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New voice for ARCH 09/02/2012

ARCH is pleased to announce it has awarded a three year contract to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and HouseMark to provide a range of business support and policy services, following their successful joint bid.

The new arrangements offer the opportunity to grow ARCH membership and raise ARCH's profile as the leading voice for the council housing sector. HouseMark will undertake membership services and assist ARCH with finance, marketing, sales and renewals, website development and company secretary duties, as well as providing support to the ARCH tenants' group and an annual Chief Officer conference.  CIH will provide policy support, lobbying and media management, along with the hiring of ARCH's first employee, policy advisor Matthew Warburton.

Grainia Long, CIH interim Chief Executive, said:
"Our partnership will be nothing but positive for the sector and will ensure that directly managed council housing services get the best from being members of ARCH, helping councillors, managers, staff and, most importantly, tenants to thrive in the new world of self-financed council housing ".

Samantha McGrady, HouseMark Deputy Chief Executive, said:
"HouseMark is delighted to have the opportunity to reinforce our links with ARCH.  This will lead to a more in-depth understanding of retained management housing organisations so that we can collectively target our services to their requirements and enable ARCH to raise its profile and lobby for key interest matters for its members".

John Bibby, ARCH secretary, added:
"This contract has been awarded following a competitive tender for the provision of future support services to the Association and its member councils. In looking forward to developing our partnership with CIH and HouseMark I would also wish to acknowledge and thank APSE, our previous service provider, for the excellent business and policy support it has provided to ARCH since its formation. The introduction of the new self-financing regime represents a new dawn for council housing and it is essential that councils that have retained their housing stock have an informed, unified and constructive voice at the heart of future policy debate and a strong support network to ensure the delivery of excellent services to tenants and residents. ARCH is uniquely placed to fulfil this role, and this partnership with the CIH and HouseMark will deliver continued improvements in our services to member councils in policy formulation, best practice, benchmarking, conference and event organisation, secretarial support and membership growth to enable the stock retained sector to improve and thrive under the new self-financing regime for council housing". 

This partnership will benefit ARCH members by strengthening the voice of the directly managed council housing sector, improving member services and delivering value for money from ARCH membership.  All partners are looking forward to growing ARCH's influence, contributing to the improvement of council housing and ultimately, benefiting lives of the millions of tenants who live in council housing. The launch of self-financing for local authorities on 28 March provides a unique opportunity for ARCH to formally launch the partnership, and there will be further publicity around ARCH's new offer to its members and prospective members around that time.

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