Building a positive future together
In 2009 we developed our first Corporate Plan as Shropshire Housing Group. The credit crunch had begun to take its toll, we had a new Homes and Communities Agency, a new Regulator in the Tenant Services Authority and a new Council in Shropshire.
Just a year on from publication, the general election of May 2010 introduced us to a new coalition government and we have now had a year to absorb the new realities and new directions. It is entirely appropriate therefore that we have taken the time to reassess our own position and revise our Corporate Plan.
Our customer satisfaction levels are very high, as evidenced by the recent tenant opinion survey. Our performance across a range of indicators is excellent and often amongst the best in the country. We are confident therefore that despite the challenges we face we can continue to grow our business and develop our services.
Fortunately we do this from a position of strength. Our financial position is sound, although we will of course be constrained by the impact of public spending cuts that we know will pose challenges for many of our tenants.
I am delighted to introduce our revised plan to you and to share with you our ambitions for the next few years.
Shared values and ambitions
The Group was established to ensure that two Shropshire based housing associations with shared values and ambitions for Shropshireâ€™s rural communities could maintain a degree of independence and at the same time compete with much larger providers in an increasingly demanding and strongly regulated environment. Shropshire Housing Ltd (the parent organisation) exercises strategic and regulatory control of the Group. Its role is to develop the business, forge new opportunities and strengthen existing activities and relationships. The parent employs the majority of staff and is responsible for Group wide policies and performance. This maintains our position as a leading housing provider in the Region, managing more than 4300 homes.
MMHA was established in 2005 and took over the council housing stock of North Shropshire in 2007. It has now completed a substantial improvement programme to bring all homes to the Decent Homes Standard and has commenced its own new-build programme.
SSHA was established in 1990 and took over South Shropshireâ€™s former council homes in 1994. Its homes also meet the Decent Homes Standard and over the years the Association has built more than 400 new homes, developing a reputation for innovation and environmental awareness which has attracted national attention and awards.
TRL is a limited company wholly owned by Shropshire Housing. It delivers all property related services to the Group including maintenance, repairs, technical support, gas and heating services etc. and supports a wide range of private clients, housing associations, local authorities, private owners and so on.
The structure has proved effective but we are committed to ensuring our ongoing efficiency by regularly reviewing how the Group is managed and governed.
A clear vision and set of principles
We have worked hard to set out a clear vision for the Group which is based on a set of values and principles which underpin our work and relationships. We do not have a single mission statement but we hope that our customers, and our partners and other stakeholders will recognise and embrace these commitments. We care about the people and communities in this area. We will put them at the heart of all we do and encourage them to influence our work. ● We will maintain our commitment to a core business which delivers decent homes, excellent services, affordable rents and improved quality of life for our customers. ● Our physical environment is special, we will seek to protect it and enhance it wherever we can, with quality at the top of our agenda. ● We will try to be innovative, creative and forward thinking, finding new and better ways to meet our ambitions. ● We wish to grow our business and provide more homes and services to support sustainable communities. ●
We will provide value for money and look to be efficient, effective and economical. ● We are committed to transparency, openness and probity. We will treat everyone fairly, whilst recognising that individuals have differing needs. ● We will always look for ways to work in partnership with other local groups and agencies. We believe this creates better services and greater value. ● We will be a responsible employer and invest in the training and development of one of our most important assets – our people. ●
Our ambitions and plans for the next 4 years are set out under 5 themes. 1 More homes more choice; 2 Excellent services and satisfied customers; 3 Well run for community benefit; 4 Growing and developing our business; 5 Working for sustainable communities.
More homes, more choice
The financial climate and reductions in central government grant have inevitably meant that we have reduced the scale of our new build ambitions. Nevertheless we believe it is important that we play our part in providing new homes for our rural communities and expand the housing choices which are available. We will: Maintain our core values of providing homes at affordable rents. ● Aim to complete 200 new homes in locations which address housing need and add value to our business and the neighbourhoods in which we work. ● Adopt the Affordable Rent Tenure for all new homes and a proportion of relets in existing homes. ● Explore other opportunities which add value or provide increased housing choice to our business. ● Encourage those customers who wish to move to smaller homes with financial assistance and associated support. ● Develop our Procurement Strategy through, for example our membership of the Central Housing Investment Consortium (CHIC) to ensure consistency, quality and best value. ●
Make best use of our existing homes through programmes for maintenance and improvement which are agreed with our tenants. ● Spend £35 million over the next 4 years on maintaining and improving our stock. ● Develop a proactive asset management strategy and dispose of or redevelop those estates which no longer add value to our customers, our communities or our business. ● Continue to provide homes for sale on a shared ownership basis. ● Ensure that appropriate aids and adaptations are available to enable tenants to remain in their homes for as long as possible. ● Where appropriate develop homes for outright sale. ●
Excellent service . . .
We remain committed to our core business of providing social housing. Our aim is to be excellent in all of our service areas and to achieve this we have reshaped our service delivery structures. We now operate three broad work areas led by Executive Directors for: Resources, Neighbourhoods and Assets. We aim to be a: Great Landlord Review housing management quality standards across all tenures. ● Introduce more effective feedback so that we have better insight into our customers needs and can develop tailored responses. ● Take every opportunity to run our business more effectively and efficiently. ● Review our key performance targets and aim for top quartile performance in all service areas. ● Continue to engage regularly in tenant opinion surveys and aim to improve satisfaction levels to 90% overall. ●
Ensure that all queries are dealt with promptly and effectively at the first point of contact through better use of technology. ● Invest in sustaining individual tenancies through: ● Improved benefit and budgeting advice. ● Developing our approach to pre-tenancy work, working with new tenants to ensure that they can sustain the tenancy. ● Enforcing (and supporting) compliance with tenancy conditions. ●
Adopt a repairs by appointment system.
Review our arrangements for routine, non urgent repairs to improve efficiency and value for money. ● Agree a new Shropshire Housing Standard, to include commitments on affordable warmth, reduced carbon emissions, communal areas and environmental standards. ● Plan our renewals programme to maximise the life of components – heating, bathrooms, kitchens etc. ● Develop a systematic approach to all component servicing activities. ● Consult with leaseholders and shared owners on the type of service they require. ●
. . . and satisfied customers
We aim to be a: Great Community Partner Work with Shropshire Council and other local landlords to devise a tenancy strategy to ensure we are housing a range of family types, with diverse needs. ● Develop along with our partners at Severnside and Shropshire Council, countywide policies for: 1 Allocations 2 Adaptations 3 Anti-social behaviour 4 Economic inclusion 5 Resident involvement 6 Training and employment opportunities ● Undertake efforts to regenerate some of our key neighbourhoods. 1 Deliver Cleaner, Greener, Safer awards in targeted areas. ●
2 Participate in the Council’s ‘Place Based’ programmes in Ludlow and Market Drayton. 3 Investigate the potential for devolved management and governance arrangements.
Great Employer Invest in our staff through training and development programmes. ● Maintain our Investors In People status. ● Participate in the annual Best Company Survey ● Expand our leadership academy to develop existing managers and identify talent for the future. ● Plan for the future by mentoring senior leaders to ensure we “grow our own”. ● Provide apprenticeships and opportunities for work placements ● Improve our links with local schools and colleges. ●
Well run for community benefit
We recognise the importance of maintaining strong links to our rural communities and we will seek to strengthen and retain their trust and support by ensuring that we run our organisation well. We will: Regularly review Board Member performance and the effectiveness of Boards and Committees. ● Keep local communities informed of our activities and proposals through public events and links to parish and town councils. ● Work closely with Shropshire Council to support its strategic aims and policies. ● Promote the excellent activity we engage in, which demonstrates our role as community leaders. ● Complete a stakeholders audit to measure our impact on local communities. ● Work in partnership with other local agencies and social enterprises, offering support where appropriate. ●
Remain committed to working through our local organisations SSHA and MMHA. ● Consider how our other activities ensure investment is retained in our area promising jobs and growth. ● Deliver Value for Money through shared procurement arrangements and shared services. ● Support Residents Groups and encourage them to influence our service and make a positive impact in their local communities. ●
Growing and developing our business
We want to grow and expand our business whilst we continue to invest in our traditional activities. We will develop new business where we believe that this will bring new jobs and new opportunities locally and contribute to the regeneration of rural neighbourhoods. Detailed here are our business growth ambitions: Total Response Limited Increase turnover of TRL by 5% per annum in each of the next 4 years. ● Increase profitability of the business. ● Expand the number and range of private clients. ● Secure 75% of all maintenance work procured by the Group. ●
Housing Support Bid as a member of a Shropshire wide consortium for a share of the revised Supporting People Contracts which will be retendered during 2011/12. ● Explore the potential for migrating our Supporting People services into a standalone Social Enterprise, with other partners, to ● Offer a wider and more coherent service offer, to a broader customer base across the whole of the County. ● Ensure economies of scale in service and price and improve the likelihood of success in forthcoming tendering processes. ● Extend the offer to private purchasers, and to other statutory services including potentially, health and social care teams. ●
Green Deal Develop a renewable energy business to improve homes, offer affordable warmth, and contribute to carbon reduction targets. ● Work in partnership where we are convinced this delivers a greater effectiveness than we can achieve alone. ● Take the lead on trialling emerging innovative technologies and heating initiatives. ● Investing in technology which improves our service delivery to the customer whilst improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our business. ●
Build For Sale ●
Build a small number of homes each year for outright sale with profits being returned to our business.
Working for sustainable communities
Sustainability is not always an easy concept to explain and it can be interpreted in a variety of ways. At one level we can demonstrate that our new homes meet very high standards of energy efficiency, where the materials we use are sourced locally and assembled by local labour. At another level sustainability will involve how we run our day to day business, developing a vision for carbon neutrality. This might involve running our vehicles on bio diesel and recycling all other materials we use. At a community level sustainability will mean the development of policies which support local communities helping them to thrive – not just “survive”. This could mean local lettings policies, regeneration activities, community development work. However it is defined, we will champion the issue with all of our partners and seek to learn from them and other leading practitioners.
Our ideal for a sustainable community is one which is: Active, inclusive and safe – with a strong local culture. ● Environmentally sensitive. ● Well run – with effective participation and representation. ● Well designed and built – with respect for the natural environment. ● Well connected – with appropriate transport and communication links. ● Thriving – with a flourishing and diverse local economy. ● Well-served – by public, private and voluntary agencies. ● Fair for everyone. ●
As part of our further commitment we will: Invest in sustainable travel solutions. ● Invest in renewable energy solutions. ● Adopting a corporate carbon reduction programme aligned with a recognised environmental management system. ● Secure grant funding to pilot new energy saving initiatives. ● Utilise video conferencing/Skype to reduce the number of miles travelled. ● Develop car sharing incentive schemes. ●
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.
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