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ARMA ASK THE PROFESSIONALS NewfACEat the Michelle Banks


talks to lesley davis abouther newroleasARMAchief executiveand her plans for the future


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Michelle Banks has a toughact to follow. Taking on the role of chief executive at ARMAin January, sheisundaunted by the prospectofstepping into theshoes of her successful andwell-respectedpredecessor andisrelishing thechallenge of leadingthe organisation as itmoves into a newphase in itsdevelopment. “Clearly DavidHewetthas doneamagnificentjob in bringing ARMA to itspresent strength,” sheacknowledges. “Myaim is to buildonthe foundationsthat he has put in place and to pay due deference to thepositionhehas established within the leaseholder sector.Myleadership will differ fromDavid’s, butthe aim will be thesame: to secure positive outcomes forARMAmembers, their clients and for leaseholders”. JoiningARMAafter alengthy career in


the civil service, Michelle is well equipped to lead theorganisationinits missionto promote professional propertymanagement to both thepublicand government.“Isee theroleofchief executiveatARMAasan exciting opportunitytoapply theskillsthat Ihavelearned in thecivil service, in an area that impactsonthe livesofmanypeople” she says. Having worked in anumberofdifferent


capacities within theCommunities and LocalGovernmentDepartment(CLG)


WhatdoesaRMado?


ARMAis committedtoraising standardsin themanagement of leaseholdblocksof flats for thebenefit of thepeoplewho live there.Hereare justsome of itsongoinginitiatives. nARMApublishesmore than25advicenotesfor leaseholdersaboutblock management.Thesecovera rangeof topics, fromfiresafety toantisocialbehaviourand managementfees. nARMAisdeveloping asectiononitswebsite aimedspecifically atRMC directors.


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nARMAwasonthejoint workinggroupthat produced the firstdetailedbest practice guidanceonaccountingfor residentialservicecharges. Thisguidanceaimstoclearup inconsistenciesandincrease transparencyinservice chargeaccountingprocedures (seeFlat Livingissue9,news page9). nARMAwasoneof the sponsors of the Electrical SafetyCouncil’sguideto electricalsafetyincommon partsofblocksofflats;thefirst andonlyguidanceonthisissue


(gototheARMAwebsiteTo downloadacopy). nARMAwasamember of the government projectgroup that in2011 issuedfiresafety guidanceforpurposebuilt blocksof flats. Thisguidance is the first toset outdetailed firesafetystandardsthat leaseholdershavearightto expect in blocksof flats (goto theARMAwebsite todownload acopy). nARMAworkedwith the EnergyRetailAssociationto developaprotocoltoprevent disconnectionsof electricity


suppliestothecommon partsofblocksofflatsbythe sixlargest utilitycompanies (seeFlat Livingissue9,news page9). nARMAworkedwith the HealthandSafetyExecutive todevelopariskassessment template forassessingrisks to commonpartsofblocksof flats.This is availableonthe HSE’swebsite (seepage62 of this issueof Flat Livingfor moredetails).


Formoreinformationonthese or to find outmoreaboutARMAmembership and services go towww.arma.org.uk


Spring2012 Flat Living


where she developed a broad suite of skills, Michelle’smost recent role wasinthe Planning Directorate. However, leasehold wasn’t part of herremit,sowhatdrewher to ARMA?Declaring herself“thrilled to be making thechange,”Michelleexplainsthat theappealofthe leaseholdsectorstemmed fromherstronginterest in social policy issuesand in particular aboutsolutions to solveour housingproblems.“Wehavea rising population,and increasedhousehold formationiscontributingtothe pressure,” shesays. “Itiseasytosee that in future more people might be living in flats as a permanent option, not just as a staging post forahouse.Weneed tomake sure that flat living is an attractive andaccessible option. ARMAhas a big role to play in that process, by raisingmanagementstandards to increase leaseholderconfidence.”


Weneed tomake sure that flat living is an attractive and accessible option


Michelle wasalsoattractedbythe prospect


of taking thehelmofanorganisationthat sheregards as well-respectedingovernment circles and the wider marketplace: “ARMA is acknowledged asawellrun andreputable organisation andisvaluedasalongterm stakeholderinvolvedinresidential leaseholder issues,” shesays. With areputationfor problemsolving,


Michelle is an excellent communicator with aclear vision of ARMA’s position in the marketand strongviews on theorganisation’s future role.“ARMAis at apivotal pointinits developmentasaprofessionalorganisation. Thenextyearortwo will be crucialinmoving successfully to independent regulation and I amcommitted to workingwiththe Councilto lead that process,” she explains. “My acknowledged strengths are being able to puttogetherastrategyfor long term


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