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graphic - scips has retained investors in people status since the year 2000
The Tenant Movement in Sandwell
Here you will find a bit more background about Sandwells Tenant Movement and how it evolved.

Tenants & Residents Associations (TRA’s) have enjoyed a long history in Sandwell. Long before tenant participation (TP) became a buzz word within social housing, Tenants and Residents groups were in active in the borough - petitioning the Local Authority landlord for speedy repairs and major improvements, such as central heating and double glazing.

In the dark and distant past, the relationship between TRA's and their landlords was somewhat chequered. Tenant’s rights that are taken for granted today were major triumphs that were hard won by a fledgling tenant movement. Unlike many other Local Authorities at that time, Sandwell had an unusually progressive view towards tenant involvement - and provided basic support to those wishing to form aTRA. Nevertheless, the majority of tenants (locally and nationally), seeking to improve things for themselves and their neighbours were often met with resistance and official barriers.

The emergence of national tenant organisations, greatly assisted the development of local TRA's and other tenant led organisations. In Sandwell this process really began to take off when a group of like minded tenants formed Sandwell Tenants & Residents Federation (STRF). Over the course of time this umbrella organisation in the borough would evolve into SCIPS.

There was now the mechanism for tenants to build skills to:-

  • Network and share experience.
  • Gain a national overview.
  • Train and gain experience in housing and related issues.
  • Have access to relevant information such as housing law and policy.
  • Gain advice and practical assistance for local issues.
  • Petition landlords for tenant involvement and influence

The late 1980's was a crucial turning point both for Sandwell's Local Authority and established TRA's within the borough.

A government proposal for transfer of some of Sandwell housing stock to a Housing Action Trust (HAT) galvanized both tenants and Sandwell MBC to work in partnership to oppose the proposal.

Overcoming the threat HAT proposal created, the TRA movement in Sandwell had secured their greatest triumph to date. Not only had they resisted a change over in landlord - but as a movement they had unquestionably demonstrated:
  • Partnerships with tenant organisations do work.
  • Tenants can influence Government policy.
  • Tenant organisations should be taken seriously.
  • Tenants should have the right to a voice on issues that effect them.
  • Tenants have at their disposal local expertise and experience that council officers do not have.
  • Tenants have the will and commitment to change things for the better.
  • Their time is given freely.

Tenant empowerment had arrived in Sandwell! The Local Authority had the foresight to get behind this people power, supporting and nurturing its development.

They provided a framework for tenant participation - which included:
  • Registration and recognition of TRA's.
  • Resource and facilities for TRA's,
  • A team of support officers to build capacity and support emerging groups.

Sandwell MBC is still heralded today as being one of the forerunners in the early development of tenant participation and related structures.

This being true - it must also be said that the tenants of Sandwell were equally progressive! They were way ahead of the game in calling for autonomy. The right to having ultimate control over the direction and objectives of tenant structures and organisations within the borough, becoming the most ambitious assertion of tenants rights to date.
The work of those early pioneers is still felt today and SCIPS is at the forefront of this work. If you are a Council tenant in Sandwell and feel you would like to be part of this ever growing movement please get in touch!