Here are a few examples of the wonderful work
that tenants of ARCH have been doing to help make a difference to
William 'Ted' Jones from Stevenage Borough Council, was the 2016
ARCH Community Champion award winner at our Tenants' Conference on
Thursday 22 September 2016.
The award recognises the commitment and hard work undertaken by
tenants of ARCH members to improve their local communities. The
ARCH Tenants' conference is held every year and is organised by the
ARCH Tenants' Group.
Ted joined his local residents group in 2010 and has since
successfully campaigned for several initiatives to improve his
local area including resurfacing of a road, the regeneration of a
local shopping square, setting up a new community centre and
successfully presenting the case for Decent Homes to the Select
Committee at Westminster which resulted in a grant for £55million
to provide a better living standard for tenants.
Winners of this year's ARCH Tenant Awards
were announced at the ARCH Tenant Conference in
Award for Tenant of the Year was won
by Richard Macrae of Broxtowe Borough
Council: Congratulations to Richard from everyone at ARCH
and a special word for SeniaDedic of London Borough of
Wandsworth whose work in her local
community was highly commended by the judging
The Award for the council that has
done the most to encourage and support tenant empowerment went this
year to the London Borough of Croydon and again many
congratulations to all involved.
Together for Tenants is a tenant-led partnership with Hinckley
and Bosworth Borough Council that is currently involving more
council tenants in their communities and in housing service
development. The group was launched at a public event in May
2013, is fully constituted and led by a Committee elected at the
groups' Annual General Meeting in October. Activities include
a new gardening group and attendance at local events.
Towards the end of 2013, an Evaluation Team made up of Hinckley
and Bosworth tenants was recruited via an independent panel to
scrutinise the council's housing services and conduct review
projects. The eight-person team have completed initial training and
are in the process of conducting a pilot review.
Though 80% of UK households are now online,
of those without internet access, half live in social housing.
The involved tenant reps on the board helped
to design the scheme (the technicalities of how the loan worked and
the RI credits system was their idea). They also championed it for
us when it was presented to councillors.
To help address this digital exclusion,
Cambridge City Council is offering the loan of a laptop (plus 3G
dongle) to eligible tenants.
After one year they have the option to buy
the computer at half its original cost, return it to the council
(so it can be provided to another tenant) or gain credits towards
keeping the computer by taking part in activities like mystery
shopping or estate inspections.
Some examples of tenants helped by the scheme
"P" was made redundant just before Christmas, having been
employed in the catering sector for over forty years. He was
referred via Job Centre Plus, who stated that he washighly
motivated and a regular attendee at Job Club. As a result of
receiving the equipment he has continued to build on newly acquired
IT skills and has been in contact with the Independent Living
Service (ILS) about volunteering opportunities.
"F" was one of the first recipients of the scheme. She lives in
Cherry Hinton and was finding it difficult to attend Job Centre
Plus to look for employment. Using the equipment provided,she has
now found full time employment in the retail sector.
"M" is a single parent who was referred by her caseworker. Her
nine year old daughter was having difficulties keeping up with
homework. The equipment has addressed this problem and "M" has
expressed her gratitude.
"Fl" is a young woman with multiple mental health issues. She
has high level computer skills, but her existing equipment was no
longer fit for purpose. Her caseworker has stated that the loan of
newer equipment will greatly assist her in maintaining contact with
the outside world.
"H" and "C" are both tenants with mobility issues. They had
computers which were very old and temperamental. The equipment from
the scheme has allowed them to stay in touch with family and the
Slough Borough Council istransforming the way in which they
manage their neighbourhoods and communities. They recognise
that the Right to Buy has changed the profile of housing stock
which means that tenants now live alongside the tenants of other
landlords home owners, leaseholders and shared owners.
As a local authority they have a range of powers available to
enable them to respond to problems when they occur. In
recognition of this, they have spent the past year laying the
foundations for the creation of the Neighbourhood Service,
combining their housing and enforcement teams allowing them to
utilise all powers available to manage their
Over the coming year they will be restructuring and embedding
the concept of neighbourhood services. Whilst enforcement
action is one option available, they will continue to develop their
Tenancy Sustainment Service which works with a range of charities
and third sector organisations in Slough to provide support to
vulnerable residents who are struggling to manage their homes and
Skelmersdale was developed as a New Town in the 1960's. There is
currently a population of around 40,000. A major consultation
exercise was undertaken in 2005 as part of the development of a
master plan for the town andresidents wanted to have a more
conventional town centre and an improved housing offer.
To create a vibrant Town Centre and to improve the housing offer
to make Skelmersdale a destination of choice. This was referred to
locally as the "Skem Vision" and has wide support by residents,
stakeholders, the council and the LEP for Lancashire.
The original plan for Firbeck, an Estate of around 180 homes,
was earmarked for demolition in an ambitious plan to redevelop the
site together with additional land to build market homes which
would generate receipts to start the process of regenerating the
area and improving the town centre. This plan was unable to be
delivered due to a slump in the housing market.
The original plan has had to be revised because of the change in
the housing market. The council, using a combination of HRA and GRF
funding have started a £5.5M public sector led schemewhich will
- The area revived
- Housing benefitting from internal and external
- 60 flats demolished
- 40 replacement homes provided
- Street Scene improvements
This public sector intervention has meant that the area will be
significantly enhanced and the adjacent land will be more
attractive for development so that the vision for the town centre
can start to be delivered.
In early 2013 a tenant scrutiny panel was formed to carry out
performance monitoring and housing service review son behalf of
Epping Forest Tenants and Leaseholders Federation.
The panel's first review looked at the way complaints are
handled within the council's housing service and a report was
produced in March 2014 including fourteen recommendations for
service improvements. Among the recommendations was the appointment
of a dedicated officer to collate complaints across the
Subsequently, the council has agreed the creation of a new post
of Customer Relationship Officer as recommended by the tenant
scrutiny panel with the rest of the recommendations in its report
used as the basis for the job description. The Federation is
delighted with this outcome as it shows the value of such reviews
and that the Council is willing to listen to its tenants and act
The South Derbyshire Dreamscheme is a way of enabling young
people to serve their community, be busy, have fun, gain new
skills, leading to a change in their attitudes and
2014 Dreamscheme Project
Early in 2014, Dreamscheme were approached by several members of
a community to work in partnership with the Overseal Parish Council
on a redecoration project within the village hall and the revamp of
their Youth Shelter.
They were overwhelmed by the support from across the local
community and from the 22 young volunteers who were involved this
year. During the week in August those involved in the project
painted two IT suites, planted a small area, litter picked the
playing field, put in a new waste bin and designed/ painted
graffiti art on a youth shelter.
This award highlights the work that councils do to support
tenant empowerment and develop their communities and
neighbourhoods. This award is open to any local authority who
has successfully introduced a new approach during the year that has
dramatically improved its own performance and/or the lives of its
This award recognises a council that have empowered their
tenants to be involved in both the management of their housing and
their community. For example, organisations that have:
• Demonstrated a real commitment to involving tenants in how
their services are designed, delivered and monitored
• Worked with tenants and local partner organisations to deliver
benefits for the whole community
• Developed tenants' skills and empowered them to be active in
Norwich City Council
Norwich City Council's new tenant involvement structure has been
designed, tested and approved by their tenants. Alongside two
new strategic tenant panels for general needs tenants, a brand new
strategic level panel has been created for sheltered housing
tenants to ensure they have the same level if influence and
involvement. The council has several local tenant involvement
activities such as a repairs materials advisory group, mystery
shoppers, an annual report working group as well as housing fun
days and many more activities.