Financial "challenges" made it the right time for Waltham Forest council to take back full control of its housing, according to the chief executive of Ascham Homes.  

The arms length management organisation (ALMO) has been managing homes on behalf of the council since 2003, but leading councillors last month agreed to take services back in-house to save an estimated £1million a year and improve efficiency. 

The council has twice been forced to bail out Ascham Homes when it was on the brink of financial collapse, resulting in it receiving at least £7.6million from the taxpayer. 

Ascham Homes chief executive, Madeleine Forster, who signed a ten-year agreement with the council in April 2012, claims the ALMO has "achieved all it was set up to do". 

She said: “In the past five years Ascham Homes has successfully overcome and learnt from the mistakes that were made early on in our history. 

“We fully completed the decent homes programme which has brought our tenants’ homes and estates up to much higher standard than they were before Ascham Homes was formed. 

“We took on the council’s housing solution service, we improved our rent and service charge collection and we have just launched private rented property licensing on behalf of the council. 

“However, we appreciate that with the current financial challenges facing local government and the increasing importance of housing issues in Waltham Forest, the council decided that this was the right time to take Ascham Homes in-house. 

“This will allow for greater democratic accountability which may have contributed to the way residents voted in the recent consultation." 

Nearly 300 Ascham Homes staff will transfer to the council under TUPE employment legislation. 

Waltham Forest council will take control of tenants' services and maintenance, as well as responsibility for homelessness services and private sector licensing.