Cloch tenants vote in favour of independence



An overwhelming 95.5% of Cloch tenants who took part in a ballot have voted to to separate from Oak Tree Housing Association and restore its status as an independent housing association.

After a summer long consultation, heavily restricted by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Cloch’s tenants had 28 days to vote on whether or not to separate. Cloch worked with UK Engage, an independent ballot provider, to offer tenants the options to vote online, by phone or by post. Tenants were also supported by the Tenant Information Service (TIS) which acted as independent tenant advisors.

The consultation started during the first lockdown with an information newsletter, followed in July with Zoom Sessions and phone calls. In September, Cloch issued its Stage 1 Notice and followed this up in October with a Stage 2 Notice, before opening up the ballot.

The next stage will be to call a Special General Meeting, where the membership will be asked to vote on the proposal and adopt a new set of Model Rules with no parent inclusion. The SGM is planned to take place just before the Christmas break and using an online platform.

Paul McVey, director of Cloch, said: “I am aware that this is a relatively unique situation where 2 RSLs disengage from a Constitutional Partnership, but this is a positive step for both Cloch, Oak Tree and the wider housing sector. Our partnership was borne out of crisis in 2012 and through the years both RSLs operated independently with different strategies and cultures.

“A robust Options Appraisal with both governing bodies explored a range of opportunities and possibilities, including a Transfer of Engagements, however the preferred option supported by both Boards, was to separate whilst continuing to share services where practical and appropriate. Our shared service arrangements have worked really well in recent years, and we see no reason that this cannot continue for many years to come. I would like to thank Oak Tree Housing Association for allowing Cloch to flourish over the years when faced with potential merger.

“Our future is a result of Oak Tree stepping in and providing security at a time when it was needed, and then stepping back out when the time is right. This has allowed the assets of Cloch and its communities to remain with Cloch and its communities.”

Brian Corrigan, chair of Cloch, said, “The Board and staff of both housing associations have worked hard to allow Cloch to grow, modernise and progress since we linked together in 2012. This separation proposal is the next step in allowing Cloch to continue to offer great services to their tenants in Inverclyde. I am pleased that despite lockdown we were able to demonstrate high engagement with our tenants and support for the separation option.”

Sharon Tritschler, chair of Oak Tree, said: “The separation of Oak Tree and Cloch will mean that both organisations can focus on being the best they can be for their own tenants and customers. The Oak Tree board and staff team wish Cloch continuing success, as a local community based independent housing association.”



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