Jobs could go if two of Kirklees Council’s biggest services join forces.

A plan to merge Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) and the council’s Building Services department has been hatched by councillors.

There are currently around 500 Building Services staff and 320 KNH staff.

A report says savings could be made by reducing the number of managers and administration roles.

Similar functions and roles across the two organisations would be reviewed.

Savings could also be made through sharing buildings and services.

A substantial part of building services’ work is maintaining the borough’s 23,000 council homes.

The proposal comes as the council reacts to a loss of £23m in revenue from council house rents over the next four years.

Kirklees Building Services, Flint Street, Huddersfield
Kirklees Building Services, Flint Street, Huddersfield

The huge drop in income was forced by the government who demanded a 1% rent reduction across the board – saving millions in housing benefit payments in the process.

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has investigated leaving the two services alone but has concluded the status quo is not viable.

Clr Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing, said given the changing funding of councils, a merger provided the best opportunity for maintaining the service while saving taxpayers’ cash.

She added: “This has been an extensive process of narrowing down options and fully investigating the ones we thought were most viable.

“We have consulted widely with tenants and residents groups, employees of both KNH and Building Services, political groups, trade unions, the KNH board and the wider public and schools through an online survey.

Clr Cathy Scott

“These are two high performing organisations and they would merge to build on those strengths and improve still further.

“I am now confident that the merger is the right plan in principle, and we need to move quickly now to set out the clear contractual arrangements and expectations that will need to be in place.

READ MORE: Kirklees councillors hit out at forced council house rent cut

READ MORE: £23m cash blow to Kirklees Council as government demands council house rent reduction

“Given the financial climate we face, I believe this is the best opportunity we have to meet three aims of improving housing services across the district based on high quality service to tenants, identifying the efficiencies which will help us address the challenge of the 1% annual rent reduction we have to deliver, and supporting the council in our overall strategic objectives.”

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet will discuss the option at its meeting on Tuesday.