One of our strategic aims is for us to be a strong organisation so that we can deliver new homes, maintain our existing homes to a high standard, meet our customers’ needs and expectations and provide all of our employees with good terms and conditions.
Our key priorities therefore state that.
- We want to increase the number of homes we have and are updating our development strategy to achieve this key priority
- We want to continue to grow our technology enabled care and support (TECS) business and are making sure we have the right resources in place to achieve this
- We want to increase customer satisfaction and customers have told us that dealing with repairs, listening to their needs and the overall quality of their home are the things that matter most to them. In response to this we are increasing the number of kitchens, bathrooms, roof renewals that we deliver
- We want to achieve high levels of satisfaction with our employees in their roles and are responding to feedback from our recent staff survey and Investors in People accreditation.
Turnover last year was around £75 million with a £8 million surplus after we paid all of our costs. This surplus makes sure we can meet our ongoing commitments and achieve our aims.
Our financial strength will help us to meet our challenges which include potential increases in inflation, the impact of Welfare Reform, and ensuring health and safety requirements are met in full.
Our Group website continues to grow as an important hub of information and self-service for customers. During the year, there were more than 568,000 pages viewed on the Group’s website, 23,183 online payments and a 24% increase in online repair reports.
By restructuring the rent and buy sections of the website, combined with the use of paid advertising on social media, we saw an increase of 643% in property enquiries.
We also received 6,192 contacts via live chat last year, a 65% increase compared to last year.
Our frequently asked questions section of the website went live in April 2017 and was developed internally making a saving of approximately £10,000. This has helped to reduce telephone and email contact and has led to a quicker resolution of queries for the customer. In 2017/18, the self-serve website received over 60,296 page views.
The prevention and management of rent arrears continues to be a priority for us. Evidence suggests that early intervention is the most effective way to help customers sustain their tenancy and ensure that rental debt is given a high priority.
We strive to visit all new tenants once they have moved in and this year we have worked with 299 customers to maximise their income and reduce their debt.
The Financial Inclusion Team contacted our tenants on 2,431 occasions during 2017/18 and supported them in obtaining £361,713 of benefits.
To help manage the impact of welfare reform, we have invested in an automated computerised system which helps us to collect and chase rent arrears. The new system prompts us to intervene early and prevent any debts escalating.
Since 2012 under occupancy benefit reductions were applied to those under occupying their homes. In total we have worked with 1,121 households who have been affected. We have maintained a proactive approach and continue to employ an under occupancy officer within the Group. We have assisted 185 tenants to downsize their property. In total the number of tenants under occupying has decreased to 333 tenants as at 31 March 2018.