We have seen huge changes in the housing sector over the last 12 months but we have remained in a strong position, continuing to provide the same extent and quality of services to our tenants and customers to achieve our vision to create confident communities. During this time our complaints have reduced and tenant satisfaction has increased.
We've seen great success over the last 12 months too including winning the EFQM European Excellence Award, recognising that we are one of the best run business in Europe, and being shortlisted for awards for our Cash Wise, WDH Academy and Work Placement work.
Last year, we invested £28m in building and acquiring 356 new homes across the Yorkshire Region showing our commitment to providing quality homes.
During the year, we saved £4.9m against our proposed spend in our Business Plan through effective performance management. This “social dividend” that is created allows us to re-invest money back into our communities to provide positive outcomes.
Some snapshots of how we are doing:
Our cost per property for responsive repairs has reduced by almost £40 to £376.13.
86% of customers surveyed say their rent provides value for money. This is a 2% increase on last year.
The number of complaints received has reduced from 39 in 2014 / 2015 to 27 in 2015 / 2016, an indication of increased satisfaction with our services.
Our former tenant rent arrears are comparatively high when compared with other organisations because we don't write off as much debt.
ASB is a priority for our tenants and our higher than average spend per property reflects this.
However, we have reduced the average cost per property and cost per case through more efficient
ways of working.
In 2015 / 2016 we built and acquired 356 new homes, which is more than in previous years, and we have ambitions to build more.
Providing value for money has never been more important and we have set ourselves some challenging targets:
- To fill empty properties (voids) as quickly as possible to avoid making rent losses.
- To collect debt owed to us as quickly as possible.
- To reduce sickness amongst our employees.
- To deliver further efficient productivity gains.
Looking forward, we have developed our Business Strategy to 2020, to ensure we are a successful business in the future, creating social dividend and delivering maximum possible outcomes against our four ambitions (see the full VFM Assurance Statement for more details).
- Create confident communities
- Deliver efficiency, growth and VFM
- Deliver social return on investment
- Protect core services, diversity and build on shared services
- Create social dividend
We look at value for money from four perspectives:
Working with you to provide value for money
Cash Wise offers tailored support to equip people with the knowledge and skills to take control of their finances. We have delivered over 400 workshops and 4,500 home visits to date.
Rachel lives in a WDH property with her two-year-old son. It was sparsely furnished with no carpets.
Rachel had considerable debt but was working to try to pay them off. The house was cold as she could not afford to pay the bills and she felt isolated and anxious.
Our Cash Wise team gave support Cash Wise and Rachel attended one of our workshops. She is now back on track and her rent arrears have been cleared which has increased her confidence and improved her state of mind.
“I'd heard about Cash Wise from a friend and he advised me to contact them so I referred myself through the Cash Wise website. They helped me to create a budget which made me think and look at what I was buying”, said Rachel.
“The support was brilliant, I can't say enough about how good it was, I feel much more positive about things now.”
Our Care Link telecare and responder service offers over 15,000 customers help to maintain their independence.
The service also provides a social return by helping people that would otherwise need to call the emergency services. Of the 1,551 falls attended in 2015 / 2016, only 163 required an ambulance. With an average cost of an ambulance call out of £249, this equates to a saving to the NHS of some £350k.
Janet, 54, suffers from anxiety and depression and has very poor mobility. She lives in a WDH property that has been designated for older and vulnerable people and has a hardwired Care Link system. Her 83 year-old mother is her main carer, and lives on the same street.
In August 2015, Janet had a fall and used her Care Link alarm to call for help. The operator
called for an ambulance. Her mother was contacted and went to wait with Janet until the
ambulance arrived. Following the incident we contacted Janet and her mother and asked if
they knew about our response service. They decided to go ahead with the service and the next
time Janet fell a few days later we were able to attend with the lifting cushion and help Janet
within 30 minutes of the receiving the call. Since then the Care Link response team has assisted
Janet many times when she has fallen. Her mother recently commented “Care Link does an excellent
job. I have real peace of mind knowing they can assist Janet, no matter what time of day or
night it is.”
A Digital Business
Over the next four years we will be investing in IT to help transform WDH into a digital business, increasing how productive we are while improving our services even further.
During 2015/2016 we started reviewing how new technologies can improve productivity and customer service. We have already introduced new ways of working in our debt team to ensure maximum employee productivity as well as identifying the most effective methods of contacting tenants to maximise resources.
We have developed operational dashboards for arrears and debt recovery that allows us to identify individual employee productivity and performance, and transaction costs created at an individual tenancy level.
This will facilitate the most effective methods of contact, and concentrate team resources in the most effective way. Innovative debt management will be increasingly important as Universal Credit is introduced throughout the Wakefield district.
What our tenants say…
I don't really think that WDH need to improve. Every time I ring up they give me the right answers if I need anything or want any help regarding anything. I have no complaints and have no problems with them.
They need to try being more helpful and understanding. I can only do so much on my own. I don't ask for repairs a lot so it's obvious I need help when I do call them.
They have always come out very quickly to do repairs. They have always been flexible with the times I come home from work. I finish around 3pm and they always come after this if I ask. I am overall, very satisfied with the repairs
They were very professional and kept me in the loop all the time with what they were doing. I was very impressed with the service.
WDH have done everything I wanted them to do when I've spoken to them.
I would like them to be more flexible as I work full time, which makes it really hard to be here when anybody from WDH comes round..
WDH have shown they are committed to providing a quality service to all their customers. From front line staff's approach and attitude to senior management's ability to seek out new and demanding challenges, all have to be commended on their determination to provide an excellent quality of service to their customers.
How do we measure value for money?
We use a variety of measures to ensure we perform as best as we can against other housing providers and the wider business community.
We use HouseMark to compare our performance against other housing associations, and use TLF (a research specialist) to independently measure customer satisfaction and compare ourselves to the top performing companies within the commercial sector.
We also learn and share best practice with other organisations through our Business Connect programme.
All of these measures confirm that the way we deliver VFM can be seen as a role model for other organisations.
We use 'Net Present Value' to calculate the value for money in our housing stock and then use a
traffic light approach to show which provide us with the most and least value. This table explains
this in detail.
|West Area NPV
||Central Area NPV
||East Area NPV
|+£20, 908 (green)
Corporate Perspective: Create a sustainable workforce
We are planning to deliver productivity savings of around £3m as part of an ongoing review into
reducing employee related overheads, and a pay and grading review to develop a revised pay
scheme for trade operatives.
Levels of sickness increased in the latter part of 2015 / 2016, and we did not achieve
our challenging target. However, we still performed better than the sector
as a whole. We have introduced a number of initiatives to ensure sickness levels stay
within our target for 2016/2017.
Community Perspective: Creating sustainable assets
Every year we carry out a review of each of our 31,000 properties to make sure they deliver the best VFM and to make sure they continue to meet the changing needs and demands of our customers. It also helps to identify where future investment might be needed.
We use net present value (NPV) to do this. Red areas have a negative NPV, amber relatively low and green are more positive. The diagram above shows that 88.8% of our properties represent good VFM and have a green NPV. Where they are amber (8.7%) or red (2.5%) we will look to either improve these or replace them over time.
Customer Perspective: Creating sustainable tenancies
We place our customers at the heart of all our services, and continually improve to meet their needs and deliver value for money. The results can be seen in our high levels of satisfaction, and the extremely low number of complaints we receive.
Satisfaction that rents provide VFM has increased for the second year running.
Commercial Perspective: Creating sustainable growth
We continue to achieve savings in overhead costs, which contributes towards the social dividend we create which is reinvested in our communities.
VFM is generated through effective management of our supply chain. Last year 35% of all spend on operational activities was with local businesses, helping to support, grow and sustain the local economy. WE also improve productivity through digital services and income generation including the Northern Shared Services cost sharing group.
For the coming year we are maintaining our focus on the four key drivers of VFM, and setting challenging targets to maintain and improve upon performance for the last year:
- No more than 925 days lost through sickness each month.
- Lettable properties void loss to be below 1% of rental income.
- Deliver annual efficiency savings of £1.25m including reduction of 30 posts.
- Corporate Trading Debt to be no more than 6% of turnover.
We also have targets to ensure we remain a well managed business that achieves the expectations of its stakeholders:
- Maintain a TLF Satisfaction Index™ customer satisfaction score over 83%.
- Retain tenant satisfaction with landlord services of 90% or more.
- Achieve an employee satisfaction rating of 90% or more.
- Maintain the highest regulatory judgement of G1 and V1.
We are also undertaking major service reviews in estate management and asset management, to ensure that we continue to improve and deliver VFM and excellent services to our stakeholders.
View our full Annual Assurance Statement 2015 / 2016 here
View our Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2016 here
View our Current HouseMark Benchmarking Information here