Get involved - housing
A residents' association(RA) is a group of residents from an estate, block, neighbourhood or sheltered scheme who have come together formally to work with us to:
- resolve local issues or concerns
- make decisions about the management and maintenance of their block or estate
- influence the housing services provided
The benefits of being a member of an RA include:
- being kept informed about your community and housing services
- building a stronger sense of community by making joint decisions and organising community events
- accessing grants for projects to benefit your neighbourhood and receiving relevant training
Accredited residents' associations
All RAs are asked to undergo an accreditation process each year. This is to make sure you are representative of your area and meet some basic requirements.
To become accredited your RA needs to have a:
- Constitution which meets our model constitution standards. For example, it will give details of the area it represents, how local residents can join, membership fees and how it will operate.
- Annual General Meeting (AGM) (or Formation Meeting for new RAs). These meetings must be minuted and give all residents a chance to find out what has been happening over the last year and what plans are in place for the coming year. AGMs also give residents the chance to nominate and vote new committee members to officer posts.
- List of members (where your RA covers 20 properties or more) which covers at least 20% of the households within the associations area of operation
- Code of conduct based on an approved model. Where there are between 10 and 20 properties the association must have a membership of at least 51% of the households in the area it represents.
Residents' association entitlements
Accredited RAs are entitled to:
- Receive an annual grant towards running costs.
- Send two representatives to the area housing panel for their area.
- Receive free training for members.
Enhanced priority for a response when contacting the director of housing and community services on estate matters.
Associate residents' associations
An associate RA is the intermediate status given to a group of residents who are in development but who have not yet met our accreditation requirements.
The associate status lasts for 9 months (with the exception of associations of fewer than 10 properties who may hold associate status indefinitely providing certain criteria is met). If your associate RA group does not receive sufficient support in the 9 month period and progress to full accredited status, the associate status will lapse and the group will not form part of the resident participation structure.
Being an associate RA gives interested residents' groups time to:
- Grow in confidence
- Acquire the relevant skills
- Decide things like who might be best placed to fill the roles of chairperson, secretary and treasurer
During this period, your Resident Participation Officer (RPO) will offer assistance to increase the level of support for a RA in the block, estate or area, and help organise meetings. They are also able to put you in touch with existing accredited RAs to help mentor and support the new group.
Full funding is only available to accredited RAs. Associate RAs will receive the full RA grant payable if the group becomes accredited within the first 6 months. After this period and up to 9 months, the grant is payable on a pro rata basis.
We have a range of courses available which will help provide the core skills needed to run your association successfully. Courses are periodically run for RA committee members; they are free of charge, are run at Wandsworth Town Hall, and last for approximately 2hours. Training courses include:
- managing RA grants and making bids for other grants
- committee roles and skills
- holding meetings and taking minutes
- creating newsletters
- how to increase wider resident involvement
- organising community activities and running a clubroom
Sometimes we may pay for relevant external short courses for RA committee members.
Thinking of forming a Residents’ Association?
For further information or if you would like to set up a RA in your area contact your RPO.
Please note if your property isn’t managed by Wandsworth Council you should contact your housing provider or managing agent for more information about becoming recognised as a Residents’ Association