What is a Residents’ Association?
Each RA functions as a voluntary and independent unincorporated association. Any resident can become a member without regard to his or her political views. Many households join their local RA, receive its newsletter, and attend meetings.
The committee and other roles
The chief officers are a Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer, there might also be a Vice Chairman. They run the committee. There is generally an Editor for the newsletter and a web editor for the website. There are also committee members who work on sub-groups discussing policy areas. The full Committee usually meets monthly. A general meeting of all members usually meets once or twice a year. Many RAs also have a President who conducts the annual general meeting where officers and the committee will be elected.
As well as its committee an RA will have local representatives, covering the roads in its area. These road stewards or zone reps collect subscriptions and deliver newsletters. They also serve as a network to feed back the views or concerns of their local residents.
The role of councillors
Both borough and county RA councillors will attend committee and general meetings. This enables policy to be explained, questioned and influenced. RA committee meetings are open to all, not just the party faithful. It is this frequent interchange that distinguishes the workings of an RA and its councillors. This differs from party political councillors who may be whipped to toe the party line, ignoring the views of their electors.