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Constitution of Local Boards

The EMB is the elected body representing all residents living in homes on the estate managed by EastendHomes. The objects of the EMB shall be, to work for the general benefit of the residents and community living in the EastendHomes managed housing in as well as promoting amenities and activities within the area of benefit. The principal aims and objectives of the EMB are:

  • To represent residents’ interests on all matters relating to housing services, policies and practices affecting the estates managed by EastendHomes;
  • To consider and respond on matters affecting housing conditions, community regeneration, amenities and resident rights and to comment on new policy initiatives that affect residents in the estates;
  • To consider and respond on matters referred to it by residents and/or their representatives;
  • To require EastendHomes staff, consultants and contractors to attend EMB Board Meetings when necessary;
  • To participate in monitoring performance targets on all aspects of service delivery and to suggest and promote ideas for improving service delivery to the estates;
  • To receive and consider all performance monitoring reports relating to the EastendHomes housing services delivered to the estates, request further performance information on specific items of service delivery and to make recommendations to the Housing Manager on any matters arising;
  • To receive reports on any planned maintenance programme or improvement programme, to advise and make recommendations on the same;
  • To receive reports from the appropriate Manager(s) of the performance of handy persons, caretakers and day to day repairs contractors;
  • To undertake joint regular physical inspections of area with EastendHomes staff to monitor cleaning standards, estate lighting, horticultural maintenance, health and safety issues and general environmental matters;
  • To receive reports about issues affecting the estates from the EastendHomes Board, and to make recommendations to the Board, where appropriate;
  • To participate in training and education programmes and to promote greater understanding of housing, major refurbishment programme and related matters amongst all residents on the estates. Have the ability to access training budgets and assessment of training needs;
  • To receive quarterly reports on the refurbishment programme for the estates and to be advised of and receive explanations for any material changes to specified works, actual cost against target and slippage against programme. The EMB will also receive reports from any estate/block consultation meetings and to advise EastendHomes and make recommendations on issues arising;
  • To encourage the formation and continuity of the EMB and to promote resident participation in this group;
  • Wherever possible the views of the EMB will be sought and proper consideration given to their recommendations. If EastendHomes or the EastendHomes Board is able to adopt the EMB’s view this should be conveyed in writing to the EMB. However, if EastendHomes or the EastendHomes Board are not able to adopt the EMB’s view and recommendations, they will provide a full written explanation of their reasons;
  • To advise EastendHomes about its expenditure priorities in respect of the management and maintenance of its housing stock on the estate and to receive monthly reports on income and expenditure compared to budget.
  • The EMB shall have the power to affiliate to any body whose objectives may be of benefit to residents of the estate.

In fulfilling the above Objects, the overriding aim of the EMB is to provide a vehicle which enables full participation in the regeneration of the estates and that has an input in policy and decision making relating to EastendHomes as affects the estate. It shall be incumbent upon EastendHomes to fully consult with the EMB on any of the above matters (2 a-p), and further that the Board of EastendHomes take into consideration the views of the EMB when making any decisions relating to these matters.

Powers

The EMB shall have power to do all things necessary or expedient for the fulfilment of its objects.

Membership of EMB:

  • All assured tenants and leaseholders that live on the estate are eligible to become elected members of the EMB, with elections being held every two years from amongst all residents in the area. Elections will follow the procedures outlined in Appendix 1 of this Constitution. The length of tenure for Board members should initially be 3 years. The Board can decide after the first 3 years if this period of tenure should be reduced to 2 years.
  • After the first 3 years, to maintain continuity of membership, the Board may wish to adopt a system where the Board is re-elected on an incremental basis. Board members standing down will be eligible for re-election. An election will only be necessary if there are more residents standing for the Board than there are places available.
  • Should there be a need for a by-election due to the resignation of a Board member, the newly elected Board member will serve for the remainder of the term of office of the original member with full voting rights.;
  • There will be a maximum of 18 members of the EMB (known as ‘full members’), plus up to 2 non-resident, independent co-opted members, who must be selected by a majority of full members;
  • Membership of the EMB will reflect the number of tenants and leaseholders on the estate, with the proportion of places reserved for leaseholders in relation to their numbers in the area;
  • All resident members of the EMB, including those co-opted into vacancies, shall have full voting rights. Non-resident co-opted members will also have the right to vote;
  • The EMB reserves the right to remove elected members should they not attend three consecutive meetings without apologies. After non attendance at five consecutive meetings, the board has the right to remove the member.

Eligibility

Eligibility to vote and/or stand for election will be open to any tenant named on the Tenancy Agreement, and any leaseholder named on the lease; living in the property on the estate as their main and principle home. Non secure tenants, i.e. those housed on the estate on a temporary basis and sub-tenants of leaseholders are ineligible to vote or stand for election. Probationary tenants are eligible to vote, but not stand for election.

Any board member who has a live notice of breach of tenancy served against them by LBTH and/or EastendHomes will be suspended from the EMB and if this is subsequently proven shall be liable to expulsion from the EMB.

The following are not eligible for EMB membership:

  • Someone who is or becomes bankrupt or who makes a voluntary arrangement with creditors;
  • Someone who is suffering mental disorder and either:

- is admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983; or

- has a court order made relating to the illness or to appoint

- someone to look after their property or other affairs;

  • Someone who is subject to a court order disqualifying him or her from serving as a board member of a company;
  • Someone who has been a director of a company which has gone into insolvent liquidation;
  • Someone who has been convicted of a serious criminal offence (in particular, any offence involving dishonesty or any offence involving imprisonment or any offence in relation to the promotion, formation, management or liquidation of a company);
  • Employees of EastendHomes or its agents who are also residents of the estate are not eligible to be nominated to the EMB.

Cessation of Membership

A member shall cease to be a member immediately if s/he:

  • resigns in writing to the EMB; or
  • ceases in the opinion of the Board to qualify for membership under the provisions of Rule 6; or
  • is expelled from membership in accordance with Rule 8; or
  • dies, if an individual, or is wound up or goes into liquidation, if a corporate body; or
  • is an individual nominated by an unincorporated association which is wound up; or

The EMB reserves the right to remove elected members should they not attend three consecutive meetings without apologies.

A member may be expelled by a resolution carried by a majority of no less than two-thirds of those members voting at an EMB Meeting, of which due notice has been given, provided that the grounds for expulsion have been specified in the notices calling the meeting and that the member whose expulsion is to be considered shall be given the opportunity to state her/his case to the meeting. If on due notice having been served the member fails to attend the meeting, the meeting may proceed in the member's absence.

No member expelled from membership shall be re-admitted except by a resolution carried by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members voting at any General Meeting of which due notice has been given.

Election of EMB Officers

The officers of the EMB are the Chair and Vice Chair.

Election of Officers to be by a poll of voting members of the EMB at its first meeting following the Annual General Meeting.

Officers of the EMB shall serve for 1 year, and may offer themselves for re-election at the end of their term of office.

In the event of an officer resigning before their term of office is complete, the EMB shall elect a replacement at their next meeting.

EMB Meetings

Meetings of the EMB shall be held at such times as the EMB shall determine, but shall take place not less than 6 times a year.

Members of the EMB should be given at least 10 clear working days’ notice in writing of every Meeting, the agenda and minutes of the previous meeting must be despatched at least four days prior to the meeting.

The business of these meetings shall be conducted by the Chair and in accordance with the Code of Conduct (see appendix 2).

Every full member present at a Meeting, including the Chair, shall have one vote and every question where appropriate shall be decided by a majority of votes.

In the event of a vote being tied the matter will be deferred to the next EMB for further discussion.

A quorum at the Meeting shall consist of at least five EMB members.

All EMB Meetings will be open to all residents of the estate to attend, non-members may only address the meeting at the discretion of the Chair.

The EMB may resolve on a simple majority vote to deal with any item on a confidential basis, when non-members shall be excluded.

The group may delegate any item to any member or group of members as it thinks fit, any in such cases the member or group of members shall abide by this constitution so far as it is applicable.

Minutes of all Meetings shall be made available on request to residents.

Officers of EastendHomes may attend all meetings of the EMB. Where appropriate, the EMB may request a closed session when officers of EastendHomes and any other non-members may be asked to leave the meeting.

All those attending a meeting of the EMB shall abide by the EMB's Code of Conduct, so as to uphold and enhance the dignity, standing, reputation, integrity and status of the EMB and respect the need for confidentiality.

Working groups and subcommittees

The EMB may also set up one or more Working Groups or Subcommittees, which would be informal bodies dealing with specific issues of concern to residents; these Working Groups would meet as necessary and membership would include interested residents and other relevant partner agencies.

The Working Groups would report progress at EMB meetings, and any major decisions of the Working Group would need to be brought back to the EMB for ratification. The terms of reference and remit for each working group shall be drawn up when a working group is commissioned.

All working groups will be serviced by the appropriate EastendHomes officer(s).

General meetings

Fourteen days prior notice must have been given to the Chair or Vice - Chair of the EMB for any amendments to the EMB constitution. Any such amendments must be approved by a two-thirds majority of voting members and will then be the subject to approval by EastendHomes Board.

Representation on the EastendHomes Board

The EMB will elect at least 1 EMB member to the main board of EastendHomes, any member of the EMB is eligible for election to the board providing they are proposed and seconded by other EMB members.

The term of office for resident directors on the EastendHomes Board shall be three years. Should a resident director stand down before the three-year term is completed whoever is elected to replace them will serve for the remainder of the three-year term.

At the end of the three-year term the resident directors must stand down however they can then stand for re-election.

Declarations of Interests

In accordance with Schedule 1 of the 1996 Housing Act, members of the EMB, EastendHomes Board members or any officers from EastendHomes must disclose any interest that may affect any comments on the matter under discussion. Any interest shall be stated prior to commencement of the agenda item and no vote shall be accepted from a member declaring an interest.

Code of Conduct

EMB members shall abide by the Code of Conduct as contained in Appendix 2 of this Constitution.

EMB members shall treat as confidential all matters discussed or which come to their attention relating to individual residents; issues of more general interest discussed at EMB meetings are not confidential, except where agreed by members.

Resident representatives on the EastendHomes Board may discuss freely at EMB meetings all matters except those identified as ‘Confidential’ in EastendHomes Board papers.

Diversity and equal opportunities

The EMB opposes discrimination and will endeavour, at all times, to promote awareness of equal opportunity issues and good practice in resident participation initiatives.

The EMB agrees to formally adopt and abide by EastendHomes policy on Equal Opportunities.

The EMB agrees that BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) communities should be fairly represented at all levels within EastendHomes, and that they should feel equally valued, supported and respected.

The EMB agrees that it will support its representatives to ensure that EastendHomes must demonstrate, when carrying out its functions, its commitment to equal opportunity, and that EastendHomes must work towards the elimination of discrimination and demonstrate an equitable approach to the rights and responsibilities of all individuals.

Travelling expenses for EMB’s representatives will be reimbursed for travel in connection with EMB business, in accordance with the EastendHomes mileage rate or at current public transport rates, depending on the method of travel used. Expenditure on other items (such as telephone calls on EMB business) would be by agreement with EastendHomes. A valid receipt shall support all expenditure. If a receipt has not or could not be obtained there should be a written statement as to how the expenditure was incurred.

Dissolution

The EMB may be dissolved by the consent of three quarters of the eligible members by their signatures to an instrument of dissolution.

Election procedure

  • Publicity advertising and explaining the nature and purpose of the elections be produced and distributed on the estate. A central theme in this will be to outline the roles and responsibilities of Board membership. The newsletter will contain/be accompanied by a nomination form for those wishing to stand for election. Candidates will be invited to write a short statement on why they wish to stand.
  • The newsletter will also give notice of the proposed election process.
  • Nomination forms could either be returned to an appropriate 'election agent' in a Freepost envelope or collected door to door. The nomination form will ask for the name and contact details of the nominee and should also contain the details of a seconder, another resident living in one of the estates.
  • On receipt of returned nomination forms, if there is an excess of nominations compared to places available an election process will take place. If there is not an excess of nominees vis-à-vis places for each constituency, the nominees will be automatically 'elected' to the Board. If there are fewer nominations than places available, the places will remain vacant until filled.
  • If an election is required, the election process will be as follows:
  • a list of candidates will be produced and distributed to all residents, including the short statement outlining why they wish to stand for the Board;
  • the 'election agent' will publicise and organise a 'polling day', this will be advertised and will be open from 3pm till 7pm;
  • residents voting will be cross checked against a checklist of eligible voters and will need to bring proof of identity;
  • residents will have a number of votes commensurate with the number of board places in the constituency ;
  • successful candidates will be assessed by the number of votes cast at the meeting on a 'first past the post' system.
  • All publicity material will contain the 'election agent's' Freephone telephone number.
  • A translation footnote to cover other languages will be included in all publications.
  • Any resident unable to vote at the 'polling station' will be offered a doorstep collection by 'election agent'. Similarly with the return of Nomination Forms.
  • All nomination forms and ballot papers will be numbered and security stamped.
  • All nominees will have to sign in agreement with the Responsibilities of Board Members summarised on the Nomination form and detailed overleaf.
  • The ballot count will be undertaken by the 'election agent', it will be advertised and open to residents of the estate.

Eligibility

Eligibility to vote and/or stand for election will be based on the following criteria: any secure tenant named on the Tenancy Agreement, and any leaseholder named on the Lease. Non secure tenants, i.e. those housed on the estate on a temporary basis are ineligible to vote or stand for election.

Probationary tenants are eligible to vote, but not stand for election.

Anybody board member who has a live notice of breach of tenancy served against them by LBTH and/or EastendHomes will be suspended from the Board and if this is subsequently proven shall be liable to expulsion from the Board.

Length of tenure and re-election

The length of tenure for Board members should initially be 3 years. The Board can decide after the first 3 years if this period of tenure should be reduced to 2 years.

After the first 3 years, to maintain continuity of membership, the Board may wish to adopt a system where the Board is re-elected on an incremental basis of one third of the Board (3 tenants and 3 leaseholders (one each from each of the three estates)) standing down at a time and that an election (following the above procedures) for the vacant 6 places should be held. Board members standing down will be eligible for re-election. An election will only be necessary if there are more residents standing for election than there are places available.

By-election

Should there be a need for a by-election due to the resignation of a Board member, this should follow the procedure outlined above.

Responsibilities for EMB members

This is based on the guidance in the National Housing Federation Code of Governance. All EMB members would have to sign in agreement with these responsibilities.

  • The need to uphold the values of the EMB.
  • Board members have corporate responsibility, that is, their prime responsibility is to the EMB as an organisation. Tenants elected as Board members are not tenant representatives, leaseholders elected as Board members are not leaseholder representatives. All residents elected to the EMB must undertake to act in the best interests of the EMB, and not any constituency, either by estate or tenure.
  • The responsibility to uphold the policies of the EMB through decisions taken at Board meetings. Board members must abide by all decisions taken by the Board, even if, in the course of discussion or voting they had opposed the proposal. Any Board member 'campaigning' against a Board policy or proposal shall be deemed to be acting against the interests of the EMB and shall be liable to expulsion from the Board.
  • The responsibility to actively take part in discussions and make necessary preparations to contribute to decisions that are made by the Board. A core aspect of this function of a Board member is the responsibility for sharing in decision making.
  • The responsibility to prepare for and attend appropriate meetings, training etc.
  • To represent the EMB as an organisation at any events or functions.
  • To declare any conflicts of interests prior to the discussion of any items at Board meetings.
  • The need to respect the confidentiality of discussions that may relate to the circumstances of an individual tenant, leaseholder or member of staff.
  • To be aware of the content of the National Housing Federation Code of Governance and to uphold its aims, values and recommended ways of working.