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Associations face back-office axe

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More than one in five housing associations had to cut back office staff in 2008 and most are expected to slash costs further in the next 12 months.

Twenty-two per cent of housing associations cut jobs in IT, finance and human resources in 2008, according to the study by accountant Baker Tilly.

Peter Lunio, head of the firm’s social housing team, said: “Housing associations are under a great deal of financial pressure, But they could do more to reduce back-office costs.

"We have estimated there is potential for housing associations to be at least 10% to 15% more efficient, which is in the order of£200m nationally. This saving of cash and resources could be redistributed to more tenant-facing activities.”

Over half of 32 associations surveyed said they expected to cut costs by 6% to 10%.

Two-thirds cited ongoing financial pressures as the main driver for prompting change in back-office service delivery.

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