Decision details

Capital Letters: Procurement of Accommodation for Homeless Households

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To approve Southwark Council’s membership of ‘Capital Letters’, a new company established by London Boroughs to procure and manage accommodation for homeless households.


The report had not been circulated five clear days in advance of the meeting. The chair agreed to accept the report as urgent as boroughs were required to confirm whether they intend to participate in ‘Capital Letters’ by the end of December 2018.




1.  That Southwark Council’s membership of ‘Capital Letters’, a new company established by a number of London boroughs to procure and to manage accommodation for homeless households be approved.


2.  That it be noted that the company is to be financed at least initially by support grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for a period to be confirmed.


3.  That it be noted there are two separate levels of membership open to boroughs; ‘A Membership’ or ‘B Membership’ (the difference is explained further in paragraphs 19 – 27 of the report), and that the council’s involvement as an ‘A’ member be approved.


4.  That the council’s obligations as an ‘A’ Member be noted as follows:


·  To transfer a proportion of the council’s procurement and housing management activities to the company and

·  To transfer sufficient resources to the company to fulfil these activities. The majority of participating boroughs intend to meet this obligation through the secondment of existing posts.


5.  That the formal incorporation by the council into the company be agreed by the strategic director for finance and governance in consultation with the strategic director for housing and modernisation and the cabinet member for housing and modernisation.


6.  That the decision on a separate gateway 1 procurement strategy be delegated to the strategic director in consultation with the lead cabinet member. This gateway report would formally authorise the transfer of some procurement activities from the council to ‘Capital Letters’. (This delegation will be subject to a notice of variation to the executive scheme of delegation from the leader).


7.  That it be noted that the gateway report will refer to a small proportion of the council’s total procurement activity, at least during the company’s first year of operation.


8.  That it be noted that the council’s participation in the scheme is dependent on the secondment of officers from the housing and modernisation department, or the payment of staff in kind, where this is not covered by grant funding and that any decision for officers to undertake a secondment is voluntary.


9.  That it be noted that an evaluation report will be presented to cabinet within the first 12 months of operation, giving cabinet the opportunity to consider the council’s continued level of involvement in ‘Capital Letters’.

Report author: Michael Scorer

Publication date: 12/12/2018

Date of decision: 11/12/2018

Decided at meeting: 11/12/2018 - Cabinet

Effective from: 20/12/2018

Accompanying Documents: