The theme for this year's ARCH tenants' conference on the 18
September was 'Putting tenants first'. The conference was planned
and organised by the ARCH Tenants' Group for tenants of the 61 ARCH
member councils who have retained their housing stock. The event
was kindly hosted by Birmingham City Council at the Council House
in the centre of Birmingham with 139 delegates and speakers
It is the 8th conference that the ARCH Tenants' Group have
organised. They worked with the Chartered Institute of Housing
events team and HouseMark to plan the venue, the programme and
speakers. Members of the group chaired workshops and small group
exercises on the day and registered delegates as they arrived and
helped with workshop allocation to ensure that the event ran
The conference was a chance for tenants from stock-retained
councils from across the country to hear about and discuss the key
topical issues affecting council housing and what this means for
tenants. With next year's election looming on the horizon, one of
the main activities in the morning was session for all delegates to
take part in to develop an ARCH tenants' manifesto.
There were two ARCH awards presented at the conference this
year. For 'the Council that has done the most to encourage
and support tenant empowerment' and 'tenant of the year'. These
were kindly sponsored and presented by Jessop Brothers Ltd and
The day kicked off with ARCH tenants' group's Chair and tenant
of Runnymead Council, Jennifer Hill opening the conference by
welcoming delegates and thanking Birmingham City Council, Jessop
Brothers Ltd and Mears Group for supporting the event. Jenny also
thanked everyone who has played their part in planning the event
particularly her colleagues on the ARCH Tenants Group and event
managers from the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Jenny announced that the ARCH Tenants' Group were very proud
that Marlene Price of London Borough of Wandsworth, founder member
of the ARCH Tenants' Group had been awarded the British Empire
Medal in this year's Queen's Honours list. She was also proud to
announce the BEM also awarded to Terry Adkin, Norwich City Council
Jenny Hill introduced Councillor Paul Ellis, Chair of ARCH and
thanked the ARCH Executive for their support.
Sir Albert from Birmingham City Council welcomed everyone and
talked about some of the housing challenges that the council has
been facing and how they were moving to a neighbourhood management
approach to address these challenges.
Jenny drew delegates' attention to the story board on display
with stories from ARCH members about what they have achieved
working together with tenants and asked delegates to contribute
their stories. Click here to read the
The two awards were then presented to
recognise excellence in the sector, a council that had gone the
extra mile and done the most to encourage and support tenant
empowerment, and for tenant of the year in recognition of an
individual who has demonstrated how they have engaged the local
community and worked with its local authority in shaping an
The awards were presented by Clive Jessop from Jessop
Brothers and Phil Ross and Gill King from Mears Group
who sponsored the awards.
Well done to short listed nominations and the winners. Click here for
more information about the award winners.
Given the timing of the conference, tenants attending the event
produced a manifesto on housing and related services for the next
government from a tenant's perspective. The delegates spent
an hour in small table groups discussing and drafting their
At the end of the day, the top priorities from the manifesto
exercise were presented back to delgates. These will be presented
to the ARCH Executive at their November meeting and a summary will
be posted to the ARCH website so look out for that.
ARCH's role is to ensure councils and their tenants have as much
information as possible and to help them make the decisions
that they need to make and although ARCH are not a lobby group they
strive to get the best deal for councils.
These are the
recommendations that came out of the Tenants' Conference held
in September and this is the Manifesto launched on
the 3 February showing how they have been fed into the Joint
There were three workshop sessions on the topics of complaints,
rents and tenants' rights and responsibilities.
1. How to complain effectively
This session provided delegates with an overview of the future
model of effective complaints handling and was facilitataed by
Linda Collier, an Independent Complaints Resolution Advisor and the
Chair was Wynn Marshall, a Tenant Rep at Epping Forest DC and ARCH
Tenants' Group member.
2. Where does my rent
This workshop session helped delegates to understand about how
housing finance in their Council now worked and was facilitated by
Sukvinder Kalsi from Birmingham City Council and chaired by Marlene
Price BEM, Tenant Rep at Wandsworth Borough Council and ARCH
Tenants' Group member.
3. Tenants' rights and
This session helped delegates get to grips with the rights they
have to be involved and empowered and was facilitated by Phil
Morgan, Director at Phil Morgan Ltd and was chaired by Martryn
Lund, Tenant Rep at Kettering Borough Council and ARCH Tenants'
The conference was drawn to a close with a
summary of the key points from the manifesto exercise by Matthew
Warburton, Policy Adviser for ARCH and the prize draw for a Kindle,
kindly sponsored by HouseMark Ltd, was presented to the winner
Raquel Kelvie from Crawley Borough Council.
The themes and priorities from the tenants' manifesto exercise
will be posted to this website in November once discussed by the
ARCH Tenants' Group and the ARCH Executive so watch this space.
Jennifer Hill wished everyone well and thanked all involved on
the day for their participation.
Click here to view all photos from the ARCH tenants' conference