What is up with ACORN UK?

ACORN is a community union with a focus on using direct action to defend tenants from from landlords who are refusing repairs, hiking rents, eviction, etc. If you don't know what ACORN UK is, this article by Callum Cant is a good explanation https://notesfrombelow.org/article/taking-whats-ours-an-acorn-inquiry.

ACORN sounds great on paper but in practice it is very broken and no one in the organisation wants to acknowledge this to mass membership.

It has been described to me by members in the know that the union is bureaucratic, dominated by full-time professional staff rather than elected volunteers, is increasingly controlled top-down, critical discussion is stifled, low-risk template campaigns are pushed onto branches, and junior staff are overworked and treated poorly. However, none of these issues are ever acknowledged when we are making decisions as a union.

The issues are only discussed when we end the meeting and go to the pub where it is discussed secretively in the smoking area amongst cliques. The discussions are kept vague and in hushed tones. Because of it being transmitted like this, I have an unclear picture of what is actually going on, the extent of the issues, no way to verify the truthfulness of some of the claims. I've created this website to write down everything I've been told, and then have the claims substantiated or corrected.

Hopefully the picture is made clearer and I will update the site with new information. Please share this site with anyone you know inside ACORN. If you have things to add, email me at cullen1087@gmail.com.


Several branches are destroyed

Lancaster and Morecambe


I have heard that others have collapsed (Newcastle, Manchester) but nothing yet to evidence this.


The 2023 National Conference this year has been suspended. I have been told that the organisation's Bylaws were edited for the 2022 National Conference to disallow changes to the organisations structure, and edited again to no-longer make the conference annual.

Accusations of ACORN's anti-democratic nature in the Oxford and Lancaster letters.

Exploiting Junior Staffers?

I've heard that junior staff are underpaid & overworked, that there is an extremely high turn-over of junior staff and that junior staff are not allowed to unionise. Horror stories about surveillence app installed on non-complaint junior staffer's phones to monitor the rate of door knocking (although need to substantiate this).

Very limited communication between branches is allowed

An example of how broken communication is within ACORN is one of the demands put out by Oxford: "For the branch to be permitted to organise with members in other branches nationally, including the ability to make group chats and communication channels with other branches without staff oversight". Acorn members across branches don't talk to each other, and even within the branch there is poor communication.

This is why National have been able to destroy branches as it is unlikely that the mass membership are ever made aware of it.

Financially opaque?


  • Acorn UK do not get all their funding from member dues, instead 40% of the funds are from external organisations including the Rosa Luxemberg Institute
  • Acorn National suppressed a motion that had been put forward by the Leeds (?) branch which would have made it necessary to disclose these sources.


Created: 2023-08-23 Wed 22:13