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Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

Welcome from the Chair & Chief Executive This is the first year of the Welsh Government’s new approach to regulation for Housing Associations. Since 2010, we have been required to undertake a Self-Assessment against a framework called ‘Delivery Outcomes’. Some of these relate to our role as a landlord, and some relate to our financial performance and governance arrangements. In our annual report this year, therefore, we decided we would share the findings from our Self-Assessment carried out in May, focussing mainly on our landlord services and on our support services. Providing support services is a small part of the landlord role in the Delivery Outcomes document, but for Taff, this is a major part of our business. So we are also reporting here how we’ve ‘measured up’ in delivering services to Local Authority clients in Cardiff, Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan. In this Annual Report we give answers to questions like: ‘what did we do?’, ‘how well?’, ‘what difference have we made?’ and we’ve also tried to illustrate what we do with stories and feedback from customers and stakeholders. The information mainly relates to the year 2010/11, though there are some things we do year in, year out, because we believe they make a difference to people’s lives. We’re determined at Taff to live up to our ambitious Vision, of being Provider, Partner & Employer of Choice – we think you’ll find plenty of evidence to support this in our report. We’d like to thank all our staff and Board Members for helping: • make our homes great places to live; • make our organisation a great place to work; and • for making us valued partners to do business with. Simon Dawson & Elaine Ballard

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“We’re determined at Taff to live up to our ambitious Vision, of being Provider, Partner & Employer of Choice” Elaine Ballard


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

Background to Taff Housing Association Taff was established as a community based Housing Association in 1975, and has been serving Cardiff, particularly Canton, Grangetown & Riverside, as a provider of good quality homes since that time. More recently, Taff has become a well-respected provider of Support Services commissioned by Local Authorities in South East Wales, as well as providing specialist and generic support to our own Tenants.

We are very much part of the communities we serve, and work hard to treat every individual according to their needs and preferences. The areas we work in are multi-cultural, and have a high proportion of older/disabled people, so our services have developed to meet these specific needs, as well as covering more general housing and support requirements. We own and manage around 1200 homes, and work with a range of partners.

Stock profile table Property Size

Studio

1

Adamsdown

1

10

Butetown Canton

7

4

3

97

118

75

19

1

26

6

75

69

32

Grangetown

1

100

Heath

3

12

Riverside

10

148

Grand Total

3

12

Fairwater

Roath

2

5+

Other

Grand Total

12

23 15

5

22

343

4

37

25

302 15

95

73

39

31

8

50 22

429

404 50

292

243

96

61

46

1189

We employ a total of 143 full-time equivalent staff, many of whom work flexibly. Taff has been one of the Top 50 ‘Great Places to Work’ since 2006, being ranked 5th overall and 1st for ‘Work/Life Balance’ in 2011 in the UK. We have a simple Vision, which drives all our activity – we aim to be ‘Provider, Partner & Employer of Choice’.

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

How did we do our Self-Assessment? Our Self-Assessment consisted of two phases: firstly, officers put together an ‘evidence collection’, bringing together all the documentary evidence which assists us in judging what we did, and how well we did it. Secondly, we held a ‘Challenge Day’ where Board Members and Tenants were able to quiz staff on the evidence and look at it in more detail, hence ensuring Board and service users were fully involved in the process. In addition, we held briefings as part of our regular ‘Getting Involved’ days, to ensure Tenants understood the process we were going through.

We gathered literally hundreds of documents as part of our evidence, but there are three sources of information that have been integral to our Business Planning for many years, and these are the surveys that help test whether we deliver on our Vision of being ‘Provider, Partner & Employer of Choice’. These surveys measure our outcomes and tell us what our Customers, Stakeholders and Staff consider to be priorities. They also tell us what we’ve done well or not so well. We have always used the results to create improvement plans, which form part of our annual Business Plan, and now we have drawn extensively on these surveys to produce our Self-Assessment.

Our Business Planning Process We were keen to avoid duplication of work, so have blended the new requirement for an annual Self-Assessment into our routine Business Planning and reviewing activity. Our new cycle goes as follows: Business Planning Calendar 2011/12 Month Forward planning April – May Finalise publication of Business Plan Document. Roll out new groups with staff, including defining outcomes and project briefs. Advise Tenants of Business Plan priorities. June Customer Surveys undertaken. (NB Stakeholder July survey due 2012, Employee survey next due 2013). August September First results of Customer surveys, which will feed into planning process below. October – December

January – February March

Gather information and intelligence about external context and new challenges. Operational Management Team, Leadership Team and Board have series of meetings to identify issues and priorities. Input from Stakeholders and Tenants. Draft Budget and Business Plan, based on discussions above. Final Budget and Business Plan. Staff Conference to understand priorities and to input into how actions can be implemented.

4

Review Business Plan Outcome report and Challenge Day.

Annual Financial Statements produced and audited. Annual Report produced. AGM, including review of previous year, confirm plans underway for current year. Half year review of Business Plan implementation.


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

Judgements It is up to our Board to make a judgement as to whether the Association has met all the requirements of each Delivery Outcome. They did this at the end of the Challenge Day in May. The Welsh Government has not indicated any ranking system to be used, nor given any guidance as to the terminology. Under the previous regime, Taff was judged by independent inspectors to be ‘excellent’ in five areas, ‘good’ in two, and ‘satisfactory’ in one. This was the best ever inspection report issued under that regime.

For this Self-Assessment, to keep things simple (and also because we feel it is more appropriate that our Customers, Stakeholders & Staff judge us independently) the Board has chosen to mirror the Welsh Government’s rating for its Financial Judgements. These are ‘Pass’, ‘Pass with closer regulatory monitoring’, or ‘Fail’. The Board judged that the Association had met all the requirements of the Delivery Outcomes, and their judgments are therefore as follows:

1.

We place the people who want to use our services at the heart of our work – putting the citizen first.

Pass

2.

We live public sector values, by conducting our affairs with honesty and integrity, and demonstrate good governance through our behaviour.

Pass

3.

We make sure our purpose is clear and we achieve what we set out to do – knowing who does what and why.

Pass

4.

We are a financially sound and viable business.

Pass

5.

We engage with others to enhance and maximise outcomes for our service users and the community.

Pass

6.

We build and renovate homes to a good quality.

Pass

7.

We let homes in a fair, transparent and effective way.

Pass

8.

We manage our homes effectively.

Pass

9.

We repair and maintain homes in an efficient, timely and cost effective way.

Pass

10.

We provide fair and efficient services for owners.

Pass

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

Plans for Improvement Our plans for improvement are normally fed into our Business Plan, with the process starting in October, as outlined on page 4. Survey results in particular, will ensure we listen to and act on the priorities of Customers, Stakeholders and Staff. At the time of writing (June 2011), we are undertaking a new Customer Satisfaction survey, asking our Tenants and Support Services users about the services they receive. As a result of the Challenge Day, some additional areas for improvement were identified. Most of these have already been acted upon, but those that are longer-term will feed into the 2012/13 Business Plan. The improvements suggested at the Challenge Day are listed below: Actions arising from Self-Assessment 2011 Delivery Action Outcome Number

Status

1

Get better at recording attendance at Stakeholder partnership meetings and events.

In progress.

Do a newsletter article on why/how we will use Tenant Profiling.

Completed Summer edition 2011.

See if we can provide a Freephone number for Tenants to contact Taff from their mobiles.

In progress.

Follow up our work on Digital Inclusion.

In progress.

Put more publications on the website.

On-going.

Update noticeboards in flats more frequently.

Completed/on-going.

Install PVs (solar panels) to reduce carbon footprint and make bills cheaper for Tenants. Also consider opportunities given by income to Taff from solar panels.

In progress.

Encourage Community Sports Coaches.

In progress/on going.

Do Appraisals for our Board.

In progress.

Make sure our spending on training helps us build the skills we need for the changes to our business.

In progress/on going.

Compare how many new homes we build in relation to grant received.

Completed/on-going.

Financial Regulations to be revised.

Completed.

Update procurement/delegated authorities.

In progress.

2

3

4

6


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

5

6

7

Produce Glossary of abbreviations and jargon for Board Members

Completed.

Build on our partnerships with Vale of Glamorgan and Newport Councils.

In progress.

Take our Social Audit Report to Board.

To submit in Autumn.

Carry out surveys on specific services by age, ethnicity etc. to see everyone is getting a fair service.

Not started.

Work with Cardiff Council Older Persons’ Services to see if we can help them find solutions.

In progress.

Promote our Older Persons’/Support Services more.

On-going.

Quantify Tenants who have stayed with us for more than Completed. 10 years.

8

9

Help improve the Council’s implementation of the Common Register (7.2).

Completed 1st stage/ on-going.

Input into the new Council Allocations Policy (7.4).

On-going.

Senior staff to visit a sample of lettings.

Not started.

Annual Scheme meetings to be arranged.

Not started.

Finish & publish our new Handbook.

In progress.

Outcomes of support to be collected from April 2011.

In progress.

More work on SAP (energy efficiency) ratings is needed. In progress.

10

Monitor the electrical team to see how they improve performance.

In progress – early results show 100% satisfaction.

Review results of our new survey being carried out Summer 2011.

September 2011.

Utility companies to attend group sign-up days for new schemes.

In progress.

Ensure Tenants meet our new maintenance contractor and that they understand Tenants’ expectations.

Initial meetings held.

Involve Tenants in tendering for contractors.

Not started.

Consider offering additional services to leaseholders.

Not started.

Our Review In the following pages, we review our performance against the Delivery Outcomes, and also report on some of the work we have done in the last financial year. Our focus in this document is our Landlord, Support & Community activity – for more detail on our Financial & Governance Performance, we publish a separate ‘Financial Statements’ document.

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We place the people who want to use our services at the heart of our work – putting the citizen first What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We have clear Customer Service Standards.

We have financial and contact preference details for more than 75% of our Tenants, so we know how best to help them.

3 households saved from eviction due to assistance from rents team.

We made sure we knew how Tenants wanted to be contacted, and we started asking about their financial circumstances, so we could help them cope with welfare benefit changes. We carry out a ‘financial health check’ for all new Tenants and everyone who falls behind with their rent.

We were able to offer translation services on 31 occasions when requested, in addition to using in-house language skills.

We carried out a survey of our Tenants to see how many had access to a computer and broadband.

We gave out 7 recycled computers at the start of a digital inclusion programme.

Our Estates Assistants make it easy for Tenants to ask questions and pass on messages.

We ran 54 Back to Basic events over the year.

We introduced a new translation service – ‘The Big Word’.

Our Back to Basic events had 702 participants during the year.

We keep our scheme notice boards up to date in communal areas. We keep in touch through newsletters, our website and face to face meetings.

We increased the number of Customer Involvement Groups from 6 to 11.

When customers tell us what they’d like us to do, we feed back to them what we’ve done (‘You said, we did’ boards and website).

We also increased the number of Tenants who get involved regularly from 44 to 128.

We record and report on Complaints and Compliments to Board. We have a variety of consultation methods.

“I would like to say a big thank you to Taff for arranging the Timebanks scheme.” Evadne Langford

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The 23 children’s events held during school holidays reduced costs for parents, and helped low income families feel more included. Changes we made in response to customer feedback resulted in things like recycled computers being given to Tenants and money being made available to create a Tenant resource room. Our support work enables people to sort out their finances, get work or training, and deal with relationship or other emotional issues. Quality of life has improved for the 151 people who had suffered from AntiSocial Behaviour.

“Having this computer from Taff has been 100% useful for my son. It has been a godsend; I would not have been able to buy a pc otherwise.” Christine Bolter upon receiving a computer from Taff


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

“I’m loving it, I have never been so busy.” Sue Carleton regarding her involvement in customer groups in Taff

Melanie tells us, in her own words, about the impact that receiving housing-related support has had on her life… What did we do?

How well did we do it?

We held lots of events for customers and the wider community, including programmes for young people during school holidays.

We received 17 complaints and 6 compliments – no complaints needed to go beyond the ‘formal’ stage.

We asked Tenants how they would like to get involved and established new special interest groups e.g. Knitters and Natters, Gardening and Women’s Empowerment. Every ‘Support Plan’ we create with a client is individually tailored to their needs. Our Anti-Social Behaviour approach is citizen centred – we agree plans with each person at the start of a case. We were awarded the AntiSocial Behaviour standard by the Assembly. We established ‘Diversity Champions’ amongst our staff. We trained 9 Tenant Inspectors to check out our services.

“I am really amazed at what is going on at Taff – Bless you all!” African Spring of Life School Head Teacher in Nairobi, upon receiving clothing donations from the Knitters and Natters interest group

We supported 239 young people in our projects, and of these 80% successfully completed their support package. We dealt with 175 reports of Anti-Social Behaviour and 95% were satisfied with the advice given.

‘My name is Melanie and I live on my own in my flat. Recently all of my benefits stopped and I didn’t have any money. I have been feeling very low and I didn’t know where to turn. I was referred to The Lighthouse Project in Newport who offer floating support to people living in their own homes. I have been receiving support from my support worker, Sian (who works for Taff Housing), for a few months now. Sian has supported me with sorting out all of my benefits & bills, as well as helping me with my housing issues & emotional needs. Sian has even helped me with getting a new fridge – freezer! I feel so much more confident since I have been receiving support from The Lighthouse Project. I feel reassured knowing that Sian is there at the other end of the phone when I need to speak to her to ask for help and support.

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We live public sector values, by conducting our affairs with honesty and integrity, and demonstrate good governance through our behaviour What did we do?

How well did we do it?

We publish an Annual Report each year.

Our latest Stakeholder survey states:

Every 3 years, we ask our Stakeholders how well they think we do. Every 3 years we ask our Tenants and Support Users how well they think we do. We regularly update our website. We are open about all of our dealings – we publish our Gifts & Hospitality Register online, as well as the Declarations of Interest of senior staff. We put a summary of every Board meeting on our website within 3 days of the meeting. We have Customer Service Standards, developed in conjunction with our Customers. We have a strong commitment to Equality. We have an approved Welsh Language Scheme. We provide jobs, work experience placements and volunteering opportunities for people in our communities. We support initiatives that promote financial inclusion.

“There is something positive that has happened (through Back2Basics); it has been about addressing the poverty of opportunity. It has opened up opportunities to try different things. We are making a positive contribution and beginning to raise people’s aspirations.” Allan Herbert, Communities First Coordinator, Riverside Communities First

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‘The image the organisation has is of a professional, reputable player with a proactive, forward thinking and innovative approach, particularly in the area of supported housing and BME communities. It is also seen as an organised, trustworthy, competent and capable player, one which is flexible and approachable to change, with further positive views being expressed about its services and housing schemes, its head office, its audit report results and the awards it has won. It is also seen as an organisation committed to continuous improvement.’


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

“Taff HA and Barnardo’s have been able to work together in quite imaginative ways to deal with tenancy issues that have cropped up on projects.” Janet Baldwin – Senior Practitioner for Cwrt y Farchnad

“An extremely successful and valued partnership’ ‘Thank you for your on-going commitment and support in helping us to address a wide range of challenges!” Cardiff County County

“Mr X had to be moved quickly due to a witness protection case. He had no money or items of furniture. The Taff Charitable Trust gave him £128 to buy a cooker and a coffee table. The Support Team were also able to get items donated from John Lewis and numerous other items were donated by colleagues at Taff. Mr X was extremely happy with all the items and help he received.” Toutou Monzeli, Forensic Team

Welsh Language Scheme progress • We update our electronic database of languages spoken by Tenants on a rolling basis. • 21 Tenants state that they can speak or write Welsh with 7 stating that they speak Welsh at home. The information from the new tenant profiling exercise has not yet been processed. • One Tenant has expressed a preference for us to communicate with him in Welsh. • We have had 7 e-mail communications with that Tenant during the year all of which have been communicated in Welsh. • We have sent 16 written letters in Welsh to this Tenant. • New or replacement signs for public places are bi-lingual. • We are continuing to offer Welsh name suggestions for all our development schemes. Cwrt Pendyris has been accepted by the Local Authority. • We have had no requests for public meetings to be conducted in Welsh or for translation at any public events. • Our Welsh Language Scheme is available on our website in Welsh & English. • Our Induction format continues to include details of the Welsh Language Scheme and highlights staff responsibilities for its implementation. • We have 7 fluent Welsh speaking staff, 2 at intermediate level, and 8 who state they have basic understanding of Welsh. • 14 staff members have indicated that they would like Welsh language lessons at various levels. • Bi-lingual business cards have been issued. • A regular feature called ‘Y Gornel Gymraeg’ (The Welsh Corner) has been introduced in our staff magazine • We have not received any complaints about the operation of our Scheme.

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We make sure our purpose is clear and we achieve what we set out to – knowing who does what and why What did we do?

How well did we do it?

We have a clear Vision – to be Provider, Partner & Employer of Choice.

We were awarded the highest accreditation from Investors in People (Gold Standard).

We publish a Business Plan every year, and involve every member of staff in its delivery. We ask our staff a range of questions through the ‘Great Place to Work’ survey every year. One question asks: ‘Is management competent at running the business?’.

94% of staff think management is competent at running the business (Source GPTW survey 2011).

We are a financially sound and viable business What did we do?

How well did we do it?

We have strategies for Risk Management and Treasury Management which are reviewed regularly.

We received the best possible Financial Viability Judgement from the Welsh Government – ‘Pass’.

We have comprehensive financial reporting mechanisms in place. We commissioned an independent review to assess the integrity of our long term Business Plan model. The conclusion was:

“We confirm the structure of the model is appropriate and that it has been accurately prepared.” Beevers & Struthers, Chartered Accountants

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“We think the partnerships have been incredibly successful.” Riverside Play Centre on B2B


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

Financial Statements INCOME AND EXPENDITURE ACCOUNT

2011

2010

for the year ended 31 March 2011 £000 Turnover 8,407 Operating Costs (6,713) Operating Surplus 1,694 Revaluation of Investment Property (540) Operating Surplus after Revaluation of Investment Property 1,154

£000 7,531 (6,324) 1,207 1,207

Interest Receivable Interest Payable and Similar Charges Surplus for the Year Transfer to Restricted/Designated Reserves Revenue Reserves Brought Forward Revenue Reserves Carried Forward

3 (789) 421 (36) 4,188 4,573

BALANCE SHEET for the year ended 31 March 2011 Tangible Fixed Assets Housing Properties Less Grants

15 (1,142) 27 (120) 4,573 4,480

2011 £000 85,777 (55,127)

Creditors: Amounts falling due within one year Net Current Liabilities Creditors: Amounts Falling Due After One Year Restricted Reserves Designated Reserves Revenue Reserves

2010 £000

2010 £000

77,900 (52,506) 30,650 1,240 2,211 34,101

Investment Property Other Fixed Assets Current Assets Debtors Cash at Bank and In-hand

2011 £000

1,385 700 2,085 (2,534)

25,394 1,780 2,216 29,390 452 2,850 3,302 (2,753)

(449) (28,303)

549 (24,617)

5,349 271 598 4,480 5,349

5,322 275 474 4,573 5,322

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We engage with others to enhance and maximise outcomes for our service users and the community What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

Our key Stakeholders have an input into our Business Plans.

25 older people took advantage of GasPlus+ scheme in the last year.

1249 people in Cardiff, including 38 Taff Tenants, have had loans from Moneyline Cymru which Taff helps fund.

Through the Integrate Consortium, we fund a post to support Targeted Training & Recruitment through our Maintenance & Development contracts. We work with eight Managing Partners – providing accommodation whilst the Partner provides specialist support. Our Heating Contractor offers low cost gas servicing to older people (owner occupiers) in our communities through the GasPlus+ scheme. We provide Support Services for 3 Local Authorities via contracts. We provide an extensive range of activities for the benefit of communities. Taff & Integrate partners are Cardiff Council’s preferred developers of social housing, based on the added value we deliver (this is assessed annually). Working with Gofal, 65 of our Tenants have engaged in a programme to help them re-enter work, training or education.

“Taff Housing Association continue to be reliable and professional, working effectively when dealing with both the offenders and victims of anti-social behaviour.” Mark Hallett, PCSO for Canton/ Leckwith area

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We gave out 36 Foodbank Vouchers to 27 people to help when they experienced benefit cuts or delays, and financial problems due to illness. We have provided 10 apprenticeships/training opportunities through our supply chain. 21 people received a grant from the Taff Trust to help with purchasing household items, paying removal expenses etc.

65 people are better off as a result of the Gofal project helping them re-enter the jobs market.

“Each child participating left with a smile whilst taking home their treasured pottery.” Staff Member


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

What did we do? We work closely with Cardiff Foodbank, ensuring people without food get help when they need it. Staff also donate food items. Staff raise money for the independent ‘Taff Trust’ which gives hardship grants for essential items, when no other funding is available. We support a number of small scale community events ensuring that we make them financially viable to run, such as Riverside Warehouse for young people, sponsorship of the stage and several activities at Riverside festival and supporting a cake sale for the local young families Barnardo’s Project and a Grangetown Healthy Living Week.

Managing Partners

“Barnardo’s Cardiff Young Families Supported Housing has a positive working partnership with Taff H.A. The staff are very approachable and understand and support our work with vulnerable young people and their children.”

We have set up a community allotment project designed to give opportunities to community members who don’t have access to a garden to grow their own fruit and vegetables. The allotment group started with 9 committed community members.

“A big thank you for awarding me £50 from the fund to help me towards the cost of a tumble drier and freezer.” Mr & Mrs S via thank you card

“I think this is an excellent service.” Parent

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We build and renovate homes to a good quality What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We started 60 new homes.

We increased the amount of grant we received from an expected £250k to £1.3m – this reflects the fact that we deliver strategically relevant homes.

We were able to house 35 additional households as a result of building new homes.

We completed and let 35 new homes – this was 30% of all new social housing built in Cardiff in 2010/11. Our general needs stock grew by 3%. All new homes reached Code 3 Sustainable Homes standard (i.e. they were highly insulated, had heating systems which were Grade ‘A’ rated and are water efficient). They have been built with materials which have been sourced responsibly and have known embodied energy. We received £1.3m in Social Housing Grant, and for this we completed 35 new homes and started development on a further 25 homes – this equates to £21,000 in grant per home. We built 17 family homes. All homes were built in areas of high housing need. We used feedback from new Tenants to improve future design (e.g. provision of sheds and additional storage). We created a new Development Strategy to find ways of building new homes without relying completely on grant. We procured contractors through a ‘Framework’ thus saving time and achieving Value for Money. We renovate our homes to a high standard. (see page 21)

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In surveys of all Tenants of new properties, undertaken 6 weeks after moving in, we had a satisfaction rating of 98%. We commenced 26 flats without any Social Housing Grant, using our own funds – the first Intermediate Rented scheme in Cardiff.

On average, a new 3 bed house costs £1,100 in utility bills each year. These are quotes from the tenants about their brand new homes:

“Spell Bound.” “Everything spot on – can’t improve in any way.” “Brilliant.” “So helpful and very grateful can’t complain about anything.” “Love it.” “Can’t wait to come home.” “Estate Assistant service brilliant.” “Wouldn’t change anything.”


Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We let our Homes in a fair and transparent way What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We let our homes through the Cardiff Common Register.

32 families and 52 single people now have stable homes.

We used 22 of our homes to help Cardiff Council house homeless people on a temporary basis.

In Riverside, Grangetown, and Canton there are approximately 5059 people on the waiting list for a one bedroom property and 1,302 for 2 bedrooms and 3529 for family accommodation. (Source www. cardiffhousing.co.uk)

In partnership with other agencies, we provide 55 places for people in specialist housing.

14 offers of accommodation were refused.

We contribute 6 homes to Cardiff’s leasing scheme for homeless people.

It takes us around 30 days to repair and re-let homes between tenancies.

We let 35 new homes and 49 existing homes that became vacant during the year. We let two adapted homes through Cardiff Accessible Homes.

Our homes were let to:

26 2 35 2 14 5

homeless applicants resettlement general waiting list & transfers Cardiff Accessible Homes priority housing need sheltered housing applicants

Over 60 homeless households have lived in the temporary accommodation we provided for the Council in 2010/2011.

Of these, it takes 13 days to repair each property on average. This includes properties where we undertake major works to meet WHQS standards.

Case Study Mr W moved in to his flat at Turner Court when it was brand new, but unfortunately he had to have his leg amputated and became a wheelchair user. The flat entrance door, which is quite weighty to meet regulations, had now become a major concern as Mr W could not open it without his chair toppling and there was a fear he may not be able to stay in the flat after all. This made him very sad as he is extremely independent. As he could comfortably open all other doors, we decided to automate his front door. After it was installed Mr W was delighted and said he was so happy that the only way we would get him out now would be in a wooden box!

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

What did we do?

How well did we do it?

We bring each empty home up to a standard that our Tenants helped us define.

We lose just 0.1% of our total rent due to empty properties each year.

We ask each new Tenant to tell us about their experience of allocations and moving in 6 weeks after they’ve settled in.

98% of our new Tenants say they are satisfied with their property.

We go through the costs of renting a home with each person before they become a Tenant, so they know what their commitments will be.

99% say they are satisfied with the letting process.

Case Study Mrs M’s life had become unbearable due to chronic problems in her joints, especially her hips and she was no longer able to bathe through fear of falling. We arranged for a level access shower to be installed which actually took place whilst Mrs M was having an operation in hospital. When she arrived home she phoned the office to say what a wonderful job the workmen had done and to say a big thank you to everyone at Taff for all their hard work.

“Every Tenant was thrilled with their flats and the service that Taff gave from being on the waiting list to now. The group sign up got huge thumbs up as did all the written information we provided for new Tenants. Tenants continually wanted to tell me how great Taff were and everyone got a mention, reception, allocations, Housing Officers, CSA’s, Estate Assistants and development staff. Even when things had gone wrong, we had fixed them quickly and kept people informed.” Janet Bochel, Director of Customer Services & Development, after a visiting the new Plymouth Court scheme to review our allocation process

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We manage our homes effectively What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We let 58 (69%) homes on assured shorthold(starter) tenancies and 26 (31%) on an assured (permanent) tenancy.

99% of starter tenancies successfully transferred to permanent tenancies.

In total, 99 Taff general needs Tenants received a tailored support package to meet their needs.

We use licences where appropriate. For new developments, we held ‘group sign-up’ days for all new Tenants. We assess all new Tenants to see if they need support. We have an in-house support team, including a specialist family worker. Our work with people before they take up their tenancies, and our Floating Support Service helps us avoid evictions. Last year we evicted only four Tenants. We set most of our rents at the ‘benchmark’ agreed by the Assembly. To help increase the number of new homes we can build, we charge slightly higher (‘intermediate’) rents on some properties. We consult all Tenants who have to pay service charges about the costs and the services provided each year.

64% of new Tenants received support. Our in-house support teams were reviewed by Cardiff Council and no areas for improvement were identified. Our eviction rate is just 0.4%. The average rate for Housing Associations was 1% in 2009/10. Our benchmark rents are affordable – they are 57% of the Local Housing Allowance (maximum eligible for Housing Benefit). 70% of Tenants felt the service charge provided value for money.

No Tenant who received support was evicted. We made 7 child protection referrals, but Support staff helped 6 cases to come off the ‘At Risk’ register.1 The Support Team helped 33 Tenants with debt advice and referred 8 of these to a debt agency.1 1

These figures relate to general needs Tenants.

Arrears owed as a percentage of our total rent was 2.46%, an improvement from 3.04% the previous year.

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We have a dedicated rents team to manage income and help Tenants deal with arrears – we worked with 306 households to reduce their arrears last year.

The number of Tenants in arrears reduced from 360 to 337.

30% of our Tenants are on manageable payment plans to reduce their arrears.

All our Tenants have access to specialist Housing Benefit and Welfare Benefit advice should they need it and new Tenants have a pre-tenancy financial health check. We take early action on arrears cases, getting in touch as soon as a payment is missed, Only 23 new Tenants fell into arrears last year and all are on repayment plans. We dealt with 189 reports of AntiSocial Behaviour (ASB) – these were reported by 151 people.

The average time taken to resolve an ASB case is 38 days. 97% are satisfied with speed of response.

151 people no longer suffering ASB (ASB cases closed).

95% satisfied with advice given. 87% satisfied with support given. Our latest Customer survey said that 81% people feel safe and secure, and 81% people like their neighbourhood. 32% of Tenants have been with us for more than 10 years.

Case study When I first started working with L she was facing eviction from her flat. She had huge debts and was a persistent offender. Her two children had been taken into care by the local authority and she was estranged from her family as a result of her problems. She was deeply suspicious of professional agencies and had a history of non-co-operation. After 2 years on support with the Cardiff Team, she has now ceased offending. She is no longer a drug user and only drinks socially – mainly at family events, as she has now reconciled with her family. She is in receipt of all the benefits she requires – including DLA – and is steadily paying off her debts. Whilst on support, she became pregnant. Because of her previous history, Children’s Services insisted that her child should either be fostered, or that they should both be placed in the mother and baby unit from which she had had both previous children removed. As a result of vigorous intervention and partnership working with Social Services, L was given the option of remaining with her baby and being assessed at her mother’s house. Happily, L passed her assessment with flying colours. She worked positively with Social Services and her health visitor and attended parenting classes – within 3 months her child was removed from the Child Protection register. She is now feeling happy and hugely positive about the future. When her daughter is a little older, she is considering training to be a midwife!

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We repair and maintain homes in an efficient, timely and cost effective way What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

During 2010/11 we installed:

93% (1052) of our homes now reach the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).

93% of Tenants will have lower energy bills than if we had not brought their homes up to the WHQS.

65 kitchens (6% of stock) 120 bathrooms (11% of stock) 100 windows/doors (9% of stock) 68 new heating systems (6% of stock) Apart from 6 ‘acceptable failures’ this eradicates all inefficient back boilers. Our kitchens were all installed by an in-house team. We spent £786,065 on improvements to our properties. We didn’t borrow any money to fund these improvements – we used our rental income to pay for them, thus saving on interest charges. We carried out 4,978 day to day repairs. 718 customer satisfaction slips were returned. We phoned an additional 130 people to check how their repair went. We increased the energy efficiency of our properties from a rating of 67.85 to 72.09 (this is the average ‘SAP’ rating). We serviced gas boilers and smoke detectors in all our homes.

All emergency repairs were completed within 24 hours. 99% of urgent and 98% of non-urgent repairs were completed within target times. 99% of Customers who responded to our satisfaction surveys said they were satisfied with the repair. We reduced our costs of kitchen installations, saving £85,000 on equivalent work carried out in 2008/09. Our satisfaction rate with kitchen installation was 100%. Only 3 complaints out of 17 related to our repairs service. At 31 March 2011, 99.8% of our homes had a valid gas safety certificate.

Mr S of Daisy Street

Ms. J of Ivy Street

“I think your service is first class.”

“The gentlemen are professional, friendly, clean, and careful when moving furniture. Tidy, very helpful, went the extra mile to help and advise.”

Mr S of Canton Court

“New bathroom layout is better than before.” Mr P of Albert Street

“Superb, very polite, very good.”

We estimate that our Tenants have saved in excess of £85,400 since our programme began in 2007. This is based on potential savings up to £140.00 p.a. per unit. 89% of all Tenants were satisfied with the quality of their home. Tenants identified installation of showers as one of their main priorities – now 80% of homes have showers. As a result of savings we have made by establishing our inhouse kitchen team, we have been able to install 47% (32) more new kitchens each year.

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

We provide high quality housing related support What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We supported 637 vulnerable people to maintain their homes in the community.

Positive reviews from commissioners assessed the services as ‘strategically relevant’ and with no recommendations for improvement.

Studies by the Welsh Government and others estimate that for every £1 spent on Support, other policy areas benefit to the value of £1.68. Taff’s spend of £3.3m therefore equates to a benefit of £5.5m

We supported an additional 239 people in our supported housing projects. We increased the number of young people we support, with an extra 19 places in the Foyer Project. This is a new partnership which provides a learning and work based support service. We support a diverse range of service users including forensic clients, older people, young people, families, single parents, refugees, members of the BME community. We pioneered a new model of provision in floating support and successfully located support staff with social services and health teams. We improved the quality of our housing provision in our young women’s hostel with new kitchens.

The majority of people we supported finished their support plans in a positive and planned way 97% of service users said that they were happy with the support they receive. Our Support Staff helped people in the community with: – financial problems (392) – health problems (137) – accessing work & training opportunities (110)

Service users and the wider community benefited from reductions in offending, safer communities, reduction in inappropriate drug and alcohol consumption, reduction in ‘bed blocking’. We provided accommodation & support for 23 single refugees – there is no other provision for this group in Cardiff.

“K had her benefits stopped; she had no money for food. I spoke with my team leader and managed to get a food bank voucher issued for her. K was extremely grateful for the help she received.” Rhiannon Hatfield, Tenancy Support Worker “I recently supported a young single mother who held a CCC tenancy but was scared to return following a break in and threats in the area. Within 5 weeks of support starting I managed to get her rehoused into a suitable ‘Can do Lettings’ flat and her situation is much improved.” Marc Coombe, Tenancy Support Worker

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

What did we do?

How well did we do it?

Is anyone better off?

We increased opportunities for customer involvement and social inclusion by involving Tenants in special interest events.

In our hostels, we helped 183 people with education & training, 137 with financial problems, and 135 with health and counselling referrals.

Older people in Red Sea House benefited from being housed in a culturally specific safe and secure environment.

We extended our work in combatting isolation among older people through the use of technology and training. We involved our services in the voluntary ‘outcomes monitoring’ pilot to provide an objective basis for measuring the outcome of the support we deliver.

Children’s safety was assured through registration and/or de-registration on the Child Protection Register.

We took part in multi-agency public protection panels

40 young people in the Foyer project became involved in work, education and training.

We contributed to the Supporting People review to ensure the best possible context for the delivery of support services.

96% of service users said that the support they received made a difference to their lives.

“A mother was supported through the process of applying to a local education authority to ‘home school’ one of her children who could not learn in the normal classroom environment. We gave support to access grants and helped source alternative tutoring to support the child through the process and ensure learning was more achievable. The child improved greatly and started applying herself to her education. The LEA were satisfied with the standard of learning/resource used and the improvement in the child’s education.” Karl Perry, Tenancy Support worker

“I was honoured to be chosen as a Tenant for the Ministers to visit me at my home. They were lovely, lovely people and I appreciated them calling on me. Elaine and Jan from Taff made me feel at ease and were so helpful and are also very nice people. I am so grateful for the support I receive from Taff and feel it is a wonderful service and hope it never stops.” Doris Ferdinand

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Taff Housing Association Annual Report & Self-Assessment 2010/11

The Lighthouse Project Our Support Worker who is placed with a Hospital Social Work team is able to respond within 48hrs of a referral, instead of waiting 3 weeks for an Assessment by the community social work team. Our support is very practical, ensuring a return home (or to alternative accommodation) much more quickly than otherwise would be the case. Client B was referred for support because he can no longer manage stairs at his property. Client B wanted to return home and did not want to move. We met with Client B to identify stairlift providers. The hospital discharged him to his home after his family moved the bed to the ground floor, and with the knowledge that Client B was receiving support to get a Stairlift installed. Client B was discharged to his home within 7 days of the referral being made to The Lighthouse Project.

Refugee Project Case Studies Our refugee projects really help new arrivals to get to grips with the language and the British way of life. Most needed help with English, and all were keen to find work as soon as possible. We also helped with family reunions, giving advice on accommodation options.

Forensic Team Case Study When we started supporting Mr Y, he had Council Tax arrears and he had been without utilities for 9 months. His personal benefits and HB had been stopped and his property was subject to a suspended possession order. Working with Riverside Advice, utility companies and numerous Council departments, we were able to get his gas and electricity restored, his benefits sorted and payments backdated. The suspended possession order was not enforced, so he was able to stay in his home.” Dave Owen, Forensic Team

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Case 1 – M had very little knowledge of English when he arrived, but with signposting to training, he progressed to speaking fluent English. This helped him obtain a security licence, and he now works in this field and is settled in a new home. Case 2 – We supported N to undertake several courses to improve his chances of employment. We also helped him while he waited for his wife to join him in Cardiff. They have now found accommodation and N is employed as a cleaner.


Annual Report 2010/11