How we perform
This is where you can find information about how well we’re meeting the standards we set for ourselves and that are set for us by regulation and legislation.
Like all housing associations, we’re accountable both to our customers and to the Regulator for Social Housing. They set consumer and economic standards for us to meet and grade us for how well we run the organisation.
A lot of our work is also impacted by the law. So, we make sure we stay on top of any changes and meet any requirements.
Repairs and maintenance
We provide repair and maintenance services to over 10,700 homes, all of which comply with the Government’s standards for decent homes. This includes electrical services, plumbing, carpentry and improvements to kitchens and bathrooms. In the financial year 2019/2020, we completed over 32,000 repairs and modernised nearly 1,000 homes.
We want to build more great quality new homes by working with a range of local authorities and housebuilders to provide a wide range of housing. In the financial year 2020/2021, we built 181 new homes. This is less than our target of 365 or one for each day, because of the slowdown in construction caused by the coronavirus lockdowns. However, we already have 650 properties under construction and money to pay for a further 500. This means we’re set to double the amount of new homes we’ll be able to build over the next few years and we’re on track to beat our target for 2021/2022.
There’s a desperate need for more housing across the country, especially affordable homes. We provide homes for sale, shared ownership and for rent as well as emergency accommodation to prevent homelessness. Most of our property is for rent so to make sure we let homes in the most fair and open way, we base all applications on the relevant local authority’s policy. We let 961 homes in the financial year 2019/2020.
We know that living happily in your home is about more than the building. Anti-social behaviour can have a big impact on quality of life so we do all we can to minimise this, working with partner agencies to ensure a co-ordinated approach. We take all reports of anti-social behaviour very seriously and we try to make it as easy as possible for you to report anything that affects you, your home or your community. We received 817 reports in the last year and they were mostly about noise nuisance. Out of these 810 were resolved at the first stage without the need to take any further action.
We don’t only look after the homes our customers live in, but we also support people by providing welfare benefits advice and signposting to money and debt services. We invest in skills development and help with accessing employment and training through our dedicated team and work with our suppliers to get their help. This includes a programme with Essex Youth Build, a Chelmsford based charity which offers construction and employability skills training to young people aged 11-19 from all over Essex. We also have a scheme that allows our employees to use work time for volunteering in the community. The social value of our activities amounted to £4.1m in 2019/2020. We also require suppliers to support our community investment work. We expect vendors to carry out services and / or works in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
There are lots of legal guidelines about environmental performance that housing associations must meet. But we don’t want to simply stop at fulfilling our legal requirements. We have an Environmental Sustainability Strategy [pdf] 1MB that outlines our actions for 2020-2023, followed by the first phase of a longer thirty-year journey to 2050. Our aims include achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the elimination of unnecessary waste by 2022, supporting sustainable communities and workplace, and increasing the efficiency of our homes. Lots of work has already been done to support these aims, for example we have added five electric vehicles to our fleet, with more to come. For moe information download our Environmental, Social and Governance report 2020-21 [pdf] 5MB.
Customer complaints and empowerment
In order to deliver a great customer experience, we welcome all your feedback, both positive and negative. This helps us to know when we get things right and when we need to improve. We have a two-stage complaint process which is compliant with the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code. We also provide you with a wide range of opportunities to get involved and influence our services. These include a Customer Review Panel that scrutinises what we do, a scheme for sharing your ideas with us and several feedback groups. The groups cover building safety, repairs and planned maintenance, influencing our policies and shaping our communications.