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EVERY PENNY SPENT... How BHA compares on Value for Money 2014 - 15


HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

MAKING THE POUNDS AND PENNIES COUNT

TALKING UP THE FUTURE

Each penny we receive in rent goes to making sure our tenants live in great homes and in thriving neighbourhoods. That means investing in the right things, at the right times and in ways that benefit our communities.

This is our home, our neighbourhood, our children and our future – that’s why tenants like us, want to have our say in shaping those things that make such a difference to the quality of our lives. Tenant Volunteers do just that and each year we see more people wanting to join us. In the past year we have added four new members and stepped up our drive to recruit fresh faces.

BHA is ambitious for the Borders and invests to grow the local economy and create more and wider opportunities for our tenants. We also want our tenants to know we are there for them when they hit hard times.

• G  eorge Pickering and Pauline Seaward were invited to BHA’s 2014 star awards in December to present two awards.

In this cash strapped era, it is especially vital that each pound and each penny we spend gives our communities the best return on that money. This report shows how BHA tenants’ rent money is spent and how we compare on value with other rural housing associations. It is a ‘no holds barred’ look at how we do against associations who face similar challenges to us in largely rural communities. It includes key results and comments, positive and not so positive, from the people that matter most – our tenants. The report also speaks of BHA and its staff’s total immersion in this community – in and out of work. Value for money of course, isn’t just about getting the cheapest deal, it’s about getting the best deal, for us, for you - our tenants and for the communities we work in. 20 local contractors to deliver our repair service means, for example, around £1.8 million spent locally – helping to secure 180 jobs in our communities. That is money well spent, because it generates local growth. We hope you find this report useful. It shows what we do get right and what we need to change and improve. Remember, as a tenant of BHA, there are a number of ways to influence what we do. You can join our Tenant Volunteers, take part in our Scrutiny Panel, join a working group or of course, join our Board as a Trustee. If you don’t want to be that involved, that’s fine too. Keep track on what we’re doing by liking our Facebook page, following us on twitter or visiting our website. All the data used in the following pages is sourced from the Scottish Housing Best Value Network – it is objective and externally validated. All comparisons we make are with housing associations that, like us, operate in wide ranging rural areas.

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Here are some highlights of a busy year.

Helen Forsyth, Chief Executive and David Melrose, Vice Convener.

YOU SPEAK, WE ACT Since the last Tenant Satisfaction survey in 2013 (next survey is due in 2016) we have started to address the points raised through a number of initiatives. Right now we have begun to implement the following actions: • G  reater use of social media to keep our online tenants up to the minute with what’s happening. • T  enants now receive a letter when something is due to happen in their area and is likely to affect them. • O  ur website is in the midst of being improved to give tenants the information they need, easier and faster. • B  HA’s Tenant Volunteer membership has doubled this year, thanks to the employment for six months of a worker to increase the group’s profile and bring in new ideas. • O  ur first Scrutiny Panel, made up of tenants, staff and Board members, is already influencing the quality of our services in three key areas: Energy Efficiency Communications Repairs Service We listened and their recommendations are being implemented across the organisation All this means is that the views of our tenants are genuinely listened to and drive what this Association does and how it does it.

Pauline Seaward of the BHA Tenant Volunteers hands over a donation of £150.00 to Linkim Court, Sheltered Housing.

• L ots of questions were asked when we ran a successful Quiz night in Coldstream. • W  e joined the staff and residents of Linkim Court to celebrate the sheltered housing scheme’s 40th Birthday in May. • W  e played a welcoming role to those people moving into new properties in Acredale Eyemouth – sharing information, offering guidance and explaining what we do. We will also be at an event to welcome tenants to new properties at Station Drive, Duns. • W  e hold meetings on the last Monday of each month. Recently we worked with senior staff to review the Decoration Allowance paid to tenants and a new BHA Pet Policy soon to be unleashed.

COMMUNITY GRANTS We oversee the award of more than £4000 in Community Grants to 17 local charities and projects in Berwickshire.

HOLDING THE ASSOCIATION TO ACCOUNT – TENANT SCRUTINY PANEL Some of our members joined the BHA Scrutiny Panel to look at Energy Efficiency and the Association’s web site. As a result, recommendations were presented to the BHA management team and the Board. We are also just about to complete a report on how BHA communicates on repairs - how can we make the process of reporting repairs easier for tenants? To find out more about the work of the tenant volunteers email contact@tenantvolunteers.org.uk or call us on 01361 884000.

RS

VOLUNTEE working with

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HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

LIVING UP TO OUR VALUES

ADAPTABLE, ADVENTUROUS AND CREATIVE We respect and understand the diversity of our tenants and seek new approaches to meeting the challenges faced. We explore problems together and seek new solutions.

PROUD TO PUT OUR CUSTOMERS FIRST We will work proactively with tenants experiencing problems with their homes, their neighbours or facing personal challenges. Everything we do is focused on helping tenants to thrive and live successfully in the community.

OPEN HONEST AND CARING We will encourage both staff and tenants to be open about the issues they face. We will be honest about what we can and cannot do to help while being caring and empathetic – encouraging tenants to build community support.

GO THAT EXTRA MILE Tenants are at the heart of what we do. We take time to solve problems and work as a team to help and support our tenants who may be isolated or vulnerable.

EMBRACE AND DRIVE CHANGE We will be aware of the external environment and be prepared to face new challenges. We will understand and implement new regulations effectively. We will support our tenants to cope with changes they are obliged to face. We will also initiate change in order to solve problems that our tenants face and to make our organisation more efficient and effective.

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ENJOY OUR WORK AND GET MORE DONE We support and motivate all staff to ensure a healthy, friendly and stress free atmosphere where there is trust, openness and leadership. We recognise and reward high achievement and excellent performance.

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HOMES AND RENTS

HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

How we compare on the cost and quality of our homes. ON COST

Average weekly rent increase

NUMBER OF BHA HOMES BY SIZE

WE SAID It is never easy to balance keeping BHA afloat with keeping our rents affordable. That’s why each year we consult with our tenants and each year our Board sets a rent that keeps tenants in pocket and our homes and neighbourhoods up to a great standard. Our rent increase was the lowest in the Borders.

2014/15 YOU SAID

2014/15 2013/14 2.6% 2.7%

“I am on the minimum wage so it’s a struggle to pay the rent. Ms W, Tenant

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

“This seems about the right amount to maintain the properties.” Ms C, Tenant

ON QUALITY

2014/15

Percentage of homes achieving the ‘Scottish Housing Quality Standard’

100%

ON QUALITY

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 89.2%

WE SAID

Homes pass quality test – what’s next? All our homes now meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS). Great news and proof of BHA‘s efforts to maintain its homes over the years. Around a fifth of our homes were exempted because of their particular electric or solid fuel heating or because we couldn’t get access – they will be brought up to date when we get can get in to do work or they become empty. Now our focus is on bringing our homes up to the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH).

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50

(Same as last year)

2 bedroom 431 (Same as last year) 3 bedroom 774 (Down on last year)

5 bedroom

2014/15 2.7%

2014/15 2013/14 100% 95.5%

I bedroom

YOU SAID The extension has given my son and daughter their own space and privacy, which teenagers need ... We no longer feel like we’re on top of each other. With this extension it allowed us to stay near my family, which being a single parent gives me peace of mind.” Lynn Gray, Tenant

4 bedroom 442 (Down on last year)

AVERAGE

BHA

Less homes – why? Have they simply disappeared? You may ask that after looking at the figures but, no. Three four-bedroom homes were sold under the Right to Buy Scheme, while another is being converted to a five bedroom to help meet demand. Plus three of our 3 bed homes are currently being renovated. Don’t forget also that new homes in Eyemouth and Duns will add an extra 62 in total – bringing the number to 1,781.

Tricky balancing act

BHA

WE SAID

£

22

(Up on last year)

WHERE ARE OUR HOMES? WE SAID

We’ll soon have

1,781 homes

BHA has homes the length and breadth of Berwickshire - from towns to outlying villages. The housing challenge in rural areas has never been easy but, thanks to the variety and locations of our homes, people continue to stay and invest in the Borders – so important to a thriving community. We may face challenges housing organisations in cities don’t encounter but we work ever harder to grow the Borders economy.

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REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY HOW LONG ON AVERAGE TO COMPLETE AN EMERGENCY REPAIR? BHA

PERCENTAGE OF REPAIRS APPOINTMENTS KEPT

WE SAID Our performance looks worse this year because we are measuring it differently after changes announced by the Scottish Government regarding our tenant’s Right to Repair.

WE SAID

2014/15 2013/14 2.82 hrs 0.7 hrs OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 2.1 hrs

£1.8 million spent with local contractors

HOW LONG ON AVERAGE TO COMPLETE A NON-EMERGENCY REPAIR? BHA 2014/15 2013/14 6.01 hrs 4.4 hrs

BHA OTHER ASSOCIATIONS AVERAGE 2014/15 2013/14 2014/15 98.81% 99.5% 90.4%

All internal repairs are arranged by appointment

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

YOU SAID “ Thank you for the prompt response. He was a pleasant young man (local). He arrived at 8.10 a.m. and was finished at this property at 8.48 a.m.” Tenant

AVERAGE 2014/15 6.5 hrs

WE SAID This year our performance dropped but remains better than our peer group. Repairs are now done on an appointment basis to suit the individual tenant – this means speed is balanced against convenience to the tenant.

Our performance remains above our peer group

PERCENTAGE OF TENANTS SATISFIED WITH REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE DONE IN THEIR HOME BHA

WE SAID

2014/15 2013/14 96.8 % 83.6%

Great result. We are always trying to improve the quality and impact of the work done on repairs and the appointment system seems to have been a great success with our tenants. Great to know they are pleased with the result.

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE

GOING LOCAL KEEPS JOBS AND CASH IN COMMUNITY Last year BHA spent £1.8 million with local contractors. This is good for the local economy and good for jobs. This has been our policy for a few years and the impact is that businesses stay strong and young people get a chance to learn a trade and stay in the borders – it’s a win, win situation.

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All internal repairs are now arranged by appointment making it easier for tenants to plan their day around work done in their home. We are well ahead of our peer group average and the fall in our performance from last year is largely due to arranging a time that suits the tenant and appointments not being kept by a small minority of tenants.

2014/15 88.9%

YOU SAID “There was no repair done. They said they needed your permission first so we still have the problem.” Tenant

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TENANT SATISFACTION

HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

On satisfaction with services, information and chances to participate SATISFIED WITH OVERALL SERVICE BHA 2014/15 2013/14 86.3% 86.3%

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 87.6%

WE SAID Results are the same as last year because we didn’t conduct a Tenant Satisfaction Survey during this year and still count last year’s figures in our results. Although only required to carry out tenant satisfaction surveys every three years, BHA’s aim is to complete one every two years. We hope to see improved results next year.

SATISFIED WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE PART IN DECISION-MAKING BHA 2014/15 2013/14 64.8% 64.8%

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 77.2%

WE SAID BHA’s Tenant Volunteer membership has doubled this year and our first Scrutiny Panel, made up of tenants, staff and Board members, has already influenced the quality of our energy efficiency, communication and repairs services.

KEPT WELL INFORMED ABOUT SERVICES AND OUTCOMES BHA 2014/15 2013/14 83.7% 83.7%

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 88.1%

BHA Tenant Volunteers membership has doubled

HELP SHAPE YOUR COMMUNITY

A more focused use of social media

WE SAID This Value for Money report is just one example of how we are improving how we communicate. Add a revamped website and a more focused use of Twitter and Facebook and much is being done to keep tenants in the picture at all times.

TAKING PART IN DECISION MAKING

YOU SAID

working with

You told us in the Tenant Satisfaction Survey that 65% of you were satisfied with opportunities to participate. Only 2% were dissatisfied.

Much more is being done to keep tenants in the picture

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RS VOLUNTEE

JOIN US! To get involved conact us today by emailing contact@tenantvolunteers.org.uk or calling us on 01361 884000

Visit our websiite www.tenantvolunteers.org.uk

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NEIGHBOURHOODS

HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR CASES REPORTED PER 100 HOMES BHA 2014/15 2013/14 3.7 6.7 OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 6

WE SAID BHA works with all four Borders housing associations, Police Scotland and Scottish Borders Council to tackle anti-social behaviour. Our targets this year were ambitious. This means we’ve done better than it looks. We have resolved 56 cases of the 63 that were reported this year and are working hard to do even better.

YOU SAID “Nothing is more disruptive to family life – the kids afraid to go out, the stress, the headaches and a sense of utter helplessness – all caused by someone else. If there is anything at all to be done – please do it!” Anon

62 new homes in Eyemouth and Duns

PERCENTAGE OF ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR CASES RESOLVED (AGAINST LOCALLY AGREED TARGETS) BHA 2014/15 2013/14 73% 84.8%

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 88.1%

WE SAID

YOU SAID “Our original complaint should have been taken more seriously and action should have been taken quicker. We should not have had to put up with the situation then or now.” Tenant

It’s difficult to compare our performance against others because each local authority area uses different ways to measure and sets locally agreed targets.

56 of 63 antisocial behaviour cases resolved

New homes, Station Drive, Duns.

NEW HOMES DELAYED The completion of 62 new homes in Eyemouth and Duns has been delayed due to issues that are beyond the control of developer, Adston. BHA is working hard to support Adston so that the final works are completed as quickly as possible. We have kept prospective tenants up to date throughout and in person, to minimise the impact of the delay. They will also be the first to hear when a new entry date is confirmed.

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SKIP AND SCRAP DAYS 2 Skip and Scrap days got rid of 13 skips worth of rubbish

BHA’s Skip and Scrap days help tenants keep their homes clutter free and their community clean and tidy. The opportunity to dump those unwanted items that gather dust and rust is like a weight lifted from the shoulders. People feel refreshed and invigorated and get a chance to meet neighbours too.

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VALUE FOR MONEY

HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY PERCENTAGE OF RENT DUE COLLECTED IN PREVIOUS YEAR

WE SAID We collect more than 100% rent. That is because BHA keeps chasing previously unpaid debts.

BHA 2014/15 2013/14 100.2% 101.7%

YOU SAID

AVERAGE TIME TAKEN TO RE-LET HOMES DURING PREVIOUS YEAR BHA 2014/15 2013/14 17 days 15.7 days

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE 2014/15 23 days

“Why should I pay my rent when others seem to get away with it?”

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

WE SAID This is slower than last year because of a few exceptional cases. In Gowanlea, Coldstream we took much, much longer to bring some homes back into use – between 73 and 192 days. Aside from these our average re-let period would have been 13 days. We want to keep improving because each day of rent lost is less income.

Mr M, Tenant

AVERAGE YOU SAID

2014/15 98.9%

“We waited long enough for a house. When we eventually got one, we moved in and there were jobs still needing to be completed.”

PERCENTAGE OF DUE RENT NOT COLLECTED BECAUSE OF HOMES BEING EMPTY LAST YEAR BHA 2014/15 2013/14 1.6% 1.8%

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS

AVERAGE

£

2014/15 0.6%

The long term empty properties in some areas are causing us real concern but we are tackling the issues and hope to improve.

Over £40,000 owed by former tenants

Over 400 homes fitted with solar panels

£

WE SAID

£

£

OUT OF SIGHT – NOT OUT OF MIND If anyone vacates a BHA home while owing us money, we will maintain contact with that person until we collect what’s owed. Every penny earned really matters – especially in today’s climate. Of course, the best result is always not to get into rent arrears in the first place but, if you find yourself in difficulty, please get in touch early. BHA’s financial inclusion team and customer accounts teams will work with you to sort things out. They are experts wanting to help.

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Tenant

Over half our tenants receive housing benefit

Funded by Big Lottery

SUN BRINGS MASSIVE SAVINGS

MONEY WISE

Over 400 tenants’ homes have been fitted with solar panels since February and at almost no cost to BHA. There are many more in the pipeline – bringing massive savings on home energy costs. This is all thanks to a partnership with Oakapple Berwickshire who pays for the panels and the installation. It’s a simple win-win. Surplus electricity generated by our tenants is ‘sold’ back to the national grid and Oakapple receive payment for it – our tenants use less electricity when the panels generate.

Always looking to help our tenants maximise their income and budget better, our Financial Inclusion Team helped 189 households claim an annual £523,633 in benefits and discretionary housing payments worth £33,327. Meanwhile, 55 people took part in the team’s brilliant financial management programme – bringing them much needed peace of mind. The programme is Big Lottery funded and part of a joint initiative with Waverley and Scottish Borders Housing Associations.

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HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

AT WORK AND IN THE CO MMUNITY Many of BHA’s staff don’t just live and work in Berwickshire, they are very much part of community life and take part in a variety of activities to raise money for great causes, entertain, volunteer and do what they can to bring a smile to their community. Here are a few examples of our people doing what they do outside of work.

ALISON HELPS EYEMOUTH YOUNG ADULTS TO SHINE Alison Hunter, Customer Services Assistant, helps give young adults in Eyemouth with special needs, opportunities to take part in exciting activities from baking to craftwork and hairdressing to dancing.

HANNAH IS GUIDING LIGHT

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE JULIA

Gina Gordon hands over a cheque to PDSA in just one of the charity fundraising activities during the year involving over 40 staff and raising over £300 for local causes.

Hannah Tennant, Modern Apprentice, is a guider at Chirnside Rainbows and, if that wasn’t enough, she also helps out at Ministry of Youth in Eyemouth.

Julia Keddie, Finance Assistant, is a keen runner and helps organise events for the RunDuns group.

FOUR GET IN ON THE SISTER ACT No fewer than four of our team were involved with Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society’s production of Sister Act this year. Helen Forsyth, CEO, directed the show, Colin Young, Technical Officer, was on the stage crew and Jane Blaikie, Finance Officer and Janice Wilson, Technical Assistant both had starring roles.

SHENAGH IS A REAL SAFETY CHAMPION As member of Berwickshire’s Community Safety Panel, Shenagh Slater, Housing Officer, promotes road safety training for children among other life enhancing community supports - Hi Viz vests for school and nursery, no cold call zones and blue light discos are just some of what Shenagh is involved in.

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DRESSING DOWN RAISES MONEY FOR PET PROJECTS

PETE DIVES DEEP FOR THE COMMUNITY Peter Nisbet, chairs St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, which helps manage the marine environment along the Berwickshire Coast - the UK’s top diving site. He also played a blinder for his Eyemouth quiz team in beating BBC2’s Eggheads. On top of that Pete helped set up the Berwickshire Maritime Trust which owns the historic sail power fishing boat “Good Hope”.

COLIN BEATS HIS DRUM Colin Turner, Corporate Services Manager is the Drum Major of Duns Pipe Band and teaches aspiring new drummers aged from 10 to 60.

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HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

BHA SUBSIDIARIES It’s been an eventful year for BHA’s subsidiaries. Here is a rundown of a year in which difficult financial decisions had to be made. DIFFICULT YEAR AT SETON CARE Changes to how care is funded and delivered forced two major decisions. First the transfer of homecare in Berwickshire to CIC in October 2014 and the transfer of homecare in Berwick to Careline in August 2015. Seton Hall then posed us a real challenge. When we took on its running, we planned a new and improved care facility. But as plans took shape, it was clear that demand for residential care was reducing fast and Northumberland Council was, as a result, no longer able to support our plans. We then had little choice but to plan the closure of Seton Hall. Our priority now is to ensure that each resident is cared for into the future and our staff team is supported.

EYES ON NEW INCOME AT BHA ENTERPRISE BHA Enterprise was set up to create commercial projects that generate money to build more affordable homes in Berwickshire. This year has seen a huge amount of effort behind getting the Hoprigshiels Windfarm funded and ready to build. All going well, the turbines will be going up next year – generating electricity that will raise cash to build new homes. This is great news for the Borders economy.

LITTLE REIVERS PLAY WHILE PARENTS WORK With working parents making up all but five of the families whose children we care for, Little Reivers plays a vital role in local family life. There are 71 children aged between 0 – over 5 years registered. That’s a lot of families able to go out and work, confident in the knowledge that their child or children are happy, safe and learning in a facility that, at the last inspection visit, scored highly. Little Reivers also has 13 children funded under the Scottish Government’s Early Years childcare and learning Initiative.

40 YEARS AND BLOOMING AT LINKIM COURT Sheltered Housing is the perfect combination of independent and community living, with support always at hand. Linkim Court, one of our trio of Sheltered complexes, celebrated its 40th year in good style when residents and guests enjoyed a special ceremony. Meanwhile a new lift, floor coverings and decoration to corridors at Boston Court, that also celebrated its 25th birthday, were completed at cost of £91,938.00. All three sheltered complexes, including Gowanlea Court also received community grants totalling £450.

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FINANCIAL INCLUSION TEAM IMPACTS

189 Households helped

55 Tenants gain new financial skills

£523, 633

Annual benefits gain

£11,238 Lump sum backdated housing benefit payments

Finances

2014

Housing Properties 60,512,226 56,029,609 Other Fixed Assets 181,067 280,965 Investments 1 1 Tangible Fixed Assets 60,693,295 56,310,575

Current Assets 3,948,863 3,271,640 Creditors due within one year 1,730,568 1,720,640 Net Current Assets / (Liabilities) 2,218,295 1,551,000 Total assets less current liabilities 62,911,590 57,861,571 Creditors: amounts due after one year 21,840,402 18,114,555 Net Assets 41,071,188 39,747,020

Capital & Reserves Share Capital 149 159 Revenue Reserves 2,075,694 1,733,261 Designated Reserve 4,093,918 4,093,917 Revaluation Reserve 34,901,427 33,879,683 Total turnover from social lettings 6,696,233 6,564,277 Management & Maintenance Administration Costs Depreciation of housing components Service Costs Planned & Cyclical Maintenance incl major repairs Reactive Maintenance Rent Losses from bad debts

16% Reactive Maintenance

HOW OUR EXPENDITURE ON HOUSING IS MADE UP

2015

2,818,830 1,160,758 225,143 798,796 938,695 38,655

2,393,954 1,214,479 202,218 1,154,622 838,201 47,330

1% Rent Losses from bad debts

13% Planned & Cyclical Maintenance incl major repairs 47% Management & Maintenance Administration Costs

4% Service Costs

19% Depreciation of Housing Components

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HOW BHA COMPARES ON VALUE FOR MONEY

BHA Registered Office: 55 Newtown Street, Duns, Berwickshire TD11 3AU T: 01361 884000 F: 01361 883404 email: info@bhagroup.org.uk www.bhagroup.org.uk Berwickshire Housing Association, Registered in Scotland, Registration No. SP242RS, Scottish Charity No. SC042342

External Auditors Findlay and Company Chartered Accountants 11 Dudhope Terrace Dundee DD3 6TS Internal Auditors Baker Tilly First Floor Quay 2 139 Fountain Bridge Edinburgh EH3 9QG

production www.think tastic.co.uk

Our performance remains above our peer group


Bha performance report 2015 online[3]