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Places for People - Consultation update



The six-week resident consultation period came to end on 7 December and we wanted to share the feedback we have received. We also gathered comments and questions from our wider stakeholders including staff, local Councillors, MPs, and our suppliers and partners.

How did we consult with residents?

During the consultation period, we held two online and four in person meetings across London and Hertfordshire. In addition, residents were able to offer their views by phone, email or through our website. To support residents, we also appointed an independent advisor - Glenn Allum. Glenn attended all the resident meetings and was available for residents to contact him directly with any questions or concerns. 

What were the main topics raised?
The main concerns raised by residents about the proposal were:

  • Why is Origin merging with Places for People? 

The impact of higher inflation and interest rates, the cost of living, shortages of skills and increased demands on the social housing sector mean that our operating environment is proving very challenging.

We need to build our financial strength and capacity now and for the future, so that we can invest more in upgrading the quality of your homes, build more new homes and continue to improve our services.

Origin itself has grown over the years, some of which has been achieved through mergers. This new partnership is a further step in our history to adapt to the conditions we are working in. It will strengthen our ability to deliver on our social purpose in the long term and will allow us to do more of the things that residents and communities, want and need.

  • Will my rent and service charges increase?

Your rents will remain at their current levels and will only go up once a year in line with government regulations, or as set out in your tenancy or lease agreement. Your rents are protected by the Regulator of Social Housing, meaning the same rules over how rents are set and increased, apply to both Origin and Places for People as both are Registered Providers of Social Housing (better known as housing associations).

Service charges will still be reviewed on a yearly basis as well. Your service charge will continue to cover the direct cost of services we provide to your block and/or estate. You will continue to receive an annual breakdown of these costs as you do now (with your rent letter). Leaseholders on variable service charges will also continue to receive an annual reconciliation statement.

  • Will my tenancy or lease terms and conditions change?

There will be no change to the terms of your tenancy or lease because of the partnership.

  • ·Will the merger with a large organisation mean that we lose local accountability?

Your services will continue to be delivered in the same way as they are now. We will also continue to listen to your views and make sure that these are used to develop and improve services in the future.
Places for People has the same view on locally delivered and accountable services as Origin does. This played a major part in why we chose Places for People as our future partner.

  • Why did Origin choose Places for People? What was the process?

Origin’s Board wanted to approach a partner organisation for several reasons. It wanted to secure future financial support to allow more investment in improving your homes and ensure that more new affordable homes can be built for our local communities. At the same time, the Board also wanted a partner that shared the same long-held values and ambitions that Origin has. 
An expert housing consultant was asked to look at other housing associations to identify a potential partner who could offer what the Board wanted. Following that review, we decided to approach Places for People as they were the organisation most likely to offer what we were looking for. After several months of talks, we decided that a partnership would work for both of us. This then led us to the consultation with residents

  • What is ‘in it’ for Places for People?

Places for People are a larger housing group, but they do not have many homes in London or the Homes Counties currently (about 3,000 in total). It wants to have a greater presence in these areas, which working with Origin will offer.

As Origin is a well-established landlord, Places for People will benefit from our experience of managing homes and services in London and the Home Counties, where services are sometimes harder to deliver. In Origin, Places for People also see a partner with a similar history and the same values. Working together means both partners will be able to do more than they could as separate organisations

You can read all of the questions raised in the consultation.

What happens next?

The Board will decide whether to go ahead with the proposal to join Places for People at the end of January 2024 (Places for People’s Board will also be making a decision at the same time). The Board will take into account the views that residents have offered through the consultation before making that decision.
If the proposal is approved, we aim to complete the merger around Spring 2024. We will update you again in February to let you know the Board’s decision and what the next steps will be. 

Please get in touch if you have any questions.