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        introducing the

changing attitudes

Confidence and trust can only be built       The starting point for the Community Gateway           Community self-determination will not happen
slowly.                                      Model is that the future of people’s homes must        overnight. It will take time, training, flexibility,
                                             be shaped by the people themselves.                    balance, motivation and safety nets. But, the
They can’t be developed overnight.
                                                                                                    most important requirement for success will
                                             Achieving local solutions to local issues requires
On many of England’s council housing                                                                be confidence.
                                             people to develop the ability and power to
estates, people may feel that they are not
                                             identify the concerns they have about their
consulted or involved in decisions that
                                             homes and neighbourhoods and act upon them.
affect their neighbourhoods, especially
the big decisions about the future of the    By the time tenants vote on stock transfer, it
housing service and other services they      often seems like a “take it or leave it” choice. The
receive. This can happen even where a        Community Gateway Model aims to change this
council has encouraged involvement – or      by getting people involved at a much earlier
asked people to vote on the future of        stage, so that they can shape the choices, not
their housing.                               just vote on them.      Tenants can choose how
                                             much power they want and when they want it
                                             with built-in capacity to increase their level of
                                             involvement when they say so.
“  The more power tenants
and communities have to run
their own neighbourhoods,
the better they are run.

That’s the firm view of Nic Bliss from the
                                                 ”        Nic said:
Confederation of Co-operative Housing.                    “People are interested in issues that affect them and
Drawing from 20 years experience in the field, Nic        their local neighbourhood. There is a need for
believes that only limited levels of participation are    tenants to be able to become engaged at a level
available to the vast majority of tenants in              they identify with.
mainstream housing.                                       “All the research evidence says that when
A major factor is that tenant participation in the        communities take control, they are able to
work of registered social landlords usually takes         deliver far more efficient neighbourhood services
place on an association-wide level.                       and improvements.”

                                                                                                                  what’s in it for tenants?

The Confederation of Co-operative Housing’s               • Setting up a tenant management organisation           •   Local people identifying local priorities
motivation in developing the Community Gateway                                                                        and acting upon them
                                                          • Setting up a housing co-operative
Model stems from its desire to develop a wider
choice for tenants than the range of options              • Working with other organisations on a wider           •   Neighbourhood operations that
currently offered to them.                                  agenda of neighbourhood             renewal    and        individuals can relate to
At the heart of the argument is the need to                 regeneration.
                                                                                                                  •   Greater accountability
build-in flexibility, allowing tenants not only to take   In the long term, as more communities decide they
power over decision-making to the extent that they        want greater control over their neighbourhood, it       •   Tenants having the level of
want to but also to change that level of power when       would mean that scare resources were spent more             involvement that they choose
they want to.                                             wisely according to local priorities.
                                                                                                                  •   A vehicle for delivering wider
That means tenants and communities would be able          The Community Gateway Model offers the promise              social change
to determine their futures at their own pace and          of individuals determining their own future with
would be able to change their minds about how they        safeguards ensuring that government requirements        •   Services with better focus and
become engaged.                                           are met.                                                    better value.
Tenants would be able to decide how much they
want to make use of a range of opportunities
• Accessing services provided by the landlord

• Establishing a range of participation levels
  including local panels or estate agreements
“  The report ‘Empowering Communities -
the Community Gateway Model’ recommends
ways forward for social landlords, tenants and
leaseholders, the government and the
Housing Corporation.

step by step

early progress

The Community Gateway Model has its           Together with the Chartered Institute of Housing,   The visits sparked proposals that the model should
roots in a concept developed by the           CCH and CU commissioned HACAS Chapman               also be tailored to suit arms length management
Confederation of Co-operative Housing         Hendy and Trowers & Hamlins to investigate the      organisations, giving local authorities and tenants
                                              idea and provide guidance on the legal structures   a wider range of options.
(CCH) and the Co-operative Union(CU).
                                              and other arrangements that would be needed to
                                              deliver the model.                                  In addition, the Institute for Public Policy Research
The proposal was that council                                                                     tested the community gateway approach through
housing stock transfer should take place to   Tenant representatives and housing practitioners    four focus groups of council tenants.
an enabling body that would allow tenants     were invited to two seminars run by CCH in
to pursue a step-by-step approach to          London and Manchester to test the concept.          The report “Empowering Communities - the
                                                                                                  Community Gateway Model” recommends
controlling their communities.
                                              Case study visits were made to two local            ways forward for social landlords, tenants
                                              authorities - Preston Borough Council and           and leaseholders, the government and the
                                              Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. In each      Housing Corporation.
                                              area, the project team met with council officers
                                              and tenant representatives.
investment in time and training

                                                 The model has two elements:                              covered by a local authority and agreeing within it
The critical difference between the
                                                 • The Community Gateway Process                          the location and size of a number of neighbourhoods
Community Gateway process and                                                                             within which community empowerment will work.
                                                 • The Community Gateway Association
standard stock transfer or ALMO
programmes is its systematic approach            The Community Gateway Process is designed to             People living in each local neighbourhood will
                                                 cement lasting community involvement and                 get the chance to consider how they want to
to     offering   opportunities   for
                                                 ownership by creating more opportunities for             be involved.
community empowerment.
                                                 tenants and leaseholders to take charge of their own     Every local neighbourhood will be given the widest
Tenants and other key stakeholders               destinies. Any social landlord can adopt it regardless   possible choice of involvement – ranging from
including council members and housing            of whether they are pursuing a change of                 straightforward consultation through to direct
department staff need time to                    management or ownership.                                 management - and even ownership - of their
develop understanding and ownership of           The first step is to develop a community                 housing.
the model.                                       empowerment strategy spelling out how tenants            As ability and confidence grows, each local
                                                 and leaseholders can increase their involvement in       neighbourhood needs to be able to choose to take
Time costs money. The Community                  decision-making and management.                          on more responsibility as it sees fit. Other residents
Gateway Model recognises that additional
                                                 The process recognises that people identify most         will be consulted about wider issues – for example
central government funds will be required                                                                 crime prevention and environmental improvements.
                                                 strongly with their own immediate neighbourhoods.
to finance community empowerment
                                                 That will mean perhaps taking an area currently
training and development.


key stages - setting up a community gateway association

The Community Gateway Association is a           Key stages in setting up a Community                     Each element of the Community Gateway Model
type of not-for-profit organisation that         Gateway Association include:                             places individual empowerment at the heart of
can be used to manage council housing            • Spreading awareness among all stakeholders             the business of delivering better quality services
                                                   including tenants and staff                            with better value for money. It’s about building
or take ownership of it as a “registered
                                                                                                          communities where people want to live - not
social landlord”.                                • Identifying local operational areas
                                                                                                          only today but also tomorrow.
                                                 • Agreeing    the legal structure, size and
Because each neighbourhood is different,
                                                   responsibility of the association
flexibility is the key.
                                                 • Investigating     the    potential     for   wider
The association could be used for all              regeneration
or part of the housing stock. Its                • Starting work with tenants and leaseholders
legal structure could be as an “industrial         to promote the model and recruit members.
and provident society” or as a non-profit        • Setting up shadow boards of the new
limited company; a stand-alone                     organisation
organisation or part of group structure.         • Negotiating with key stakeholders including
At first, association activities are likely to     the government,            funders     and      the
                                                   Housing Corporation
concentrate on improving housing
condition but, having established an             • Developing    a community empowerment
                                                   strategy and local business plan.
effective vehicle for delivering change, it
could also grow to have a wider role in          • If stock transfer is on the cards, including
                                                   community empowerment programmes in the
neighbourhood regeneration.
                                                   offer to tenants and leaseholders.
the preston experience                                                                             One of our aims is to grow our
Preston Borough Council is one of the                                                            own people from within the
first local authorities in the country to
actively investigate the Community
Gateway Model.
Striving to meet the government’s decent
homes’ targets, the authority recognised
that it could not retain ownership of its
7,000 plus properties and generate the
kind of investment required to bring
them up to scratch.
But, wholesale stock transfer was not
acceptable locally without a method of
balancing the break from local authority
control with continuity of civic
commitment to social change.

The city council decided that the level of             “As yet, we have received no guarantees but we       Into the future, Peter believes it is inevitable that
neighbourhood participation offered by the             are committed to pursuing the Community              the new mechanism of delivering neighbourhood
community gateway process would bring that             Gateway Model because we think this will work        services in Preston will expand its brief beyond
balance. It is now aiming for a tenant ballot for      for tenants and for the council.”                    housing improvement and management to tackle a
transfer under the Community Gateway Model                                                                  wider range of social issues. Neighbourhood
in 2004.                                               Peter said that preliminary work due to start in     organisations would be powerful tools aiding
                                                       2003 would include detailed research into            council members to put their commitment to
In early 2003, Peter Deacon will give up his job as    community aspirations as well as the foundation      social change into tangible results.
Preston’s Director of Housing to take up a two-        of a training programme that would give new
year contract as Community Gateway Manager.            opportunities to local people.                       He said:
                                                                                                            “Once the new investment for housing starts
Peter, a member of the national Community              He explained:                                        coming into the area, there will be a vehicle in
Gateway Model steering group, said:                    “One of our aims is to grow our own people from      place to deliver wider regeneration in a way that is
“Like many local authorities, unless we get external   within the community.                                locally controlled and locally accountable.”
funding we have no chance of hitting the decent        “We envisage that local people may enter the
homes targets because of the condition of our          training programme as volunteers but that once
housing stock.                                         the Community Gateway Model is established they
“The Community Gateway Model should produce            will move forward to perhaps take up paid roles in
the same level of incoming investment as any           the development and encouragement of tenant
other kind of stock transfer.                          empowerment locally.”

“There are some extra costs and extra work in
developing community empowerment and we are
bidding for extra support from government.
the challenge
                                                               Capacity building won’t produce results if it is         How does it fit with government priorities?
The Community Gateway Model will bring                         restricted to community activity. Housing providers
                                                               need to investigate what internal action they must       The Community Gateway Model fits in well with the
lasting improvements to disadvantaged                                                                                   government’s wider strategies on neighbourhood
                                                               take if they are to embrace change.
neighbourhoods through a fundamental                                                                                    renewal, as well as helping to deliver decent homes.
change in the way that their housing and                       One vital issue that must be addressed early on is the
                                                               identification of a pool of expertise to deliver         Caroline Keightley, from the Community Housing
other services are run.                                                                                                 Task Force at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister,
                                                               community empowerment programmes on
Building from the bottom up is a tried                         the street. Skilled people will be needed to produce     has kept a watching brief over the model’s
                                                               good results.                                            development through its steering group.
and tested method of creating structures
that are going to last.                                        They won’t be easy to find but the potential rewards     Caroline said:
                                                               for their work include the satisfaction of improving     “The messages coming out of the current
The transformation of the Community                                                                                     government review of how to achieve the decent
                                                               the everyday lives of the neighbourhoods and people
Gateway Model from commendable idea                                                                                     homes target include the importance and value of
                                                               they serve.
to practical working demands positive                                                                                   community involvement in delivering change.
participation at every level of the social                     Investment in time and training to deliver
                                                               community empowerment should be met                      “The potential for moving from tenant participation
housing chain, from tenants through                                                                                     towards tenant empowerment is now widely
landlords to the government and the                            through extra funding from the government and the
                                                               Housing Corporation.                                     recognised.”
Housing Corporation.

what the report proposes:                                                                                               how do we get further details?

The full report has a range of recommendations to       • The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and                   This leaflet is only an outline of the model.
councils, the government and the Housing                    the Housing Corporation should work to ensure               The full report by HACAS Chapman Hendy and
Corporation. They include:                                  that funding mechanisms are in place to                     Trowers & Hamlins describes the new approach and
                                                            finance devolution of power to tenants and                  how it could work in detail.
• Social landlords, tenants and leaseholders should
                                                            local communities
  investigate the model when they review strategic                                                                      It covers:
  options for the future of the housing service         • The Housing Corporation should recognise and                  • How to get started
                                                            adopt the Community Gateway Association as                  • A model legal structure
• Where the model is favoured, local authorities
                                                            one of the constitutional forms available in                • Business planning and financial issues
  need to re-shape their organisation to deliver            stock transfer.                                             • How the community empowerment strategy
  community empowerment
                                                                                                                            could work
                                                        The government is already considering the model
• The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister could                                                                         • The key messages about the new approach.
                                                        in reviewing the way forward for social housing.
  select two or three local authorities including at    What is now needed is for more places - like
  least one proposed stock transfer to act as pilot                                                                     Copies of the report “Empowering Communities -
                                                        Preston - to consider the new approach in detail
  projects for the model                                                                                                the Community Gateway Model” are available from
                                                        and for tenants and landlords to work together to
                                                                                                                        the Chartered Institute of Housing, price £15.00
                                                        turn it from a new idea to a practical reality.
                                                                                                                        (plus £1.50 postage and packing).
                                                                                                                        Email: or telephone: 024 7685 1752.
                                                                                                                        For extra copies of this leaflet contact the
                                                                                                                        same number.

                                                                                                                                         Housing and community photography kindly supplied
                                                                                                                                         by LHA (Leicester Housing Association) and Keynote

                                                       Website: Email:                                        Written, designed and produced by The Bridge Group.
                                                                                                                                         Tel: 024 7630 6666. (January 2003)

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