1. Executive Summary Welcome to Swan’s Corporate Strategy (“the Strategy”). This Strategy sets out our vision for the Group’s future and applies across all areas of our business. This Strategy will guide the Swan Group through the next five years to 2022 and will prepare us to achieve our exciting and ambitious vision for the following five years to 2027. Our ambition is to not just grow our business, but also to tell our story and increase our work with our partners to maximise the difference we can make so we can achieve our Mission of ‘delivering effective services, enterprising solutions and exemplary homes and communities’. This Strategy is also designed to allow our stakeholders to understand how Swan Group sees its future and to highlight how, working together with our stakeholders, we can achieve more whilst still putting our Social Purpose at the core of our activity. Since Swan Housing Association was formed in 1994, we have sought to grow, innovate and deliver effective services. Fast forward to 2016 and the results of that focus are clear. We now have a turnover in excess of £100m; we own and manage over 11,000 homes; and have around 350 staff who deliver services through a diversified business model including care & supported housing, affordable housing, market rented housing, shared equity housing, private sales, residential property & estate management and development & regeneration. Our commercial activities have delivered over £55m of gift aid to date which has been reinvested in our services and in providing new affordable housing. As a Board, we have a clear Vision of where we want to be by 2027. It looks like this:
Achieving this 10 year vision will be challenging, but challenging ourselves has got us where we are today and so we make no apology for our ambition. We have exciting growth plans and a desire to be a leader in regenerating communities. We will deliver our Social Purpose by being a successful, innovative and growing housing organisation. I am extremely thankful for the contribution that our staff, our residents, and our stakeholders, including our many partners, have made over the past 20 years to make Swan Group successful. I am sure they will all be as excited as I am about our future plans. We look forward to delivering our mission over the life of this strategy.
Valerie Owen OBE Chair, Swan Housing Association
2. Introduction 2
Our Mission Our Mission is to â€˜deliver effective services, enterprising solutions and exemplary homes & communitiesâ€™
Who are we? We are a charitable group with a social purpose enshrined in our rules. Swan is a group of companies working together for the benefit of the communities we serve. We own and manage over 11,000 homes with over 30,000 customers; have 350 staff and deliver a wide range of services across East London and Essex. Swan has a long history of bringing about regeneration and is working with partners including the Greater London Authority and the Homes and Communities Agency on a number of key projects including projects with London Borough of Tower Hamlets; London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Basildon Borough Council and the London Borough of Redbridge. We believe that our regeneration activities we can develop sustainable communities and deliver our social purpose. The Group has been recognised as one of the Top 100 Not for Profit companies to work for in the UK by the Sunday Times, has recently achieved its Investors in People Gold (IIP) accreditation and retained its SHIFT Gold, Housing Diversity Network and Customer Services Excellence accreditations.
3. Who is the Strategy for? This Strategy has been developed by the Board and Executive Team in consultation with customers and staff. It provides a framework for action over the next five years and will prepare us to achieve our exciting and ambitious vision for the following five years to 2027. This Strategy is aimed at the following stakeholders: Our Customers
People who live and work in the communities we serve including residents, potential residents, private landlords, service users and clients
Employees, Involved Residents, Trustees, Board and Committee Members
Our Partners and External Stakeholders
Local Authorities, Supply Chain Partners, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Businesses, Local Communities, Councillors and MPs
Lenders, Bond Holders, Local Enterprise Partnerships, The Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority and the Homes and Communities Agency
The Homes and Communities Agency, Care Quality Commission and The Audit Commission 3
4. Where we work We currently work in these geographic areas:
This Strategy sets out clear ambition for growth. However, we are clear that we will continue to deliver effective services in all the areas in which we work whilst also targeting the following areas where we believe we can build on our existing excellent relationships and reputation as ‘The Local Partner’ to achieve additional future growth:
The London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Havering, Newham, Redbridge Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest
The Essex Local Authorities of Basildon, Thurrock and Southend
Values and Behaviours
Swan Group is clear that it expects its Staff, Executive Team and Board to live our values which reflect the Seven Principles of Public life:
Selflessness Integrity Objectivity Accountability Openness Honesty Leadership
These values drive our governance processes and strategic decision making. We also expect all our staff to work together as one organisation and for each of our employees and our teams this will require them to exhibit the following behaviours: 4
I am innovative I am enterprising I want to make a difference I believe in our social purpose
These values will be used to recruit, retain, develop and reward our people so they live our values every day and use them to guide their work.
6. Strategic Themes When developing this Strategy the Board and Executive Team were guided by the principle that “together, we can deliver more”. This refers to our experience that by working in close partnership with our staff, residents and stakeholders we can combine our skills, resources and energy to create a greater impact, make a bigger difference and allow us to deliver our social purpose. Applying these guiding principles we developed four key strategic themes:
1. Commercial – We see being commercial as a sensible and essential business
approach to ensure we offer value for money in all we do. We want to be efficient in how we work as well as delivering effective services. We also wish to be enterprising, so we can seek and deliver on opportunities that are presented both to us and our partners. 2. Innovation – Being innovative will help us find new and creative ways to deliver
services, grow our business and work in partnership with others. We recognise that “continuous improvement of the candle didn’t lead to the creation of the light bulb”. Sometimes you need novel thinking. 3. Growth – We do make a difference and want to do more. We see growth as a way to
do that by being ambitious, developing our offer and, when appropriate, expanding our services. However we don’t want to grow for growth’s sake and are clear that delivering our core activities in existing or adjoining areas should be our focus. 4. Customer – The customer will remain at the heart of everything we do.
These four strategic themes, underpinned by our Social Purpose will guide us over next five years and will prepare us to achieve our exciting and ambitious vision for the following five years to 2027.
7. Transformational Actions To ensure we have a clear understanding of how we are going to deliver these strategic themes, we have set out seven transformational actions that we believe will help that become a reality:
Grow commercial turnover to 60% of our revenue to generate gift aid Be an innovative housing provider Deliver digital self-service internally and externally Recruit and retain the best people to deliver our activity Provide effective services Use agile working Tell our story
Transformational Actions 2017 – 22 Currently our commercial activity makes up around 50% of our turnover and has to date contributed over £55m of gift aid to the Group. By increasing this percentage, we will be able to generate more income, which will, in turn, deliver more resources to grow and invest and in more affordable homes. We believe that a private rented sector product will complement our development and regeneration activities. The private rented sector will help meet the needs of the increasing number of people who are unable, or chose not to, own their own home, and will generate a long term revenue stream for the Group.
As we grow we expect to be building more homes through our own off-site manufacturing facility, using our NU build brand, so we can build homes in an innovative way, to a high quality, more efficiently and at a lower cost. We have a track record of regenerating communities. We will build on our relationships with our local partners and communities to win more regeneration work. These partnerships, developed through the previous successful regeneration schemes and the delivery of effective housing management services, underpin the whole of this Strategy as â€œtogether we can deliver moreâ€?. Whilst having the desire and capacity to grow we also recognise the need to maintain our governance and viability ratings as well as continuing to meet other relevant standards. We will continue to ensure our credit rating is robust and in line with the wider sector we work in. We will create a road map to move appropriate internal and external services online. We will consult employees, customers and other stakeholders to develop a phased implementation plan to deliver our digital offer. Being innovative will enable us to continue to grow, to be commercial and to be enterprising. We want to be recognised as innovative and expect to win and sponsor awards linked to innovative practice. Where we deliver good services we will continue to do so. Where those services could be improved we will do so until they are equal to at least quartile 2 performance in our peer group. By delivering agile IT we will be able to maximise the effectiveness of our staff and offices, whilst delivering savings and improvements in customer satisfaction We are passionate about customer service and having the best people to deliver it is crucial. We want to have engaged employees who are well trained, appropriately rewarded and feel they can take decisions to deliver great services for us, our customers and our partners. This model will take account of the markets we operate in and the variety of needs of our diverse workforce. By telling our story to our stakeholders they will understand what we offer and how we can help them to deliver their own plans. We will be clear that we are commercial, enterprising and innovative. We will explain our areas of activity and expertise and showcase our success. Throughout the delivery of these transformational actions our staff will be expected to live our values: That means they will be innovative, enterprising and want to make a difference. We are also clear that staff must understand our social purpose which underpins all our activity, commercial or otherwise.
This Strategy will see us work together with our staff, customers, partners and stakeholders over the next five years to complete the transformational actions set out above. As a result, this Strategy will position us to achieve our Vision for 2027 of:
Our Corporate Strategy for Swan Group for the next five years, starting in 2017.