Annual Report 2014/15

ol1oldham

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Annual Report

2014/15

Registered Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Number 31138R

Registered Homes and Communities Agency Number 4582


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

WELCOME

When properties

were transferred

to FCHO in 2010

we made

154

promises

to our customers.

We completed these promises

one year ahead

of the scheduled date.

In 2014-15 we organised over

3,500 volunteering hours

to benefit Oldham residents. I am

particularly pleased to note that almost half

of the total hours were contributed by

FCHO customers.

In the same period, FCHO trained

50 volunteers

and supervised

65 work placements.

We also provided

28 apprenticeships;

three of whom were later

employed by FCHO.

VOLUNTEER

Hello.

I am Cath Green,

Chief Executive of FCHO.

I hope you find our Annual

Report of interest and you

get a fair and balanced

understanding of the work

we do.

It is important that FCHO does as much as

it can to help customers, Oldham residents

and local producers. In the past year

we provided

£160,000

of community grant funding to support over

30 community centres and groups.

We also take an active interest in supporting

local charities and in the past year raised

£16,000

for DS West Pennine.

Oldham has been a welfare reform pilot area

since July 2013 and these changes have had

a huge impact for many customers. We work

hard with customers to find ways to help

them through these changes.

Our efforts range from building employment

skills, advice on household budgets and

ensuring people claim all the benefits they

are entitled to (and at the earliest

date possible).

WELFARE REFORM


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

Although

overall customer

satisfaction with

landlord listening

has risen from

78% to 84%

it remains well below the

level we want to reach. We are

working to improve the factors

influencing our performance.

To Let

The number of

empty properties

reduced from

304 to 125.

This provides more

income, allowing

FCHO to invest

in services whilst

providing more

much-needed

affordable housing

in our town.

On a personal note – I am very proud

of the fact that First Choice Homes

Oldham was awarded 54th place in

the highly competitive Times Top

100 Companies list of not-for-profit

organisations.

This is a great

achievement and

reflects our

continued drive to

be an employer of

choice, improving

lives in Oldham.

All-in-all we invested

£27,800,000

on home improvements.

In the past year we invested over

£1,000,000

on adapting properties to enable

customers to remain

in their home.

We have also installed

over 2,300 new bathrooms

and more than

2,000 new kitchens.

Another key area for development

is FCHO Property Care, the new name

for our repairs service.

FCHO invested over

£700,000

in a new job scheduling and

agile working IT system to provide

a better repair service,

including more appointments.

For the third

year running,

our rent

performance

has improved.

In 2014-15

we collected

99.88%

- an increase of

£102,000

on the previous

year.

FCHO is in a good

position to tackle

the challenges in

the years ahead.

For now, continue

on with this year’s

Annual Report and

get more detail

on how 2014-15

was for FCHO, our

customers and those

we work with.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

WHO

WE ARE

AND

WHAT WE

BELIEVE

Homes | Community | Business | People

WHAT WE DO

FCHO is a

‘not for profit’

housing association,

managing approximately

12,000

homes

in Oldham

Any surplus money is reinvested

into homes and neighbourhoods

We are a completely

INDEPENDENT

provider of social housing.

Working with tenants and

partners we make our own

decisions about our future.

OUR

We keep it

SIMPLE

and

VALUES

We Listen

We Own

We Care

We Act

We Learn

LOCAL ECONOMY

We are committed to boosting

the local economy as much

as is practical. In 2014-15

we spent over

£27,000,000

(excluding wages)

in the Oldham area.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

WHAT WE ‘RE ABOUT

Improving

lives in

OLDHAM

CUSTOMER FIRST

1st

The customer is at the

heart of everything we do.

An Independent Scrutiny

Panel and customer

forums support the work

of the Board of Directors.

FOUR KEY PRIORITIES

1. Our Communities

2. Our Homes

REGULATION

Our Board

of Directors

oversee the

overall running

of FCHO and

makes the key

decisions.

FCHO is

regulated by

the Homes and

Communities

Agency who

monitor and

check what

we do to

ensure that

we meet the

standards for

managing and

maintaining

homes. We

are governed

by Industrial

and Provident

Society rules.

3. Our People

4. Our Business

MOVING

FORWARD

FCHO is proud of the work we

do in and around Oldham for

the benefit of our customers -

such as improvements made to

homes through the investment

programme.

The building of our brand new head

office on Union Street in the centre

of town shows our commitment to

the regeneration of Oldham and to

our customers.

We are committed to achieving

success for our customers, partners

and colleagues. The current

economic climate in which we

operate is a major contributing

factor to the risks facing FCHO. Five

areas are of particular concern for

the year ahead:

Welfare Reform

Difficult to estimate based on the

number currently in receipt of

Universal Credit – but we expect

the impact to be significant,

particularly with the recent budget

announcements.

Empty properties

Not only do empty properties deny

a home for people on our waiting

list, but it represents a significant

loss of income for FCHO.

Managing our properties

FCHO must ensure that its

resources are allocated in a

sustainable way. It is vital that

we maintain and invest in our

properties.

Property Care

The repairs service continues to

be a focus for development and

improvement.

Sustaining Tenancies

FCHO is committed to supporting

customers manage tenancies.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

OUR

COMMUNITIES

ONE POINT

Over

26,000

customers had face-to-face

interviews at our

One Point Centre

We provide a range of ways for

new and existing customers to

access FCHO services that are

convenient, fair and easy to use.

Homes | Community | Business | People

Over

80,000

service visits to

customers in their

own homes. These

visits include repair

work, customer

support, tenancy visits

and customer advice.

Answered

150,000

telephone enquiries

= 94%

of all calls received

of calls received were

74.42% answered within 20 seconds

WEBSITE

346,115

people viewed over

one million

pages

Our web content can be easily translated into

over 90 languages


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

Customer feedback – both

compliments and complaints

– is vital in shaping and

improving our services.

Customer comments directly

influence their neighbourhood

and the borough.

Provided an additional

£160K

of community grant

funding, supported over

30

community centres and

groups and helped them

attract over

£150,000

in other funding

Over

4,000

customers attended

or were involved

with FCHO local

community events

Customer

Involvement

Supported our

Customer Forums,

Independent

Scrutiny Panel and

mystery shoppers

who help shape and

improve our policies

and services

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Customer

Satisfaction

Survey

Excellent

Average

Needs

improvement

Improved

customer

satisfaction with

landlord services

rose from

78% to

83%

Improved

customer

satisfaction with

‘landlord takes

views into account’

rose from 56% to

74%

Improved

customer

satisfaction

with their

neighbourhoods

rose from 78% to

84%


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

OUR

COMMUNITIES

We provide a range of ways for

new and existing customers to

access FCHO services that are

convenient, fair and easy to use.

Homes | Community | Business | People

Customer

Support

We gave extra

help to

customers

through such

assistance as

tenancy support,

pre-tenancy

checks and

Supported

Accommodation

Access Point.

ENVIRONMENTAL

We reviewed the way our

caretaking and grounds

maintenance services

operated and set up a new

Environmental Services team

to deliver improvements.

CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

50 volunteers trained

65 work placements

28 apprenticeships

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE EMPLOYER

85% of employees live in Oldham


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

LOCAL

SPEND

52%

of FCHO expenditure was with contractors

and suppliers based within 10 miles

of Oldham town centre.

ANTI-SOCIAL

BEHAVIOUR

We took 68 cases to court.

76%

of customers making a

complaint were happy with

how FCHO dealt with it.

SUSTAINING TENANCIES

Some customers need help in learning how to

manage a tenancy and live independent lives.

Last year we:

We received

British Gas funding to

deliver BGreen energy

efficiency work.

Set up and provided

on-going support

to over

169

vulnerable

customers

Provided pre-tenancy

support to

1,019

prospective customers

to better prepare them

to be successful tenants

13

disabled

customers

were rehoused

to meet their needs


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

OUR

BUSINESS

In our push to achieve improved

economic performance, greater

efficiency and target our

effectiveness we look closely at

all spending decisions.

We maintained the highest

governance and viability rating

with the Homes and

Communities Agency.

NEW OFFICE

New state of the art new office

in the centre of Oldham.

Homes | Community | Business | People

Together

Everyone

Achieves

More

STAFF

SATISFACTION

92%

Companies with

high levels of

satisfaction tend

to deliver better

services and have

good customer

relations.

EMPTY PROPERTIES

Each empty property (void) means a loss of income for FCHO

and is a property unavailable to our customers.

We had a successful year in 2014-15 in bringing the number of

voids down and at the end of the year we had

125

The previous end of year figure was

304

This reduced the Rent Loss Due to Voids from £1,200,000 in

2013-14 to £806,000 in this year – an improvement of around

£400,000

This provides more homes for people

within our town.

GOVERNANCE AND VIABILITY

The Homes and Communities Agency, who

oversee the social housing sector, concluded that

FCHO meets the requirements as laid down in its

Governance and Viability Standard. It awarded a

rating of V1 (Top rating for viability). FCHO also

retained its G1 rating in respect of the

Governance Standard.

The HCA also confirmed that FCHO is fully

compliant with the Value for Money Standard.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

28

apprenticeship

opportunities

created

3

apprentices have

been employed

by FCHO

VOLUNTEERING

FCHO organised over

3,500 volunteering hours

to benefit Oldham residents. Almost half of those hours

were contributed by FCHO customers.

Over 440 colleague volunteering hours

were provided in the service of Oldham communityfocused

organisations and activities.

24 volunteers moved into work or education.

13 work placements

secured employment with FCHO.

For the third year running our

level of rental collection has

increased. In 2014-15

we collected

99.88%

- an excellent and necessary

achievement.

This is a

£102,000

increase on the previous year.

FCHO is a LIVING WAGE

employer. The wage paid is higher

than the minimum wage. As well as

improving life for the employee, the

extra money helps the local economy

and by extension,

the people of

Oldham

REGULATION

FCHO is governed by the Homes and

Communities Agency. We operate under

Industrial and Provident Society rules.

Our Board of Directors oversee the

running of the organisation and make

the key decisions.An Independent

Scrutiny Panel (ISP) works on behalf of

customers to ensure that our work

reflects customer priorities and concerns.

The ISP were very important in shaping

how FCHO responded to reducing

voids and dealing with complaints.

We also receive valuable direct

feedback through our Customer Forums.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

OUR

HOMES

The care and attention we devoted

to our propertiesmeans that we

continue to provide quality homes

for current and future customers.

Carried out

energy efficiency

improvements to

2,139 homes.

Of the overall investment works

carried out in the year we invested

£7,110,000 to provide energy

efficiency improvements

We attracted £4,000,000

in grant funding through energy

efficiency initiatives.

Homes | Community | Business | People

ADAPTATIONS

Invested over

£1,000,000

on adapting properties to

enable disabled and older

customers to remain in

their home.

We also helped 13

customers to move

to more suitable

accommodation

already adapted

through our

supported move

incentive scheme.

Invested

£24,053,525

on home improvements.

UPGRADES

We installed

2,315

new bathrooms

2,048

new kitchens

as well as carrying out over

1,350 heating upgrades

and improving windows, doors, roofs

and electrical installations.

We partnered with Community

Switch, a comparison and

switching service for electricity

and gas supplies, to help

customers get a better deal.

Community Switch contacts

customers to help them through

the switching process. There were

350 successful switches

in the first six months of the

scheme with an overall saving of

£22,000.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

HEATING

We carried out 310

communal-to-individual

heating conversions

to give customers more

choice over their preferred

domestic heating supplier.

GAS SERVICING

Our gas servicing contract has ensured

100%

of properties have a valid

gas safety certificate.

The work rated

99.9% customer

satisfaction.

The heating improvements we have

carried out in conjunction with the

annual gas servicing work resulted in

2,366 fewer

breakdown calls

compared to 2013-14

a reduction of 22%.

5

We installed

nine new

passenger

lifts

to our flats and

energy efficient

communal

lighting to

240 blocks.

EMPTY PROPERTIES

Property Care carried

out repairs work to

1,313 empty properties

to make them ready to live in.

We reduced the time taken

from an average of

30 days at the end of

March 2013 to under

19 days in March 2015.

We rebranded our repairs

service and introduced a new

fleet of vehicles to the service.

The new deal provides us with a

13%

saving on our previous vehicle

leasing contract.

To Let

IMPROVED

REPAIRS IT

Successfully

implemented

a new repairs IT

system. The change

increased the

number of customer

appointments by

40%.

We also increased

the percentage of

visits made on time

from 86%

to 97.6%

NEW BUILDS

22

new homes

built during

2014-15


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

OUR

PEOPLE

We have a

staff satisfaction

level of 92%

The quality of our service relies in

large part on the skills, knowledge

and experience of the people who

work for FCHO. Recruiting and

retaining the right staff is

paramount to our continuing

success. To do so, it is also

important that we provide an

excellent working environment

and employment terms.

- which is a very good score for our sector.

24 of our volunteers

moved on to employment

or education – and 13

of our work

placements

have progressed

into secure employment

54th

in the highly

competitive

Times Top 100

Companies list

of not-for-profit

organisations.

Homes | Community | Business | People

FCHO retained

Investors in People

gold and gained the Health

and Wellbeing award.

Our

sickness

absence

is low and is among

the best performers

when compared to

similar organisations.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

FCHO created

28 apprenticeship

opportunities,

of which three apprentices were

employed directly by the organisation.

FCHO has an impressive

volunteering

offer which has donated over

3,500 hours

for Oldham residents – with

customers providing almost half

of the hours. FCHO colleagues

donated 440 volunteer hours.

We are proud to

be a Living Wage

employer. As a

major employer

in Oldham we do

everything we

can to help the

local economy.

When we moved into our new office, we

recycled our furniture

and ICT equipment

to provide more resources

for local small businesses and

community organisations.

Installed an improved agile,

innovative and responsive

ICT infrastructure.

We are better able to access ICT

applications and systems at greater

speeds in a variety of different ways

and locations.

We have an

award-winning

health and

wellbeing scheme

in place to reduce

absences, raise

morale and

ensure colleagues

can excel in their

daily work.

It is important that FCHO does as much as

it can to help customers, Oldham residents

and local producers. In the past year

we provided an additional

£160,000

of community grant funding to support over

30 community centres and groups.

We also take an active interest in supporting

local charities and in the past year raised

£29,000

for Dr Kershaw’s and DS West Pennine.


First Choice Homes Oldham | Annual Report 2014/15

First Place

22 Union Street

Oldham

OL1 1BE

Telephone 0161 393 7117

Email enquires@fcho.co.uk

Web www.fcho.co.uk

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