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Tenants' conference 2014 22/05/2014 Labelled as Tenants

Putting tenants first

Tenants group and banner


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 attending.


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 smoothly.


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 Mears Group.



Welcome from the ARCH tenants' group Chair


 Jenny Hill

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 tenant.


Jenny Hill introduced Councillor Paul Ellis, Chair of ARCH and thanked the ARCH Executive for their support.



...and from Councillor Sir Albert Bore


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.


What's your story?


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 stories.


ARCH awards


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 initiative.


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.



Developing a tenants' manifesto


 Manifesto exercise

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 priorities.


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 Manifesto.





There were three workshop sessions on the topics of complaints, rents and tenants' rights and responsibilities.



1. How to complain effectively

Linda Collier

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.


Download the presentation



2.    Where does my rent go?

Marlene Price

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.


Download the presentation




3.    Tenants' rights and responsibilities

3rd session


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' Group member.




So long, farewell for next year...


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 2014


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ARCH Member Comments 21 people like this

  • Colin Herbert, Lincoln City Council - 13 October 2014

    Excellent conference, enjoyed by all from Lincoln.