Group overview 2010 - Riverside

riverside.org.uk

Group overview 2010 - Riverside

Group overview

2010


Welcome 3

Our vision and values 4

More homes, better places 6

Focusing on customers 8

Older people’s services 10

Supporting people 12

Supporting livelihoods 14

New affordable homes 16

Cleaner, greener, safer 18

Tenant involvement 20

Empowering our employees 22

Doing more for our money 24

National profile and policy 26

Looking back 28

Group structure 30

Contact us

www.riverside.org.uk

email: enquiries@riverside.org.uk

Customer Service Centre

24 hours a day, 365 days a year

0845 111 0000

With inclusive call packages or mobile phones,

it may be cheaper to call 0345 111 0000

We are happy to accept Typetalk calls

Minicom: 0845 111 7766

2


Welcome

Housing associations are being challenged

to change, to meet the national demand for

affordable housing and personal support.

Change is not always easy, but the

improvements we have already achieved

for our customers have inspired us to rise

to the challenge.

Our merger with ECHG, the sheltered and

supported housing provider, has widened

the range of support that we can offer those

who need it most. It has also helped us to

refine our vision: transforming lives,

revitalising neighbourhoods. We are now

a force for good in the lives of more than

85,000 people nationwide.

We have completed major reviews of our

services, and an internal excellence and

customer service programme. We are making

our operations as socially responsible as

possible and we have already strengthened our

environmental policy to reduce the carbon

footprint of our new and existing homes.

Extensive consultation with our tenants and

service users has ensured that their views have

been central to our refreshed strategy.

We have also amalgamated our general

needs housing associations to create a

stronger, financially secure ‘whole’.

Over such a period of change, it has been

rewarding to see both our customer and

employee satisfaction figures rise, and have

our achievements recognised with two

successive ‘Social Landlord of the year’

awards for 2008 and 2009.

As we pass our 80th anniversary, it has

been fitting to review our direction. Liverpool

Improved Houses was established in 1928 in a

bid to make housing affordable to those most

in need. The damp slums may be gone but,

over 80 years later, the challenge of providing

safe, warm, affordable accommodation that

meets the acceptable standards of the day is,

once again, a pressing issue.

We still have plenty to do; we are privileged

to be able to do it, and committed to doing

the very best we can.

Thank you for your interest in Riverside.

Deborah Shackleton

Chief Executive

3


Our vision and values

Transforming lives,

revitalising neighbourhoods

Focusing on customers

We’re one of the largest registered social

landlords in the country, with more than

50,000 affordable homes from Carlisle to Kent.

Approximately 85,000 people live in a

Riverside home.

Respecting the individual

We provide specialist support for over 3,000

service users, from ex-service employees to

rough sleepers and teenage mothers. We also

help over 6,000 older people live independent

lives in our sheltered housing, extra-care

schemes and at home.

Working together

Our focus goes beyond the home. We take

a neighbourhood approach, working with

the local community to establish a financially

sustainable mix of homes for social rent,

shared ownership and outright purchase.

We also help our residents to tackle anti-social

behaviour, including gangs, problem neighbours

and fly-tipping.

Going for it and sticking with it

We support the communities in which we

work by investing in local organisations,

funding training and development for

residents, and by making substantial

environmental improvements. We fund

projects ourselves and also through grants

from other organisations, including the

National Lottery.

4


Communicating positively and listening

to understand

Our overall customer satisfaction with services

is approaching 80%. We consult our tenants

and service users continuously to find out their

views. We are also strengthening and extending

the ways in which our tenants are involved –

from helping to shape our policies to carrying

out property inspections.

Maximising value, minimising waste

We’re tackling value at all levels, from looking

at our operational structure and procuring

goods and services more efficiently, to cutting

our fuel consumption through our Corporate

Social Responsibility programme. We estimate

that the recent ‘Better Together’ restructure

will save over £3 million within five years, to

invest in more homes and improved services.

Challenging the conventional

We’re so committed to providing more

affordable homes that we are always looking

at new ways of working. Whether it is by

attracting more funding through partnership

working, or providing local people with the

opportunity to buy their own home through

Own Place, the scheme that offers discounts

on purchase price, subject to owner occupation.

Riverside at-a-glance

For year ended 31st March 2009

— turnover: £277 million

— surplus on ordinary activities before tax:

£13.6 million

— Total housing stock, owned or managed:

51,749.

(Subject to approval of statutory accounts.)

5


More homes, better places

At the end of the day, Elaine * goes upstairs

and can close herself into her own bedroom.

Downstairs, the sunny living room has been a

warm and lively centre for family life with her

three daughters. It feels good. It feels like home.

After her husband left, Elaine brought up the

girls on her own in a tiny flat. She slept in the

living room, desperately trying to get re-housed

somewhere less cramped, somewhere with a

little private space. She struggled with

depression. Eventually, the phone call came,

and Elaine jumped at the chance of a Riverside

home. It has transformed her life.

We let more than 50,000 homes at affordable

rents (in line with Government guidelines)

across the country. Our homes are clustered in

neighbourhoods where we can work with the

community as a whole, not just the occupants

of an individual house. Around half of our

properties are on Merseyside, with the other

half distributed throughout Carlisle, Newcastle,

Greater Manchester, the Midlands and the

South East.

Over the past five years, we have invested

£195 million in 15,000 former council houses

that were transferred to us by Liverpool City

Council, Manchester City Council and Carlisle

City Council. Many have been given new

kitchens, bathrooms, heating and wiring.

By the Government’s deadline of 2010, all

our sustainable homes will meet the ‘Decent

Homes’ standard.

*

Based on a true tenant story, names have

been changed.

6


Stock locations

The map below shows the density of our stock

by local authority.

Legend

No stock

Under 100 properties

100 to 300 properties

Over 300 properties

Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf

of HMSO © Crown copyright and database right 2008.

All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number:

100030505

Key facts

Riverside own more than 37,000

general needs homes.

— We now have properties in 204 local

authorities in England.

— Over half of our housing is located in the

nation’s 10% most deprived areas.

— 79% of our tenants say that, overall, they

are satisfied with the service we provide.

7


Focusing on customers

Last year we set ourselves the goal of achieving

a 10% increase in customer satisfaction within

three years – and it’s a goal that has certainly

spurred us into action.

We’ve completed a major service review

encompassing repairs, lettings, anti-social

behaviour, resident involvement strategy

and how we manage our ‘void’ properties.

The recommendations are already being put

into action, improving customer service and,

simultaneously, making economic sense.

Our employee survey revealed just how

committed we all are to providing an excellent

service. The Raising the Roof Excellence

Programme has been welcomed by employees

and has included every one of them – and

some of our contractors – in a tailored, Mary

Gober Customer Service Training programme.

After an in-depth look at our organisation, we

have re-organised our local service delivery on

Merseyside. We have introduced a hub and

shop system, which has resulted in all local

tenants being no more than a short bus ride

away from a face-to-face conversation with us.

It’s also saved us a significant amount in

administration costs, which we have been able

to re-invest in front-line services. We are now

looking at rolling this model out to other areas

of the country where we have similar

concentrations of customers.

8


Contact routes

Tailored service

Local shops

Almost all our tenants can talk to us face-to-face

at our neighbourhood offices in local shopping

areas. Shop locations can be found at

www.riverside.org.uk

Customer Service Centre

Our multiple award-winning Customer Service

Centre takes calls 24 hours a day, all year, for

225,000 tenants, on behalf of eight housing

associations. Tenants can pay their rent, report a

repair, check their account and discuss any other

aspect of their tenancy with trained advisors.

Our ‘Tailoring our service’ programme is

an innovative service designed to make

communication with our customers easier

and simpler for them.

Over 12,420 of our tenants have signed up

for the service, which provides letters, leaflets

and newsletters in their first language, or in

another format such as large print, Braille or

audio CD.

Our website carries the stringent ‘see it right’

certificate, and front-line employees and

contractors are all briefed on the cultural and

religious requirements of the households they

are visiting.

South East Housing Officers

In the South East Division of Riverside, the

service is delivered through our travelling

Housing Officers. They can deal with queries

at the tenant’s home, using modern

technology to stay in touch with the office.

Website

We have revamped our website to make

it easier for tenants to access services and

local information.

We have also got more improvements planned

this year, including an area for tenants to share

information with each other and get involved

in local community groups.

Visit www.riverside.org.uk to find out more.

9


Older people’s services

When Frank and Gwen started to find

managing their own home a bit of a struggle,

they knew they had a difficult decision ahead.

“We’d been independent all our lives. We

wanted a bit of help every now and again, but

we still wanted to get the most out of life so

we were a little apprehensive about moving

into a sheltered scheme.”

That’s when they met Janet, Scheme Manager

at Ash Grove, a sheltered scheme run by ECHG,

Riverside’s sheltered and supported specialist

subsidiary. “Frank and Gwen were looking for a

helping hand when they needed it, but they

are also very much their own people. We offer

security with independence. Help is here when

you need it, but your time is your own. You can

choose to join in with the social activities, the

fitness classes and the IT course, or you can

give them a miss. Everyone is different.”

“Frank and Gwen are a particularly active

couple who really throw themselves into life at

the scheme. They’re regular faces at our weekly

bingo nights, fish and chip suppers and fitness

classes. Frank did our Introduction to IT course

and now has his own computer! Along with

three other tenants he also set up a Social

Committee that organises its own social

activities every other week.”

At one stage Gwen became ill and needed

extra support put in place. This is where

sheltered housing came into its own for the

couple. Janet put in place a carer to help Gwen

with her washing and dressing and, as Scheme

Manager, she also encouraged Gwen to take

part in the life of the scheme once she started

to feel better. After a good recovery, the care is

no longer needed and both Gwen and Frank

continue to lead active lives, but with the

confidence that there is support there when

they need it.

10


Meeting the challenges

of tomorrow

An ageing population holds many challenges

and opportunities to work with customers

who wish to remain independent, both in

their own homes and within purpose-built

accommodation. To meet these changing

needs we will expand provision of extra-care

services and floating support for older people

in the communities around our accommodation,

as well as specific extra-care and floating

support services across the country.

Alongside this, ECHG will continue to upgrade

our homes and the systems that support our

tenants to feel safe and secure in their

accommodation. The most recent example of

this has been the creation of a three-year

partnership with Tunstall, a nationallyrecognised

telecare systems provider.

Key facts

ECHG’s older people’s housing focuses on the

importance of safety and security in lively

schemes that offer companionship and a real

sense of community for over 6,000 men,

women and couples. Services include:

— self-contained flats

— extra-care schemes

— supporting tenants’ changing needs as

they grow older

— liaising with social services and other

agencies on tenants’ behalf

— managed schemes

— support at home.

11


Supporting people

Clare * didn’t really think Gaynor’s visit was

necessary. Okay, the flat was a complete mess,

there were cigarette butts everywhere and the

baby wouldn’t stop crying but Clare had had

enough of ‘professionals’ poking their noses in

her life and making things worse. Her last baby

had been adopted, as she couldn’t cope, and

when her dad, her main support, died she

started drinking heavily. Her new baby was put

on the Child Protection Register. She’d had

more than enough stress in her life.

“But Gaynor was different,” says Clare. “She

talked to me on my level and she never looked

down her nose at me.”

Gaynor is a specialist support worker for ECHG,

our sheltered and supported housing specialist,

and she was there to tell Clare about the

Teenage Parents Project. Five years later, Clare

has two healthy, happy children; she is in

contact with her adopted daughter, and she is

about to take a degree in community work.

Clare says she owes it all to ECHG’s support.

“I am so grateful for the Teenage Parents

Project. My support worker had such a positive

influence on me and I wouldn’t be where I am

today without her.”

Since it was set up five years ago, ECHG’s

Teenage Parents Project, in Derbyshire, has

helped over 200 young parents to rebuild their

lives and provide more stable, secure homes for

their children.

Through ECHG, we work with some of the most

vulnerable people across the country, running

a range of supported housing projects for

homeless people, including specialist provision

for those with drugs, alcohol and mental

health issues.

*

Based on a true tenant story, names have

been changed.

12


Supporting over 3,000 people

every year

Award winning services

ECHG is one of the country’s largest providers

of supported housing and floating support

services including:

— direct access services

— dispersed and specialist accommodation

— foyers

— move-on accommodation

— floating support services.

We provide a range of services designed to help:

— vulnerable women

— people with learning disabilities

— ex-offenders

— homeless families

— ex-armed services personnel

— young parents

— rough sleepers

— people with drug and alcohol dependency.

ECHG’s supported housing services have

attracted national recognition both from the

care and the housing sectors. In the last five

years we have won:

— The Community Care Awards for

Excellence in Drug & Alcohol Services.

— National UK Housing Awards for

Excellence in Tackling Homelessness.

— The National UK Housing Awards

overall category for Excellence in

Housing in England.

However, we don’t just see these successes as

endorsements of our innovation and expertise.

They also present an opportunity to share best

practice and we have been asked to run Best

Practice Seminars at national events such as

the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference,

the National Social Services Conference and

the National Homeless Link Conference.

We work in partnership with over 50 local

authorities to deliver a wide range of services.

We work closely with them to deliver

specifications for services that meet their

needs and that successfully fit into their

existing range of service options.

We are proud that many of our schemes

regularly achieve across-the-board ‘A’s and ‘B’s

in their Supporting People Quality Assessment

Framework results – one of the few organisations

to achieve this.

Looking ahead, we are already working

with local authorities on the new Local Area

Agreement regimes which will help join up

public services more effectively and allow

greater flexibility for solutions to local

homelessness issues.

13


Supporting livelihoods

Unemployed trio Adam Hughes, Liam Harrison

and Joey Phinnigan all secured full-time jobs

with our joint-venture recycling company, Circle,

following a placement with Liverpool City

Council’s Transitional Employment Programme.

Commenting on his role, Liam Harrison said:

“Enrolling with the Liverpool City Council

Transitional Employment programme was one

of the best moves I have made because it led to

me gaining full-time employment with Circle.

A year ago I wasn’t working and was in a bit

of a rut as I felt I had nothing worthwhile to get

out of bed for. But now I am earning a wage

and have made some great new friends, whilst

doing something good for the environment –

and I don’t even mind the early starts!”

To find out more about Circle, please visit

www.circleliverpool.co.uk

14


Increasing prosperity

Decent homes, active resident involvement

and community investment are only part of

the answer when revitalising neighbourhoods

in the long term.

As part of our service delivery, we look at

ways of increasing the financial prosperity

of residents, by creating local employment

opportunities and offering financial advice

to those who need it.

As Keith Hutton, one of seven trained benefits

advisors, explains: “Many people are missing out

on benefits because they find the system hard

to understand, are embarrassed about claiming,

or simply don’t realise they are entitled. Yet the

money is rightfully theirs and could make a big

difference to their weekly income.”

But benefits advice is only one aspect of our

work. We actively encourage all our business

partners to employ locally within the areas

they will serve, and we support local authority

initiatives such as Liverpool City Council’s

Transitional Employment Programme.

We are also tackling financial exclusion within

our neighbourhoods by offering affordable

financial services such as loans and insurance

to those who would traditionally struggle to

access them.

One such example is Moneyline, a St. Helens

based service funded by the Department of

Work and Pensions that provides loans to

customers that banks may traditionally decline.

Many of them are forced to use doorstep

lenders who charge high interest rates –

this only sends them deeper into financial

difficulties. The Moneyline service aims to

provide an affordable alternative to doorstep

lenders whilst helping customers to manage

their money and become more confident with

their finances.

Key facts

— In 2007 we helped our customers claim a

total of £451,026 of additional benefits in

Merseyside alone.

— We provided £211,900 funding for credit

unions – the financial cooperatives owned

and controlled by members.

— Since 2006, the Riverside Impact Fund has

created 13 jobs and 103 training places.

— Since October 2008, Moneyline has

provided 513 loans totalling £212,200.

15


New affordable homes

Shelley is happy to show people around her new

home. When she was first told that she had to

move as part of a Liverpool regeneration

scheme, her heart sank.

A few months later, she and her family moved

into a brand new, modern development nearby,

and she now thinks it’s everything she could

have wished for.

“Naturally, when I was told my old home was

going to be demolished and I had to move,

I was a bit worried. But I have settled in great.

It’s so modern and well finished off. I am really

pleased with my new place.”

As well as the attractive, modern kitchen,

bathroom and fittings, the design of Shelley’s

house is eco-friendly and insulated to a high

standard, helping to keep fuel bills low. Built by

WAVE, a Riverside commercial venture, the

house has an insulated, timber-panel system.

Not only does the manufacture and construction

of a WAVE property use approximately 30% less

timber than a traditional home, it also reduces

waste by 50%.

“I love this house,” says Shelley. “I really

wouldn’t want to go back to the old place.”

As well as properties for affordable rent, we also

offer a full range of shared ownership options,

allowing buyers to purchase a percentage of

their property and rent the remainder.

Our innovative Own Place project has

released 60 improved terraced homes to

people struggling to get on the housing ladder

in Merseyside.

16


Own Place: a helping hand

Gemma and Cameron bought a house for

nearly £20,000 less than its full market value,

thanks to Own Place.

The scheme offers a 25% discount on empty

properties on the condition that the buyers live

there themselves, stay at least five years and

don’t rent it out. The scheme not only tackles

the affordable housing crisis but also revitalises

streets blighted by the eyesore of boarded-up

properties, and the issues associated with

buy-to-let landlords and short-term tenants.

Gemma said: “We’ve been trying to save for a

house for ages and probably wouldn’t have

managed it without this scheme.

Riverside fitted new UPVC windows and front

door, gas central heating and a damp proof

course, and upgraded the electrics before we

moved in. We’re fitting our own kitchen and

bathroom with help from family and friends

to save on cost.”

To find out more about Own Place, please visit

www.ownplace.org

Key facts

— The Riverside Partnership, which includes

Regenda, Vicinity, Guinness Northern

Counties, TWIN Valley Homes and New

Progress, has invested £77.1m to build

approximately 1,500 homes between

2008 and 2011.

— We were awarded the third largest

allocation in the National Affordable

Housing Programme – £63 million from

2008–2010.

— In 2008 we built 338 new homes for rent,

shared ownership or outright sale.

17


Cleaner, greener, safer

As 72-year-old Doreen walks to the community

centre from her flat, she passes a very different

scene from one which would have greeted her

five years ago.

The local centre, once a target for gangs,

graffiti and vandalism is now much safer and

cleaner. And Doreen, a tenant of 17 years,

thinks the introduction of Riverside Wardens

has made a big difference.

The gangs have dispersed, the flats are more

secure, and tenants who once felt vulnerable

have the confidence to get out and about

without feeling intimidated.

Only last year, Doreen joined families in a clean

sweep of the local centre, organised by Halton

Neighbourhood Management Partnership –

which includes police, fire and rescue, waste

management services and local landlords.

Together they painted fences, removed graffiti,

picked up litter and cut back shrubs.

Tenants tell us consistently that the quality

of their living environment is one of their chief

concerns; it’s one of the main reasons they

would want to stay in a neighbourhood – or

move away from it.

For at least two decades we’ve been involved

in initiatives to improve neighbourhoods.

Now it has become central to what we do.

At a local level, we spend over £1million a

year on a range of programmes, including

neighbourhood wardens, environmental ‘hit

squads’ and diversionary activities to address

anti-social behaviour. On a larger scale, we are

securing significant funding, through the Big

Lottery and Neighbourhood Management

Pathfinders, to help us make the lasting

changes that we, and our tenants, want to see.

18


Changing spaces

Green Spaces for People, a partnership between

Riverside, Places for People and Peabody Trust,

has secured £15.6 million from the Big Lottery

Fund’s Changing Spaces programme.

It is one of the biggest environmental projects

to be carried out by the housing sector. The aim

is to connect people with their local land by

providing green spaces where they can play and

relax, with health, social and cultural benefits

for each generation in the neighbourhood.

From food co-operatives (which grow their

own fruit and vegetables sold cheaply within

the community) to the provision of green

play spaces to encourage sports and outdoor

activities, our Green Spaces projects help to

reduce anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods,

and foster a sense of pride and ownership.

Neighbourhood management at work

Tranmere Together is a Neighbourhood

Management Pathfinder (NMP) project

involving Riverside, The Regenda Group, local

residents, police, the council, primary care

trusts and voluntary organisations. It’s another

example of our commitment to creating better

places to live through a co-ordinated approach

to partnership working.

Tranmere Together has achieved:

— 70% resident satisfaction with their

neighbourhood, compared with 64%

three years ago

— 35% reduction in reports of fly-tipping in

the first three months of the NMP

— 28% drop in arson from the previous year

— 50% reduction in the number of people

who feel threatened by burglary,

reflecting a real decrease in the number

of burglaries taking place.

19


Tenant involvement

“I went round to look at one property which had

been offered to a young couple and I wasn’t

happy at all with the work the contractors

had done,” said Edna. “The plastering work

was unfinished and they had made a real

mess of one of the bedroom doors. I contacted

Riverside straight away, and they sent workmen

along the next day to sort it out.”

Edna is a tenant inspector in Carlisle, one of

21 across Riverside that we’ve trained to do

quality inspections. When tenants have

moved out, and before new tenants move

in, she passes a sharp eye over some of our

properties, as well as reporting on the condition

of communal areas and aspects such as

Riverside’s communications standards. Our

tenant inspectors give us valuable feedback

from the viewpoint of those who matter most

– our tenants.

“I know what is acceptable and what isn’t,”

said Edna. “I tell the staff at Riverside exactly

what I think, and they seem to appreciate that.”

Resident involvement has always been

important to us, and now more than ever.

Our growth enables us to support more than

85,000 people, but that also means that, to

get it right for them, we need to know what

they really think.

We try to speak to all our tenants at some

point during the year, through market research

and our Tenants’ Panel, which regularly gives

us their views on a range of issues.

But getting tenants’ views is just the first stage.

We’ve stepped up our Resident Involvement

programme, with additional support for our

national Tenants’ and Residents’ Federation

and the Tenants’ Resource Centre. Tenants

can get involved at all levels – from Board

membership or Tenant Federation membership

to local tenants’ and residents’ groups, and

Neighbourhood Services Panels.

20


Tenant involvement

with Riverside

Tenant views

In 2007, our resident involvement review

looked at how tenants are involved in our

business. As a result, we are introducing:

— a Tenants’ Federation structure, involving

tenants from all parts of the Group with

members nominated by divisional tenants’

and residents’ groups

— a system for selecting tenant Board

members, open to applications from all

tenants in the area, and involving the

Tenants’ Federation

— Neighbourhood Services Panels to

scrutinise service quality and service

standards at local level.

We take regular surveys about the services we

provide, such as repairs and maintenance and

anti-social behaviour procedures. We ask about

tenants’ overall satisfaction with what we do and

the opportunities they’ve had for involvement.

To find out more about tenant involvement,

please visit www.riverside.org.uk/tenants

We will continue to support local tenants’

groups – at street, scheme or local area level –

with funding and resources.

Our latest figures show:

— 79% of tenants are satisfied, overall, with

the service we provide

— 77% of tenants are satisfied with the

repairs and maintenance service we provide

— 85% are satisfied, overall, with how we

keep them informed

— 72% are satisfied with how we take their

views into account

— 78% are satisfied, overall, with the quality

of their home.

21


Empowering our employees

A winning combination of determination,

self-belief and a supportive employer has seen

mother-of-three Maureen Pringle rise through

the ranks to become a Senior Manager at ECHG.

Maureen’s success story started when she

joined a Positive Action scheme, aimed at

attracting Black Minority Ethnic Group workers

into the housing sector. “I had just had my first

child. I was an unemployed, single mum and I

knew I needed to pursue a career – instead of

just jobs to pay the bills – for both myself and

my daughter,” said Maureen.

She joined ECHG in 1995 as a part-time

administrator, progressing to Supported Housing

Officer four years later. Despite juggling work

commitments with a part-time psychology

degree and two young children, Maureen was

determined to progress her career further still.

“I’ve always taken responsibility for my

own development – looking at what skills or

experience I needed to progress and taking a

pro-active approach to getting them,”

Maureen said. “At the same time, I have

always had great managers who have

encouraged me and supported my ambitions.”

Following an ECHG restructure, Maureen gained

management experience: first, as Service

Delivery Officer, and then as a project manager

for ECHG’s Tenancy Support Service. The merger

with Riverside opened the door to further

opportunities when Maureen secured the new

role of Performance Manager, managing all

the supported and sheltered schemes across

Merseyside and a 75-strong staff team.

Maureen’s progress reflects the importance

that we place on training and development.

We are committed to engaging and motivating

employees, providing the option of a rewarding

career path for those who want it, but also

creating satisfying and valuable roles for those

who wish to specialise at their current grade.

22


Staff development

and benefits

At Riverside we are fully committed to the

ongoing development of our people. The

Blueprint Development Framework ensures

that from day one, all new employees take

part in learning that is relevant to their role.

This includes a structured induction

programme, which is facilitated through

‘e-start’, our online learning tool.

The ongoing development of our people is

supported by a performance appraisal process

that focuses on developing the skills and

behaviours required to be successful.

Training and development is complemented by

a suite of employee benefits. Depending on an

employee’s role, these can include flexible

working, a family-friendly policy, 25-30 days’

annual holiday (depending on length of service)

and a defined benefit pension scheme. There is

a phone-based employee advice service, and

Reward Gateway, a shopping discount scheme,

offers cash back from more than 1,300 retailers.

We offer a welcoming and supportive culture

for all employees. We work closely with our

dedicated staff groups, representing disabled

and Black Minority Ethnic (BME) employees;

we are also committed to providing a positive

environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and

transgender (LGBT) colleagues.

For information about career opportunities

within Riverside, please visit

www.jobsatriverside.org.uk

Staff survey headlines:

— 89% of our people like the kind of work

they do

— 94% actively share good practice with

other members of the organisation

— 95% are keen to tackle new challenges

— 85% are happy that they have the skills

they need to deal with customers

— 81% believe Riverside values diversity.

23


Doing more for our money

Housing associations operate in a constantly

changing environment. The Government is

challenging us to become less reliant on central

funding and to seek new ways to address the

affordable housing agenda.

We have been ahead of the game on this for

some time now. We are already involved in two

commercial joint ventures and have our own

development subsidiary, Prospect (GB).

We have shown that it is possible for a not-forprofit,

social organisation to successfully

operate commercial ventures that provide local

employment opportunities and support our

Corporate Social Responsibility agenda.

The surplus generated from these activities

goes back into our housing and regeneration

business. This allows us to do more work to

revitalise communities and improve the quality

of life for thousands of our customers.

24


Our commercial enterprises

WAVE homes – a wholly owned subsidiary,

Wave provide a modern construction solution

that uses an insulated timber panel system

to produce low carbon buildings that are

ecological, thermally efficient and cost

effective. The average four-person WAVE home

uses 30% less timber, produces 50% less waste

and can be heated for as little as £36 per year.

For more information on Wave homes,

please visit www.wavehomes.com

Circle – a joint venture with G&J Seddon

and PLUS Housing Group. Circle recycles local

construction waste, preventing 85% of all

the waste it handles from going into landfill.

By using Circle, construction companies can

avoid paying landfill tax and can contribute

toward a better environment.

For more information on Circle, please

visit www.circleliverpool.co.uk

Compendium – Compendium carries out

large scale place-making, urban renewal and

regeneration projects. It is now into the

third year of the major regeneration of an

ex-National Coal Board estate in Stoke-on-

Trent, a failing estate is being transformed

and a thriving new community being created.

More recently, Compendium has been

appointed preferred bidder for another major

project in Yorkshire, and is also in dialogue

with other local authorities in the North and

Midlands over plans for new joint ventures

and local housing company pilots.

For more information on Compendium,

please visit www.compendiumgroup.co.uk

Prospect (GB) – Riverside’s highly successful

property development subsidiary. A wholly

owned subsidiary, with a combined commercial

and residential property portfolio valued at

£50 million.

For more information on Prospect, please visit

www.prospectgb.com

25


National profile and policy

We are working in extraordinary times.

Housing has shot to the top of the political

agenda, as rising house prices over recent

years have fuelled a national affordability

crisis and first time buyers have struggled

to get a foot on the ladder.

As one of the top five housing associations in

the country, we must be involved in the debate

about these challenges, influencing the future

shape of affordable housing provision rather

than waiting for events to unfold.

The Government has responded with a

demanding target to build 3 million extra

homes by 2020, providing over £8 billion of

funding for affordable housing from 2008-11.

A new Housing and Regeneration Act has

created two new national bodies: the Homes

and Communities Agency to oversee the

delivery of new homes and regeneration; and

the Tenant Services Authority, a new regulator

for social housing. But delivery will not be

straightforward. We are now seeing a

plummeting housing market, compounded by

an international ‘credit crunch’.

26


How are we increasing

our influence?

We are actively involved with partners and

stakeholders at national, regional and local

level. Whether it is through the National

Housing Federation, Strategic Housing

Partnerships or Local Strategic Partnerships

we are right at the centre of discussions and

decisions about affordable housing.

We respond to Government consultations

about its housing policies and programmes

– submitting written responses and giving

evidence to the House of Commons select

committee.

We actively lobby local councillors and MPs

– briefing them, meeting them and holding

events in Parliament to listen and respond to

their concerns and to tell them about our work

and the challenges ahead.

We commission research – ensuring that new

and innovative programmes are underpinned

by the best evidence available and working

with leading academic thinkers to look at how

we tackle issues such as worklessness.

As well as influencing policy, we must also show

that we are an effective and responsible

partner – that our objectives and priorities are

aligned with local, regional and national

priorities, and that we are making a real

contribution to meet the challenges of our times.

Our corporate planning process does exactly

that, and in a more open and consultative way

than ever before. By systematically analysing

the context and environment in which we are

operating, and by engaging with stakeholders

as we develop our corporate strategies, we

can demonstrate a clear and explicit link

between our investment and activities, and

the concerns of customers, Government and

other stakeholders.

We have been working with four of the country’s

largest housing association groups as ‘The

Housing Futures Network’, to contribute to

the national debate about the need for

fundamental reform in affordable housing.

Together we have published a report ‘Homes

for Tomorrow: New Directions for Housing

Policy’, which challenges the current model for

providing affordable housing and sets out a

vision for housing policy which maximises

choice and opportunities for residents, and

helps support the neighbourhoods they live in.

A full copy of the report is available on our

website www.riverside.org.uk

27


Looking back

Maureen remembers the exact date and time

she moved into her home in Canning, Liverpool

city centre. “It was 15th September, 1975 at

11am – and I’ve lived in this same flat ever

since. As soon as I walked in and saw the lovely

big kitchen, I thought – this is where I want to

stay and put my roots down. And I don’t plan

to move – I think they’ll have to put a stairlift

in for me eventually!”

Back in those days, we were Liverpool

Improved Houses and Maureen’s seen many

changes. “Everyone wants to live here now –

it wasn’t like that 10 or 20 years ago.” Riverside

continues to improve the properties, and a

recent refurbishment programme included

redecorating the communal areas, upgrading

some of the fittings in the flats and putting in

the added security of intercoms.

But it’s not just the flat itself that keeps

Maureen loyal to her Riverside home. “There’s

a strong feeling of community here – and

Riverside has been well ahead of other landlords

for tenant participation. I got involved back in

the ’80s, when some tenants were invited to be

on the management committee of Merseyside

Improved Houses – as it was then – for the first

time. I wasn’t particularly confident back then

but I remember Dave Wiseman, my local

Housing Officer, encouraging me to get

involved and represent my fellow tenants.”

Maureen has been actively involved ever since,

recently working with other residents, councillors

and local landlords, including Riverside, to bring

in a much-needed residents’ parking scheme.

28


We’ve come a long way since 1928. So has

society and its expectations – and rightly so.

From 15 houses in Liverpool in 1928 to more

than 50,000 homes across 204 local authorities

in 2009, Riverside has grown, enhancing the

lives of more than 85,000 people.

But it’s about much more than numbers. The

first feasibility study conducted by Liverpool

Improved Houses in 1928 tells a story of

multi-family occupation in “rabbit warren

slums” and a mother and her little boy living

in “cellar accommodation”.

Thankfully, those days are gone, but now

we have the challenges of worklessness,

anti-social behaviour and short-term buy-to-lets

to contend with. A collapsing property market

and unstable financial conditions differ greatly

from the problems of 1928; but they ensure the

issue of affordable housing remains a top

Government priority.

For over 80 years, we have been driven by the

desire, determination and ability to successfully

transform lives and revitalise neighbourhoods.

We are proud of our past – but we are

passionate about our future.

At the beginning of this booklet we introduced

our vision of transforming lives, revitalising

neighbourhoods.

Our group objectives to 2011 are to:

transform lives by…

— delivering excellent housing services

and support

— acquiring and building more

affordable homes

— supporting vulnerable residents to live

with dignity in their own homes

— helping our residents become

more prosperous

revitalise neighbourhoods by…

— improving our homes so they are decent,

modern and warm

— focusing our services in places where we

can make a difference

— managing places so that they are cleaner,

greener and safer.

29


Group structure

Central services

Divisions

Subsidiary

Joint ventures

Audit and Risk

Management

Corporate Services

Group Finance

Property Strategy

Regeneration

Carlisle

Mersey North

Mersey South

Midlands

North East

Pennine

— Central hub

— North hub

— South hub

South East

Riverside Home

Ownership

Commercial

subsidiaries

30


Contact us

www.riverside.org.uk

email: enquiries@riverside.org.uk

Customer Service Centre

24 hours a day, 365 days a year

0845 111 0000

With inclusive call packages or mobile phones,

it may be cheaper to call 0345 111 0000

We are happy to accept Typetalk calls

Minicom: 0845 111 7766

The Riverside Group Ltd

Registered Office:

2 Estuary Boulevard,

Estuary Commerce Park,

Liverpool L24 8RF

A charitable Industrial and

Provident Society

Regulated by the

Tenant Services Authority

Details correct at time of printing

R8/001-0609V1.1C

November 2009

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