A partnership between two of the North East’s leading social landlords has taken a step closer with conditional approval obtained from the industry regulator.
Isos Housing and Cestria Community Housing are set to join forces under the Isos Housing Group banner on October 1, and have now won approval for their plans from regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
The combined business will own and manage nearly 17,000 homes, employ around 550 staff, a generate a combined turnover in excess of £70m.
The two landlords say they decided to come together after establishing significant common ground in values and aspirations.
The new, enlarged Isos Group will also benefit from an extended operating area.
Now, both parties are focusing on finalising their plans for working more closely together and investing cost savings into frontline services.
While Cestria will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Isos, the intention is that the two landlords will work in partnership.
Calculations suggest that up to £6m could be saved over the first five years, £2m saved every year thereafter.
Managers from Isos and Cestria have been meeting for several weeks to discuss how 10 key areas of the two businesses can be more closely aligned in a process dubbed Stronger Together.
Isos currently has 12,400 homes across the region, reporting a 2013/14 turnover of £53.6m.
Chief executive Keith Loraine said: “Bringing Cestria into the Isos Group will help us deliver better services.
“Also, at a time of housing crisis, this partnership will put us in a stronger position to compete for government grant to build new homes.
“We are committed to achieving substantial savings which will enable our partnership to deliver more new homes and improved services.
“We calculate we will generate savings totalling £6m over the first five years, and £2m per annum, every year thereafter.
“Our calculations are based on detailed analysis and we are confident they are credible and achievable.”
Paul Fiddaman, Cestria’s chief executive and deputy chief executive (designate) of the Isos group said: “We have a fantastic opportunity to build a top class, industry leading business here. The HCA approving our plans today is a fantastic vote of confidence in the partnership between Isos and Cestria, and it is now up to every one of us to ensure we deliver on the huge promise that this new partnership offers.”