Residents Associations – time for change?

Why have a Residents Association?

The Council summed this up in the leaflet which was distributed amongst a block in the Manresa neighbourhood when trying to establish a Residents Association and is detailed below;

“The Council is keen to involve residents in the management and upkeep of their blocks and estates.  To achieve this they would like to see as many  estates as possible represented by Residents Associations made up of tenants and leaseholders.  Setting up a Resident’s Association has many  advantages including allowing residents an opportunity to work with the council, other agencies and each other to resolve any issues of concern in their community. It also helps keep residents up to date with information and news about their homes, community and local housing services.  Having a residents’ group helps build a stronger sense of community and gives residents the opportunity to organise activities and events within their block, estate and community”.

Did you know?

That Residents Associations in the Wandsworth Borough limit the officer roles of Chair, Treasurer or Secretary to those residents which are either Leaseholders or Council tenants.

We didn’t until we tried to get one off the ground in the one of the blocks in the Manresa neighbourhood on the Alton Estate.

Questions raised by this

This rule raises some interesting questions, such as;

@ There are many freeholders on the Alton Estate yet they can’t take an officer role?

@ Long term sub-tenants can’t take on an officer role?

@ Without Residents Associations whom looks after residents interests? The Roehampton Forum? The Roehampton Partnership?

Has anyone else noticed this?

The answers is “yes”. It was noticed at the Let’s Talk event of 29th September 2014 and the comments from this meeting are below;

“A number of residents expressed frustration at the Council’s rule prohibiting anyone, but actual tenants and leaseholders from being involved in running a formal residents association. This had had the effect of ruling out a number of enthusiastic local residents with both the time and motivation to establish and run the organisations effectively, to the benefit of the estates and the Council. A resident voiced the suspicion that the rule had been introduced three years before to deal with a specific problem in a particular area, but its effect overall was negative. Danny Edwards and Janine Newton advised that the rule related to the requirement for a financial relationship to exist between the officer of the residents association and the Council. The new guidance, which was implemented two years ago, allows for all residents to be members of residents associations whereas officers have to be council tenants or leaseholders. Non accredited residents’ associations can also be set up by residents who cannot be officers in Council accredited groups. Councillors Maddan and Osborn considered that a way should be found to resolve this problem given the benefits which could flow from a more flexible approach”. Source: Section 5 of the Let’s Talk 29th September 2014 Minutes

What’s the progress?

Two representatives from each Area Housing Panel, that is, two Resident Association representatives from each area team, will join a working party to examine the constitution and eligibility criteria of the officers. Nominations are due from the Southern Area team with the intention to meet late January/early February.

Assuming this takes one meeting, a proposal will go to the Area Housing Panel in March 2015 and the Borough Residents’ Forum in June 2015. A report will then be produced for the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting of 9th June 2015.

This is our understanding though for the most up to date details please contact the Resident Participation Officer, contact details are in the next section.

Where can you get information regarding Residents Associations?

Bernie Brennan, the Resident Participation Officer at the Western Area Team on 020 8871 5505 or email at bbrennan@wandsworth.gov.uk .

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns you may have.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

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