Impact Housing Association has begun a consultation with tenants and shareholders over proposals to transfer its operations to the Riverside Group. The Association, which manages 2,800 homes in Cumbria and north Lancashire joined Riverside as a subsidiary in August 2018.
Both Riverside and Impact are responsible for providing a large part of the region’s affordable housing, most of which are for social rent. A transfer would involve moving Impact’s entire business, including its homes and staff to the Riverside Group.
Mark Cullinan, Chair of Impact, explains: “Joining Riverside as a subsidiary has brought many positive changes for our tenants – including a £25 million investment to update and modernise homes. This was something we couldn’t afford to do on our own.
“It was always our intention to look at options for a full transfer to Riverside in the near future. But, with Impact continuing to experience a number of financial challenges, our Board is proposing to transfer sooner, on or before 31 March 2020.
“A move like this would secure the future of our operations across Cumbria, protecting tenants and staff, as well as the multi-million pound investment programme currently underway. We are pleased that both the Regulator for Social Housing and our own staff support the plans.”
Tenants and leaseholders are finding out about the proposals this week and have been invited to take part in a formal six-week consultation process, due to end on 13 December. This will include a series of drop-in events at Impact’s Carlisle, Workington, Penrith and Kendal offices, as well as a dedicated phone line and email address for questions and comments.
The Impact Board will carefully consider feedback from tenants and staff and make a proposal to shareholders on the transfer early next year.
Under the transfer, Impact staff would move to Riverside through TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) arrangements – meaning they would keep their existing terms and conditions of employment. While the Associations’ tenants and leaseholders would see no change to the way services are delivered, their landlord would change to The Riverside Group Ltd but otherwise their tenancy or leasehold agreements would stay the same, and their rights would be protected. Impact would cease to be an autonomous housing association following the transfer.
Sarah Paton, regional director for Riverside, added: “We made a number of pledges to Impact when it joined Riverside last year, and we will continue to honour these pledges as we move forward. We are working collaboratively with our Impact colleagues to provide better quality homes, improved services and build more housing to suit the different needs of people living in Cumbria.
“We are confident that the transfer being proposed is in the best interests of the Association’s customers, staff and the wider Cumbrian community. It will enable business to carry on as normal, with no effect on the region’s social housing provision, jobs or the supply chain.”