Monday, October 04, 2010

Do Not Adjust Your Set - Lambeth Labour Councillors won't visit the Twilight Zone

Tonight I travelled far into the Twilight Zone, where not all is as it seems.

I witnessed the Chief Executive of an ALMO who was visiting a resident's consultation meeting from an alternate universe.

An ALMO is an Arms Length Management Organisation and - when we lived on Planet New Labour we were meant to yearn for them as the least unpalatable device to unlock spending on Council Housing. Now we are on planet ConDem they are neither use nor ornament.

Obviously in the alternate universe from which the speaker I heard tonight had travelled there is still hope of funding targeted at ALMOs. That is not true on Earth.

In that universe ALMO's (governed by unaccountable boards restricted in what they can say to tenants and residents by their duties to "the company") are seen as more accountable than democratically elected local Councillors. That is not how they are seen on Earth.

Also in that universe, ALMOs which admit that they are making deep cuts in front line staff whilst increasing employment of "back office" staff become popular with Councillors and residents. This is not what would happen on Earth.

I can only hope that Lambeth's Labour Councillors live on Earth and not the alternate reality and that they are prepared to draw the obvious and necessary conclusions.

There is no point Councillors giving Lambeth's ALMO (Lambeth "Living") twelve months to improve if it uses the time to savage front line services so as to build up top heavy management and wasteful duplication.

The Twilight Zone was a marvellous TV show, but it's not a guide to good management of Council housing.

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