Transfer Talks, Frequently Asked Questions
We know that a change like this can raise a lot of queries, so we have tried to answer some typical questions that we think would be important to you. We are keen to keep you updated on the progress of the discussions and will use our website to publish updated frequently asked questions to reflect any new questions raised during the consultation period.
Do I need to do anything?
No. You don’t need to do anything, although we would really like your thoughts and opinions on the proposed transfer, as well as any ideas on how we can make the most of the opportunities it offers.
What will happen?
If the transfer goes ahead, Suffolk Housing would become part of the Flagship Group, by way of a Transfer of Engagements. We would retain the Suffolk Housing brand and identity, but would no longer exist as a separate organization.
Will this mean that Suffolk Housing will be too big and impersonal?
There is always a risk that by becoming bigger we could lose the personal touch you have become accustomed to. However, we will continue to keep residents at the heart of everything we do and by keeping it local we will continue to focus on our communities and residents. You will still be able to visit our Coppice House office in Bury St Edmunds to talk to our staff, as you do at the moment.
What will happen to tenancy agreements, tenancy rights, rents and service charges?
The key change is that Flagship, rather than Suffolk Housing, would become your new landlord. Your tenancy agreement or lease will otherwise stay the same and you will have the same rights as you do now, including the right to acquire and succession arrangements, (where applicable) and same “security of tenure” as you have now, including the right to remain in your home for the duration of the tenancy unless we have the legal right to bring your tenancy to an end. Flagship, as the new landlord, would have to follow the same legal procedure if there is a legal right to end a tenancy.
Rents and service charges will also be unchanged and will continue to be set in line with Government regulations and as set out in your tenancy/lease agreement. You should continue to pay your rent and service charge as usual.
Who will carry out repairs to my home and how do I report a repair after the transfer?
We have just chosen MCP to deliver our responsive repairs and maintenance services, they will continue to carry out repairs. Gasway will continue to undertake gas/oil servicing and complete electrical checks. Over time we will need to consider the best way to deliver these services for the new organisation. We will keep you informed of any changes to contractors as we know that the delivery of these services are a top priority for our residents.
How will staff be affected, and will I still talk to the same members of staff?
We are involving both Suffolk Housing and Flagship staff in helping us shape how we will deliver services to residents in the future. Both organisations employ a skilled and talented workforce who will be vital in ensuring we continue to deliver high quality services to residents. There will be lots of development opportunities for staff as a result of the transfer so we can’t guarantee things won’t change at all, but our focus will always be to deliver the best customer service.
Will residents get to vote on the transfer?
There will not be a ballot, so there is no vote for residents, but we will ensure that through consultation you are given the opportunity to raise your thoughts and opinions. Your feedback will then be taken into consideration by both Suffolk Housing and Flagship Boards before a final decision is made.
What costs are involved in setting up the transfer?
The transfer will inevitably involve initial staff time and external advisors’ costs. We are confident that these costs will be quickly recovered through the savings that a larger streamlined organisation will achieve. The costs of the transfer will not be passed onto residents. These costs will be absorbed by the new organisation and the savings made in the longer term will mean we are able to improve and add to the range of services that residents will benefit from.
Will I need to move house?
You will not be asked to move house as a result of the transfer
What will happen to resident involvement?
Resident involvement is a key part of the success of Suffolk Housing and Flagship and will continue to be very important to us. We will work with involved residents from both organisations to develop our resident engagement structure, bringing together the best of what we currently both do.
Will new homes be built in Suffolk?
Yes, the Group will have the resources to build 350 new homes a year in Suffolk Housing’s area of operation, although as is currently the case, this will be dependent on securing appropriate sites and the relevant consents.
What are the disadvantages?
The main disadvantage with the proposal to merge Suffolk Housing with the Flagship Group, is that Suffolk Housing would cease to exist as a separate organization after the transfer as it will become part of the Flagship Group. However, we are convinced that the transfer is in the best interests of Suffolk Housing’s residents. It will put the new organisation in a better position to withstand external economic pressure, make cost savings and achieve the benefits for residents set out in these FAQs.