PROSPECTUS| November 2016

About CWAG

Councils with ALMOs Group (CWAG) is the representative body of stock owning local authorities whose stock is managed by ALMOs.

CWAG began as an informal grouping of council officers meeting to share good practice and provide mutual support in the early days of the establishment of the ALMO model. In 2007 the group moved to formalise its structure and role becoming a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Local Government Association. Since then the group has been working to ensure that the interests of councils with ALMOs are fully recognised in wider policy proposals and debates.

 

The Group also has an important role in terms of providing access to practical support, training and networking. From the outset, the group has retained a non- political stance, focussing on practical support to council officers on operational and policy issues. There is no direct member involvement in the group.

 

The group is managed via an elected Executive Group and there is a part-time policy officer in post. Manchester City Council acts as Treasurer and Lead Authority for the Group.

CWAG’s input is always relevant and high quality. Views from CWAG members support our policy development and influencing work as well as helping to ensure that support to councils respond to the most pressing challenges and opportunities faced at a local level.

Clarissa Corbisiero - Senior Advisor - Local Government Association

CWAG has been a useful forum to be part of, and Haringey Council’s client side has benefited immensely from being a member. Regular meetings and conferences are organised throughout the year, providing great learning opportunities and the chance to discuss the impact of policy changes.

We have also made links with other authorities which provided an opportunity for the client side to seek help from three authorities to carry out a telephone mystery shopping exercise on specific sections within the housing service at no cost.

Doris Acquaah - ALMO Client Manager Haringey Council

AIMS and OBJECTIVES

  • to act as a forum to provide mutual support to authorities with ALMOs
  • to have an active role in influencing the national policy agenda, particularly in respect of ALMOs but also through working with others in areas of broader concern.
  • to facilitate the exchange and introduction of best practice and to develop initiatives for local authorities whose stock is managed by ALMOs
  • as a Special Interest Group of the Local Government Association(LGA) – to inform and influence LGA policy and activity on housing so it reflects the needs and concerns of Councils with ALMOs
  • to promote the ALMO model and develop positive partnerships with ALMOs to ensure the best outcome for tenants/leaseholders

Benefits of Membership

Events

We run an annual programme of topical meetings, seminars and workshops. These events are free to CWAG members and cover both practical operational issues and wider housing policy.

Examples of recent events/ topics

  • The Housing and Planning Act - what next?
  • Legal issues arising from the Housing and Planning Act 2016 / Welfare Reform and work Act 2016
  • Challenges of diversification - including case studies from CWAG members.
  • How should a council manage its relationship with its ALMO?
  • TMO Workshop
  • HRA business planning - responding to the cumulative impacts of welfare reform and changes in rent policy.
  • Local Authority newbuild - case studies from CWAG members.


Housing Policy

Acting as a representative group for local authorities, CWAG has access to the LGA, CLG and the HCA and the opportunity to participate in and influence  policy debates both in relation to ALMOs directly, but also on wider housing issues.

 

Examples

  • Regular policy briefings and 'catch-up' meetings with the LGA.

     

     

     

Advice and Support

CWAG is a mutual support group with members providing advice and support to each other on an informal basis. In addition there are opportunities to develop good practice guidance in areas of shared interest.

Examples

  • Advice and support is available via the Policy Officer. There is also a dedicated website including members area, discussion forum and library facility.
  • Business Planning workshops aim to provide opportunities for local authority officers involved in asset management and business planning to network and discuss key issues with peers and sector experts.


Working with Others

CWAG works together with a number of other housing organisations including the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) on a number of projects and issues where there are shared interests. Working in partnership confers significantly improved impact and coverage in key areas.

Examples

  • Joint project with the NFA and NFTMO to produce "Local Authority, ALMO and TMO Relationships" A Good practice guide
  • CWAG is working with the NFA and ARCH to provide evidenced based feedback on the impacts of a range of policies including welfare reform, 'Pay to Stay' and the forced sale of  higher value voids.

Why is Membership Important Now?

Councils with ALMOs have distinct interests. Joining forces to share information, develop good practice and provide effective representation are important for the sector.

 

ALMOs are continuing to develop and many councils are forging new partnerships with  their ALMOs.  ALMOs are taking on new roles and functions reflecting local circumstances and priorities. CWAG provides an effective way for authorities to network and share good practice in this area.

 

 All housing providers face challenging times in terms of the impact of welfare reform and other policy changes. As a Special Interest Group focussed on the issues facing councils with ALMOs, CWAG will represent members interests as well as keeping them up to date with emerging issues and developments within the sector.

 

CWAG has established itself as a respected voice representing councils with ALMOs and is well placed to continue to develop this role, building on its established reputation and track record.

 

Summary of Key Benefits

  • Annual Programme of meetings, seminars and workshops
  • Access to housing policy debates
  • Advice and Support
  • Access to CWAG Members Website
  • Developing and sharing good practice

How to Join

  • Membership is open to all councils with ALMOs.
  • The annual subscription fee is calculated on the basis of the size of an authority's stock holding.
  • Subscription fees are chargeable to the HRA as the services and activities provided by CWAG are in support of HRA activities.

For more information contact
Alison Freeman - CWAG Policy Officer
Email: a.freeman@manchester.gov.uk
Tel: 07909 548609
CWAG Website:
www.councilswithalmos.org.uk

 

Membership of the CWAG group has been extremely useful in terms of learning what Councils are doing to improve relations between Councils and ALMOs. I have found the workshops and presentations very helpful particularly the updates on what is happening in the housing sector.

I have also found the website useful when I have had a query and used the discussions board to get feedback from colleagues nationally.

Sheila Sackey - Business Analyst Housing Commissioning Westminster City Council

Membership

CWAG currently has a membership of 26 councils.


  • Barnet LB
  • Blackpool BC
  • Cheltenham
  • Colchester BC
  • Cornwall Council
  • Derby City Council
  • Doncaster MBC
  • Gateshead MBC
  • Haringey LB
  • Kirklees MBC
  • Lewisham LB
  • Manchester City Council
  • Newark and Sherwood District Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • North East Derbyshire District Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Poole
  • Sedgemoor District Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Solihull MBC
  • South Tyneside MBC
  • Stockport MBC
  • Sutton LB
  • Tower Hamlets LB
  • Westminster City Council
  • Wolverhampton City Council