National Organisation of Residents Associations





In 2003 NORA was invited to join the London-based Open-All-Hours committee to help with the campaign to ensure residents were afforded a useful role in the emerging Licensing Act. It became clear that early responses to government consultation papers relevant to residents were essential to exert useful pressure. By producing critical but constructive responses to consultation papers, Westminster civil servants have come to recognise NORA as a useful voice of residents in England and Wales.

Invitations to meet civil servants to discuss licensing issues at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport were followed by discussions at the Department for Communities and Local Government on legislation on Houses of Multiple Occupancy, and when alcohol licensing moved to the Home Office, NORA delegates were invited to their workshops. The Law Commission and the Ministry of Justice invited us to discussions over possible changes to legislation affecting residents.

As a result of our approach NORA now has an annual meeting with senior civil servants at the DCLG to discuss problems with the planning regime experienced by residents.

Visiting speakers at our AGMs have included Robert Upton (deputy chairman of the Infrastructure Planning Commission) in 2010, Bob Neill MP (DCLG Minister) in 2012, Don Foster MP (DCLG Minister) in 2013 and Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (Shadow DCLG Minister) in 2014.

Invitations to give oral evidence to Select Committees included the DCLG on two occasions involving public conveniences and 'Decent Homes' and in October 2016 the Lords Select Committee on the Effects of the Licensing Act.

Two senior barristers in Birmingham and the Inner Temple in London have helped NORA members by supporting court cases and offering NORA members free seminars on planning and licensing legislation.

NORA's influence on legislation has been effective in ensuring concessions for fees for residents making licensing appeals, persuading the Law Commission to avoid changing the Rights to Light legislation, and recently persuading government to introduce legislation to manage rogue landlords and developers in the HMO industry.

In July 2016 NORA held its first national conference jointly with Durham University on the subject of the student-resident interface, which revealed best practice on some key aspects leaving others for its next conference.