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Value for Money

We are committed to delivering excellent value for money services (VFM) that are of the highest quality and reflect the needs and priorities of customers and the wider communities.

We met the Regulatory Standard on Value for Money introduced in 2012 (which requires a Registered provider to "articulate and deliver a comprehensive and strategic approach to achieving value for money in meeting its objectives") and have continued to meet the standards each year.

The standards also require Boards to maintain a robust assessment of the performance of their assets and resources and ensure that they are managed economically, efficiently and effectively. We make sure that this information is available to our stakeholders in a way which is accessible and encourage the use of peer review and benchmarking through organisations such as Housemark to ensure transparency and openness.

VFM enables the Group to improve services and release resources to provide more houses, improve our existing homes and enable us to invest in our services and communities where we work.

The Group has developed an Asset Management Strategy to support its corporate objective to provide more homes for people in need including the sale of high value assets to fund future housing development. When considering the sale of an asset, its current value is measured against the ability of the asset to generate income over a given period.

To date, £388,000 has been generated from one off property/land sales in this way. A further 45 properties have been converted to Shared Ownership homes, generating £ 2.6m.

Over the years, we have looked at ways of making our processes less wasteful (through LEAN programmes) and ensure that they deliver real value for money to the customer. Since 2009, there have been over 20 LEAN reviews carried out.

Some of the steps we have taken to improve efficiency have included joining procurement clubs to get the best deals for goods and materials, negotiating longer contracts with suppliers to achieve more competitive rates and replacing an expensive stores process with stock equipped vans, relevant to the work about to be undertaken.

Recycling and energy efficiency measures have been applied to the Groups offices and premises including the use of solar panels to generate power, installation of sensors to automatically switch lights on and off and prevent wastage, collection of paper and waste in every office for recycling purposes and the use of electronic communications where ever possible to avoid excessive print and paper consumption.

Fuel efficient vehicles have been purchased for the group fleet and work is scheduled more effectively to ensure that travelling time is reduced.

All of our internal audits, carried out by independent auditors now look at VFM in their review.

We use a self-assessment toolkit when considering new project or proposals to ensure that they meet the VFM criteria. This looks at quality as well as cost and is based on existing tender evaluation toolkits already used by the Group.

Generating real savings for customers

A key component of the efficiency agenda is the reinvestment of money gains into front line services in order to generate and demonstrate outcomes for tenants. Since 2010/11 savings generated in actual running costs (budget) total £367,000 (ongoing/year on year savings).

Our efficiency savings have then been reinvested into property improvements which create real cost savings for customers.

These include:

  • replacing heating and hot water systems with energy efficient appliances
  • installing solar panels on sheltered housing complexes in order to reduce heating costs for residents
  • developing property cladding and replacement window programmes for pre-cast concrete homes to enhance their insulation properties and make them much cheaper to heat
  • ensuring that loft and wall insulation (where appropriate) are at the correct thickness to maximise heat retention

In 2012, a Value for Money Working Group was established which includes Tenant Representatives, Heads of Services, Officers and a Board Member champion. The group is chaired by the Group's Finance Director.

Services reviewed have included:

  • Governance
  • The Customer Service Centre
  • Invoice Processing
  • Homelessness Service
  • The new staff induction and probation process
  • Neighbourhood Warden Service
  • Estate Walkabouts
  • Customer satisfaction monitoring
  • Group Pay Strategy
  • Community Development Budgets
  • Group Training
  • Development

VFM has been a key area of business for the group over the past five years and services have already been assessed as part of the Group's LEAN reviews. The work of the VFM Working Group has been to reflect on the work achieved to date and look at key areas of the business going forward.

The findings/conclusions of the reviews are reported to the appropriate Board/Committee and on to the Group's Parent Board at least once a year.

Our Value for Money assessments and forward strategy can be found here