Who we are
The Defend Council Homes Unit (or DCHU) was established by Hammersmith & Fulham Council in February 2017. We are working under terms of reference agreed with H&F Council that can be found below.
We are working independently of H&F Council, but work closely both with council officers and its legal team. We also report our progress to local residents and draw on their expertise and experience.
Leader of the DCHU
Financial and legal expert
Shirley leads the DCHU. She is a longstanding H&F resident and active member of the local community, with a keen interest in housing issues. Shirley is a tenant on the Queen Caroline estate in Hammersmith, where she’s been involved with local residents’ groups for many years. Shirley became a member of the H&F Residents’ Housing Commission after she grew concerned about the future of her estate. Shirley is a nurse by training with a long history of community work in the homelessness and HIV sectors. She now teaches at UCL medical school.
Peter has worked in housing all his professional life. Much of that work has involved supporting residents and residents’ groups affected by major housing programmes. Peter has worked on neighbourhood renewal programmes and with housing action trusts set up to invest in poorer/more complex council estates. Peter also sits on the board of a housing association based in Lancashire.
Anthony has a lifetime of experience around the financial and legal structures that support council housing. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and he started his career in housing with Birmingham City Council. Anthony led the housing consultancy team at PricewaterhouseCoopers for more than a decade and has worked in his own housing consultancy since leaving PwC around five years ago.
Shirley, Peter and Anthony were all members of the Hammersmith & Fulham Residents’ Housing Commission and then served on the Residents’ Housing Advisory Group that followed. They were also involved in the shadow board of the proposed H&F community gateway housing organisation. Shirley Cupit, who chairs the unit, said: “We think that as DCHU members we have a good grasp of the concerns residents have about their security of tenure and of the legal and financial issues that affect council housing.”