Working groups are how we divide the tasks and responsibilities of running a co-operative housing association amongst ourselves.
Working groups vary in size and composition depending on the work that they are designed to undertake but features common to all groups are defined in our working groups blueprint.
Apart from some notable exceptions, such as the rent group and the support and wellbeing group, there exist no special qualifications, entry requirements or initiation ceremony for participation in any ASH Co-op working group.
Following is a list of our current set of working groups. First there is the big six, which are the groups essential to the functioning of the co-op at a business level, and then a list of other groups that manage some of the finer details of co-op work.
The big Six
The secretarial group is a core group in the governance of the co-op and within it the roles of secretary and vice-secretary are required by law. But you do not need to be a secratary to become involved. The remit of the secretarial group is fairly extensive and the more members that can contribute their time, the less work there is for all and the better it is for the organisation of the community.
The secretarial group has the following responsibilities ...
- meetings agendas and minutes
- ensuring there is a meeting facilitator and minute taker
- supervision of policies
- co-ordination of the website
You can read the secrerarial policy here
The finance group is the other working group legally required of us and the treasurer and vice treasurer are positions we are obliged to have.
The finance group's primary focus is to look after the budget which is set before the beginning of each financial year.
All members have the right to contribute to the financial planning of the co-op, in fact it is one of the gifts of living in a co-operative to be able to enjoy this right.
We have a number of policies to do with ASH Co-op finance including rent but our financial regulations and procedures detail the procedures of the finance group.
The allocations group is involved with all things relating to managing applications to the co-op and ensuring that our revenue is protected by keeping our vacant rooms are filled as soon as possible.
The allocations group members also host our monthly open evenings which prepares potential new members for the process of becoming a member of ASH Co-op.
The work of the allocations groups is wide and diverse and there are a number of group co-ordinators to co-ordinate the work of members.
The rent group is charged with the responsibity to ensure that members pay their rent
The rent group is perhaps the only working group for which membership is limited to a very few although, on the other hand, since it is the duty of every member to pay their rent you could equally argue that every member is in the rent group !
Data privacy and confidentiality requires that access to sensitive data be limited to as few people as possible. Presently their are two rent co-ordinators whose chief roles are to ensure that the rent collection policy is being adhered to. Members may also approach the rent co-ordinators if they are having problems paying their rent on time.
Here is our policy on rent collection.
As a registered housing provider, we have duty to ensure an infratructure to manage maintenance and repairs of our housing stock.
We elect members to the position of maintenance co-ordinator who support members to get their broken stuff fixed.
Every member of ASH Co-op is notionally a member of the Maintenance group. Living in co-operative housing empowers members to take control of their housing circumstances and our maintenance policy encourages members to take control of their maintenance issues.
Members can also ask the maintenance co-ordinator to do all the work for them, but this - with the exception of certain individual circumstances - is not very fashionable viewed in the context of co-operation and member empowerment.
Support and Wellbeing
Topping off the big six is the Support and Welbeing group which is dedicated to addressing the welfare needs of members where appropriate and possible. It also exists to support members to transform their neighbourly and interpersonal disputes with other members. It is crewed by trained volunteers.
To become involved with the support and welbeing group you will first need to complete some training in mediation, non-violent communication and other core skills. Training is free and adhers to the fifth principle of co-operative organisation which promotes the personal development of members. Training is co-ordinated via the education working group and the support and welbeing group
here is our policy for disputes and conflicts