The history of KNH

Content owner : housing@knh.org.uk Last updated : 05/03/11

KNH is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) set up by Kirklees Council in 2002.

The Council chose to set up an ALMO after undertaking an options appraisal to decide what type of organisation was best suited to manage council housing in Kirklees.

The government had put forward the options of 'staying as you are' as a Housing department within the Council, transferring the ownership and management of council housing to a new or existing housing association; using Private Sector Finance Initiative or creating an ALMO.

An ALMO is an independent limited company that has its own Board of Directors, but unlike a housing association, ownership of Council housing stays with the Council. The government also brought in two more initiatives. It set the 'Decent Homes' Standard that all social housing had to meet before 2010. In many cases this required new central heating, bathrooms, kitchens, doors and windows and much of the country’s council and housing association homes were in need of large scale investment.

The Housing Inspectorate was also established to inspect housing organisations and award a 'star rating' that corresponded to the inspection teams judgement about how good service is and how well the organisation is run.

ALMOs that achieved a two star (good) or three star (excellent) rating were able to borrow extra investment to meet the decent homes standard.

Following a vote of all tenants in Kirklees it was decided that of the four options, the ALMO route was the best for Kirklees. At the time, the council's Housing Department had a one star (fair) rating from the Housing Inspectors and the first job was therefore to get to two stars.

A Board of Directors was set up, firstly as a 'shadow board' with Kirklees councillors and tenants from KFTRA, the Federation of Tenants and Residents in Kirklees. Elections were then held for tenant representatives and competitive interviews were done to select like independent board members. KNH did achieve its two star rating and with it came a massive extra £147m, which, together with the investment already allocated, meant that over a five year period from 2003 to 2007 the ALMO managed an investment of £250m into the Council housing stock.

The Housing Inspector called again in 2005 and this time awarded top marks, with the ALMO receiving three stars with the service being rated as excellent. KNH is now focusing on the second part of its mission, which is successful communities.

The ALMO is working closely with Council Services, the Police, local residents and community groups and other partners to support and develop safe and happy neighbourhoods where people choose to live and work.