group
A report by the Strategic Director – Regeneration and Environment informed the Cabinet, of a proposal to undertake a Transfer of Engagements (ToE) of Ballantyne Community Housing Association (BBCHA) to Liverpool Housing Trust (LHT). The report sought support at a Special General Meeting to agree to a ToE.
BBCHA had been undertaking a review of its current arrangements since May 2014 and had considered how best to mitigate the key risks it was exposed to and ensure the long term protection of services and investment in the Beechwood and Ballantyne neighbourhoods in an increasingly hostile environment.
The BBCHA Board had considered a range of possible options for its future and had agreed in October 2014 that the best option was to enter into formal negotiations with LHT for a possible transfer.
Formal six week consultation process had been undertaken with BBCHA tenants. The resulting feedback showed that the majority of tenants were supportive of the ToE on the understanding that services they received were not compromised.
Consultation with other key stakeholders including the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and funders had been completed with no barriers to progressing the transfer having been raised. The BBCHA Board had undertaken a due diligence exercise and no areas of concern in terms of LHT had been reported. The BBCHA Board had also received independent legal advice and support from Trowers and Hamlins and had confirmed that due process had been followed.
The Cabinet noted that In order to progress the ToE BBCHA shareholders would consider the ToE at a Special General Meeting (SGM). Shareholders included Wirral Borough Council, Symphony Housing Group and a number of tenant and independent individuals. The SGM would only be called once the Council had made a decision about supporting the ToE.
The BBCHA/LHT Transfer Consultation Outcome Report was attached to the Strategic Director’s report as an appendix.
Councillor George Davies informed the Cabinet that he had received a petition (250 names) that day from Board Members who did not want the assets transferred to LHT and requesting that a transparent method be used to identify some other body to who the assets could be transferred.
Consequently, Councillor George Davies informed the Cabinet that he had discussed this matter with the Leader and the Head of Legal and Member Services and was now proposing to defer the report in order to give the BBCHA Board time to reflect on the petition and agree a solution.
Councillor Ann McLachlan informed that she had previously sat on the Board for nine years and was aware that negotiations had been ongoing for 18 months to two years. In her capacity as a ward Councillor (Bidston and St James) she was aware that consultations were still taking place with the community up to mid-afternoon today, to address issues of concern. She considered a further short period of consultation to address concerns raised would be time well spent.
Councillor Phil Davies view was that, given the petition had just been received, deferring the report would be appropriate so that there was an opportunity to get to the bottom of the issues the signatories were concerned about and hopefully reach a solution.
That consideration of the report be deferred to a future meeting of the Cabinet to allow for further discussions within the local community and a report of those discussions be also brought to the meeting for the Cabinet’s information.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham returned to the meeting.
Report author: Kevin Adderley
Publication date: 08/06/2015
Date of decision: 04/06/2015
Decided at meeting: 04/06/2015 - Cabinet
Effective from: 16/06/2015