A SHORTLIST has been drawn up of housing associations to manage council homes in Ellesmere Port and Neston.

Cheshire West and Chester Council announced the shortlist of the seven invited to submit tenders for the management of the 5,600 council-owned homes on Thursday.

Sixteen potential partners expressed an interest in working with the council following its decision to transfer management to a social housing organisation.

After detailed analysis of each submission by officers, tenants and staff, seven have been shortlisted and will be invited to formally tender for the work.

David Green, managing director of housing, said: “Shortlisted organisations are top performing social housing businesses with impressive track records in managing housing services and the standard of all the submissions was very high.

“All have made a firm commitment to involving and including tenants in all that they do.

“I am quite sure that any one of these organisations will be a positive partner with the council in continuing to improve the quality of the services we provide to our tenants, leaseholders and other residents.”

The seven shortlisted organisations are Chester and District Housing Trust; Great Places Housing Association; Helena Partnerships; Liverpool Housing Trust; Liverpool Mutual Homes; Places for People and the Plus Dane Group.

Formal invitations to tender will be sent out in July and the selection process will take place over the next six-eight months before a final decision is taken next March.

The preferred partner will begin formal management of the housing service from summer 2012.

Cllr Herbert Manley, portfolio holder for prosperity and the executive member with responsibility for the housing management service, said: “The selection process, which involved detailed consideration of all the bids by our tenants, staff groups, officers and advisers, has identified seven very strong candidates to take to the next stage in the selection process.”

He added: “We are fully committed to providing a top performing housing management service within two years and will continue to be the landlord for our Ellesmere Port and Neston tenants.

“We will benefit greatly from a top performing partner who will take on existing staff and continue with the impressive improvements we’ve made so far.”