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This section provides information about the types of service level or management agreements which may be required between partners involved in CLH schemes once completed – in particular those between the ‘client’ CLH organisation and supporting agencies such as local authorities and housing associations. Examples of some typical agreements are included.

Types of agreement

  • Management Agreements are agreements between partner agencies which set out the relationship between them. They may cover some or all of the 5 Rs

    • Roles
    • Responsibilities
    • Required standards and performance
    • Remuneration - financial arrangements
    • Reporting mechanisms
  • They may cover just the management and maintenance of completed homes; or in the case of community led housing, they often range wider and cover support for the organisation, for example training and support on governance issues and group development
  • Management agreements can also be used as tools for performance measurement and management
  • Agreements of one kind or another are commonplace among housing providers. Some examples, specific and relevant to community-led housing are outlined below

Below is a general checklist of standard subjects to be covered in a management agreement. The contents broadly fall into two categories:

  • Terms of the agreement
  • Services and activities covered by the agreement

Checklist A – General terms of service/management agreements

  • Communication – instructions and reporting
  • Complaints
  • Confidentiality
  • Data protection
  • Dispute resolution
  • Equality and diversity
  • Parties - details of the organisations which are parties to the agreement
  • Remuneration – fees to be paid
  • Scope of the agreement – properties covered and timescales
  • Standards and legal obligations
  • Termination of the agreement

Checklist B – Housing services and activities covered by agreements

  • Allocations – waiting lists, allocations, lettings
  • Housing management
    • Of rented homes – tenancy agreements
    • Of homes under other tenures eg shared ownership/ leasehold management
  • Repairs and maintenance
    • Routine maintenance
    • Cyclical maintenance
    • Planned maintenance
    • Grounds / common areas maintenance
  • Service Charges
  • Tenant / member involvement
  • Vacant / void properties – management of

Checklist C – Non-housing services which may be covered by agreements

  • Administration – meetings minutes, records etc
  • Finances – managing finances, accounting, fundraising
  • Governance – general registration and regulation of organisation
  • Human resources
  • Policies and procedures
  • Training and general support

Negotiating management agreements

  • The important thing for a local authority or housing association to consider when negotiating a management agreement with a CLH partner is that the process of developing and negotiating the agreement is important as well as the result
  • How the process is handled can make or break the relationship. Community partners are not always skilled and experienced at negotiating the details on an agreement, but they will be acutely aware of the power dynamics throughout the process.
  • Good practice in dealing with these issues includes:
  • Involving front line staff who already have a good relationship with the group
  • Starting with a relatively ‘blank sheet of paper’ or several different examples of parts of agreements rather than laying down a fixed proposal
  • Using the process as a capacity building opportunity for the group
  • Using the process as a relationship building exercise with the group
  • Some CLH organisations will want to take on most of the management of their homes themselves, with only minimal support from an external partner. Typically, they may want to leave rent collection and arrears control to the partner, but take full responsibility for everything else
  • Although such arrangements usually work very well, local authorities and housing associations will want to ensure that, in these circumstances the CLH organisation has effective governance and management/financial controls in place before finalising a Management Agreement, to help avoid the possibility of reputational damage and crisis intervention
Last updated in March 2018