Welcome from Helen Evans, Chief Executive
Welcome to our annual report for residents 2019/20, where you can find out how we did against our targets, our performance, and achievements over the last financial year, from April 2019 to March 2020.
I’m proud of how our business has performed in what can only be described as difficult and uncertain times. We’ve made good progress against our targets including completing 95.7% of repairs within target time against a target of 95%; 100% of homes had a valid gas safety certificate; and we resolved 80% of complaints at the first stage of our complaints procedure. This is great news and something we will aim to keep doing next year.
There were some challenging aspects too. Our overall customer satisfaction fell to 85% against our target of 90% and resident satisfaction with overall repairs reached 80.5%, against a target of 85%. We’re closely examining the reasons for this so we can put measures in place to improve these services and achieve or exceed our performance targets for them. Our five-year strategic objective is to achieve at least 90% customer satisfaction.
Our business has remained resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected all of us. We adapted quickly during the national lockdown with our staff being able to work seamlessly from home, meaning we were able to continue to deliver essential services. Staff volunteers also reached out by phone to around 1,700 households with vulnerable people to check on their wellbeing and signpost those who needed further help. As I write, the country is facing a new wave of restrictions and we understand that many of our residents are facing financial stress; our usual bespoke and compassionate approach will be used to support all those who need it throughout this time.
On a more positive note, during the year we implemented a new fifth strategic objective of strengthening residents’ trust in us, making resident engagement and transparency a top priority for the business. Our aim is to improve trust in Network Homes by 10% every year. Our Board also took the decision to launch a new charitable fund for 2020/21 with a budget of £100,000 to help vulnerable residents during difficult times.
We brought in lifetime tenancies for all new tenants and existing tenants on fixed term tenancies. This change means every tenant living in a social or affordable rent home with us will have an assured tenancy which lasts as long as they want it.
The need for safe, secure and affordable homes remains as strong as ever and Network’s financial strength, its adaptability and its committed people means we can be confident we can continue to provide these to our current and future residents for years to come.
Our five strategic objectives
Here we’ve set out our targets to achieve by 2023 alongside our strategic objectives and the progress we’ve made towards achieving them this year. Our strategic objectives are important for guiding the work we do as a charitable housing association.
Maximising growth within our resources
We must do everything we can to help resolve the housing crisis and provide homes for people who are unable to meet their needs through the expensive open markets for home ownership and rent.
Delivering first class customer service
It’s important that we provide the highest level of service to our customers all the time. We have five guiding principles for our service, so we achieve this. They are the right culture; an accessible service; a more personalised service; a high-quality service; and an added value service.
Building a great organisation
We know customer satisfaction depends on us having talented and ambitious people with a shared vision to be a leading housing provider. To achieve this, we need to recruit and invest in our employees as we know a great team is essential to providing a great service.
Ambition To build
new homes in five years
Progress In 2019/20 we built
homes; we have 2,800 more in the pipeline
Ambition To achieve
overall customer satisfaction
Progress In 2019/20 we achieved
Ambition To become a Sunday Times
company to work for
Progress We made
Best not for profit company to work for in 2018
Increasing financial strength
We need to be financially strong to deliver on our ambitious growth plans, to fund improvements in our infrastructure and resources to achieve our customer service objective, and to meet our increased costs on our homes in response to the concerns raised by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Strengthening residents’ trust in us
We need to develop better relationships with residents as part of our ongoing commitment to deliver greater transparency, continually improve communications and offer a wide range of opportunities for residents to get involved in improving services.
Ambition To reach
operating margin on core social housing business
Progress In 2019/20 our social housing operating margin* was
Ambition Improve trust in Network Homes by
year on year
Progress We’ve just
this new strategic objective and will provide a progress update in our report next year
*Social housing surplus measures the amount of money left over from renting our social housing homes after we’ve taken into account the cost of management and maintenance. The social housing operating surplus as a % of total social housing income is called social housing operating margin. The higher operating margin, the better!
Welcome message from Ines Quintero, Resident Panel Member
It’s my pleasure to introduce myself as one of the newest recruits to Network Homes’ Residents Panel. My role is to work together with other members of the panel to represent, be the voice of and help improve services for all residents.
I started in March during the first lockdown period but thanks to the wonders of technology it did not stop us from meeting and carrying on doing the great work we do. I’ve attended panel meetings, met other panel members as well as having the opportunity to contribute by giving feedback on this annual report. It’s been amazing! I’m looking forward to the coming year and getting involved in community support projects, ensuring services are improved and helping Network Homes connect with their residents.