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Corporate Plan 2012-15

with the community at heart

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Corporate Plan

Equality and Diversity livin aims to ensure that Equality and Diversity lies at the heart of our business and allows our customers to access high quality services tailored to their individual diverse needs. It is our policy to provide access to services and employment equality to all, irrespective of age, race or ethnic origin, gender, marital or family status, religious or philosophical belief or political opinion, disability, nationality or sexual orientation. As part of our commitment we, and our working partners, aim to treat everyone as equal citizens and recognise, support and value the diversity of the communities in which they live. Contact Us 0800 587 4538 (free from a landline) or 0300 111 2344 (low rate call from a mobile phone depending on your network) e: visit: livin, Farrell House, Arlington Way DurhamGate, Spennymoor, Co. Durham, DL16 6NL Please let us know if you require the services of an interpreter or translator to give us your feedback.

Please ask us if you would like this document in other languages, in large print or on audio tape.

0845 505 5500

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Contents A welcome


About us


Our journey continues‌


Mission, vision, values and personality


Corporate improvement themes


How will we deliver corporate plan 2012-15


Customer focussed services theme


Efficient assets theme


Effective people theme


Continuous improvement theme


Well governed and viable theme


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Corporate Plan

A welcome by Chief Executive Colin Steel

Welcome to our second Corporate Plan which celebrates the key achievements since our creation two and a half years ago, and looks forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We are a homes and communities organisation with ambitions over the term of this plan to grow our business through developing new, high quality homes, whilst continuing to work with the community at heart, focussing on the key issues facing our tenants today. The Corporate Plan sets out our direction of travel over the next three years and sits alongside our continuous self-assessment and co-regulation agenda. This enables it to interact with the changing external environment, in order to deliver on the commitments it makes. However, perhaps more importantly this allows us to refine, improve or supersede the commitments within the plan over time, where necessary. Looking back over the last two and a half years, we have much to be proud of. A significant milestone for us came in October 2010 when we received our positive Regulatory Judgement from the Tenant Services Authority, which reflects

livin | with the community at heart

the robust performance management structures and strong governance framework we have developed. Our Board are working well together and have provided clear direction for the organisation so far and continue to do so in these challenging times. Since 2009 we have strengthened our financial position and have successfully undertaken a Customer Access Review from which we have realised nearly ÂŁ500,000 of efficiency savings between 2010/11 and 2011/12. We have also become a successful apprenticeship employer and over the last two years have employed twenty apprentices, resulting in us being highly commended in the regional apprenticeship awards and we are in the top 100 apprenticeship employers nationally. Against a backdrop of political change, including the Localism Act, a new regulator, public sector cuts, and benefit reform the environment of the social housing provider has fundamentally changed since 2009. The issues which face many of our communities at the moment are stark, and this is reflected in the change of focus in this Corporate Plan which lays down a new agenda for livin.

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We believe that economic sustainability is key to our communities, and our role in helping people to improve their financial circumstances, become less dependent on benefits, positively address employability and increase financial confidence and prosperity is paramount. Individual households that achieve economic sustainability are significantly more likely to experience associated benefits such as improving health and wellbeing, have more disposable income to spend in the local economy, secure access to further opportunities and develop their own higher aspirations. It will not be easy to tackle these issues in communities where levels of deprivation and poverty are high. We will need to redirect resources into these new priority areas and cannot work in isolation if we are to be successful in building cohesive communities and improving peoples lives. Our approach will be to forge strong links with other key stakeholders in our communities, and through working and investing in partnership and redirection of resources we will improve lives. The next three years will see some significant changes for us as we take our first steps as

a developing Registered Provider, having been successful in securing Homes and Communities Agency funding to build 100 new homes, allowing us to respond to current and future demand and ensure we are providing the right homes to the right people. The growth of livin and our focus on a new agenda will depend on the success of our Reinvestment Programme in realising ÂŁ1m of increased capacity over three years, which will allow us to ‘bend’ resources to the areas identified through this plan to meet our priorities and the needs of our communities. This is a significant challenge for our organisation and cannot be achieved by talented individuals and teams alone. It will be achieved by the collective effort of all, every member of staff counts, and every member of staff has a contribution and is accountable. Our past successes and achievements are a testament to everyone involved in the work we do. We are at the start of an exciting journey with a fresh identity and I believe our greatest successes are ahead of us and I look forward to the challenging times ahead. Colin

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Corporate Plan

About us

livin was established on 30 March 2009 following stock transfer from Sedgefield Borough Council. We are a homes and communities organisation that primarily operates in the south of County Durham, between the City of Durham and Darlington in the North East of England. The population of County Durham is approximately 500,000 and is expected to rise by 2.7% within ten years. livin operate in a range of communities from rural villages, to ex-coalmining settlements, from the new town of Newton Aycliffe to traditional industrial service centres such as Spennymoor. There are economic and social challenges facing our communities. Pockets of deprivation and poverty are reflected in our communities who are suffering from poor health, an ageing population, low levels of educational attainment, high unemployment, a low skilled workforce and community isolation. Our structured use of business intelligence means that we are accurately informed on what and where the issues are in specific communities.

livin | with the community at heart

We currently own in excess of 8,500 residential properties, 2,700 garages and 60 commercial properties, currently making livin the largest Registered Provider in County Durham. In some communities our homes constitute around one third of the total housing stock, making us a significant stakeholder in local communities and giving us the opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. As the Strategic Housing Authority (SHA), Durham County Council has developed a Housing Strategy under the Building Altogether Better Lives theme. At the heart of the Strategy is the Altogether Better Durham Sustainable Communities Strategy 2010-30, and it is based on three housing objectives: Altogether Better Housing Markets, Altogether Better Housing Standards and Altogether Better at Housing People. These are supplemented with a further objective of Altogether Better Housing Service. Registered Providers operating in County Durham are guided by the vision and priorities of the SHA in their strategic decision making, and at livin we ensure that our corporate planning framework links with their objectives and priorities.

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Our journey continues‌ We are currently in a period of rapid change and uncertainty. The reform of social housing and welfare benefits will have a significant impact on us as a business and also on our tenants. It is imperative that we remain responsive to the changing environment in which we operate, but that we are proactive in tackling the issues before their impact is felt and mitigate risks where possible. From the start we have laid down a firm foundation in our governance, performance frameworks and financial viability. Over the next three years our ambitions lie in growing the organisation and fulfilling an agenda informed by intelligence and which will focus on key issues, opportunities and risks. Our agenda has significantly changed, as our role within communities widens. Making our communities more prosperous is vital to us and our tenants as they face increasing financial difficulties, through external pressures such as welfare reforms and the increasing cost of living.

Our commitment within this plan is to tackle issues such as employability, by helping our tenants who are out of work or have never worked to get the training and employment opportunities they need and reduce their dependency on benefits. We are keen to work in partnership with schools as we understand the intrinsic link between employment and education, particularly in the 18-24 age group. We will also focus on social aspects of communities such as the health of our tenants and promoting community cohesion, particularly in the most deprived communities. Partnership working with key stakeholders including Durham County Council, training and employment providers and the health authority will be necessary to maximise our impact in communities and in improving lives. The use of business intelligence to inform decision making is being embedded throughout the organisation. A plethora of intelligence on the social, economic and environmental issues within our communities is being brought together in the 19 Community Plans we are developing. This will put us in a strong position to tackle the challenges which lie ahead of us, and assist us to make the most of the opportunities which arise.

Managing Performance and Measuring Impact We have a robust performance framework in place to embed performance throughout the organisation, and over the period of this plan we will use this framework to demonstrate the social impact our services are having on communities. We will become more performance focussed, ensuring performance measures are relevant, and embedding performance at the heart of what we do. Corporate Plan 2012-15 will be reviewed bi-annually to ensure it encapsulates and responds to future changes in the environment in which we operate, and to monitor progress against the delivery of commitments within the plan. Furthermore, performance measures will also be monitored and will evolve to ensure they underpin each of our priorities.

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2012 - 15

Corporate Plan Mission, vision, values and personality

livin | with the community at heart

Our original mission and vision were established pre-transfer, and underpinned our strategic framework as well as reecting the priorities within our Interim Corporate Plan.

We have also introduced the concept of our ‘personality’ which is how we want to be regarded by our customers, and this has been embraced by staff.

The Coalition Government has introduced unprecedented changes to policy and legislation which have had an impact on the public and private sectors. The resultant public sector cuts, reform of social housing delivery and other external drivers for change mean that as a homes and communities organisation we are now facing new priorities as we look towards a local response to the national agenda, and our focus moves to a more community wide approach. This has necessitated a refresh of our mission and vision to something which still underpins our strategic framework, but also reflects a new direction for our organisation over the next three years.

Our mission: Working with the community at heart Our vision: Sustaining and growing safe, cohesive and vibrant communities through excellent customer service Our values: Fairness Openness Reliability Enterprise Value Excellence Respect Our personality: Caring, supportive, helpful and community orientated

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Corporate Improvement Themes

livin’s corporate strategy is articulated through this Corporate Plan and driven through our performance management framework, which is based on the balanced scorecard philosophy. The balanced scorecard has four perspectives which drive continuous improvement and have been used as the basis for our ďŹ ve Corporate Improvement themes: Theme 1: Customer Focussed Services Theme 2: Efficient Assets Theme 3: Effective People Theme 4: Continuous Improvement Theme 5: Well Governed and Viable

Furthermore, we will continue to use the five Corporate Improvement themes to measure performance against, and allocate resources through the Workforce Plan and Medium Term Financial Plan 2012-15. Each Corporate Improvement theme has a number of strategic objectives aligned to them and the framework is as such, that the priority of these objectives may alter as influencing factors such as key strategic risks, the changing Government agenda, socioeconomic factors and customer needs and aspirations change. In each of the Corporate Improvement theme chapters, priority objectives are highlighted in red.

We consider our strategic planning framework, which was put in place in November 2009, to be a key strength. It has proved itself to be a robust framework which is still relevant today, continues to form the basis of corporate strategies and policies, and is used to fine tune our strategic direction and priorities.

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How will we deliver Corporate Plan 2012-15

The commitments within this plan see livin engaging in a wider, more challenging agenda than in the Interim Corporate Plan. To ensure delivery of this ambitious programme, despite the current squeeze on public funding and increased pressure on resources and performance, we have adopted a robust framework and strategy for delivery through the Reinvestment Programme. livin will launch the Towards Excellence Programme to deliver the Corporate Plan. Our Reinvestment Programme seeks to realise £1.25m of efficiency savings from across all service areas over a period of three years ending 31 March 2015. A proportion of these savings will be available for targeting the priorities articulated through Corporate Plan 2012-15. The programme aims to realise ongoing efficiency savings to protect the organisation from potential reductions in rental income as the government’s welfare reforms take effect, and the impact of additional inflationary costs of delivering important services. Key to the programme will be the reinvestment of efficiencies to deliver key projects developed and driven by this plan, and in doing so will cut across all Corporate Improvement themes and will be vital in enabling the delivery of identified and new priorities. This will include increasing opportunities for employment and training, decreasing fuel poverty through educating tenants and ‘green’ initiatives, introducing new business intelligence systems, gaining appropriate accreditations and reviewing our rent arrears and

livin | with the community at heart

financial inclusion service. Fundamentally, the Reinvestment Programme is about how we will direct resources where they are needed. Ensuring value for money is vital, whether this is through achieving more for less, more for the same, or the same for less. Realising efficiency savings Each Directorate within the organisation has a direct responsibility to deliver and ensure the success of the programme by reviewing costs and processes associated with service delivery. This will ensure that current budgetary provision is adequate to meet existing service provision and also identifies areas of spend that could be saved in respect of services/functions that are no longer a priority. We will utilise genuine ongoing efficiencies which will be reinvested year on year, and will be driven out through a stringent review of our largest areas of spend, identifying where our greatest costs lie, challenging current budgets and better procurement. We will also ensure that new projects are efficient, cost effective and reflect value for money. In doing this we will be resolute in challenging traditional ways of delivering services, identifying inefficient practices, increased and better use of IT to drive out efficiencies and using our performance framework to drive up performance and identify where service costs and performance do not balance.

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Value For Money Value for money must be demonstrated throughout all business cases to access funding through the Reinvestment Programme. In the past, value for money has been measured through inputs, however we must now ensure that impact against resources is also measured. Less money does not equate to value for money if the impact is less effective. The subjective nature of value for money suggests a value for money assessment is required for evaluating business cases and impact measures measuring our success. We will regularly review the programme to see what our value for money position is.

Accessing the Reinvestment Programme The programme can only be accessed once initiatives matching corporate priorities have been developed. All initiatives which require funding will need a robust business case which is closely aligned to our strategic objectives, and links to the priorities within Corporate Plan 2012-15. All business cases will require Board approval before the funds are released. There will be a non-directorate approach to the allocation of resources, and decision making will factor in key priorities, competing demands, expectations, value for money and expected outcomes as well as risk. Business intelligence will be vital to informing the decision making process and effectively reinvesting efficiency savings.

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Customer Focussed Services Theme Strategic Objectives: • Improve lives, neighbourhoods and communities • Improve customer involvement and empowerment • Maintain customer satisfaction and communication

Customers’ needs and priorities are valued and we are committed to providing customer focussed services with the community at heart. In doing so we recognise that the prosperity of our area is important and we support and invest in our communities to ensure they are strong and sustainable. Successful delivery of this theme will depend on the services we provide being fully focussed on the customer, and that we are able to maximise and measure the impact of them on our communities. We need to utilise our intelligence and customer profile information to fully understand the issues facing our communities, and to inform the decisions we make to help make a difference to the lives of the people living there. This can be achieved by improving the economic sustainability and financial confidence of a community and facilitating increased opportunities to access training and employment. In addition, improving the health, inclusivity and capacity of our communities will inspire confidence and raise aspirations of communities to become involved and empower them to make a difference to their own lives. livin will produce three strategies underpinning the overarching Sustainable Communities Policy and complementing the

livin | with the community at heart

Community Plans. Resources will be targeted at community initiatives and priorities through the livin Communities Fund, or by exploiting external funding opportunities. livin will provide a supporting role where we are not the project lead. We will work with our tenants and partners to reduce welfare dependency, increased financial confidence and inclusion, and provide choice, opportunity and stability for all. Our work will ultimately focus on the best outcome for society rather than cost to the organisation. We can achieve this by smarter performance measures and not just focussing on how we are performing, but what impact we are having, through developing social impact measures. livin’s “Your Voice, Local Choice” Local Offer is a range of pledges which have been developed through consultation and reflects the priorities important to livin’s communities and customers. Linked to this is the development and delivery of our first Community Plans which spells a significant change in our approach to focussing on communities and community based services and will deliver key projects and tackle issues such as poor health, employability, the effects of welfare reform and crime and anti-social behaviour.

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livin understand the intrinsic link between housing, health and educational attainment. We will work with local schools to help give all children within our communities, particularly those in the most deprived areas, the best opportunity to gain high educational attainment through helping to provide safe and secure homes, and contribute to the stability of families. As we face an increasingly ageing population, community isolation can be a reality for many of our tenants. livin will be reviewing older people’s services and will work with partners and stakeholders to proactively look at the role we can play in delivering these services.

score highly in our next self assessment. This, along with the changing agenda means we are moving towards a service provision which is common across the organisation but will be tailored to the individual. We will ensure we are continually improving access to livin services through “on the phone and in your home” and extending access to communication channels such as the internet. We will also aim to maximise customer involvement and empowerment of all tenants, not just involved groups, and our Community Plans will be a key tool in identifying community issues, involving residents and directing resources where they are needed the most.

In 2010 we undertook a rigorous self-assessment against the whole co-regulation framework which identified areas for development against the Neighbourhood and Communities Standard. Whilst we have made good ground in increasing our performance in this area, this plan sets out commitments to ensure we fulfil our ambitions to perform highly in our communities and

The current economic climate, cuts in public service provision and changing government policy have resulted in increased pressure and uncertainty being placed on our communities. Furthermore, it is apparent that there is a changing role for housing providers to fill in the communities in which they operate. Since transfer we have concentrated on ensuring the necessary financial and

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Customer Focussed Services Theme

governance arrangements are in place as reflected in our Interim Corporate Plan. Corporate Plan 2012-15 directs our journey over the next three years towards tackling the economic and social issues facing our communities livin also understand the importance of a high quality green environment, and this will be reflected in the Environmental Strategy. Our priorities and objectives will not be delivered if we fail to focus on our customers. Our major restructure in early 2011 created specialist teams to tackle the issues most prevalent in our communities at the moment. This formed the basis for how we will resource the shift in focus to inclusive communities by mainstreaming a customer focus perspective into all job descriptions and measuring performance against a competency framework. These new teams will become the interface between corporate resources, strategy and decision making and our customers. Specialist training for these teams will drive up performance in service delivery, and importantly these teams will become an instrumental part of the business intelligence ‘loop’ feeding intelligence from our communities up through the organisation to inform strategy. To be successful with the commitments within this plan we must mitigate the risks associated with delivering our new agenda. We will make intelligence led decisions which will prevent us from providing

livin | with the community at heart

services that our customers do not need or want, and we will strive to offer our customers more than other Registered Providers. Our Community Plans will be crucial for us to tailor our services to individual communities, and this will be achieved through community consultation and involvement. By using business intelligence to match service provision to the needs of our communities, the Customer Focussed Services theme has the potential to make a positive contribution to tackling some of the biggest issues currently facing our communities, such as improving prosperity, health and matching our assets to demand. A new foundation has been laid for measuring and delivering value for money. Expenditure on this theme must be closely aligned to the theme, relate to its strategic objectives and importantly meet our mission, vision and values. Reinvestment will not be at the expense of value for money. It is imperative that we measure impact, as well as input, and that we are able to monitor and measure the level of impact against resources invested. This Corporate Improvement theme remains primarily aimed at our Regulator, Staff and Board. Key strategic partners for the delivery of this theme include the Homes and Communities Agency, Durham County Council, the voluntary sector, Police and other Registered Providers.

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We will work closely with the Strategic Health Authority and continue to monitor our regulatory requirements. Successful delivery against this theme will require us to work and invest in partnerships, ensuring that we are represented on the right partnerships at the right level. There is an opportunity to link our Community Plans in with the Area Action Partnerships to deliver a joined up approach to tackling community issues.

Co-regulation and scrutiny poses a significant change to our organisation and we are making steady progress in building a solid base on which to progress. We have made good progress on our journey since transfer and have achieved a lot, however, we have now raised the bar once again to meet our new agenda.

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2012 - 15

Corporate Plan How we’ve performed

Current Strategic Performance Measures

During the term of this plan we will...

84.7% of tenants very or fairly satisfied with landlord services

% of vulnerable tenants reporting that the support they received from livin made their lives better

Develop and deliver the aims of the Sustainable Communities policy

67% of tenants satisfied that their views have been taken into account by their landlord

% of tenants’ neighbourhood issues resolved to the tenants satisfaction

81.2% of tenants satisfied with the way that their landlord was keeping them informed 60% of pre-transfer promises delivered 0.83% of tenants engaged or participating in management and decision making 60% of customers were satisfied with the way their complaint was handled

% of tenants who are proud of the community they live in % satisfaction with the quality of their neighbourhood environment % of tenants satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live in % of tenants satisfied with landlord services % of tenants satisfied with the way that their landlord keeps them informed % of tenants satisfied with the service received from livin % of tenants satisfied that their views have been taken into account by their landlord Number of service changes that have had a proven impact on service delivery % of tenants satisfied with the ease of access to services % of customer service calls dealt with at first point of contact % of avoidable contact % of tenants satisfied with the way their complaint was handled

Extend ways for customers to be involved and empowered Promote specific elements of ‘in your home’ Customer Access Review such as the access channels available through the internet and other technology Build on current co-regulation and scrutiny arrangements Achieve the Customer Services Excellence Standard Review existing service charges and look to introduce other service charges where appropriate Understand the impact of welfare reform on the organisation and our customers and develop an action plan to mitigate potential risks Develop economic, social and environmental strategies to underpin livin’s Sustainable Communities Policy Issue a new contract for the Grounds Maintenance service, including a service for vulnerable tenants Ensure major strategic partners achieve added value through community projects Develop local standards of service delivery with our tenants Ensure the delivery of the Community Plan Action plans Achieve accreditation for complaints service by the end of 2012. Work in partnership with other Registered Providers and stakeholders to deliver services centred around financial confidence in our communities Align our Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan to the new Respect Agenda

livin | with the community at heart

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Efficient Assets Theme Strategic Objectives: • Match assets to demand • Increase sustainability of homes and tenancies • Improve homes

Assets and resources are used positively to improve our existing properties and build new affordable, high quality homes within attractive environments to ensure choice for both current and future customers. The Efficient Assets theme has a key role to play in realising efficiency savings through the Reinvestment Programme, by reviewing current budgets and contracts, better procurement and disposal of assets. Collecting rents, letting homes and repairing homes remains our core business and it is imperative that this is done as efficiently as possible. In order to deliver our new agenda and priorities it is crucial that our asset management is efficient, that the approach taken to deliver the Efficient Assets theme delivers the organisation’s strategic objectives and that the growth area for asset management is in new build including section 106 developments, acquisitions

and empty homes. The Asset Management Strategy lays the foundations for delivery of assets as efficiently as possible through new build and improving and maintaining homes and the environment in which they are situated. At livin we are ambitious to expand our delivery programme, ensuring we are building the right type of homes for the right type of people and meeting housing demand. We will utilise HCA grant funding for the delivery of our new build homes and where such funding is not available we will support delivery with income from affordable rents, uncommitted borrowing capacity, unallocated reserves and additional borrowing. We believe the time is not right to embark on the development of low cost homeownership properties due to the current lending conditions and market volatility. However, if conditions improve in the term of this plan then livin will help meet the aspirations of those wanting to get their foot on the housing ladder, or release equity in their homes. Over the next four years livin will be converting 540 properties to the new affordable rent as part of the development delivery programme. We will wait for clarification on the Government’s current Right

to Buy proposals and be proactive in mitigating any associated risks through working closely with Durham County Council. Furthermore, having already secured £150,000 of Homes and Communities Grant funding to bring back empty properties into use, we remain interested in further bidding rounds to tackle blight and make our communities more sustainable. The Efficient Assets theme is relevant to Board, all staff and is of increasing interest to tenants and other members of our communities. The current economic climate, associated cuts in public spending and proposed government policy are the main drivers for the focus of this theme, as it has impacted significantly on both livin and our tenants. Specifically the cuts in grant for developing new homes through the Homes and Communities Agency has posed substantial risks to our development programme and business plan. As costs associated with our carbon footprint continue to rise we must adopt a robust approach to looking for more sustainable and greener means of operating as a business, increase the energy efficiency of our homes and educate tenants on how to reduce their energy consumption and therefore reduce fuel poverty.

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Corporate Plan

EfďŹ cient Assets Theme The agenda for livin has changed and this has moved the focus of the Efficient Assets theme to two main areas: reviewing areas of spend where efficiencies can be made and growing through new build, both of which are essential for livin to grow as an organisation and become more competitive in the market place. The main risk around this theme is the failure to realise efficiency savings in what are our largest spending areas. This will increase the risk of failing to deliver effective asset management and deviation from the financial plan, resulting in the inability to redirect savings into other emerging priority areas. This theme is funded through both capital and revenue funding streams and will be required to realise efficiencies through the repairs and maintenance partnering contract, and areas identified in the Asset Management Strategy such as savings through not investing in some low demand properties. Further efficiencies can be realised through better supply chain management, including procurement savings through our major strategic partners driving down costs.

livin | with the community at heart

Our investment in affordable housing will drive out efficiencies through minimising variations in house types, working with Southdale Ltd to reduce costs, and improve energy efficiency to make it more cost effective to live in the property. The Asset Management Strategy and associated action plan will be published in 2012 and will be the strategy for delivering the commitments and focus of this theme. The staff restructure has created specialist teams and the capacity, reliability and excellence to deliver the asset management action plan. The Efficient Assets theme will have a direct impact on numerous quality of life indicators over a period of time particularly through responding to local priorities, community safety, economic wellbeing, improving the environment and maintaining and developing good quality housing. Intelligence will be vital in determining the areas for efficiency savings, better ways of working and for successful delivery of the commitments within this plan, particularly around new developments, being able to match assets to demand, and understanding the impact of proposed government policy and long term demographic trends to

target resources effectively. Our key strategic partners for this theme include Mears, Bullock, the Homes and Communities Agency, Durham County Council and Southdale, as our preferred development partner. Business intelligence is both a strength and area for development in this theme. After finance, business intelligence is the next biggest driver around performance for the Efficient Assets theme. In particular having the appropriate intelligence on our asset base and the financial circumstances of communities will be crucial in successfully delivering the commitments within this plan. Becoming more efficient as an organisation as well as in partnership with our major strategic partners will be a priority and we will build on the strengths of the specialist teams created through the restructure and make good progress on ensuring the right people are in the right jobs. Our strength going forward will be in developing or acquiring the right assets which we can match to our tenants, reducing under-occupancy and therefore lessening the impact of the welfare reforms, and reducing turnover which will create sustainable communities and promote community cohesion.

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How we’ve performed

Current Strategic Performance Measures

During the term of this plan we will...

1.9% of dwellings failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard

Levels of under occupancy

Achieve accreditation for construction related services

98.3% of urgent repairs completed on time 92% of emergency repairs completed on time Average SAP rating of dwelling – 77.9 1.1% of dwellings vacant and not available to let 9.1 % turnover of tenancies An average of 59 days between re-lets for all housing stock

Number of new build units completed within accounting period Turnover of tenancies as % of overall stock % of stock that comply with livin standard % recycling rate of strategic partnership Average SAP 2009 rating of dwellings % of responsive repairs completed right first time % satisfaction with the quality of your home Average re-let time (all properties) % of stock void and available to let % of stock void and unavailable to let

Implement the Asset Management Strategy delivery plan Deliver the outcomes of the Sheltered Housing Options Appraisal Commence the delivery of a minimum 100 homes Develop a Greener Assets Strategy for livin and our tenants Achieve a value for money repairs and maintenance service Purchase 40 Broadacres properties by December 2012 Bring a minimum of 5 empty private sector homes back into use as affordable rented homes during 2012 Procure a further Repairs and Maintenance contract to commence in February 2015

% property match Avoidable turnover % of emergency repairs completed on target time % of repairs where appointment made and kept % of properties with a valid Gas Safety record

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Effective People Theme Strategic Objectives: • Increase organisational capacity • Create a positive culture • Improve employee involvement and empowerment

Staff are passionate about working for livin and passionate about delivering excellent services to our customers. The success of this theme will be in ensuring there is the capacity and skills in place across the organisation to deliver the sustainable communities agenda, and to continue the positive direction of travel for cultural change and involvement and empowerment. Leadership and management are key to what we want to achieve as an organisation and we will continue to give managers the confidence and skills to deliver the new agenda. We will, through the workforce plan, forecast capacity shift so we have the ability to adapt and mobilise ourselves quickly when necessary. We will further modernise terms and conditions, particularly in relation to a work life balance policy suite, to continue to be an employer of choice. The focus of the Effective People theme is to improve the human resources capacity across the organisation, and deal with every element related to the workforce. The issues driving the theme have changed due to the current economic climate and recent developments such as the HCA’s Affordable Homes Programme bid. Drivers for change include emerging government policies, value for money, regulatory changes and

livin | with the community at heart

the economic climate that has resulted in reduced turnover of staff. The Effective People theme is indirectly impacted on by other drivers which have a significant impact on other themes and these drivers must be planned for. The risks to this theme have changed since the Interim Corporate Plan and are associated with employment legislation, capacity to deliver, and stagnation due to the economic climate as staff are unwilling to change jobs and move to a different organisation therefore creating a need to develop and retrain existing people. We have made significant progress in addressing these issues through a recent fundamental restructure. We currently have successful staff engagement arrangements in place and will be complementing these further. Our major restructure is already showing signs of success as we have made inroads to re-focussing the culture, and we have made a significant step forward in releasing organisational capacity. Our commitment to developing our staff has been realised via our achievement of Investors in People Silver. Our focus now is on developing flexibilities in the staffing structure in the form of a core/non-core workforce.

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Within year one we will make progress on having a more adaptable, flexible, and opportunity ready structure, by building on our cultural change programme, and achieving the strategic objectives in the Great People Strategy which is underpinned by the Workforce Plan and Learning and Development Plan. Key priorities include focus on managing effectiveness, succession planning, reward and recognition, involvement and empowerment, and providing the capacity to deliver opportunities.

There are a significant number of key strategic partners which feed into the successful delivery of this theme, and include the provider of the Leadership and Management training, accrediting bodies, Great People Great Benefits provider, Investors in People assessment body, local colleges, Jobcentre Plus, the Work Programme, Great Futures partnership, other companies on DurhamGate, the National Housing Federation practitioners and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development regional group.

There has been a shift in how we resource the Learning and Development plan, as it was previously weighed towards regulation and governance matters. Future learning and development plans will be more service specific – focussing on technical, professional and targeted training for specific service areas.

Development against this theme will be undertaken through achieving Investors In People accreditation, identifying new legislation and emerging issues, and addressing the outcomes of the annual staff survey. We will also embed our new values throughout the organisation.

The Effective People theme indirectly contributes to the quality of life indicators, and all key strategic performance measures, in that this theme ensures that the ‘people’ capacity to deliver the required services is in place.

We are in a strong position to move forward with the new agenda, have created a solid Human Resources policy and procedure framework, have good employer relations with trade unions, and our recent restructure has formed a modern approach to service delivery. Furthermore we have a strong competency framework, and an excellent reputation as an apprentice employer.

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2012 - 15

Corporate Plan

How we’ve performed

Current Strategic Performance Measures

During the term of this plan we will...

0.2% employee turnover (voluntary)

Number of working days/shifts lost due to sickness absence

Achieve 90% overall staff satisfaction

Number of working days/shifts lost due to sickness absence – 7.34 days

% employee turnover

Develop a workforce plan to underpin the priorities identified in this plan

91% staff positive about a career at livin 79% staff satisfied with opportunities for empowerment 64% staff feel encouraged to be innovative and creative

livin | with the community at heart

% staff positive about a career at livin % of staff who are dedicated to providing a quality service % staff satisfied with opportunities for empowerment % staff satisfied who feel encouraged to be innovative and creative

Work towards being recognised as an employer of choice

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Continuous Improvement Theme Strategic Objectives: • Develop and use business intelligence • Embrace and embed equality and diversity • Establish a first class reputation • Develop a single approach to performance management

We deliver excellent services and we seek out new methods and opportunities to ensure our services remain relevant and truly reflect what our customers want. Continuous improvement is essential to all parts of the organisation, and failure to improve will result in us becoming uncompetitive in the type and quality of services we provide and the efficiency of the business. We must realise the strong links between continuous improvement and value for money in order to meet our emerging priorities particularly those aligned to the Customer Focussed Services and Efficient Assets theme. Our approach to continuous improvement is built on the balanced scorecard principles a system which has laid strong foundations on which we can continually improve. Our track record shows that this is a successful approach and one which we will endeavour to demonstrate better impact in the future. The success of this theme depends on continuously improving by making the best use of resources, utilising best practice, driving out efficiencies from inefficient service areas, identifying and targeting resources, adopting a mature approach to business intelligence and creating a basis on which to build up other service areas. Continuous

improvement is driven through all areas of the organisation, embedding equality as an improvement tool, managing reputation and releasing resources from certain service areas to re-direct it into others and importantly improve value for money. Likewise it is crucial to look to at our major strategic partners to ensure continual improvement in service delivery and to ensure value for money is being achieved. Previously we concentrated on putting frameworks and the mechanics in place to deliver this theme, but now it is about impact and introducing the concept of constantly monitoring performance measures for relevance. Economic circumstances, regulatory and legislative changes, the need to embed value for money throughout the organisation, and increasing expectations from customers are key drivers for the change in focus on this theme. Furthermore, there is an appetite from our Board and staff for the organisation to move towards excellence, and drive the key messages down the organisation to all staff. In mitigating the risks surrounding the theme we must be able to demonstrate improvements, be able to attract good staff, and prevent service failure. A major risk is our inability or failure to respond quickly to the changing

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2012 - 15

Corporate Plan

Continuous Improvement Theme environment in which we operate, however we have streamlined our approach to corporate projects to lessen the likelihood. Our self-assessment against the Tenant Services Authority standards put in place a streamlined approach to delivering these projects and a platform is now in place but resources must be released through the Reinvestment Programme in order to see tangible improvements. Our approach to undertaking the Continuous Improvement theme is to assign responsibility for continuous improvement from the top of the organisation to the bottom of the organisation, proactively driving out areas where we want improvement, holding all staff to account, and using performance to effect improvement. It is not about every measure improving year on year, but instead we will focus on whether the measure is effective and whether we need it. The theme will further focus on embracing diversity with the customer, amending

livin | with the community at heart

policies appropriately, improving our image and reputation with our customers and partners by improving our brand, building and maintaining quality housing, and utilising business intelligence. A more sophisticated approach to performance reporting will be introduced to drive up performance in the organisation. We will drive out improvement throughout the organisation using existing resources, and traditional core activity will change as there is an expansion of community focussed and skilled staff working toward the priorities in this plan. A main focus will be on value for money and an important part of this new approach will be to look for added value supplementary activity which we do not need to finance, through working in partnership and effective signposting and more appropriate use of our own resources. Intelligence must be used effectively to determine strategic performance measures, set targets, change policy and inform our decision making. We must improve our intelligence on what our competitors are doing and how we fit into the market place. There will be a significant impact on quality of life indicators as we continually improve in the customer

focussed service delivery areas tackling employability, health and the effect of reforms such as welfare benefits. This theme is a key business process and therefore enables all service areas to improve and have an impact on all indicators. Our key strategic partners who we need to work closely with in delivering this theme are the Tenant Services Authority, Durham County Council, the Northern Housing Consortium, the Housing Quality Network, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the National Housing Federation, the Homes and Communities Agency, and the Housing Ombudsman. Over the last two years we have developed specialist equality and diversity advice, and over the term of this plan we will build on the success of the restructure and up skill managers and team leaders to tackle underperformance. The workforce plan will set out where we need to re-train people. We will build on our strengths and firm foundations in demonstrating value for money, informing decisions through business intelligence, using continuous improvement as a tool for improved performance, measuring impact and building on our clear vision of what we want to achieve.

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How we’ve performed

Current Strategic Performance Measures

During the term of this plan we will...

80% tenant profiling information obtained to date

% of pre-transfer promises delivered

Achieve Level 2 Social Housing Equality Framework Accreditation

% of comparable key performance measures achieving top quartile performance

Achieve high levels of brand awareness and a positive reputation in the market place

% compliance with the Local Offer

Deliver all of the remaining promises

Progress on the Promises Action Plan - 79%

Self-assessment score against the TSA standards Proportion of tenancies where tenant information up to date % of complaints received that relate to inequality of service % of staff clear about level of performance expected of them

Deliver all of the commitments in the Local Offer Achieve our target score in our self-assessment Achieve HouseMark accreditation for complaints and feedback handling Review and analyse current provision and use of business intelligence within the organisation Introduce new intelligence systems into the organisation

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2012 - 15

Corporate Plan

Well Governed and Viable Theme Strategic Objectives: • Improve efficiency and value for money • Develop a single approach to risk management • Maintain effective budget management and reporting

livin | with the community at heart

We are a well governed and properly managed and financially viable organisation which gives us the flexility to invest in its homes, services and communities. The focus of the Well Governed and Viable theme over the period of this plan is to ensure optimum use of resources by being quicker, more efficient and more effective, using intelligence to target resources into priority service areas and ensuring we achieve value for money. The success of delivering against this theme will depend on us maintaining strong governance and protecting our financial viability. We have strong and effective leadership in all areas of our business, which continues to be developed and enhanced, along with a robust governance framework compliant with the National Housing Federation’s Excellence in Governance Code, to enable the Board to make informed decisions, allocate and manage resources, identify and monitor risk, as well as protect our staff and the organisation. The introduction of the Medium Term Financial Plan 2012-15 and Reinvestment Programme will be essential in safeguarding against increasing financial pressures on the organisation and our tenants, and also in reinvesting efficiency savings where intelligence is demonstrating the greatest need. The achievement of the Reinvestment Programme is the responsibility of the whole organisation and every member of staff has a contribution to make and is accountable.

Each Directorate should ensure a stringent review of budgets and realise significant efficiency savings. The focus of re-directing efficiency savings will have three strands: protect core activity; reinvest into priorities; and deliver new homes. The synergy between strong financial management and continuous improvement is huge and the theme continues to be relevant to all staff and Board members, the Regulator and tenants, particularly through scrutiny and the wider coregulation role, which will be incorporated into your governance framework. There are many external influencing factors which are driving the direction of this theme, including the economic climate which remains similar to that at the point of transfer with no signs of it improving. The change in Government has compounded some of the issues facing us and our tenants, and placed an expectation on the sector that we must adapt and take on a wider remit in the face of Government policy and the cut in public spending. Our Board are also being asked to make more commercial decisions which reflects the move away from the traditional function of a social housing provider. Our risk management framework is the cornerstone for mitigating both commercial and customer risks. This is increasingly important in the current uncertain economic climate where it is difficult to determine

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when the current pressures facing us will plateau, and we are open to new challenges on what we do as a business. Our old risk register dealt with the challenges we were faced with in 2009, however we have acted swiftly to implement a new risk register to ensure the longer term sustainability of ourselves as an organisation and also our tenants by mitigating risks relevant to the challenges facing us today and in the future, albeit these are unknown to a certain extent. Our more focussed approach to sustainable communities and the importance of the development and delivery of our Community Plans requires an alternative approach to allocating resources. There will be a less incremental type approach than before, as we move away from one and 30 year business plans to a more continuous budget cycle which aligns to our Corporate Plan priorities and is underpinned by the Medium Term Financial Plan. For this theme to remain highly performing a better alignment to the performance management framework is needed. It will be imperative to embed the risk management framework throughout the organisation, and look at systems and processes in developing the Medium Term Financial Plan. Resourcing the commitments within this plan is not just about pounds and pence. The culture of how budgets are viewed within the organisation needs to change if the Reinvestment Programme is to be successful.

Apportionment of monies into historically large budgets with no change year on year cannot be maintained in light of our changing agenda, and there is a need to realise efficiencies to reinvest into the new priority areas. The role of intelligence in determining the allocation of budgets and the reinvestment of efficiencies will be an intrinsic part of the Medium Term Financial Plan. In the future further intelligence on government policy, risk and

best practice in the sector will play an important part in informing our decision making. Over the next three years we will concentrate on putting new processes in place and getting our communication right. It will be imperative to maintain key areas of strength particularly the financial and governance processes we have in place, our representation on the right strategic partnerships at the right level and our ability to retain high quality people in the right positions.

Financial Summary For the year ended 31 March



Total turnover Operating surplus Surplus for the year transferred to reserves

27,201 9,218 11,031

26,622 1,411 694

Balance Sheet (£’000) Housing properties, net of depreciation Social Housing Grant and other grants

40,378 (734)

18,784 -



Other fixed assets



Total fixed assets Current assets Current liabilities

42,440 2,936 (7,340)

19,139 2,112 (7,624)



26,201 3,630 8,205

6,393 9,240 (2,006)



Income and Expenditure account (£’000)

Total assets less current liabilities Long term liabilities Pensions liability Revenue Reserve

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2012 - 15

Corporate Plan How we’ve performed

Current Strategic Performance Measures

During the term of this plan we will...

1.1% of rent lost due to dwellings becoming vacant

% of rent lost due to dwellings becoming vacant

Former tenant rent arrears as a percent of rent roll – 1.1%

Total rent arrears as a % of rent roll

Develop a Medium Term Financial Plan to run alongside Corporate Plan 2012-15

Proportion of rent collected as a per cent of rent owed – 99.1% Rent arrears of current tenants as a percentage of rent roll – 1.7%

Value of efficiencies generated through productivity Value of cashable efficiency savings % of strategic risks within acceptable tolerance levels Number of new build properties completed on budget

Maintain effective Corporate Governance Ensure compliance with the Code of Excellence in Governance

Compliance with loan covenants

Maintain and monitor the Association’s Risk Registers

Health and Safety audits closed out within stated priority periods

Incorporate the role of tenant scrutiny into the framework

Management cost per property

Undertake a review of the rent arrears service

Average cost per repair Delivery of improvement programme % of internal audit recommendations cleared within agreed timescales to an acceptable standard Average cost of void fast tracks Average cost of void re-instatement Average cost of void MIP

livin | with the community at heart

Realise Efficiency Savings and facilitate the Associations ambitions to ‘bend’ resources to meet emerging priorities

Review the organisaton rent plan and introduce rent de-pooling in advance of service charge implementation Develop Directorate procurement plans

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with the community at heart

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livin, Farrell House, Arlington Way, DurhamGate, Spennymoor, Co. Durham, DL16 6NL visit: e: t: 0845 505 5500

Corporate Plan  

The Corporate Plan sets our direction of travel over the next three years and sits alongside our continuous self-assessment and co-regulatio...