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Annual Report to Residents 2013


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Annual report 2013


17,000 homes Guinness South

35,000 customers Our residents Single parents

from studio apartments to 6 bedroom houses

Peterborough

Rugby

South Cambridgeshire

Milton Keynes

Aylesbury Vale

Ipswich

Colchester

Luton

Chelmsford Wycombe

Havering London

Older people Guinness South location and number of properties 100 or less

Southend

101 to 300 Woking

301 to 500 501 to 1000 Mid Sussex

Over 1000 Brighton & Hove

Young families

People with disabilities


Guinness South

a Division of The Guinness Partnership Ltd

G

uinness South was created in September 2010 by the amalgamation of a number of legal entities operating in London and the south east. We were also responsible for the management of Guinness Trust properties in our area of operation. Following a major group simplification exercise Guinness South is now a division of The Guinness Partnership Ltd – with a Divisional Board responsible for service delivery to around 35,000 customers in over 17,000 homes.

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Annual report 2013


Guinness South provides homes across a diverse area – stretching from Buckinghamshire to Essex, Sussex to Northamptonshire, with a large concentration of homes in London and Milton Keynes. We serve rural areas, new

towns, suburbs and big cities and we manage property built in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

specialised housing for older people and people with support needs. We also have a relatively large number of home owners.

The properties range from studio apartments to six-bedroom houses and we manage a range of tenure types – general needs,

Our residents are equally diverse, ranging from young families, single parents, older people and people with disabilities.

Following a major group simplification exercise, Guinness South is now a division of The Guinness Partnership Ltd – with a Divisional Board.

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147 homes completed

400 new homes started building

350

residents are ‘working with us’

4.8%

4.6%

Reduced arrears

6

Annual report 2013

Our Plans

E

very year Guinness South publishes a business plan that explains what we are aiming to do, which can be found on our website at guinnesspartnership.com – it talks about our priorities and also sets targets for the services we deliver. From April 2012 - March 2013 we had five priorities: • Changing the way we look after the estates – and we are getting compliments about the new service • Making sure we deliver new homes – and we completed 147 homes and started building 400 new homes • Working more efficiently – we have made some changes to our structures to help us do this

• Engaging our residents through ‘Working with Us’ – around 350 residents are participating • Optimising our income – the amount of money that was owed to us reduced; arrears fell from 4.8% to 4.6% The coalition government has introduced a number of welfare reform changes that have had an effect on our residents – the first was the under-occupation penalty

widely known as “bedroom tax” which has affected around 1,100 households in Guinness South. The overall cap on benefits any household can receive has recently been introduced and the intention is that, eventually, new claimants will receive all their benefits in one lump sum monthly. These changes have had a big effect on some of you, so we are working to do all we can to support affected residents.

Allison Gray, a resident from Milton Keynes, recently took advantage of the help and support offered by Guinness South’s Financial Inclusion team to clear her rent arrears and get a healthier financial outlook. ‘I really don’t know how I would have got through my financial problems without help from Guinness South’.

Allison Gray


Our Linda Landamore decision to bring estate services inhouse across London and the South led to the creation of 24 new jobs and Linda Landamore, who has been a Guinness South resident for nine years, was successful in being offered one of them. ‘I’ve noticed a difference already, both on the estate where I live and the estates where I work. Some people seem to feel more comfortable feeding back to me when they know I’m a resident myself.’

In 2013 we have one overriding priority and that is tenancy sustainment. This has meant changing the way we work so we can offer help and support to people to keep their homes. We have staff focusing on supporting customers, providing practical advice and support primarily around financial issues. We also recognise that gaining employment is a positive step and we are looking to create opportunities (apprenticeships, work experience, internships etc.) within our workforce and that of

our contractors and consultants. We promote such opportunities, help in any selection process and ensure support in place for the individuals and managers involved. We also want to maintain positive links with partner agencies in order to obtain knowledge of training and employment opportunities and employment support, and publicise this information to you in targeted and effective ways. Last year seven residents gained employment – five as estate assistants and two as apprentices.

Twenty year-old Guinness South resident, Georgia Parmenter, battled against a top five shortlist of hopefuls to become our Sustainability Georgia Parmenter Apprentice. ‘I’ve always been really interested in the environment and conscious of how much energy my family and I use. When I saw Guinness South was recruiting for a Sustainability Apprentice I was really interested’.

During last year we helped 1,100 residents to claim over £1 million in benefits that they were entitled to including about £200,000 in one-off payments and around £900,000 in regular payments.

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Rupert House, a sheltered housing scheme in Kennington, London, received

£55,000 of charitable funding thanks to savings made. The money was used towards internal decorations and external improvements at the scheme.

Value for Money

A

ll organisations have to make sure that they look after their finances. This means collecting the money that is owed to us and spending carefully to make sure we buy the right things at the right price. All the changes that have happened as a result of welfare reform have meant that we have looked to change our structure to focus on rent collection – and intervening early so people don’t get into debt. This helps to protect our income and our residents. We have two main contractors delivering our responsive repairs service – and this has enabled us to save some £1 million each and every year.

Last year we had some problems with the service but this has settled down now. We’ve also budgeted to hold our costs (apart from wages) level this year – against a background of rising costs. Guinness South owns around 17,000 homes in an expensive part of the country and so, it is important that we manage these valuable assets to get the best of their value. This is why we sold 536 homes in Norfolk. They were a long way from the nearest office and cost Guinness South a lot to look after. We asked our residents in this area if they would be happy to move to another landlord that was more local to them – and they

agreed. We sold the properties to other landlords that would still give a really good service to the customers and the money we received will enable us to build 300 much needed new homes in another area that will be easier for us to manage. Whenever a home becomes empty we think carefully about what to do with it – we will re-let it where appropriate but we may also sell it. We think very carefully before selling our homes and aim to re-let the majority at the new “affordable rent”. This is a new tenure type that is significantly less than the full market price but is more than the “social rent” that was previously charged. The additional income that we get will go towards building new homes.

Rupert House residents enjoying their garden improvements

Milton Keynes resident, Dave Burn, has had air source heating installed in his property. ‘The air source heating is very effective. It’s definitely more economical than the storage heaters I had before. On average, I’m saving around £15 a month at the moment.’ 8

Annual report 2013


Value for Money is also about showing what we are doing for our customers and with ever rising energy costs we have concentrated on affordable warmth. Some of our older homes are hard to heat so we have continued to add insulation into lofts and into cavity walls. We have replaced over 600 new

Total Income 2012/13

Property Sales surplus £22,370K

boilers this year and will continue with this programme. We have tried to pilot new technologies and our challenge with these is the cost, although we are seeing that these do deliver the anticipated savings. Value for Money is really critical in Guinness South and while it

Total Expenditure 2012/13 Net interest £18,362K

is important to look for the big savings, our staff also look at everything they do to see if we can spend less money or save time by doing something we take for granted a bit differently. By not sending this report out in printed format automatically we’ve saved around £15,500 and we’ve done lots of things like this. We set a

Housing Management £15,360K

Estate services £5,074K Partnership Services (including integration) £9,577K Rent and Service Charges £87,650K

Other income £1,210K

Repairs £13,511K

Depreciation and impairment £17,965K

Bad Debts £473K

target to save £80,000 - which is how much it costs to build a house (excluding the land) in our area. Last year we beat the target and made £106,000 of savings with suggestions from our staff. We have set the same target this year – and are already well on the way to meeting it.

Southend-On-Sea resident, Maurice Kelliher, had insulation installed in his property. ‘I had the cavity wall insulation first and then had the loft insulation top up. It’s made a huge difference, no doubt about it. Over the course of the year, I think I’ve saved around £80 on my fuel bills.’ 9


Our Service Standards

G

uinness South worked with customers to measure our performance in providing the services that are important to you; such as repairs and how we deal with anti-social behaviour. Performance is reviewed regularly at a senior level within Guinness South, by the Corporate Management team and Guinness South Board members. Poor performance can lead to changes. For example, the calls we make to ensure

tenants are settled in their homes are going to be made by a different team. Our Scrutiny Committee (made up of Guinness South residents with a Board member as Chair) also has a chance to look at performance and as a result, might commission a review. For example, our repairs performance last year meant the Scrutiny Committee asked for a review and the recommendations have been implemented, leading to a better (but still cost-effective) service.

Measure

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Target 13/14

April

May

June

July

August

Sept

1

If you are a victim of a serious incident such as a hate related crime, domestic abuse or physical violence we will contact you within one working day to discuss your case.

100%

100%

93%

96%

94%

83%

86%

2

For all anti-social behaviour classified as ‘Non-Urgent’ we will contact you within five working days of receiving your report.

90%

90%

96% 

95% 

95%

94%

94%

3

You will be satisfied with the outcome of your anti-social behaviour case.

70%

44%

51%

47%

49%

52%

50%

4

If you write to a member of staff, we will provide you with a response to your query within 10 working days.

100%

95%

98%

98%

99%

98%

97%

5

If you have made a formal complaint, and are promised future action in the response, Guinness South will keep these promises.

100%

100%

94% 

95%

97%

95%

96%

6

If you report a formal complaint to Guinness South, you will be satisfied with outcome of your complaint.

60%

46%

46%

46%

43%

41%

41%

7

If you call the Customer Service Centre, we will resolve your query at first point of contact.

50%

37%

40%

38%

38%

39%

40%

8

If you make a request through the Customer Service Centre, your request will be dealt with within the timescales advised by our advisors.

90%

85%

86%

88%

88%

90%

93%

9

When you call the Customer Service Centre you have the option to leave a message and we will call you back within one working day.

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

10

If you report a repair to us, we will complete the repair within our advertised timescales.

96%

93%

94%

93%

93%

93%

11

If you report a repair to us, you will be satisfied with the outcome of your repair.

91%

97%

97%

97%

98%

98%

12

Repairs completed at the first visit

80%

86%

86%

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We will contact you within two working weeks of you moving into a Guinness South home to check that you are settling in and have all the information you need.

90%

66%

41%

30%

40%

48%

54%

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We will carry out a full new tenancy visit within six working weeks of you moving into a Guinness South home.

90%

94%

97%

98%

98%

98%

98%

Annual report 2013

97%

Meets target

Within 10% of target

More than 10% from target


Our Performance

A

s well as looking at how we are doing in the services we deliver to you, we also look at how we are doing against a number of other performance standards – including collecting rent, re-letting empty homes and building new homes. This information is looked at by

Performance Measure

senior staff, customers and Board members and this means that performance is scrutinised and challenged regularly so that necessary changes can be made to make things better. For future performance statistics, please go to the Performance pages of our website guinnesspartnership.com.

Target 13/14

April

May

June

July

August

Sept

1

Customer Information - new lets % collected

100

49

99

97

98

98

98

2

Average empty property (void) turnaround time weeks

3.5

3.0

3.3

3.2

3.0

2.9

2.8

3

Current tenant arrears (rented) %

4.95

5.1

5.1

5.2

5.1

5.2

5.2

4

Current tenant arrears (shared ownership) %

2.8

TBC

TBC

TBC

TBC

2.7

2.2

5

Empty property (void) Loss (total rented property) %

0.5

0.52

0.49

0.44

0.44

0.41

0.31

6

Properties meeting decent homes standard %

100

97.3

97.3

97.7

98.0

98.3

98.4

7

Number of outstanding gas certificates

0

6

9

14

10

6

8

8

Number of propeties with an energy efficient (SAP) rating <50

0

82

64

26

26

26

9

Number of properties handed into management

325

0

0

16

37

48

65

10

Number of new starts on site

250

0

0

0

0

0

0

11

Number of completions

250

0

0

0

0

0

4

12

Surplus - Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) void sales (£k)

£1,200

241

794

795

1,224

1,224

13

Increased capacity from AHP void sales (£k)

£3,147

450

884

884

1,313

1,313

14

Increased capacity from affordable rent conversions (£k)

£8,377

1,078

1,878

2,520

3,225

4,122

15

Lettings to customers in employment %

> 40

43

36

38

42

44

16

Lettings to Black and Minority Ethnic customers %

28

26

17

Staff turnover %

18

25 10-20

13.5

13.8

12.7

13.4

14.4

14.4

Black and Minority Ethnic employees %

27

25.6

25.8

TBC

25.6

25.8

25.6

19

Disabled employees %

4

7.3

7.9

9.1

9.7

9.9

10.3

20

Employee sickness %

2.5

2.9

2.6

2.8

2.6

2.5

2.3

21

Overall employee engagement %

71

71

71

71

74

74

74

Meets target

Within 10% of target

More than 10% from target

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Regulatory Standards £18.7 million spent on our homes

46,000 repairs completed

92% of satisfied customers

77%

94%

Repairs completed on time

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Annual report 2013

A

ll housing associations have to achieve certain standards that show they meet the expectations of the Homes and Communities Agency.

Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard Guinness South has a variety of ways for you to become involved; badged ‘Working with Us’. We have 350 involved customers. There are Action Teams where you can meet to scrutinise the housing and repairs service and these have been involved in selecting our main contractors. We also have a ‘Virtual Panel’ where you can be consulted about Guinness South policies online. There is also a Scrutiny

Committee with close links to the Guinness South Board. The Committee receives the same performance information as senior staff and Board members and can commission specific pieces of work. During last year, the Scrutiny Committee looked at the repairs service and service charges in depth and has requested changes to the way Guinness South works. Scrutiny Committee members attend Guinness South Board meetings. Sometimes things can go wrong and while we try and put things right as soon as we are contacted, we recognise that sometimes this doesn’t happen. We have a complaints procedure and aim to investigate and put things right as quickly as possible.

Home Standard All of our homes meet the minimum standard that is required and we spent £18.7 million (capital and revenue) last year to make sure this stays the case. The works include new boilers, kitchens and bathrooms. We also have a responsive repairs service that last year completed around 46,000 repairs at a cost of £5.5 million. Seventy-seven per cent were completed on time and 92% of customers said they were satisfied with the service. We knew our performance could be improved and, with the help of our Scrutiny Committee, have made some changes to the repair service that mean completion rates have increased from 77% to 94% so far this year.


This is a big improvement and of course means you are getting a much better service. And it is also better value for money because we don’t have to spend so much time chasing things up. It is important that you feel safe in your home and we carry out fire risk assessments and take the necessary follow up action. We also check for legionella in communal water supplies and make sure we know where asbestos is in our properties and have plans in place to deal with it.

Tenancy and Rent Standard Last year we let over 1,100 properties; this includes brand new homes, as well as in our existing homes stock. On average, homes remained

empty for 4.5 weeks last year between one family moving out and another moving in. We have since improved this to 3.2 weeks. It is really important that we let our homes quickly because in an area of high housing demand, homes should not be standing empty. We work very closely with the local authorities to prioritise the lettings, giving greatest priority to those in most housing need but also working to help customers move to smaller or larger accommodation if this is what suits their needs best.

to 80% of market rent) but more than social rent. By charging higher rents Guinness South will have the money to develop more new homes for people who can not afford to buy or rent at full price. We have let over 300 homes at affordable rent between 1 April 2012 and 30 September 2013. We conform to Government requirements that allow us to set rents in a particular way and to increase them each year according to a set formula.

A £3.3m project at Holbein House in Chelsea, London, saw us replace windows and undertake works to the roof as well as the smoke ventilation system. All external brickwork was repaired and cleaned in keeping with nearby buildings, thanks to a £50,000 grant from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

As well as traditional assured social tenancies, Guinness South has looked to a new tenancy type called affordable rent. This is set at less than the market rent for a property (up

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The Estate Services teams are doing a great job. The work they do is of an excellent standard and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re glad that our money is being well spent.

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Annual report 2013

Neighbourhood and Community Standard Guinness South has changed the way it manages estates and communal areas in London and the South. We have more specialist teams focusing on cleaning and grounds maintenance. While it is still early days, we have received a number of compliments as

residents have seen an improved service. We also work closely with other agencies and partners and this year, have been putting a lot of effort into helping people find work. We know that anti-social behaviour can cause great concern. Guinness South has a specialised anti-social behaviour team that dealt with 1,400 cases

last year. We aim to intervene early and if the case is serious, will not hesitate to involve the Police and in some cases this can lead to the perpetrator losing their home. Thankfully, most cases are not serious and in the case of neighbour disputes, we use a mediation service to help neighbours come to an agreement.


Governance and Financial Viability Standard Governance means having the right people and processes in place to ensure there is overall responsibility for directing and controlling both The Guinness Partnership and Guinness South. We have experienced Board members, with a wide range of skills to help steer Guinness South. They have a clear sense of purpose and the systems in place to make sure our business plans are delivered. Viability means being able to continue in business and meet all our obligations now and in the foreseeable future. Guinness South is a strong organisation with sufficient funds to deliver its objectives and continue to build new homes.

Estate Assistants practising their dance moves - stars of our Guinness South ‘Our House’ film. You can view the film on our website on the ‘About Guinness South’ page under the ‘About Us’ section.

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www.guinnesspartnership.com Henshaw House, 851 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3JZ Tel: 03000 111 321 Fax: 01908 609558 email: gs.mail@guinness.org.uk

Tweet us on Twitter: @guinnesssouth

Like us on facebook: www.facebook.com/GuinnessSouth


Guinness South annual report 2013  
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