The Disraeli Room

The Disraeli Room

Blog Post

Making it Mutual: A pioneering milestone for Rochdale

26th June 2013

Gareth Swarbrick on the mutualisation of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing

Wednesday 26th June marks the last formal step in the transition of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) from municipal to mutual ownership. This is the point where our transitional governance arrangements end and RBH becomes a true mutual, owned solely by its tenant and employee members.

RBH is now the very first co-owned mutual housing organisation in the country, a place where both tenant and employee members have a real say in how RBH takes shape in the future.

Following a ballot of tenants RBH took over the homes formerly owned by Rochdale Council in March 2012, with a promise to complete the mutual process within 15 months. At a special general meeting in March, tenant and employee members voted overwhelmingly to adopt the “mutual rules” – developed together by tenants employees. These rules have now been registered and are formally adopted on 26 June. This completes the historic change to a true mutual organisation. And it is timely that this housing and co-operative milestone has been reached during both the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference in Manchester and the first week of Co-operative’s Fortnight.

This is a really proud moment for RBH. It marks a huge amount of work by so many tenants and employees to get to this point. With 2,500 members joining RBH we are now owned by these members on a one member one vote basis. While this marks the formal end of our transition –our journey continues. We know that there are big challenges for RBH and for all housing providers – now and in the future. Our membership will shape our response to these, keeping us true to our purpose of providing high quality homes in friendly, welcoming communities, and working together to agree priorities and make difficult choices. All the formal building blocks are now in place – our goal now is to grow our strong and connected membership. Positive examples of tenants and employees working together are growing – from elected representatives shaping the strategy and values to conversations to agree priorities and deliver actions at a very local level. It is these conversations and actions that will ensure that our mutuality gives us not only robust governance but a strong and positive culture embedded in our mutual values.

For further information on Britian’s ownership revolution, please read out Making it Mutual essay collection here.

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