Value for Money
Annual Assurance Statement Summary

2015 / 2016

Welcome to WDH's Value for Money Annual Assurance Statement Summary for the year ending 31 March 2016.

This report explains what VFM means to us and our stakeholders. It examines how we have performed against our VFM targets in 2015 / 2016, how we have progressed since the previous year, and how we intend to deliver VFM in the future.

Links to our more detailed report and how to submit your feedback about what value for money means to you are at the end of this document.

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:

Snapshot 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.

Snapshot of how we are doing

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.

Snapshot of how we are doing

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).

Business strategy to 2020
  • 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:

Customer

Deliver cost effective, targeted services through tenant involvement and the professional procurement of goods and services

We said we would...

Reducing the number of people classed as 'Not in Education, Employment, or Training' (NEET) who are living in our homes.

We did...

We continue to deliver the Community Leadership Programme, targeting young people identified as potentially NEET, providing them with an experience and communication skills that will help them succeed when they leave school.

We are delivering a learning programme in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society and our grounds maintenance contractor Sodexo.

Our Training for Employment programme assists unemployed people of all ages get into work, 40 people are employed for six months each year, with several of them being previously NEET.

We said we would...

Improving wellbeing using structured health interventions.

We did...

In 2015 / 2016 our Wellbeing Caseworkers and Mental Health Navigators provided health interventions to 729 individuals. This is an increase of 62% on the number of clients requesting the service in 2014 / 2015.

We invested in 1,735 adaptations to customers' properties.

We said we would...

Maximising the use of technology to further improve business and customer services through our Hub concept and online access to services.

We did...

We have developed our business intelligence systems to help us understand what customers want and have used this to help achieve VFM with more customers now doing business with us electronically.

We said we would...

Enhancing customer satisfaction through team leaders undertaking an Institute of Customer Service (ICS) qualification to improve customer service skills.

We did...

Twelve team leaders have completed the Institute of Customer Service qualification to date, and another 49 will begin the course in 2016 / 2017.

Community

Maximise the opportunities for regeneration within local communities through the elimination of waste

We said we would...

Reducing our carbon footprint.

We did...

Our revised Sustainability Plan, Action Plan and Policy were approved by the Board in May 2016. By 2020 we will have improved our homes to a minimum energy performance certificate band rating of D, and reduced the business carbon footprint by 10% against 2015 levels.

We identify and train frontline workers as 'sustainability champions' to further extend our reach to have a positive impact on more tenants

We said we would...

Building a minimum of 1,000 new properties by 2020 to meet the increasing demand for affordable social housing.

We did...

In 2015 / 2016 we invested £28m in our new build programme. In the year we have completed the build and acquisition of 356 new homes across the Yorkshire Region, expanding beyond the Wakefield district, to become a regional housing association.

We said we would...

Explore options for providing free WiFi for tenants within the district.

We did...

Feasibility studies are currently underway.

Commercial

Achieve the optimum, sustainable performance of assets and resources that maximises positive outcomes for stakeholders

We said we would...

Implement a wireless corporate network that will offer greater flexibility and help reduce our running costs as a business.

We did...

Network design has been completed. Planning applications are being made and implementation will follow.

We said we would...

Renew our fleet of vehicles with greener, more efficient ones to reduce costs and to help meet our environmental targets.

We did...

All our 400 vans will have been replaced by greener and more efficient models by the end of November 2016.

We said we would...

Integrate the supply chain to improve procurement efficiency savings.

We did...

Supply chain efficiencies achieved during 2015 / 2016 amounted to over £273k these included: 'clean and clear' of void properties (£135k) and heating installation works (£60k).

In contract negotiations last year, we secured eight apprentice employment opportunities of which four have been filled by WDH tenants.

We said we would...

We intend to increase the social dividend through the provision of more new homes through an innovative joint venture company formed with Wakefield Council.

We did...

Bridge Homes has committed to building at least 172 new properties.

Other joint venture models are being investigated with other local authorities and developers.

Corporate

Our aim is to ensure that every pound earned and spent is used in ways that maximise value for money for our business and stakeholders.

We said we would...

Develop commercial opportunities using our own skills and resources to maximise VFM for our customers while maintaining our performance levels.

We did...

During 2015 / 2016, the NSS CSG surpassed its revenue target of £6.2m and made £840k contribution towards fixed costs, helping us maintain a low cost per unit.

The success, benefits and growing reputation of NSS has resulted in numerous enquiries from other housing associations.

We said we would...

Set a clear link between corporate outcomes and employee rewards.

We did...

In last year's VFM statement we embedded a consistent focus on VFM within the business to form the basis for employee pay. Progress against four areas was communicated to all employees on a quarterly basis, and monitored by the Executive Team and Board.

We achieved recurring efficiency savings of £1.22m during 2015, contributing to £4.9m cashable efficiencies against our Business Plan.

We have set challenging targets for 2016 that link employee pay and reward with corporate performance.

Working with you to provide value for money

Case study - working smarter

Cash Wise

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.

Case Study

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.”

Case study - measuring the social impact of our Investment Programme

Care Link

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.

Case study

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.”

Case study – Switch and Save

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.

Case Study

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.
Customer Service Excellence assessors

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) +£26,598 (green) +£21,316 (green)
+£8,039 (amber) +£9,176 (amber) +£9,222 (amber)
-£72,337 (red) -£48,695 (red) -£33,839 (red)

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.

What's next?

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 full Annual Assurance Statement 2014 / 2015 here

View our Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2016 here

View our Current HouseMark Benchmarking Information here

We would like to hear what Value for Money means to you