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CARTREFI HOMES Great Homes, Great Communities Cartrefi Gwych, Cymuedau Gwych

Two Years on Annual Review


April 2012 - March 2013



NPT Homes’ Vision and Values Our Vision is: Great Homes, Great Communities We have recently revised our values in consultation with staff, tenants and Board members to make them more meaningful.



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Our values are:


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Respect; and

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It has also been agreed that, through staff abiding by the values of NPT Homes, ‘Making a Difference’ to people’s lives and our communities would become our ethos. 1

A look back at our second successful year When NPT Homes was created in March 2011 it was clear that our primary focus was not only going to be bringing homes up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) but to enhance existing services, empower our tenants, enrich communities and create job opportunities.

Roger Williams & Linda Whittaker

At the end of March 2013, NPT Homes employed 471 members of staff compared to 431 at the end of March 2012. In looking back at the progress we have made in the last year we are continuing to make great strides in continuing to deliver on the Promises set out in the Offer Document. We have enhanced key services such as Tenancy Support, Tenant Empowerment and Financial Inclusion. Our Financial Inclusion Team assist tenants with dealing with the impact of the benefit changes; they have also helped tenants claim over ÂŁ1m in entitled benefits during the last financial year. Another new team we have in place is the Community Regeneration Team. This team is responsible for co-ordinating and implementing our five year investment into regenerating our communities. The planned six year improvement programme, to bring properties up to the WHQS is, at the end of the financial year, 18 months in. The programme has seen people in the communities of Aberavon, Alltwen, Blaengwrach, Briton Ferry, Cimla, Glynneath, Gwynfi, Margam, Melyn, Pencaerau, Pontardawe, Resolven, Rhos, Sandfields, Seven Sisters, Trebanos, Ynysmeudwy and Ystalyfera all benefitting from improvements. Between April 2012 - March 2013, 1,389 kitchens, 1,350 bathrooms, 1,815 heating installations systems and 660 rewires have been completed. 2

NPT Homes has also carried out 343 roof replacements and 504 window and door installations; amounting to a £28.3million investment so far. To measure the Welsh Government impact of the WHQS programme on the local economy, the organisation has carried out a Local Multiplier 3 (LM3) analysis. The analysis has shown that, for every £1 spent in the Borough, £1.99 has been reinvested into the Welsh economy. It is worth noting that the maximum multiplier figure that the tool produces is £2.00; a huge achievement considering the programme is still in its early years. The good work we have done over the year has also been recognised on a wider scale with NPT Homes being nominated for several awards. Notable nominations include two for the Welsh Housing Awards; firstly the Arborist Team in the “delivering efficiency and value for money” category and The Momentum Partnership project, which is a pre-employment initiative that has been developed by Workways in conjunction with ourselves and some of our contractors, NPT College and other local employers, as an example of partnership working. Maintenance Operative, Adam Marshall, was shortlisted as one of the top candidates in the UK in the annual APSE National Housing and Building Apprentice of the Year Awards. Our Tenant Empowerment Co-ordinator, Ross Williams, was shortlisted for the prestigious Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru (CIH) Rising Star Award which was won by NPT Homes’ Neighbourhood Support Manager, Clare Way, in 2012. Also, our Youth Committee was recognised under the Costain Campaigning and Fundraising Award at the Neath Port Talbot Youth Volunteering Awards. Other achievements in the year include the opening of our new headquarters in Baglan Energy Park; a central base for NPT Homes’ staff and services which were previously spread over seven different offices across the Borough. 3

To coincide with the move, town centre offices have opened at Windsor Road, Neath and Forge Road, Port Talbot to give tenants a local base to speak to staff. These offices have replaced the service previously provided at Civic Centre buildings and are proving popular as a place for people to make payments, apply for services or enquire about housing and tenancy matters. Our presence in Pontardawe, at the One Stop Shop, will continue every Tuesday and Thursday. We are proud that all the work we are doing is continuing to make a real difference to the lives of our tenants and a significant contribution to the social and economic regeneration of Neath Port Talbot.This will only increase as we continue with the WHQS programme and begin our regeneration work in our communities. Here’s to the next 12 months! Linda Whittaker Chief Executive


Roger Williams Chair of NPT Homes

Getting Involved The difference this has made NPT Homes believes that tenants and leaseholders should be the driving force of the organisation and that by involving them more, meaningful improvements can be made to the services we provide. Over the last year the existing tenant groups have made some great progress and want to encourage others to join them to have their say. Here you can find out more about the role of each group, the decisions they have made and their plans for the future.

Our Groups: Who are they and what do they do? The commitment for groups tends to be a single four hour meeting per month plus regular training, attendance at events and visits to other housing organisations. This helps tenants to get the most out of being involved.

Membership Committee The Membership Committee is responsible for developing and implementing NPT Homes’ Membership Strategy in line with Members’ priorities. Achievements this year: Approved Rule changes of the organisation; Planned and influenced 2012 Annual General Meeting (AGM); and Revised the tenant group Code of Conduct. 5

Aims for the future: Develop the Local Tenant Participation Strategy; Implement the Code of Conduct and its supporting arrangements; Ensure an “outcomes focused approach” across all tenant groups; Carry out a review of the successes of all tenant groups; Plan all future AGMs; and Promote the benefits of membership amongst partners and at community events.

Youth Committee Since May 2012, the Youth Committee has been working hard to provide fun activities for young people in Neath Port Talbot, as well as raising awareness of important issues which effect young people. Achievements this year: Participated in workshops with sheltered scheme residents and breaking down barriers between the younger and older generations; Taken part in a number of training workshops; including staying safe online, health and safety, an OCN in Volunteering and Community Involvement and confidence building; Being granted funding from WCVA Gwirvol to develop volunteering opportunities for young people and promoting the work of the Youth Committee; Worked with the Youth Service to regenerate and improve local communities through small scale projects. Aims for the future: Promote NPT Homes’ membership to 11-16 year olds and make membership meaningful for young people; and Work with NPT Homes’ teams to produce more videos on services and issues for young people. 6

“I was interested in learning new skills and building my confidence and the Youth Committee has helped me do that. I enjoy working with the Committee as there are lots of different people and different ages, but we all work together to make our ideas work.” Laura Rainbow, Youth Committee Member.

The group is responsible for making recommendations regarding the programme of works to achieve Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS), including the appointment of contractors.



POWER (Programme of Works and Economic Regeneration) Group

Achievements so far: Made recommendations regarding the programme of works as an on-going piece of work; and Worked with the Tenant Liaison Team leaders to develop a tenant monitoring system for tenant satisfaction with the programme of works. Aims for the future: Report back to the Tenant Liaison Team leaders and contractors the qualitative data they collect as part of their tenant satisfaction monitoring role; and Work closely with the Community Regeneration Team on community projects, such as the Community Challenge. “As a new member of NPT Homes’ POWER group, I have found the group knowledgeable and very welcoming to new members. I have been able to participate in the practical and administrative aspects of the group, whose aim is to help tenants such as myself. NPT Homes staff lead and guide to help achieve positive outcomes.” Ellen Greed, POWER Group Member. 7

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The Communications Group is responsible for raising ideas and assessing all content that is submitted for the tenant magazine ‘The Grapevine’. The Group is also responsible for applying the ‘Tenant Tick’ criteria to all publications sent out by the organisation. The Tenant Tick criteria ensures that: All documents are written in plain English; Spelling and grammar is correct; All messages are clear, concise and tenant friendly; and No acronyms are used unless they are explained first.

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Communications Group

Achievements so far: Developed the tenant newsletter The Grapevine; Successfully developed and adopted the “Tenant Tick”; and Worked on developing the Tenant Handbook. Aims for the future: Expand the remit of the “Tenant Tick” to cover more publications; Create a video for staff and other tenants, promoting what they do; Work with the Youth Committee to utilise their skills in video production and editing; Link with external organisations to promote tenant involvement in communication; Website development; and Looking at new methods of communication. “As a group we aim to make everything sent out to tenants both relevant and understandable; the same way we, as tenants, would like to receive information. I enjoy my time spent alongside other tenants, leaseholders and staff providing both a creative and strategic input.” Anthony Thomas, Communications Group Member. 8





The group is responsible for the development of a tenant-led support network for community groups, the production of training materials and informal learning opportunities.

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Tenants and Leaseholders Innovation Group (TALIG)





Achievements this year: Formed a strong working relationship with in-house teams and partners at the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Communities First and developed an understanding of the training opportunities available to tenants; and Started to promote TALIG’s services to NPT Homes staff and other external training providers Aims for the future: Develop and produce training documents; including agenda appreciation, effective minutes and a best practice guide; Promote TALIG’s services to NPT Homes’ staff, CVS, Communities First and local training centres; and Begin supporting the community group at Seven Sisters and use the pilot to identify project strengths and potential areas for improvement. “Members of TALIG are really looking forward to meeting with local groups which have already been identified. We will be working with members of these groups over the coming months, to develop a best practice guide to help with their development and to provide training and information on how they can evolve.” Eddie Rawles, Chair of TALIG.


The Scrutiny Panel The Scrutiny Panel is responsible for looking at the organisation’s services and finding ways to improve them. Achievements this year: Started a scrutiny review of NPT Homes’ Garden Maintenance Scheme; Held two scrutiny information sessions for staff involved in the delivery of the Garden Maintenance Scheme; and Completed opinion research surveys with tenants over the telephone to find out “what matters” to tenants who receive the Garden Maintenance Scheme and how they feel it could be improved. Aims for the future: The key tasks for The Scrutiny Panel in the future is for NPT Homes to conduct a thorough evaluation of current scrutiny procedures and to recruit new members. “I get involved because I can gain further knowledge in Scrutiny and meet other tenants with similar interests.” Scrutiny Panel Member

Thinking of getting involved? To discuss involvement in any of the mentioned groups, please contact the Tenant Empowerment Team on (01639) 505903 or email 10

Community Regeneration The Big Idea Our Community Regeneration Team has formed and The Big Idea project has been launched. Research has started so that we can understand what already exists in our communities and what can be done to improve the local area and community. The thinking behind our community regeneration work is that people living in the Neath Port Talbot Borough should have a say in relation to what is needed to enhance their local area. Our aim has been not to just invest in people’s homes with WHQS works but also look closely at the local communities with a view to making them better places to live. The Community Regeneration Programme has committed to a five year investment with Onllwyn, Banwen and Dyffryn being the first areas to benefit. As communities vary in size, many have been grouped together with nearby villages as part of the Local Investment Plan (LIP). During the coming year, Community Regeneration will be the significant growth area whilst the WHQS works will start to extend to external improvements.


Meet the Board The Board of NPT Homes is ultimately responsible for the strategic running of the organisation, making sure that it is financially sound and that it complies with the law in all it does. The Board also has responsibility for deciding the direction of the organisation, what it needs to be doing in the future and what needs changing. The Board does not manage the day-to-day affairs of the organisation, that is the job of the Chief Executive and the staff. The Board reviews performance at a very high level but doesn’t involve itself at an operational level. The Board is equally made up of tenants, Council nominees and independent members.

Key decisions made: Approval of the 30 year Business Plan and Financial Statements; Approval of the Equality and Diversity Policy and for NPT Homes to work with Tai Pawb, an organisation that promotes equality and social justice in housing in Wales; Approved partial amendments to the Rules to give more flexibility to the organisation and its members; Agreed the new Risk Register and approved the Analysis and Mitigation proposal; Agreed the operational change to the Tenancy Support Scheme and to create an in-house tenancy support scheme; Agreed the approach to 'Making a Difference'; Approval of policies and procedures including Health and Safety, Social Media, the Code of Conduct and Data Protection. 12

Who are the Board? Board members from April 2012-March 2013

Roger Williams

Ted Latham



Jonathan Frost Board Member Audit & Risk Committee - Chair

Alan Sinfield

Alan Lockyer

Brian Davies

Brian Flemming

Harry Lloyd

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member


Board Member

John Rogers

Nikki Buttland

Roslyn Davies

Sheila Penry

Steve Mundy

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Audit and Risk Committee Vice Chair

David Paget was also part of the Board during 2012/13. For an up to date list of our current Board Members please visit our website 13

Our Highlights Staff from NPT Homes raise funds for local charity Tŷ Olwen Last autumn, NPT Homesʼ staff nominated a charity that they were passionate about for the organisation to support for a year. Local charity, Tŷ Olwen, came out on top and staff raised £4294.54 for this worthwhile cause.

NPT Homes Financial Inclusion Team help tenants claim over £1 million in entitled benefits NPT Homesʼ Financial Inclusion Team continues to provide advice to tenants on money issues in line with the current welfare reform benefit changes. The Financial Inclusion Team has assisted tenants to claim over £1 million in entitled benefits. The team has carried out 976 home visits and advised tenants at 341 surgery appointments. This has led to 283 successful benefit claims raising £1,062,024.68 in extra benefits. 14

NPT Homes link up with South Wales Police to launch crime prevention measures in voids NPT Homes linked up with South Wales Police to launch crime prevention measures in local communities, in particular those affecting NPT Homesʼ empty properties.

NPT Homes Scrutiny Panel Visit The Senedd 10 members of NPT Homesʼ Scrutiny Panel visited The Senedd in Cardiff Bay to observe a ministerial scrutiny session of the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage.

NPT Homes partners up with local schools for Respect Project NPT Homesʼ Estate Rangers and the Tenant Empowerment Team worked in partnership with local comprehensive schools in Neath Port Talbot to encourage young people to live safely and avoid the dangers of crime and anti-social behaviour.

NPT Homes Manager Meets Minister for Housing Regeneration and Heritage, as part of Rising Star Award Prize NPT Homesʼ Neighbourhood Support Manager, Clare Way, was crowned the first Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru (CIH) Rising Star towards the end of the last financial year. As part of her winnerʼs package Clare spent a day with Huw Lewis AM who, at the time, was Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage. Clare shadowed the Minister for an action packed day, travelling with him to Crickhowell to visit Rural Housing Enablers, the official opening ceremony for Plough Court in Brecon, (a Wales & West affordable housing development), sat in on a Swansea Regeneration Board Meeting and met with Coastal Housing in Swansea. The experience gave Clare an insight into the role of the Minister, a flavour of the exciting projects taking place across Wales and a chance to quiz the Minister on developments affecting the Social Housing sector. Following in Clareʼs footsteps, Tenant Empowerment Co-ordinator, Ross Williams, was shortlisted for the second Rising Star Award. He was a strong contender and runner up in the final contest, making NPT Homes the only organisation to have had two finalists!

Tŷ Maes Marchog development completed

NPT Homes opens its doors to a new training facility for tenants

The Tŷ Maes Marchog regeneration scheme was a partnership project involving Neath Port Talbot Council and NPT Homes. The new sheltered scheme will greatly improve housing and care provision for vulnerable and older people in the upper Dulais Valley.

Llansawel Day Centre in Briton Ferry was revamped to provide modern facilities for meetings and training for NPT Homesʼ tenants and staff. The room meets with RNIB guidelines with its multi-tonal colours, helping people who are partially sighted to use the facility.

NPT Homes' Improvement Programme completes its 1000th kitchen NPT Homes and one of its contractors Mears, fitted the 1000th kitchen in October 2012. 15

Our unique approach to Self-Assessment Staff, tenants, Board members, leaseholders and partners have been working together on the Making a Difference project since December 2012. The Welsh Government has asked all social landlords to complete a regular self-assessment exercise to obtain a snapshot of how each organisation is currently performing. The groups’ approach to this exercise has been to develop a set of local “outcomes” which describe the desired impact of our work on tenants and other stakeholders. Through evaluating existing data and carrying out new research, the group has analysed how we’re currently performing against each outcome, what we’re doing well and what needs to be improved. The project findings have given us a real flavour of how far we have come in the last two years. It has also given members of the Making a Difference working group lots of new skills, experience and knowledge and, ultimately, brought together a diverse group of people who have now formed strong relationships. Further work will now be done to learn from the findings and use them to re-shape and strengthen our services in future. 16

The process

Board agreed the unique approach to self-assessment

Making a Difference Working Group made up of staff, tenants, leaseholders, partners and Board members formed

Introductory session held to introduce the project, explain the role of the group and the concept of 'outcomes'

More detailed training on outcomes and research tools

Series of workshops to identify local outcomes, group them by theme and identify measurement tools

Sub-groups worked to sharpen up each of the local outcomes; split the working group into outcome themes and developed research methods

Final workshop and training event held to define the task ahead for each group

Working Group undertook new research, analysed information and presented the data in storyboards to the Board

Storyboards were revised and finalised


What people told us during our research Getting Involved “Since transfer I have had a more positive outlook on life. By sitting on committees I have a more positive way of looking at things. NPT Homes has taken tenants from the periphery to the centre of decision making within the organisation.” Eddie Rawles – Involved Leaseholder.

Partnerships “I believe the partnership has created opportunities that would not have existed had the partnership not happened. For example, we have had many people undertake work experience with us, both short and long- term. We created over 40 permanent positions for local people, provided many local supplier opportunities and recruited eight local apprentices.” Emily Beer - Mears' Community and Regeneration Manager.

Communication “We asked the tenants “what matters” to them and changed the service to meet their needs. We aim to get the job right first time and now make appointments by communicating with tenants to ensure that they are kept fully informed along the way.” Jaime Greig, Senior Housing Maintenance Officer.

Secure Homes “NPT Homes is a new organisation and is very positive. When we first transferred a meeting was held on the Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) policy and procedures; people’s views have been listened to and things are being done.” Member of staff from the local Anti-Social Behaviour Unit. 18

Sustaining Tenancies “Support provided by Gofal, in conjunction with our Tenancy Support Service, has ensured that the adaptations required to a tenant’s property have been undertaken. The tenant was able to stay in the property that they would otherwise have had to leave.” Trina Mayo - Support Provider.

Inside and Outside our Homes “When I got the call to say we would be benefitting from the Community Challenge work, I was really pleased. We asked for a new kitchen and a pathway to be laid to help the scouts and other groups to get the most out of the hall. We are a small enterprise and raising funds and sourcing skills to carry out such work has always proved difficult. The help of NPT Homes and its contractors is going to make a massive difference to the scout hall as the place is going to be a much brighter place.” Sarah Griffiths - Neath Crynant Scout Hall

Economic Stability “This apprenticeship will provide me with a stable career and a chance to progress in construction giving me and my family a stable future.” Tom McGillivray - new apprentice with Mears


Our findings What we are doing well: Our partners complimented us on our work with them and how, together, we are striving to improve our relationships for the benefit of our communities. One example is the impact we have made with our partners on the local economy through job creation and sustaining local Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs); We have made a significant funding investment which has improved our homes and we have started to do this for the wider communities; and We are beginning to understand our tenants’ needs, including the health of our tenants, through tenant profiling and we have put services in place to meet some of those needs. We know we need to work hard to: Enhance community spirit and creatively use funding opportunities to regenerate communities in conjunction with our partners; Improve internal and external communication so that we continually improve services to tenants and leaseholders; Continue to gather information on all our tenants (tenant profiling), build it into our new IT system and use the information to make sure we deliver the best service for our tenants and leaseholders; Measure the impact of all our services on our tenants and leaseholders based on our desired outcomes. One example is measuring the impact of our major works programme on tenants’ pride in their homes and communities; Mainstream equality and diversity across the organisation, including access to services for all; Understand whether all our services are providing value for money; and Better co-ordinate how information is held within the organisation. In summary, we are well on our way to developing a culture which is based on outcomes i.e. the difference we are making to our stakeholders. 20

Want to find out more about our findings? Visit our website

Offer Document Promises kept NPT Homes would aim to provide more local employment opportunities NPT Homes has employed an additional 40 members of staff between April 2012 – March 2013, with the main contractors employing an additional 161 people as part of the WHQS programme.

NPT Homes would regenerate local communities in partnership with local bodies Our Community Regeneration Team has formed and The Big Idea project has been launched. Our Community Challenge has also been launched in partnership with our main contractors.

Continue to provide a 24 hour emergency service 365 days a year Our contact centre is accessible 24 hours a day by contacting 0300 777 3000.


Assess the support needs of tenants and, where appropriate, making a referral to a supporting agency so that the tenancy can be successfully maintained The Tenancy Support Service has been in operation from the date of transfer and has supported 173 clients this year. The team provide an in-house service as well as referring cases to support agencies for specialist advice.

Share information with the Police and other agencies to tackle problems and the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour Our Estate Rangers continue to work with the Police and other agencies to identify and eliminate any potential issues or anti-social behaviour which is happening within our communities. The Estate Ranger Service has supported around 80 cases this year.

Visit new tenants during the first six weeks of their tenancy to check they have settled in and there are no unresolved issues All new tenants receive a "new let" visit during the first six weeks of their tenancy, when any issues can be addressed. 22

Our Statistics April 2012 – March 2013 Completed

Programme of works Kitchens




Heating installation systems




Roof replacements


Window and door installations



Repairs we have completed of which were emergencies


urgent repairs


non-urgent repairs

17,179 Total

Repairs (out of the above) that were completed out of normal working hours

33,169 4,571 23

Finance For the financial year 1st April 2012 to 31st March 2013: On 1st April 2012 we had a total cash of... We had money come in from…

£m 7.7

Rent and Service Charges relating to our properties

£m 31.0

Grants from Welsh Government and Local Authority


Property sales under the Right to Buy scheme


Bank interest and other items such as commission

1.0 Total

We spent it on...


Improving and repairing your homes and communities

£m 33.3

Providing tenancy management and support services


Town centre offices, a new head office and new IT systems


Central support services and administrative costs

7.5 Total

51.8 £m

To do this we had to borrow...

12.0 £m

This left us with a total cash at 31st March 2013 of... 24


This publication can be made available in large print, braille or audio versions by contacting 0300 777 0000.

CARTREFI HOMES Great Homes, Great Communities Cartrefi Gwych, Cymuedau Gwych

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