Last year we progressed further towards our ambition of becoming a digital enterprise, investing in the infrastructure needed to provide services that our customers will expect in the future. We made £5.1m in efficiencies against our business plan.
Improvements to our online services, including the launch of our mobile App, have led to more and more tenants interacting with us digitally, reducing transaction costs, and providing customers with a 24/7 service. Almost 30% of all interactions with us now take place online.
Our partnerships continue to strengthen and help us deliver services that benefit the whole region. For example, our joint venture with Wakefield Council, Bridge Homes, has successfully completed its first development, St Swithins and has started building on site at ThornesGate.
This year we received a number of national awards and accreditations including the UK Housing Award, the Resolve Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) Award and multiple awards for our commitment to gas safety. Cash Wise was re-accredited by Business in the Community and reached its 2,000th participant. We were also reaccredited by Tpas (tenant engagement experts) for the fourth time.
Our Business Strategy
We have four ambitions to 2020:
- Opportunities for All: Maximise opportunities for our employees and those who want to work for us.
- Building Better Places: Invest in more new homes and land to meet the growing need for affordable housing and become a regional housing provider.
- Delivering Customer Excellence: Create excellent customer experience by offering a range of services that maximise choice, opportunity, health and wellbeing.
- A Digital Future: Become a digital business, and enable our customers to maximise their digital opportunities.
Social Dividend and Social Return on Investment
Our business model is based on maximising what we call our ‘social dividend’ which is the money available after we have funded our core housing activities.
During 2016 / 2017 we created an indicative social dividend of £86.8m, which is being re-invested in building better places and added value services. We use Social Return on investment (SROI) to measure the estimated positive impact that our investments have on our customers and other stakeholders.
During 2016 / 2017 our social dividend of £86.8m delivered an estimated total social return of £393m. This resulted in a SROI of £6.60 for every £1 invested.
Work which contributed to our VFM ambitions during 2016 / 2017 includes:
- Managing nuisance and ASB on estates. This has reduced tenancy turnover rates and burglaries, which has in turn, reduced void loss income and repairs costs while increasing tenant satisfaction with our neighbourhoods as a place to live to over 90%.
- Offering work place opportunities and supporting people into work. Investing £820k this year in employment initiatives has saved the government nearly £8.6m and the individuals we have helped £2.9m in total.
- Providing wellbeing and mental health interventions. Which have improved individual health and reduced costs on the local health service equivalent of up to £1.1m per year.
- Supporting tenants to manage their finances through our Tenancy Ready Team and our award winning Cash Wise and Debt Teams. The services have secured £535k in discretionary housing payments and grants, helping tenants pay their rent to sustain their tenancy and eliminating the potential cost associated with an eviction of up to £7k. Our investment in debt services have resulted in a SROI of £3.50 for every £1 invested.
- Providing our Care Link telecare and responder service to more than 15,000 customers reducing the pressure on accident and emergency and ambulance call outs by up to 30% and resulting in a potential saving of over £570k for the health service.
- Working with young people through our Community Leadership Programme in partnership with Outward Bound, improving confidence, educational attainment and employability.
All these contribute to positive impact towards our Vision, creating confident communities, as well as reducing pressure on remaining public services.
Investing in our properties
We monitor the VFM provided by our homes using Net Present Value (NPV) and a traffic light approach to show whether properties are:
- - unviable with significant issues and investment needs.
- - some slight issues, and with some small changes could become green.
- - viable properties that can be maintained with minimum intervention.
The number of red properties at the time of stock transfer in 2005 was 2,372 and has now reduced to 588, securing income over the long term through improved viability of the housing stock
The map shows the distribution of our red, amber and green properties throughout the district, along with the average NPV value of each.
The distribution of our red, amber and green properties throughout the district, along with the average NPV value of each
|Wakefield North West NPV
||Wakefield City NPV
||Wakefield Rural NPV
||Castleford and Airedale NPV
||Normanton and Featherstone NPV
||Pontefract and Knottingley NPV
||South East NPV
Building new homes
Our future ambition is to build or acquire a minimum of 600 new homes by next year. In 2016 / 2017, we invested £19.5m in building new homes across the Yorkshire region.
What our customers think
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do.
When compared to organisations outside the housing sector using the TLF assessment criteria, our customer satisfaction score of 83.1% is well above average on the TLF Satisfaction Index league table.
Satisfaction with our repairs service has increased from 88.9% in 2014 / 2015 to 89.1% in 2015 / 2016, and increased further to 90.8% in 2016 / 2017.
We know that keeping ASB and nuisance behaviour away from our estates is a priority to our tenants, which is why we invest in it minimising it.
Satisfaction with neighbourhoods as a place to live has risen from 89.4% in 2015 / 2016, to 90.3% in 2016 / 2017.
Tenants also want to remain in their homes for longer, with turnover of tenancies reducing from 8.03% in 2015 / 2016 to 7.03% for 2016 / 2017, generating further VFM through fewer costs related to voids.
Value for money services
Community Employment Advisors and Training for Employment Programme
Over the past seven years, our advisors have helped over 1,700 tenants, their families, and local people into employment, and our Training for Employment Programme has employed 147 people since its inception in April 2013.
Based on research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, we estimate that our £820k investment in these employment initiatives provides a social benefit to the government and individuals themselves of £8.6m and £2.9m respectively
"I've been really happy with my WDH advisor. If it wasn't for her I don't think I would have got this job."
Our Cash Wise Team provides advice on household budgeting, switching utility providers, and claiming benefit or grant entitlements. Over the past four years, in excess of £1.7m has been provided to tenants through the team’s help. The team also provides targeted support to tenants adversely affected by Welfare Reform, helping ensure they pay their rent in a timely manner and sustain their tenancies.
The social return generated by Cash Wise is estimated at £2.1m, arising from the £380k social dividend invested in the initiative.
A tenant said:
"Thank you for all your help over the past few months. You have helped me so much by sorting out all of my debts. You have had so much patience and made me feel at ease and that means the world to me."
Working with young people
Our Community Leadership Programme, delivered in partnership with the Outward Bound Trust, provides young people with opportunities to develop their confidence, teamwork and communication skills, and maximise their potential. Over the last 11 years 1,500 young people have participated on the programme.
We estimate the social value to be worth £9.6m over the working lives of the participants.
An Outward Bound participant said:
"Before the trip, I was very isolated. The programme helped me gain confidence while working within a team. It was a once in a lifetime thing."
Wellbeing Caseworkers and Mental Health Navigators
In 2016 / 2017, our Adaptations and Wellbeing Team completed over 1,350 occupational therapy assessments and installed 1,550 pieces of equipment.
We estimate that the £1.5m investment yields a social return in excess of £4.6m, contributing to public sector savings.
Our Mental Health Navigators engaged with over 150 clients, and our Wellbeing Caseworkers carried out over 400 interactions, which is an increase of 280 on the previous year.
The annual social dividend investment of £270k in this initiative yields a social return of £1.1m.
A tenant said:
"WDH helped me through a difficult time. They gave me access the services I needed and without their help I don't know where I would have been."
Our Care Link telecare and responder service provides support to over 15,000 customers, helping maintain their independence. It also provides a wider social return, helping people that would otherwise need to call the emergency services.
Of the 1,824 falls attended in 2016 / 2017, only 176 required an ambulance. This equates to a saving to the NHS of over £400k per annum based on an average ambulance call out cost of £249.
This saving to public services is reflected in the social return for the service, estimated at £13m, arising from £1.7m social dividend investment.
"Having Care Link has probably saved my life. I've gone one year without a seizure thanks to your products as I haven't missed one tablet! I really can't fault the service, it has really helped with my recovery. Care Link for me is perfect!"
We intend to deliver an increased social dividend of almost £100m and an SROI in excess of £500m from our core housing activities. For the coming year we will be specifically focussing on the below challenging targets:
- Increase return from diversified activities by at least £300k.
- Cashable efficiency savings of at least £750k.
- No more than 925 days lost to employee sickness per month.
- Reduce properties classified as unviable by 150.
- Debt as a percentage of income is less than 4.5%.
- Cost per property for repairs is below £375 and is top quartile performance
- Tenant satisfaction is 86.1%
- Employee satisfaction is 83.5%
Further detail of the VFM challenges we have set ourselves for the year can be found in the VFM Statement.
View our full VFM Annual Assurance Statement 2016 / 2017 here
View our latest 2016 / 2017 HouseMark Benchmarking results here
View our latest 2016 / 2017 Sector Scorecard Benchmarking results here
View our Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2017 here