Best practice from Acceleris
The National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) is the trade body that represents the 69 individual ALMOs (Arms Length Management Organisations) across England. ALMOs provide a model of council housing management which gives tenants a greater say in how their estates are run and how their housing is managed.
The NFA aims to provide a national voice for the several million council tenants that live in the one million-plus ALMO managed council properties and to promote the importance of tenant empowerment in the future of council housing.
Acceleris is the retained agency for the NFA with a brief to position the organisation as a credible, respected and influential force in social housing with the interests of tenants at heart now and into the future.
In the last year Acceleris was tasked with building the national profile, media presence and political influence of the NFA at a time of intense focus and increasing pressure on social housing provision as a result of the recession and the housing crisis.
Acceleris developed a strategy to ensure that ALMOs secured enthusiastic cross Party support based on the NFA’s significant achievements to date in delivering the Government’s £multi-billion ‘Decent Homes’ programme so that the movement is seen as the preferred method of social housing management into the future.
Acceleris has developed a comprehensive, rolling programme of communications activity spanning media relations, event activity, sponsorship generation, the production of high quality communication materials including a dedicated micro site, a well received Annual Review and quarterly newsletter as well as a highly successful annual awards programme to recognise the initiative and commitment of individuals and teams at the sharp end of social housing delivery.
Acceleris also worked with lobbying partner organisation the Public Affairs Company to develop an increasing body of support for ALMOs amongst MP’s and other political groups.
This was achieved through regular ministerial meetings and MP briefings and through a Parliamentary seminar and reception in March 2009 with the government’s new Tenant Services Authority which brought tenants and their MP’s together to discuss the role of the newly created regulatory body. This has led to an increase in membership of the influential All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for ALMOs to 79 parliamentarians.
Speaking at the NFA’s Annual conference Junior Housing Minister, Iain Wright MP said, “The ALMO programme has made a real difference and made many achievements and the Government should do more to shout about what ALMOs have done
“I am tremendously supportive of ALMOs. As a result of NFA lobbying the Government has changed its policy and we listen and appreciate your knowledge.”
In the past year Acceleris has secured widespread heavyweight coverage in key media such as the BBC Politics Show, The Guardian Society, The Guardian online and Inside Housing. Acceleris has secured in depth profile articles in all key trade titles and negotiated regular editorial columns with three housing titles.
In total the ALMOs in ACTION newsletter received over 800 submissions and 60 of the 69 ALMOs were featured in the editorial. A total of 46 press releases, Letters to the Editor of national newspapers and briefing statements were issued in the past year. Acceleris also delivered media training in television and radio interview techniques using highly experienced BBC TV journalists to NFA Board members.
The NFA Awards 2009 secured more than 200 entries, a record, from across the country and this year featured films of all the winners, the premiere of a special ‘Day in the Life’ feature film on the movement, as well as the use of Wayne Hemingway, founder of the ‘Red or Dead’ fashion chain and now Chairman of ‘Building for Life’, the organisation that champions sustainable and affordable housing design, as host at the awards dinner for 300 guests.
Acceleris also secured a key trade title, 24housing, as exclusive media partner. The awards help build the profile of the organisation and celebrate the achievements of ALMO tenants across the country and from the coverage generated, one category winner, a young female carpenter working with a London ALMO, was selected to appear on the BBC’s ‘DIY SOS’ programme.
In the past year Acceleris has demonstrated significant cost-effectiveness not only in the results generated from its annual retainer fee of £50,000 but also in its initiative to generate some £80,000 of financial sponsorship to enable us to deliver a far more ambitious and wider reaching campaign than would have been otherwise possible.
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