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Annual Report 2011

Shared values and ambitions Shropshire Housing has overall regulatory control of the Group. Shropshire Housing also provides central support services to all Group members. It develops creative policies to ensure the Group is recognised as ‘the’ housing group in the region.

Shropshire Housing Group is made up of the following organisations: South Shropshire Housing Association has over 2000 homes across South Shropshire and Herefordshire. It also provides a wide range of support services to tenants and the wider community. This includes a refuge for those fleeing domestic abuse and floating support for those who struggle to maintain an independent lifestyle. Meres and Mosses Housing Association has around 2300 homes in the North Shropshire area. It has two principal ambitions; to improve services for its tenants and to provide new homes for future generations. Total Response Ltd provides repairs and maintenance and other property services to all properties owned by Shropshire Housing Group. It also provides these services to other Housing Associations, and the private sector.

Shropshire Housing Group has five clear ambitions: 1 More Homes, More Choice 2 Excellent Services and Satisfied Customers 3 Well Run for Community Benefits 4 Growing and Developing Our Business 5 Working for Sustainable Communities

Chair and Chief Executive’s Report

Martin Holland

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This year has been one of significant change for the Group. Some of it we planned ourselves and some of it we experienced as part of the periodic shift in the political landscape. At the start of the year we were part way through a significant adjustment in the way that we organise our services. We now have a more streamlined approach for our two frontline operational services with more effective use of our resources and a consistent approach to service delivery. It was of course an unsettling and difficult time for staff and we would like to record our appreciation here to everyone who helped manage the process. Now that the dust has settled we can see that staff are overall more focused and committed and generally happier at work. We measure this through the Best Companies survey and in only our second year of participation we have moved in to the “One’s to Watch” category. The result from the STATUS opinion survey, published early in the year, suggest we are also getting things right as far as our customers are concerned. We recorded very high satisfaction levels, putting the Group well above average performance.

In May we had a new government and The Coalition began to set out it’s priorities. In very difficult financial circumstances housing has had to shoulder a heavy burden and we have to face up to the challenges of the coming years with significantly fewer resources to build the new homes which are so desperately needed. Changes to the Benefits system will have an impact on our tenants and we shall need to plan carefully to keep tenants properly advised and supported. Alongside the political changes, the broader economic realities have to be managed and it is important that we take time to analyse our new environments and consider our future.

The Boards have spent a considerable amount of time doing just that and by the time the year came to an end a new Corporate Plan was being completed. The Plan sets out an ambitious programme for the next few years which underpins our core values and at the same time rises to the challenges and opportunities of this new era. Finally it is important that we recognise that Shropshire Housing Group is a team, Board Members, staff and tenants themselves all play a part in our success and our future and we take this opportunity to thank you all for your huge contribution.

One of Shropshire Housing Group’s main aims is to complete 200 new homes by 2016. This year we have completed 35 new homes in rural areas that need affordable homes for local people.

One new housing scheme that was completed this year was in Ditton Priors near Bridgnorth which was officially opened by Wolves footballing legend, Steve Bull. The seven new homes are all intended to be rented by people with a connection to the area. Each property has solar panels and a heat recovery system that takes warm, moist air from the kitchen and bathroom and re-uses it through a heat exchanger mounted in the loft. Any excess moisture is then discharged outside. The scheme has been built to comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes level 3 and the Secured by Design initiative.

Paul Sutton, Executive Director for Assets and Development said: “These homes are an important addition to Ditton Priors because they provide a vital option to people who wish to stay in that community, rather than being forced to move away because of a lack of affordable homes. All of these properties are available on a rental basis and have been finished to a high quality. The environmental technologies employed during their construction will also add to their affordability and serve as an example to the wider house building industry of the direction it must move in.” New resident, Mrs Dorothy Evans, said: “I was born in Ditton and was living in a three bed house in the village. I wanted to downsize but remain local. I was so pleased when I got the bungalow as I love living here and I already knew my neighbour as we went to school together.”

Shropshire Housing Group continues to monitor its spending and is always striving to deliver better value. As part of this process a focus group made up of staff and tenants meets once a quarter to discuss possible money savings and highlight areas of good practice from around the Group.

The Value for Money group has identified savings of around £76,000. These include small changes like a change of skip supplier that saved £32.10 to big changes such as saving £57,000 by procuring kitchens and bathrooms through a procurement club. Shropshire Housing Group is one of the eight founder members of CHIC (Central Housing Investment Consortium Ltd). CHIC is a consortium of affordable housing landlords working across the Midlands to deliver sophisticated asset management solutions to drive quality up and cost down.

They liaise directly with members, contractors and the supply chain to work more effectively and to coordinate a range of employment and training initiatives.

Jack over the moon with new kitchen

Jack Andow of Whitefriars in Ludlow has had an adapted kitchen fitted in his bungalow. The adaptations included lower level worktops, sink, hotplate and lower wall cupboards with hinged baskets that can be pulled down to Jack’s eye level. The transformation also included a raised washing machine, which makes it easier to load and new smoother flooring.

Jack said: ‘I’m so pleased with my new kitchen, the Occupational Therapist has done a fantastic job of planning the adaptations and TRL have fitted it beautifully. It’s made such a big difference to me on a day to day basis.’ Jack, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has an infectious positive attitude and leads a full and active life. He is well travelled and has been on 20 cruises!

Total Response Ltd (TRL) continues to deliver a first class service to all of its customers. TRL carries out almost all repairs and maintenance for Shropshire Housing Group. Our 2010 survey showed high customer satisfaction with the repairs service. 85% of SSHA and 83.3% of MMHA tenants were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service. TRL currently holds the contract for Marches Housing gas servicing and gas repairs. They have reported a 92% satisfaction rate for TRL from their customers over the last two years. Marches are so happy with the service that TRL delivers, that they have extended their contract for another two years.

Improving Homes In the last year Shropshire Housing Group has fitted 566 kitchens and 564 bathrooms to its properties. They have also undertaken the following works:

Mr Watkins from Whitchurch said: ‘Thanks to the plumber who had to attend over the weekend to fix the leak. Mr Adams from Cheswardine said: ‘The operative who attended to the repair was very clean and tidy, did a good job, and I was very happy with the work done.

Type of Work Completed Works Double glazed windows 719 Central heating programme properties with no access to mains gas 260 Central heating programme properties with access to mains gas 225 Electrical tests, rewiring and upgrades 2319 Secure by design door programme 2166 Re-roofing 136 Repair response times for SSHA and MMHA Category Emergency Urgent Non Urgent *repairs completed within target time

MMHA SSHA 98.0% 98.3% 92.4% 93.8% 86.3% 91.4%

SSHA provide free basic computer skills training which has been invaluable to tenants and TASS members are available to provide information and support in using the services available.

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The Chair of the SSHA Board, Neville Stephens, cut the ribbon on the new Tenant Resource Centre, at the Gateway in Craven Arms, while staff, tenants and Phillip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, looked on.

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The Tenants Association of South Shropshire (TASS) celebrated expansion to new offices which became necessary due to the success of the service provided. The new facility still offers a computer with free internet access, which is available to all tenants of SSHA, enabling access to useful online services.

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This year TARCA have made recommendations to the Board on behalf of a range of schools, groups and charitable causes from all around North Shropshire, for grants from MMHA’s Community Development Fund.

Grants approved include: SSHA’s Resident Involvement Officer, Mike Cotton, explained: “A tenant involvement group has been in operation for many years, it was officially launched as TASS in 2004 and has had a base at The Gateway since 2006. The service they offer has been incredibly helpful to many people and the extra space the Tenant Resource Centre now occupies is testament to how important that service is. “TASS has made a huge difference to the service we provide and gives us valuable feedback on a variety of subjects which affect our tenants, allowing us to ensure we’re always improving our service.” The Resource Centre is open daily for all tenants to use, whatever their age or ability and is staffed by TASS from 9am to 1pm five days a week. Tenants can call the office on 01588 676285 or drop in to the Gateway.

TASS Committee

Joan Grant Chairperson Dennis Lanman Vice Chair Graham Gordon Treasurer Michelle Walker Secretary

Comfy seating in the library area at Longlands School, Market Drayton ●● Sponsorship of a team kit for Wem Town under 9’s football team ●● Outside lighting for 28 bungalows and 5 houses owned by MMHA in Dudleston Heath. ●●

In partnership, TARCA and MMHA have been responsible for distributing tens of thousands of pounds to good causes and groups that play a central role in local communities.

TARCA Committee:

Lin Sherwin, Chairperson John Higginson, Vice Chair Graham Stockton, Treasurer Lesley Ashcroft, Secretary

Our regulator, the Tenant Services Authority set out the standards we should meet under the following headings:

Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Home Tenancy Neighbourhoods and Community Value for Money Governance and Financial Viability

We have worked extensively with our tenants to agree priorities for service improvement and performance scrutiny. Shropshire Housing Group produced a document, ‘Improving Services for You’, which was sent to tenants in March 2011. The document set out what we were already doing and the areas that we needed to improve on. Part of our agreement to improve services was to carry out a satisfaction survey of current tenants to get the best possible feedback before implementing the new service standards. The survey was carried out by the National Housing Federation’s Feedback Services. Whilst overall satisfaction put us in the top 25% of Housing Associations in the country, it also identified areas that tenants were not satisfied with. The main two areas were how we deal with anti social behaviour and some of the grounds maintenance services. As a result we have invested in a new anti social behaviour reporting system and are working with Shropshire Council to improve reporting for tenants. Shropshire Housing Group will be working with tenants over the next year to establish the needs of the grounds maintenance services and how to deliver these whilst keeping within budget.

Shropshire Housing Group has been named as “One to Watch” in the rankings of the West Midlands’ best places to work.

Our credentials as a great employer were flagged up in the annual ‘Best Companies to Work For’ survey, which is based on satisfaction scores from employees themselves. We were one of only 56 organisations across the West Midlands highlighted in the latest report by Best Companies (the business behind the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list). The “One to Watch” status award is the first step on a process of working towards one, two and even three-star accreditation under the scheme in coming years. Chief Executive, Martin Holland, said: “We put great emphasis on ensuring we’re a great place to work. This means having good communication with our staff, including listening carefully to their feedback and involving them in the business. “Despite what our name says, we’re first and foremost a people business, not a bricks and mortar one, and this applies to our workforce as much as to our tenants. Being labelled as “One to Watch” is a great step on the road towards even higher accreditation under the Best Companies scheme, which is something we are taking very seriously.”

Staff at participating businesses are sent questionnaires which seek to examine various factors that affect their working life, including the leadership they receive, concern shown for their wellbeing, their opportunities for personal growth, how much they believe their organisation puts back into the community and how they feel their pay and benefits compare to similar organisations. For this year’s survey a total of 291,000 employees were questioned across 1,165 organisations in the UK, demonstrating the emphasis bosses are increasingly placing on the value happy staff bring to a business.

Board Members

Martin Buxey (SHG/TRL) *

Lesley Hyde (SHG) #

Shena Latto (SHG Chair)

Stuart McLaren (SHG) * #

Ian Graves (SSHA)

Colin Harrison (SSHA)

Nick Holcombe (SSHA)

David Mullins (SSHA)

Irene Overton (SSHA/SHG)

Tim Ralphs (SSHA/SHG)

Clare Ratcliffe (SSHA)

Neville Stephens (SSHA Chair)

John Stringer (SSHA/TRL)

Michelle Walker (SSHA)

James Williamson (SSHA)

Marguerite Ashley (MMHA)

Mark Colclough (MMHA)

Dewi Davies (MMHA)

Pauline Dee (MMHA)

Stephen Donkersley (MMHA/TRL)

Code of Governance Shropshire Housing Group has adopted the National Housing Federation’s Code ‘Excellence in Governance’ and complies with the main points of this code. Gordon Hodgkiss (MMHA/SHG Chair)

Richard Jaboor (MMHA/SHG)

Chris Mellings (MMHA) *

Heather Pattimore (MMHA)

We also have a governance improvement plan which sets out action we will take to strengthen the way we run the organisation. A small allowance is paid to Shropshire Housing and South Shropshire Housing Association board members in recognition of their time, commitment and responsibilities as board members. The Meres and Mosses Housing Association board has agreed to introduce similar payments from April 2012.

Shropshire Housing Board

Remuneration and Nominations Comittee Paul Turner (MMHA) #

Performance Comittee

Brian Williams (MMHA)

Key * Performance Committee Member # Remuneration and Nominations Committee

Meres and Mosses HA Board

Total Response Ltd Board

South Shropshire HA Board

MMHA Rent and Homes Owned Rents Current tenants owing

Average Weekly Rent

As a % of annual income

31.03.09

1.94%

£141,451.00

31.03.10

2.22%

£177,684.00

31.03.11

2.72%

£216,500.00

Former tenants owing

31.03.09

1.15% £80,409.00

31.03.10

1.36%

£118,143.00

31.03.11

1.86%

£171,008.00

Relet Times

Bedsit

1 Bedroom

2 Bedrooms

3 Bedrooms

4+ Bedrooms

3 Bedrooms

4+ Bedrooms

£47.95 £58.68 £65.82 £71.98

£76.16

Number of Homes Owned

Bedsit

30

1 Bedroom

497

2 Bedrooms

739

979

56

Type of Letting

The average time a property was left empty between tenants was 23.9 days. This is an improvement on last year’s figure of 27.5 days. During this time the property has repairs completed, is cleaned and advertised on Shropshire Homepoint. A sample of these homes are inspected by one of our tenant inspectors. Waiting list

135

Exchange

18

Transfer

17

Shared Ownership

0

SSHA Rent and Homes Owned Rents Current tenants owing

Average Weekly Rent

As a % of annual income

31.03.09

3.17%

£253,421.31

31.03.10

3.12%

£271,902.00

31.03.11

3.50%

£301,251.85

Former tenants owing

31.03.09

2.22%

£175,479.00

31.03.10

2.25%

£182,699.00

Bedsit

1 Bedroom

2 Bedrooms

3 Bedrooms

4+ Bedrooms

3 Bedrooms

4+ Bedrooms

£53.58 £63.15 £74.16 £81.57

£86.59

Number of Homes Owned

31.03.11

2.32%

£217,338.00

Relet Times

Bedsit

34

1 Bedroom

412

2 Bedrooms

687

903

28

Type of Letting

The average time a property was left empty between tenants was 27.5 days. This is an improvement on last year’s figure of 51.1 days. During this time the property has repairs completed, is cleaned and advertised on Shropshire Homepoint. A sample of these homes are inspected by one of our tenant inspectors. Waiting list

149

Exchange

11

Transfer

32

Shared Ownership

17

Annual Accounts 2010-2011 The 2010/11 financial year has again been one of achievement for the Shropshire Housing Group. We have performed well against our budgets, as well as hitting other key targets. This is a remarkable achievement, given the continuing challenging economic climate. The net position is a surplus of £2,992,555 against a surplus in 2010 of £3,309,875. Our expenditure on maintenance has once again been significant across the Group. South Shropshire Housing Association has maintained its expenditure and met its target in this area once again and Meres & Mosses Housing Association has made fantastic progress against its improvement works programme. In total, planned works and improvements have been undertaken to the value of over £7 million.

Income and Expenditure Account 2011 (£) Our income for the year

2010 (£)

20,768,760

21,153,583

Less the cost of running the group (14,607,466) (14,544,969) Equals the operating surplus for the year

22 6,161,294 6,608,614

Deduct share of deficit in joint ventures

(187)

(10,095)

Surplus on sale of property

16,868

18,075

Equals surplus on ordinary activities

6,177,975

6,616,594

Add interest on cash balances

28,821

76,578

Deduct interest payable on loans

(3,214,241)

(3,383,297)

Equals surplus for the year

2,992,555

3,309,875

Taxation on surplus

-

-

Equals surplus after tax for the year

2,992,555

3,309,875

Actuarial gain/(loss), for pensions 455,000 (614,000) Surplus for the year

3,447,555

2,695,875

Balance Sheet

31/3/2011 (ÂŁ)

31/3/2010 (ÂŁ)

Assets held on long term basis Housing properties at original cost 126,098,048 115,336,532 Less grants received for building houses Less other grants received

(33,662,848)

(31,549,245)

(823,690) (823,6(823,690)

Less depreciation (5,418,948) 86,192,562 Office equipment, fixtures and plant

(4,595,803) 78,367,794

849,788

729,960

Investments/joint ventures (21,349) (21,162) 87,021,001 79,076,592 Current assets Assets held for resale

469,558

959,367

Stock of materials for repairs

131,598

127,560

Money owed to us including rent

1,484,380

1,547,624

Long term debtor improvements

22,853,836

28,728,718

Land investment

52,193

52,193

Cash invested for at least 1 week

1,610,416

7,550,000

Instant access cash 583,026 Sub Total 27,185,007 Money owed by us

(4,082,368)

Net short term position

(130,358) 38,835,104 (4,611,675)

23,102,639

34,223,429

Total assets less short-term liabilities 110,123,640 113,300,021 Bank loans and improvements 100,188,344 Provision for pension liability

1,192,000

106,040,285 1,964,000

Capital and reserves: Shares Reserves

106

8,743,190 8,743,296

101 5,295,635 5,295,736

Total bank loans and reserves 110,123,640 113,300,021

Equal Opportunities statement We recognise the damage that disadvantage and discrimination can cause. We are committed to equal opportunities and will take positive steps to ensure that you will not be treated less favourably than anyone else in your dealings with us because of race, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or age.

The Gateway, The Auction Yard, Craven Arms, Shropshire SY7 9BW Tel: 0300 303 1190 Email: info@sshropsha.co.uk

Talbot House, High Street, Wem SY4 5AA Freephone: 0800 434 6289 Tel: 0300 303 1190 Email: enquiries@mmha.org.uk Design and print by Matrix | matrix.co.uk | 58396 | 08.11


Shropshire Housing Group Annual Report 2011