We aim to deliver high quality services which make a lasting difference to the wellbeing of residents and the wider community. Over the past year, we:
- Launched Look Again, our programme to define our resident services better and improve efficiency
- Introduced a Price per Property pilot, with contractors paid based on the number of homes they cover, rather than individual repairs
- Established new cleaning and gardening frameworks
- Continued to move services online
- Introduced mobile working
- Continued to implement a new service charge system.
We began our Look Again programme in 2015/16. This aims to define our services more clearly and to improve efficiency. Starting and ending with the customer experience, it will introduce simpler ways of working, improve access to our services and make better use of existing technology.
The setting up of the central Empty Homes and Lettings Team in July 2015 was part of this project. We have reduced operating costs by £75k and aim to save a further £340k from 2016/17. We reduced the number of empty homes to 400 in March 2016 (historically, we have held about 600 empty homes at any one time). We continue to target void rent loss, achieving 1.37% (31 March 2016) against a target of 1.06%.
We introduced a Price per Property pilot for six months in July 2016 for more than 7,000 properties in London and our East region. This means that, instead of paying our contractor for each repair carried out, we will pay a set price for each property. This will bring greater efficiencies, reduce operating costs, give greater budget predictability and cost certainty. The contractor will benefit from a guaranteed cash-flow and simpler processes and residents will benefit from a more effective service.
Hyde Property Services
This year, we made significant investment in improving the efficiency of our direct labour organisation Hyde Property Services (HPS), which carries out repairs to a third of Hyde’s stock.
A fleet of 140 vans has been leased and we purchased new software and mobile devices to allow us to assign and track work more accurately.
Buildbase won the contract to provide all building materials and co-located with HPS to a new office and materials supply hub in Havant in March 2016. Response times will improve because vans will be re-stocked with materials when they are needed, rather than our workforce having to drive to builders’ merchants. Any materials not normally kept in our vans will be delivered to site ‘just-in-time’, ready for the teams when they are required, speeding up work.
We aim to continue to improve efficiency, targeting £1.4m of cost savings each year, and also to raise customer satisfaction from current levels of 87%.
We established four large contractor frameworks to deliver cleaning and gardening contracts in November 2015. Since then, we have run the first of three mini-competitions to award call-off contracts for Greenwich and Bexley, Brighton and Hove, Bromley, West Kent and Peterborough, which went live on 1 May 2016.
By working with four contractors, rather than 40, we will save an estimated £200k and reduce administrative burden (and cost). Residents will have greater clarity on the service being provided and the associated service charges, which will reduce for many. Two further rounds of contract awards will be carried out in 2016.
We finished preparatory work for our integrated online service, Self-Serve, this year and aim to have it up and running for the top five requested transactions by late 2016/17.
We also launched our HydeApp in November 2015, providing residents with various mobile- enabled options, including the ability to log a repair with our Customer Services team; pay rent online; access Hyde Plus services or report issues such as fly tipping or graffiti direct to a local authority.
Hyde’s new website was launched in March 2016 and has doubled our online service requests. We have also introduced a social media procedure, to ensure requests for service from our Facebook and Twitter pages are dealt with promptly.
Our Lettings and Income Teams have benefitted from the introduction of online forms, savings hours of staff time a week and providing a more streamlined service for residents.
We also continued to prepare to implement ‘Smarter working’, which will allow staff to access systems using mobile devices and which will help us save an estimated £620k over the next five years. The Income team will be first to benefit, going live in early 2016/17.
Service charge system
We continued to implement a new service charge system this year, which will provide greater transparency and accuracy in service charges for residents. The new approach will make data processing more efficient and we will be able to capture service chargeable costs more accurately. We aim to launch the new system in April 2017.
Social and economic investment
We invested £2.6m in Hyde Plus in 2015/16, our social and economic investment team, enabling residents to sustain their tenancies and improve life prospects.
The Jobs and Training team helped 257 residents into work, equating to £2.2m in social value. The team also helped 254 people into training and 76 into work placements and secured 13 apprenticeship opportunities through our supply chain. Debt and Money Advice also supported 1,437 residents to reduce their debt, improve their financial skills and pay their rent.
We have delivered £1.67m in financial gains to residents and £1.2m to the business. The Digital Inclusion programme helped 422 residents to get online, resulting in £615k of social value.
Hyde, in partnership with 16 housing associations, secured £10m from the European Social Fund to deliver Love London Working, an employment programme that began in April 2016. Hyde Plus has also brought in an additional £500,000 of external funding to support local projects benefitting Hyde’s communities.
Read the Hyde Plus impact report 2015/16.
We upgraded insulation, installed solar panels and replaced heating in homes last year, as part of our drive to reduce our environmental impact.
Sixty of our off-gas grid rural homes were fitted with solar panels and 26 had energy-efficient heating systems installed, to help keep residents warm in winter, while reducing their fuel bills. We also carried out cavity wall insulation of 53 homes and insulated 150 lofts, making homes warmer and reducing annual CO2 emissions by 43t.
The Hyde Energy Standard, launched in January 2015, aims to raise the SAP rating (a measure of energy efficiency) of our homes to 55 by 2020 and to 60 by 2025. We will spend £1m a year between 2015 to 2020, and £500k a year between 2020 and 2025, on improving insulation and installing energy-efficient heating in homes.
We also continued to deliver developments with exceptional sustainability credentials, completing 712 homes, and starting construction of 1,939 more, on brownfield sites.
Our approach to sustainability extends to operations: we used 7% less paper and cycled 4% more miles on business journeys compared with the previous year and installed solar panels on our offices in Chichester.
Read the Environment Matters report 2015/16.
In line with “Residents Matter More”, our resident engagement strategy, we streamlined formal engagement structures and developed online engagement through the OAK. This reduced the number of formal meetings from 60 to 30 a year, saving about £1,000 per meeting in staff time, expenses and administration costs. However, more residents than ever before will be involved consulted and trained through the OAK.
The OAK won a TPAS award in the South Region finals in February 2016 and was shortlisted for An Outstanding Approach to Tenant Involvement in the UKHA Awards.
Residents on Hydewide Residents’ Voice and local Residents’ Assurance Committees scrutinised quarterly performance information and reviewed service improvement plans. Hydewide Residents’ Eye carried out four service inspections to test the resident experience.
The Resident Procurement Panel ensured that new contracts were resident-focused and met residents' needs. It also helped in the procurement of cleaning and grounds maintenance contracts, community heating and the Development main contractor framework. Engaged residents continued to work with Hyde to develop a digital resident news platform, saving £240k a year on printing and postage.