Value for Money

What is Value for Money?

Value for Money (VFM) means more than just getting the best price for goods and services; it is about using our resources to maximum benefit, providing quality services and delivering high tenant satisfaction at the appropriate price.

Achieving VFM is a central theme in meeting our corporate goals. We believe that our customers should receive first class homes and services from us. By concentrating our resources on service improvements, working with residents, listening to them, and always seeking better VFM in everything we do, and plan to do, we will be able to ensure that they benefit most from this approach.

We understand that resources are scarce and that delivering ongoing and improved VFM will ensure that we have efficiencies to re-invest in achieving our corporate goals and vision.

Our approach to Value for Money

Whilst meeting the Value for Money (VFM) standard is very important to demonstrate good governance to stakeholders and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), we don’t believe VFM is an add-on, or something that can be achieved as a one-off. Everything we do as an organisation is measured against whether it helps us achieve our corporate goals and our purpose - providing VFM underpins everything we do, from performance management to procurement, consultation to business planning.

Achieving good VFM, and, importantly, being able to demonstrate this to stakeholders needs to be intrinsic to all that we do in our organisation. We remain committed towards the delivery of both existing and future VFM in an increasingly challenging environment.

Value for Money Strategy
Our VFM Strategy is led by the Board but actioned by our executive and staff via our performance management framework. Our VFM Strategy is due to be reviewed following the merger with Derwent and Solway Housing Association (D&S) as our new organisation Castles & Coasts Housing Association, which will give us impetus and opportunities for efficiencies and improved quality.

Our focus on VFM in all that we do means it is an intrinsic part of our other key strategies: development, asset management, financial management, procurement, ICT and people, and is a key consideration in all new projects, forming part of the business case for everything we do.

How do we compare?

We have a strong focus on protecting our assets by controlling operating expenditure. The performance table on the button below shows our operational performance for the three most recently benchmarked years against our peers using HouseMark data. 

How do we spend your pound?

This spend for 2016-17 equates to:
Maintenance - £5.4m
Management - £3.6m
Services - £2.0m
Retained surpluses - £2.7m
Finance - £2.2m
Depreciation - £2.8m

 

What efficiencies have we achieved?

We continue to be financially viable with a V1 rating from the HCA, and in the last year we have improved our operating surplus from £4,665k to £4,806k, and our bottom line surplus from an expected £2,381k to £2,725k.

We have been able to invest in new supply, as well as in the future growth of the organisation through merger. We have also continued to make operational savings, required as a result of the 1% rent reduction, as set out below:

Monetary savings 16/17  £349,536

As split between:
Ongoing £99,825
One-off £249,711

The savings achieved in 2016/17 cut across our corporate objectives. For example; they include a reduction of £65,500 on interest by arranging to have the final drawdown date on a loan deferred for 12 months; savings on procurement for gas of £63,300; as well as smaller savings such as electronic filing which has reduced storage and production costs by more than £11.5k.

How we’ve made a difference

  • 2016/17 includes some one-off merger costs, despite this we have developed 71 new homes through our development programme, comprising 68 for social/affordable rent and three for shared ownership. The majority of these were two and three bed houses and bungalows, aimed at meeting the areas of highest demand and need. This equates to 74p for every £1 generated being invested in new housing supply. We also continue to invest in local communities via our procurement partners.
  • We have maintained our 100% satisfaction rating for customers regarding the quality of their new homes, against a peer average (for the year 2015/16) of 87.65%.
  • We have also maintained our satisfaction rate for residents satisfied with their neighbourhood which remains at 89.90% against a peer average of 87.05% (for the year 2015/16).

Plans for the future

Looking ahead, our plans will be dominated by the merger and the need to put in place new goals, objectives and targets. Meeting the aspirations and expectations of all our customers remains key to us in our plans for 2017/18:

  • Continue with existing development plans and look to increase capacity to build further new homes – our plans include 45 new homes, however we believe that new and enhanced development opportunities will be one of the positive impacts of the merger and we will be reviewing our development plans accordingly
  • Continue to drive down costs without adversely affecting services
  • Managing insurance markets and response plans for our homes in Cumbria
  • Reviewing our VFM strategy and its links to other key strategies following the merger
  • Review the current spend on responsive and major repairs that will be implemented for the collection and re-survey of our stock condition data as well as maintenance service delivery
  • Review the activities and operations to maximise the return on performance

We continue to balance the challenge of maintaining high performance standards with the most efficient use of our funds. During 2016/17, we have delivered on the majority of the VFM principles we set out in last year’s self-assessment despite the significant challenge of delivering a successful merger. We have however set out further opportunities to embed VFM across the new organisation following the merger, which will pay further dividends over the coming years.

Feedback

We are committed to transparency in the reporting of our performance to all of our stakeholders. Publishing the VFM self-assessment on our website is just the start: we are keen to hear how we can improve on what we do and how we do it. If you have any feedback you’d like to give us, call us on our free-phone number 0800 0851171 or email us on mailbox@castlesandcoasts.co.uk

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