Issuu on Google+


Great Places Housing Group Southern Gate, 729 Princess Road Manchester, M20 2LT TEL: 0161 447 5000 FAX: 0161 447 5001 info@greatplaces.org.uk www.greatplaces.org.uk find us on: @mygreatplace


CONTENTS 03

MAP

04 - 05

VISION & VALUES

06 - 07

MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND THE CHAIR

08 - 09

ABOUT GREAT PLACES

10 - 11

BIG NUMBERS

12 - 13

BUILDING FUTURES

14 - 15

OUR NEW HOMES

16 - 17

PLUMLIFE

18 - 19

SUPPORTING VULNERABLE PEOPLE

20 - 27

OUR RESIDENTS

28 - 33

LIVING, GIVING, TOGETHER, GROWING

34 - 35

A GREAT PLACE TO WORK

36 - 37

SENIOR STAFF & FINANCES IN BRIEF


MAP KEY L OO O F OCA FF U TI IC R O ES M N A IN

2, 3, 000 00 0

1, 1, 000 50 0

25 50 0 0

1

1, 2, 500 00 0

5 1, 00 00 0

10 25 0 0

50

the colours show the number of our properties in each local authority area 5 10 0 0

ST O KE

W ES T

EA ST

C HE ST ER FIE LD

C HE SH IR E

C HE SH IR E

SO UT H RI BB LE

FL YD E

O O L

W YR E

RO TH ER HA M

SH EF FI EL D

LE ED S

PR ES TO C W H N W O A IG RL RR A E IN Y N BL G TO AC RI N BO KB BB LE UR LT O VA N H N YN TR S LL A A EY D LF FF BU BU O O R RD RD RY N M RO A BU PE N SS C N RN RO EN H D E L LE C D ST E ST Y HD A ER O L E C A TA KP LE M O O E RT LD SID H E A M BR HI A D G FO H PE RD A K

ST HE LE N S

LIV ER PO O L

BL AC KP

LA N C A ST ER

MAP

03


OUR VISION & VALUES

STRONG

BRIGHT 04


TO BE FAIR, OPEN AND ACCOUNTABLE

TO KNOW AND VALUE OUR CUSTOMERS AND

THE COMMUNITIES IN

WHICH THEY LIVE TO RECOGNISE OUR TALENTED, ENTHUSIASTIC

STAFF AND ALL THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTE TO

OUR SUCCESS

05


“residents remain our top priority and we work tirelessly to provide them with the best service possible...”

06

“...we’ll never sit back and take our achievements for granted.”


MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND THE CHAIR

Despite another difficult year in which all sectors wrestled with a double dip recession, we’ve surpassed our own expectations in several areas of the business. Financially we’ve remained robust, improving on last year’s turnover and significantly upping spend on our ambitious development programme, even in the wake of the government’s budget announcements. We’ve adjusted to these changing times by exploring new ways of funding, becoming one of the first northern housing groups to take a determined step into the bond markets which will allow us to continue creating large-scale developments and improving infrastructures in the communities we serve. The Welfare Reform Act will have an impact on thousands of our residents, including those who are vulnerable and rely on specialist support services. We’ve spent the last year preparing them for the challenging times ahead, providing advice on everything from downsizing to saving money on fuel bills.

We’ve streamlined our operations with a number of value for money initiatives and saved the business thousands, enabling us to invest more into improving neighbourhoods and services. Residents remain our top priority and we work tirelessly to provide them with the best service possible. Despite gaining full marks in over 54 customer-driven standards as part of the government’s Customer Service Excellence accreditation, we’ll never sit back and take our achievements for granted. Constant improvement and alternative thinking are vital to help businesses thrive in such volatile times.

Stephen Porter Chief Executive Ted Stott Chair

07


ABOUT GREAT PLACES Great Places dares to be different. We’re a not-for-profit organisation that puts residents at the heart of everything we do. We believe we’re unique in our culture and attitude. Even as one of the largest housing associations in the north with a portfolio of more than 16,000 homes, we want the communities we serve to be able to relate to us. We’re accessible yet professional, ambitious yet community-focused, innovative yet realistic.

HIGHLIGHTS We launched our in-house repairs service to half our homes and will have extended it to all of them by 2013. Centred around first-time fix and appointments at our customers’ convenience, satisfaction has risen from 73% to 93% We enhanced our customer access system which has recorded around 110,000 customer contacts to date, bringing in new elements like complaints management and anti-social behaviour We became one of the few housing associations nationally to achieve 100% compliance with the government’s Customer Service Excellence standard

08

We became the first northern housing association to achieve an AA credit rating Plumlife, our affordable homes division, helped 573 households onto the property ladder through FirstBuy We put an impressive £1 million back into our residents’ pockets through moneysaving initiatives instigated by our financial inclusion team We launched our Great Places smartphone app which provides our customers with another way to contact us, report a repair, pay their rent and stay informed about our news


2012 2010

2011

WINNER

National Social Landlord of the Year, Housing Excellence Awards 2012 We’re the only housing association to have been awarded the title of National Social Landlord of the Year for three consecutive years

WINNER

Green Leadership Award for our environmental officer Sarah McClelland, Women in Construction Awards 2012

WINNER

Best small development, The Waterside, Rochdale. First Time Buyer Readers’ Awards 2012

09


WE OWN OUR SURPLUS FOR THE YEAR

PROPERTY

10

WORTH

BIG NUMBERS

£1BILLION

£7.2 MILLION COMMUNITIES EVERY PENNY IS

REINVESTED INTO


16,147 11,597 1,754 1,094 1,052 414 236

502

HOMES OWNED OR MANAGED GENERAL NEEDS HOMES SUPPORTED HOUSING/ HOUSING FOR OLDER PEOPLE LEASEHOLD HOMES SHARED OWNERSHIP HOMES KEY WORKER HOMES RENT-TO-BUY HOMES

HOMES BUILT IN THE LAST YEAR

2,300

HOMES OVER THE NEXT 15 YEARS

MILLION TURNOVER

£105.2

MILLION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME SPEND SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE FOR OLDHAM PFI, A 25YEAR

£113

MILLION

SHEFFIELD HOUSING COMPANY, A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL, KEEPMOAT AND GREAT PLACES, GAINED APPROVAL TO BUILD

£72.6

REGENERATION PROJECT. AS PART OF THE INSPIRAL OLDHAM CONSORTIUM, WE’LL BUILD AND REFURBISH

750 HOMES

11


BUILDING FUTURES The housing sector has endured a difficult year which has seen the introduction of a raft of new government policies and key announcements around plans to reduce the fiscal deficit. This has already had an enormous impact on the number of affordable homes being built. These key changes, on top of the Welfare Reform Act, the abolition of the Tenant Services Authority (TSA), and the rise in VAT to 20%, have hit housing associations hard.

OUR DEVELOPMENTS Despite the shift in the fortunes of the housing sector, Great Places’ development team has bucked the trend and overseen the build of hundreds of new homes in 2011/2012 thanks to continued investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The HCA launched its £1.8 billion investment programme in 2011 which will deliver 80,000 new affordable homes across England by 2015. As part of the BLOC partnership, we received a £40 million

12

grant, the largest allocation north of London, to build 1,751 homes in the north west and Yorkshire. We build homes for people from all walks of life, made available through Shared Ownership and affordable rent.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES In an effort to combat the government cuts in public spending, we’ve explored alternative avenues of funding, and in April 2012 became the first exclusively northernbased housing association to achieve AA credit rating from two ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch. The ratings assessment marks an important step in our funding strategy as we work towards a bond issue. Our intended move into the bonds market follows hot on the heels of other prominent housing associations and will ensure we can continue with our ambitious development programme over the next five to six years.


13


OUR NEW HOMES

The Waterside, Rochdale 14

An outstanding 27-home, mixedtenure, canal-side development offering larger family housing for the thriving local community

Palmerston, Beswick

A selection of 3-bedroom family homes on the site of the former Medlock Valley High School. Built predominantly to re-house residents whose homes were being demolished


Alder Street, Salford

A unique development of new and refurbished terraced family homes in Langworthy, Salford

South Beach, Blackpool

A stunning development of 19 restored 19th century town houses in the heart of Blackpool

The Guts, New Islington Great Places’ third housing development at New Islington, East Manchester

15


PLUMLIFE We’re unique in that we marry the responsibilities associated with a registered landlord and developer, with our commercial operation, Plumlife, a market leader in the provision of desirable, affordable homes for working people who can’t afford to buy outright. With approximately 2,000 properties under our belt, we’re also the government-appointed HomeBuy Agency for Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Yorkshire, providing a one-stop-shop registration and information service for first time buyers who have a household income of less than £60,000 per annum. We’ve been a major player in delivering FirstBuy, the government scheme aimed at helping working people get a foot on the housing ladder. Plumlife continues to help working people realise their dreams of home ownership in a financial climate that can seem impossible for would-be first-time buyers.

16


233 2,212 850 573 COMPLETIONS 93%

HomeBuy Direct completions in 2011/12, the scheme ended in March 2012

applications through the new FirstBuy scheme

AND

reservations out of the applications

SINCE AUGUST 2011

of customers were satisfied with the overall service provided by Plumlife sales

97% 94%

of customers were satisfied with the major works Plumlife management have carried out on their homes of customer calls to Plumlife management were answered within 15 secs

17


SUPPORTING VULNERABLE PEOPLE At a time when supported housing is suffering cutbacks, Great Places has made a real committment to protecting services and jobs. The stark reality of the difficulties the sector faces was highlighted when many councils had to slash their Supporting People budgets earlier this year. Although we had to close one of our projects in Manchester, we made a pledge to spend ÂŁ85,000 a year subsidising the others so that we can continue to provide help and support to the most vulnerable people in society. We believe passionately in the importance of keeping these services alive and will continue to place supported housing at the heart of everything we do.

655 18 95%

people have been helped to move on from supported housing

83% 80%

of people in supported housing maintained independent living

of people in supported housing completed their programme of support and moved on of people in supported housing engaged in training and/or employment


SOME FACTS Our floating support team in Bolton won a new contract to support 81 vulnerable people in the community We expanded our in-house floating support service to Blackburn, Bury, Salford and Oldham We subsidised two projects in Blackpool, The Foyer (for people aged 16 - 25) and Williams Lyons House (for the homeless) to cover cuts in funding by the local council We spent ÂŁ150,000 on refurbishing Hawkshaw Court, an elderly scheme in Salford We have re-housed 124 homeless applicants so far this year

19


OUR RESIDENTS Our residents have always been at the top of our agenda. We’re continuously striving to maintain and improve the respected position we hold with our customers. This year we were rewarded for our hard work when we became one of the only housing associations nationally to achieve a 100% success rate in the government’s Customer Service Excellence award. But we won’t stop there. We’ve always valued the views of our residents and this year was no different. We held numerous focus groups, organised tenant participation events, carried out face-to-face visits and used digital media to communicate with them.

We enhanced our customer access system which has recorded over 110,000 customer contacts to date, set to rise to over 200,000 by the end of the year We introduced SATNAV, a satisfaction monitoring tool covering all our areas and allowing us to immediately address issues of dissatisfaction We launched our Great Places mobile app which provides our customers with another way to contact us, report a repair, pay their rent and stay informed about our news

20

89% 87% 93% 93%

of our residents were satisfied with the overall service we provide of our residents were satisfied with the quality of their home of our residents were satisfied with our repairs service, up from 73% of residents were satisfied with how their call was dealt with and had it answered within 15 sec


The Tenant Services Committee (TSC) is a resident majority committee of the board which monitors how well Great Places delivers services to residents. We work hard to make sure there are continuous improvements to housing and property services. It’s great that we’re given so much authority to make key decisions on behalf of so many people.

Christine Goulden

Great Places board member and Chair of Tenant Services Committee (TSC)

21


RESIDENT INVOLVEMENT The Go For It! team is made up of 10 staff and a fundraising co-ordinator working across 32 local authorities. They empower residents to get involved in improving services, invigorating deprived communities and increasing customer satisfaction. Since the team was set up, satisfaction with views taken into account has increased from 54% in 2009 to 85% in 2012. The team’s ‘Go for it - Get involved’ strategy involves residents in everything from formal meetings to fun days in the community.

GIVING BACK For us, while building homes is a big part of what we’re about, we continue to invest our money, time and energy into the community long after the cement has dried. The Tenants Services Committee have re-directed of funds into new fencing

AND

£50,000 £90,000

1,727 45

towards affordable warmth initiatives

people got involved with community events in the last year

young people have been helped into work through our Toolbox programme since it launched

22

We worked with more than 40 residents’ groups to secure external funding for community projects, totalling over

£300,000 £30k £50k £60k £40k

for youth work in Levenshulme, Manchester towards a full-size football pitch in Knutsford to help a Bury resident turn an old church attic into a fantastic community space grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a people’s history project in Levenshulme


RESIDENTS AT THE ZOO We held our last annual residents’ conference at Chester Zoo.

400 54% 65% 120

people came along to the day of people who went hadn’t been to any Great Places event before of the residents that came were under 55; the year before it was only 5%

residents and their carers came from 20 different supported schemes

23


VALUE FOR MONEY Great Places considers the broader aspects of value for money (VFM) where cost is only one element, and service, quality, customer satisfaction and sustainability are also crucial. Achieving value for money is a consideration across all our decision-making and is key to all our services, including repairs, maintenance and improvement of homes. We have two overarching priorities which both have an emphasis on improving value for money: providing excellent customer service and becoming financially stronger.

88%

of our residents were satisfied that their rent was good value for money

£5 MILLION

spent on improving residents’ homes this year, next year we plan to spend even more Through our various money saving initiatives, this year we’ve saved residents over

£1 MILLION

34 residents were referred to our debt management team. We helped these residents increase their annual income by a collective total of

£27,000

24

We piloted a downsizing initiative to give up to 10 households the chance to move into a smaller home that’s cheaper to run. To encourage residents, we offered a range of incentives including up to £600 towards removal costs In Salford, we helped residents reduce their rent arrears. The total amount raised during the project stands at £70,000 With Salford-based Footlights Theatre Company we staged an exciting performance of “Just A Few Quid”, a play about the dangers of loan sharks Our award-winning NHS No Smoking campaign helped residents kick the habit and save an estimated £2,000 per year


HOW WE SPEND OUR RESIDENTS’ RENT Surplus because we’re a notfor-profit organisation, all of our surplus goes back into improving our homes, funding our supported housing projects and creating new developments

10%

Services

9%

Depreciation

11%

Routine repairs

13% 15%

Interest payments on loans

22%

20%

Staff & office costs

Planned or major repairs

THIS YEAR WE SAVED

£100,000 £200,000 securing the group’s gas & electricity contract for communal areas until 2015

through our grounds maintenance contract review, reducing the number of suppliers from 17 to 3

£400,000

a year for 7 years through an 8-year interest rate swap with Credit Suisse

25


1792

STANDARD OF HOMES

26

REPAIRS

of our homes meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard

new kitchens installed

565

Continuous investment is one of the ways we can satisfy our growing customer base. To help us do this we’ve installed an asset management system which allows staff to get information on energy, adaptations and future home improvements instantly. It provides us with information on when, and where, to invest in our stock. We also involve residents in decision-making to target our resources effectively and develop standards we know we can afford in the future.

100%

641

homes painted

289

A-rated boilers installed

homes got new windows

163

109

55

99%

homes got new doors

new bathroom suites fitted

full heating systems installed

of residents were happy with the work we did

41,138

96%

repairs carried out

of repairs completed on time

98%

93%

of repairs appointments made & kept

100%

85%

of repairs completed on very first visit

of residents satisfied with repairs

of our properties have a valid Gas Safety Certificate


NEIGHBOURHOOD STANDARDS We are always working to improve the general look and feel of our neighbourhoods whether that’s creating green spaces for all to enjoy or liaising closely with local organisations like the police and fire service to ensure we have the same aims in mind. Residents’ safety is also a major priority. Creating an environment where people can go about their daily business with confidence is what Great Places strives to do every day. We have a dedicated anti-social behaviour team and we employ a fair but tough stance, tailoring action to individual cases. Recently we have developed a Sustainable Neighbourhoods Toolkit that identifies which neighbourhoods are thriving and which need re-energising.

89%

of our residents were satisfied with their neighbourhood

84%

were satisfied with how the ASB case they reported was dealt with

TENANCY MANAGEMENT There have been many significant changes made by the government which will affect our residents and how they live. The most important is the Welfare Reform Act which will have an enormous impact on how much benefit our residents receive and how it’s distributed. Great Places has been working hard to offer advice and guidance, signposting residents to our financial inclusion team and supporting them to downsize or get back into work.

4%

Average re-let time was

22

DAYS

Current arrears (including arrears due to housing benefit)

Rent loss from empty properties

Because we’ve been re-letting our properties so quickly, the amount of rent we’ve lost is one of the lowest percentages in the housing sector

0.8% 27


LIVING, GIVING, TOGETHER, GROWING Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – we’ve been doing it for years – long before it was the hot acronym in boardrooms everywhere. We just call it something else. This year we formalised our approach by creating a structured year of events around Living, Giving, Together, Growing. These have been the bedrock of our organisation since we started.

LIVING The well-being of our residents and staff is as important to us as the homes we build, the communities we nurture and the workplace environments we create. We always aim to promote healthy lifestyles through our community events and the numerous initiatives we set up. Residents at Bluebell Court, a supported project for young women in St Helens, recently attended an eight-week cooking course learning how to cook healthy food on a budget

At our Extra Care schemes in Blackpool, residents are encouraged to take part in chair-based exercise classes, Tai Chi, dance classes, and the hairdressers is busier than any high street premises

As part of our Living Quarter, staff were given the opportunity to get involved in various activities like bike rides, Shiatsu massage, yoga and Boot Camp

Residents at Lorna Lodge, a supported housing project for young women in Wythenshawe, were given the chance to get moving together when a professional Zumba instructor came to give them free taster sessions

28


29


30


GIVING Great Places’ staff are some of the most generous people around. This year they went fundraising mad, organising hundreds of money-making events and giving up their time to support numerous charities.

We also devoted a quarter of the year to raising money for local and national charities and raised over £7,500

Our staff dedicated

620

DAYS

Working alongside the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) we funded the installation of two freshwater pumps in the Indian state of Bahir

to charity fundraising over the last year

£2,500 £10,000 £20,000 Each year we give around

to our various charities

went to our Kenya charity to support our work there

went to residents through our staff consultation forum, Voice

TOGETHER Equality and diversity is extremely important to Great Places. This is reflected in the sheer diversity of our workforce. This year we’ve worked harder than ever to promote equality and opportunity for all. Equality and diversity workshops have been attended by 333 staff in the last year in an effort to educate and help create an open and understanding culture Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) representatives presented to staff on their experiences of discrimination

Diversity Week is a regular occurrence and promotes the idea of understanding and embracing other people’s views, culture or disability. This year we held 30 sessions, attended by over 180 staff Over 50 residents trained as community interpreters, gaining a qualification in return for voluntary use of their new skills

31


GROWING Great Places is truly a trailblazer when it comes to environmental achievements. Our active programme to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock is reducing the number of residents in fuel poverty as well as the associated carbon emissions of our homes. In the last couple of years we have established a comprehensive environmental policy, strategy and annual action plan, and are currently working hard to make sure the organisation achieves ISO14001 accreditation.

We were one of the first housing associations to harness photovoltaic (PV) panel technology and completed one of the largest roll-outs of its kind in the north west Sarah McClelland, our environmental officer, won the Green Leadership award at the Women in Construction Awards 2012 Our homes have an average EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of C, which is above the national average We cemented relationships with other housing associations, taking the lead in the Innovation Chain North West (ICNW) – a partnership of four award-winning housing associations with a fundamental commitment to sustainable development and sustainable communities Our retro-fit of Queen Street, a block of flats in Blackpool, has seen a reduction of 490 tonnes of CO per year, the equivalent of ² taking 180 cars off the road

32


so far they’ve generated over

at our homes and offices

of clean, green electricity

620

SOLAR PANELS

530,000

KWH

Over the last 18 months we’ve installed over

FOR

20 TONNES 5 YEARS

97%

of our homes have double glazing

20,000

miles

we’ve been installing only energy efficient ‘A’ rated boilers in our homes

of CO2 are now being saved every year by us switching to LED lighting at our head office

of business travel have been saved using web conferencing

We’ve reduced water usage at our head office by

8%

33


A GREAT PLACE TO WORK There’s a unique atmosphere at Great Places, and that’s down to the people who work here. Our aim has always been to attract, develop and retain talented, skilled and motivated staff at all levels. We’re proud of the diversity of our staff and have an extensive communications network, plus an employee engagement officer to make sure everyone’s in the loop, all the time.

of employees were happy with the training and learning opportunities

We extended our coaching programme further, demonstrating our commitment to ‘developing our own’. We currently have 21 coaches working across the business We made e-learning available to all staff. Courses available include Food Safety, Professional Boundaries and Microsoft Office We delivered tailored training packages to supported housing staff which covered safeguarding, support planning, dealing with difficult situations, and personalisation

BME

34

68% 23% 4%

of employees feel proud to work for us

FEMALE

OUR STAFF

It’s our quest to make sure everyone feels valued and that they get the right opportunities to stride onwards and upwards in their careers.

85% 84%

New courses rolled out were managing difficult situations and handling difficult conversations

HAVE A DISABILITY

We employed 11 new apprentices in 2012


35


SENIOR STAFF STEPHEN PORTER Chief Executive

Great Places Housing Group Board Ted Stott (Chair) Andrew Beeput Janet Clafton Tina Cook David Copley Malcolm Faulkner

Christine Goulden Lars Hansen Anne Harris Roger Kirkwood Stephen Porter Tony Snape

Great Places Housing Association Board MATTHEW HARRISON Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Development

Lars Hansen (Chair) Janet Clafton Guy Cresswell Christine Goulden

Anne Harris Matthew Harrison Maggie Shannon Ted Stott

Plumlife Board GUY CRESSWELL Director of Housing Services

PHIL ELVY Director of Finance

MAGGIE SHANNON Director of Performance & Innovation

36

Les Coop (Chair) Michelle Gray Matthew Harrison Roger Kirkwood Colin Maguire

Joanne Moon Max Pilotti Lee Rawlinson Philip Stott Gwyn Williams

Cube Board Les Coop (Chair) Michelle Gray Roger Kirkwood Colin Maguire

Lee Rawlinson Gwyn Williams Matthew Harrison

Tenant Services Committee Christine Goulden (Chair) Guy Cresswell Robin Gardner Janice Kay Angela Lindsay Maureen McDermott Carol Neale

Robin Ogle Sajad Qureshi Brian Sedgwick Selvie Selvaetnam Geoff Simpson Evelyn Uche Dereck Waters


FINANCES IN BRIEF Assets Housing Stock Social Housing Grant Depreciation and impairment Other fixed assets Investments Net current assets

Group 11/12

All figures in ÂŁ000s Group 10/11 restated

923,329 -502,638 -61,013 7,776 12 14,080

826,337 -454,203 -53,970 7,813 10 6,901

TOTAL

381,546

332,888

Financed by Loans etc Revenue reserves Designated and other reserves

332,090 49,274 182

290,750 42,138 0

TOTAL

381,546

332,888

Income Gross income from lettings Other turnover Surplus on sale of properties

57,995 14,072 554

52,488 14,378 1,816

TOTAL INCOME

72,621

68,682

Expenditure Services including Supporting People expenditure Management Maintenance Major repairs Other operating costs Interest

11,131 13,081 10,510 4,047 15,624 10,852

11,074 13,486 9,592 6,274 13,962 11,199

TOTAL EXPENDITURE

65,245

65,587

NET SURPLUS FOR YEAR BEFORE TAX

7,376

3,095

37



Great Places Annual Report 2012