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Inform, Empower, Engage : Creating a 'Charter of Rights' with residents of supported exempt accommodation in Birmingham

Thursday 24 June 2021 (12:00-13:30)

HCRG Where Next for Public Housing Seminar Series

  • Thea Raisbeck, Honorary Research Fellow, Housing and Communities Research Group, University of Birmingham. Introduced by Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Birmingham City Council
  • Dominic Bradley, Group Chief Executive, Spring Housing will provide a short review of on-going pilot project implementing the Charter in Exempt Accommodation 

Seminar Outline

In 2019 Spring Housing were asked by Birmingham City Council to develop and produce a Charter of Rights for residents living in, or considering living in, non-commissioned exempt accommodation. 

This 18-month project was commissioned after extensive research and engagement work carried out within the non-commissioned exempt sector over the previous three years. The most significant pieces of work around this were two reports published in 2018 and 2019. The first report ‘Risk, Safety and Wellbeing in Non-commissioned Exempt Accommodation’ (Raisbeck, 2018) was commissioned by Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board and carried out by The Housing and Communities Research Group at the University of Birmingham, in partnership with Spring Housing. The second report, ‘Exempt from Responsibility?’: Ending social injustice in exempt accommodation’ (Raisbeck, 2019) was commissioned by Commonweal Housing, and carried out by Spring Housing and the Housing and Communities Research Group. 

In this seminar Thea Raisbeck will discuss the background and theory behind the project, examine the participatory methods used to co-produce the Charter alongside over 50 exempt accommodation residents, and reveal some of the lessons learned during development. Thea will also review the content of the Charter, and set it within such wider contexts as the National Statement of Expectations for supported housing and the Social Housing White Paper.

Dominic Bradley will then present a short review of an ongoing pilot project to track the use and implementation of the Charter by a cohort of exempt accommodation providers in Birmingham.

View the Charter and Provider Guidance  

Speaker Bios 

Thea Raisbeck has over 14 years’ experience in housing, homelessness, and domestic abuse sectors, where she has held a range of frontline, research, policy, and governance roles. Thea combines extensive ‘on the ground’ experience with research expertise in order to produce meaningful work that has relevance and applicability at practice, policy, and strategic levels. 

Thea has held an Honorary Fellowship within the Housing and Communities Research Group at the University of Birmingham for four years. Since gaining her Fellowship, Thea has designed, researched, and authored a series of path-breaking reports on the ‘exempt accommodation’ subsector, which continue to have impact at practice, policy, and strategic levels; both locally and nationally.

Alongside continuing to work on good practice within the exempt accommodation sector, Thea has also recently published research on homelessness and domestic abuse, and on women experiencing ‘multiple disadvantage homelessness’. 

Thea is also Head of Research and Best Practice at Spring Housing Association and Vice-Chair of a domestic violence charity in the West Midlands. 

Dominic Bradley had 11 fulfilling years at Trident Housing Association and latterly Trident Reach where he had lead responsibilities for all of the charity’s care & support and social enterprise activities. By the time he left Reach it had a turnover of £15 million, over 740 employees, and over 40 contracts in 9 different local authority regions.

Dominic also led on development for the Trident Group as part of the Matrix partnership, which included major construction and delivery projects – standout ones being Oakland Village, a £22 million extra-care scheme in Swadlincote in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire’s District Councils, and a Youth Offending new build project in Birmingham, as well as several care & support housing projects. After leaving Reach he had 18 months in the private sector before co-founding Spring to achieve a longstanding ambition to have a company that goes back to the original ethos of the housing movement and housing those in most need.

Dominic is also a founding board member of the charity Reconnected which connects homeless people with private sector skills in employment, training, and housing. Dominic is also Chair of Governors at Holyhead Secondary School in Handsworth, Birmingham and Vice Chair at Birmingham Rathbone which works with people with a learning disability helping them to access support, training, and employment. Dominic is also a fellow for The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce a, British organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member – Homes and Neighbourhoods. Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Sharon Thompson, has been a Councillor since 2014. She served as Victims Champion for the city from 2014-2015, before becoming the local authority’s first Ambassador for addressing Homelessness and Roughsleeping. In 2016 she became the Cabinet Advisor for Homelessness from 2017-2018 and relinquished the position in May 2018 when she was appointed to Cabinet.

She has political leadership responsibility for many areas such as housing including; Homelessness and Private Rented Sector Policy, alongside Bereavement Services and Localisation. In 2018/19 she had political responsibility for Parks and Allotments, she relinquished these in 2019/2020 and took the functions of registrations of birth, deaths and marriage into her portfolio.

Keen to promote and improve Birmingham for its citizens, Sharon is a strong advocate for collaborative partnerships, with an authentic and inclusive approach to leadership. She has been a passionate advocate for eradicating homelessness and spearheaded Birmingham’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2017+ which is partnership focused in its outcomes.

In her remit as a Councillor, Sharon has also served on St Basils board of directors, Southside BID, and sat on the Commonwealth Games 2022 Members Advisory Group.

She is currently the local authority representative on West Midlands Combined Authority Housing and Land Delivery Board, WMCA Public Service Reform Board, ARCH (Association of Retained Council Housing) and the Euro Cities Social Mobility Forum. Sharon currently chairs the WMCA Homelessness Members Advisory Group and Birmingham Social Housing Partnership. Sharon also sits on the LGA Labour Women’s Taskforce.


To register for this free event please email Helen Harris  -





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