Wishaw & District Partnership – Positive Tenant Feedback
We reached another significant milestone at the end of June with the conclusion of the formal Stage 1 consultation period. We sent out the Stage 1 Notice to all Wishaw & District Housing Association (WDHA) tenants at the end of May which outlined our offer and what it means for them. The offer is summarised below:
Improved rent affordability via a three-year rent and service charge freeze, followed by a five-year rent and service charge guarantee increase of inflation only.
Continuing to provide excellent services, delivered by the local staff team from the Wishaw office, and provide access to a wider range of services.
An additional £3 million investment in homes and the local environment.
Building new homes on the Main Street site in Wishaw, subject to planning and Scottish Government funding.
During Stage 1, a joint WDHA and Trust team were out in the local communities for four weeks speaking to their tenants about the proposed partnership. The team had very positive conversations with over 700 tenants, and 93% of those we spoke to saying they will vote in favour of the transfer to Trust.
We also shared the offer with our tenants and staff over June through a tenant session in North Lanarkshire, a special edition of Trust Talk and a number of staff briefing sessions.
We are now in ‘Stage 2’ of the formal consultation process. The Stage 2 Notice was sent out to WDHA tenants on 8 July informing them that no changes have been made to the proposal following the positive feedback from tenants – all the comments from Stage 1 were carefully considered by the Trust and WDHA Boards. The Stage 2 letter also advises tenants of their right to object to the proposed transfer if they are not happy with it proceeding by 5 August 2019.
The next stage of the process is the tenant ballot itself, which is expected (subject to approval from both Boards and the green light from the Scottish Housing Regulator) to run for 28 days from 19 August – 16 September 2019. The WDHA and Trust team will be in the community again over this period to answers any questions and encourage tenants to make their voice heard and vote. The ballot is fully independent and is being run by the Electoral Reform Services (ERS) who are one of the UK’s leading independent providers of ballot and voting services.
Subject to a successful ballot and receiving the necessary consents – including both organisation lenders, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) – the aim is to conclude the transfer by the end of 2019.
The partnership is a transfer of engagements and as such WDHA would become part of Trust. This means that Wishaw & District no longer exists as a housing association and all assets and staff would transfer to Trust. Trust would be responsible for delivering the services to tenants previously delivered by WDHA.