Councils warned on housing contracts

Local authorities must not change their contracts with housing
associations that provide supported housing without proper
negotiation, a senior government minister has urged.

Housing minister Jeff Rooker’s guidance came as the government’s
new single stream of funding, Supporting People, came into

Rooker made the remarks in a letter to Jim Coulter, chief executive
of the National Housing Federation.

The housing association trade body had told the government that
councils were trying to make savings on their Supporting People
budgets by imposing draconian contracts on its members which
provided supported housing (news, page 12, 27 March).

Rooker said in the letter: “Local authorities should not be
re-writing contracts to change prices at short notice without
proper consultation with providers.”

Liz Potter, the federation’s director of policy, said: “This is
reassuring news for providers at a very tense time as Supporting
People goes live. We urged members not to sign contracts where they
were not happy with the terms.

“Those who felt compelled to do so should renegotiate in the light
of the new guidance.”

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