How We Work…
The Co-op’s registered Rules describe how the Society governs itself. The Rules are also the basis of the Co-op’s policies and procedures, which are used by the Management Groups for the day to day management of the Co-operative.
The membership undertakes the management in meetings as follows:
· Annual AGM is held in June. It receives the accounts, approves the auditor, reviews frequencies of meeting, and elects the Co-op’s Officers.
· A Semi Annual General Meeting is held in the Autumn to approve the budget, and is followed up by a Special General Meeting to set the rents for the next year.
· Management Group monthly meetings are attended by reps from each property, and by any Prospective Tenant Members who wish to go.
· Each group has a convenor and shadow convenor who prepares the agenda; ensure the meetings run effectively; deal with correspondence; ensure officer roles are filled.
· A typical meeting agenda includes: approval of minutes of last meeting; matters arising; correspondence; officers’ reports; working group reports; any other business
about the well-being of the members
The Welfare Group can offer support and advocacy to the membership and Two Piers where appropriate.
Welfare monitors the participation of each member to ensure that they attend the minimum of one meeting a month, and can grant time off (a moratorium) if appropriate.
If a conflict arises in a household which cannot be resolved by its tenants, or between the Co-op and a member, Welfare can help by offering external mediation, which is part of the Conflict Resolution Policy.
Welfare runs the entertainment budget – drinks after the AGM, Christmas Party etc.
Welfare manages the Furniture Fund that provides each household with communal furniture and equipment.
The Co-op is committed to providing training opportunities for all its members, in meeting skills, bookkeeping and public speaking, for example.
is about the growth of Two Piers and the housing co-operative movement
The Development Group oversees the creation and running of the new Two Piers Website and intranet.
The Sustainable Development Working Group is working on making Two-Piers greener and more sustainable – installing biomass boilers for example.
Development would oversee buying a new property if we decided to expand further.
Development encourages team building activities and events.
Development supports the housing co-operative movement through its affiliation to CHIBAH, CCH and CVSF. (links at bottom of page)
CHIBAH (Co-operative Housing In Brighton And Hove) is an umbrella organisation that networks most housing co-ops in Brighton & Hove to support each other and develop more housing co-ops in the area.
CCH (Confederation of Co-operative Housing is the national representative body.
CVSF (Community and Voluntary Sector Forum) represents the sector to the city’s strategic partnerships.
Potential links with Transition Town are being looked at.
Development oversees the Development Loan Fund which helps new co-ops set up.CCH (Confederation of Co-operative Housing is the national representative body.
Allocations. . .
is about housing new members
The Allocations Group grants membership to eligible applicants who have completed the procedure for becoming a member (link to apply page).
Vacancies are reported to Allocations which then ensures procedures are followed and voids are kept to a minimum.
Filling vacancies in self contained accommodation requires a panel to be set up by Allocations.
The Membership Secretary gives a report on how many shares and tenancies have been issued in the last month, as well as the participation of PTMs.
The Applicants Secretary reports on new members meeting attendance.
The Equal Opportunities officer gives feedback on how the co-op reflects the diversity of Brighton.
The Sponsor Officer matches up new members with a sponsor, who gives them information and support.
Allocations also deals with publicity and general enquiries, removal of membership if required, internal and external exchanges, transfers to and from other Co-ops, and the changing needs of tenants.
Maintenance. . .
is about caring for the properties
The Maintenance Group works closely with architects and surveyors, and liaises with building and maintenance contractors, supervising works and keeping records.
Maintenance handles a budget of £90,000 to ensure high standards of accommodation, by dealing with all types of maintenance which can be split into three categories:
- Cyclical maintenance: internal and external decoration, gas service checks, fire equipment checks, etc.
- Planned maintenance : updating of kitchens and bathrooms and the general upkeep of all Co-op buildings.
- Emergency works: mending broken windows, boiler failures etc.
The Co-op also has an Improvements Fund whereby tenants propose ideas for works to improve their living space, for example, garden plans or bicycle storage.
Treasury. . .
is about income and expenditure
The Treasury Group is responsible for the financial management of the Co-op, and keeps financial records.
Two Piers has 68 tenancies and collects £180,000 per year in rent. Treasury receives monthly rent reports from each property and ensures that:
- Rent levels are adjusted annually to reflect anticipated costs
- Rent is collected, banked, and accounted for
- Rent arrears are kept in check, and Treasury takes action if arrears increase beyond the acceptable levels outlined in the Rent Arrears Policy. The Co-op views rent arrears very seriously and will take a tenant with high arrears to court.
- Bad debts are recovered
Treasury receives expenditure reports and ensures that:
- All required expenditure is budgeted for, and budget limits are adhered to or adjusted if necessary
- Accounts are audited
- The petty cash float is maintained
- Members’ expenses are reimbursed
Treasury can also offer support and advocacy to tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit. Treasury pays the mortgage, deals with insurance, pays Landlord’s service charges, etc.
Co-ordination. . .
is about communication and planning
The Co-ordination Group receives reports from the other management groups, and can set up working groups to undertake specific tasks outside their remit.
- Maintains the House File, ensuring that it is kept up to date
- Maintains the Co-op’s computers, upgrading and replacing as necessary
- Ensures the Newsletter is produced
- Deals with regulatory annual returns for the Housing Corporation and the Financial Services Authority
- Replenishes the supply of office equipment
- Formulates a Forward Plan
Two Piers Housing Co-operative
14 Oriental Place
Tel: 0844 487 5847
(a premium rate line)
Designed by Gunny
Photos by Neil W