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Value for Money

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Genesis Communications

on 20 September 2016

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Transcript of Value for Money

At Genesis, value for money means using our resources wisely to deliver good quality products and services to our customers.

Genesis has changed much and for the better over the last few years but we must continue to adapt to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We think value for money is important in helping us to do just that.

That’s why it’s a key strand of our Corporate Strategy 2015-20 and reflected in all aspects of our work through our value for money strategy.

Corporate Strategy 2015-2020
Value for money assessments have been based on Service Managers’ views and judgments and were ratified at a VFM workshop attended by members of the VFM Forum (a range of staff from across the business).

2015-16 Snapshot
Value for Money
Genesis Housing Association
Corporate priorities and value for money
We are finding ways to improve our efficiency and effectiveness to free up resources so we can build more homes and deliver great service.

More than ever, we have to ensure that every pound counts.
The list of results where we rank number one amongst our G15 housing associations indicates our strong value for money performance in key areas.

Value for money is a focus for all our corporate priorities.

The focus of the VFM review by the VFM forum this year has been to extract key areas where VFM has been achieved within our corporate aims and objectives.
The way we do business is changing and so is the operating environment.

We want to improve customer satisfaction with our services and we also know that with the pressures of the 2015 Summer Budget, we need to be more efficient. We need to do things a bit differently, and work smarter.
We wish to deliver better places for our residents but also better futures through providing opportunities for those who need them.

To enable that, we are committing significant targeted investment in social and economic wellbeing programmes designed to create those opportunities.
The Repairs and Maintenance Service Improvement Board (RMSIB) was a six-month improvement programme with 175 individual projects focused on improving the performance of our repairs service and keeping our promise to customers.
We have been piloting targeted inspections of our properties and neighbourhoods.
This financial year our Adaptations budget was £750,000. Each year we also apply for funds from the disability facilities grant held by Local Authorities to supplement the budget and maximise the work we can do for our customers. Minor works include grab rails, door entry systems and adaptations for those who are visually impaired. Some of the more major works include installing stair lifts and level access showers.

This year, we obtained an additional £261,000 towards our aids and adaptations work. In total just over £1million was spent in 2015/16 helping our customers to maintain their independence in safety.

One customer said of her adaptations: ‘I’d be in a home or would need a carer if the level access shower and stair lift had not been installed. I would have lost my home, my independence and freedom. I feel much more safe and secure now. I can now live here for another 10 years.’
The Genesis Wellbeing Fund was developed through the Corporate Social Responsibility Wellbeing Group to support and improve the wellbeing of Genesis residents.

Grants from £5000 to £50,000 were made available for organisations to support local projects.

Nine groups successfully applied to the inaugural Genesis Wellbeing Fund and grants of £139,268 were awarded in March 2016.
The successful projects will deliver
32 residents into employment, 10 new business start-ups, 169 training places, 91 volunteers, 43 work experience opportunities and £1.9m HACT social value with a social return on investment of £13 for every £1 invested by Genesis.
Social and economic initiatives in 2015/16 made a significant contribution to improving the wellbeing of our communities, and realised a HACT social value of £3.7m against a target of £3.4m.

Genesis also obtained £292,000 external funding in 2015/16 to support residents across various neighbourhoods and communities:
- £100,000 Community Development Finance Institute (ERDF) (Genesis wide)
- £72,000 London Borough of Barnet (Grahame Park)
- £120,000 European Social Fund (Woodberry Down)

Social and economic activities achieved the following outputs;

We’ve had 52 customers on universal credit this year with a lot of resources going towards supporting them individually, including helping them manage their finances and making sure they prioritise paying their rent each month.

We expect the volumes of our customers on Universal Credit to increase dramatically in the next two years and the current level of individual support won’t be sustainable. To prepare for the increase and to ensure we are using our resources wisely, we are working proactively with customers and colleagues.
We’re getting involved earlier in the customer sign up process – carrying out pre-tenancy work and support. I.e. is this property right for you, can you afford it, what support might you need, who is best placed to provide that support.

Instead of only becoming involved four weeks into a tenancy when they’ve’ already fallen into arrears, we’re taking an active role from the beginning.
Genesis colleagues and residents welcomed Norman Lamb MP to three newly-redecorated supported housing schemes in Cromer.

The five months’ worth of painting, papering and polishing – part of Genesis’s ‘Pride in Your Scheme’ initiative – saw residents transform their schemes into more pleasant places to live. Scheme colleagues also negotiated a discount with Homebase; all the cupboards in the kitchen had new doors for the princely sum of £20!

Services Manager Maureen Clarke said: “The residents were really keen to make changes that would make their home more comfortable! There was a decorating team, a gardening team and a decking team and the camaraderie and team spirit was fantastic. It gives them pride in where they live which can make such a difference to their wellbeing.

Mr Lamb was clearly impressed: “It’s wonderful to be here – this is the good part of the job! The residents took charge and made the changes that they wanted to see, and I think that’s brilliant. Congratulations to you all!”
We are aware that we are most effective where we have a higher level of stock and the resources available to support ongoing investment.

We propose to exit certain areas where we cannot achieve our goals of providing excellent service, primarily because our level of stock is minimal and our resources have become stretched.

We will focus our resources to allow better service and options to the benefit of both existing and new customers.
This year we proactively engaged with other providers in Lincolnshire , who are better able to deliver more resource to these customers and subsequently reduced our stock by 100 properties.

This has allowed us to focus on a smaller geographic area of responsibility, which reduces staff travel time and cost, leaving them with more time to focus on customers.
We will be delivering new homes each year so that we deliver at least 5000 new homes by 2020, and would like to exceed this if finances permit.

We are in a strong position, both strategically and financially, to develop a planned, sustainable and realistically ambitious investment strategy and a continued focus on Value for Money will support our ambitions.
In Ipswich, we converted 89 market rent properties in to affordable homes. We have been working very closely with the council who are extremely pleased to be able to secure such good quality accommodation for people on their waiting list in the area.

In East London, we are also converting unused retail spaces on our Thomas Road site into residential accommodation for Tower Hamlets residents.

Preparations are beginning on the redevelopment of our old offices at 2A Claughton Road in East London and will provide a number of new accommodation units.
Investing in the development and engagement of our staff is a priority.

A focus on learning by doing and encouraging opportunities for learning outside the traditional classroom approach sets the new standard, increasing engagement and reducing unnecessary cost.
Digital learning zone
The Genesis Digital Learning Zone is our online training platform that enables us to deliver essential knowledge and skills development at any time and anywhere there is an internet connection.

The online training covers key learning areas for staff such as Care and Support, Health and Safety, introductory courses for new colleagues, Personal/Career Development, Management and Development.
Flexible working
Genesis has embraced flexible working, which allows our staff to adapt their work to fit around other commitments, improving work life balance and increasing retention.

It also allows Genesis to provide services at a time and location that suits the needs of customers.

Working flexibly provides benefits to both employers and employees and although an initial investment was required to equip staff appropriately with laptops, mobiles and other tools, the benefits of this flexible approach are well recognised.
#IamGenesis training
Internally developed training - #IamGenesis customer service training

#IamGenesis training for repairs and contact centre staff was developed for and by staff, with customers playing a crucial role in the design and shaping of the programme to help identify the key areas of their customer experience.

The off-site training has been a great success, really driving up engagement and challenge from the teams.
We believe that the adoption and use of digital platforms and technologies can revolutionise the way customers access our services and we deliver them. They will enable customers to access them when they want and how they want and will also enable us to be more responsive and more creative, flexible and innovative in the way we respond.

Savings achieved by using digital platforms for simple customer transactions allow us to focus resources on more complex interactions when customers need greater levels of personal support.
The Business Intelligence system QlikView was brought into Genesis in 2013, to help us use our data and information effectively in our performance management.

The introduction of QlikView has seen rapid improvements in many parts of Genesis. The Qlikview builds allow us understand the data at any level, enable teams to monitor performance using real-time information and data, and supports continuous proactive and agile management.

Publications go digital
In 2015/16, our staff magazine went completely digital, with our last physical publication being published in October 2015. The bi-monthly magazine is now distributed digitally to 1400 staff, saving approximately £15,000 on each edition.

Spotlight Magazine, our quarterly customer magazine, is also moving in a digital direction, offering customers the opportunity to receive their copy digitally.

As more customers opt in to the digital version, we’ll reduce the numbers of physical publications required, with savings on printing and distribution.

Apps Alive
We promoted the Allpay payment app, which allows customers to pay rent and service charges anytime, anywhere. Since the App was introduced customers have made more than half a million pounds in rent payment without any phone contact with Genesis.

Genesis has also just launched the MyGenesis app, which gives customers even more options for paying rent and service charges on their own terms. Customers have shown high interest and we expect this to become a key channel.

Customers can now make payments and report repairs whenever they want, unlimited by our contact hours and it’s freed up more time for staff to spend on priority cases
We are improving our finances by taking effective and timely actions to make better budget and management decisions that help us to drive greater efficiency.
• £176,000 saved due to legal work being undertaken in-house
• Greater scrutiny of legal spend which resulted in £100,000 further saving against budget
• £20,000 saved by Health & Safety officers by identifying unnecessary fire risks/ works
• Procurement of surveys for asbestos and legionella saving £250,000
We’ve introduced new software called Mobysoft, which analyses customer transactional patterns.

The software identifies customers who are in need of contact so that our Income Officers can clearly see who to call first.

We estimate that this targeted approach saves Genesis £333,000 a year and that definitely supports our corporate strategy objective of improving value for money.
It also offers customers the support they need, right when they need it most.
Partnership with London Plus Credit Union
Genesis is working in partnership with London Plus Credit Union to enable Genesis residents and staff to open savings accounts and get affordable loans if they need them.

Credit unions have the same financial services protection and are regulated just like banks and building societies, so savers know their money is safe. As a cooperative, they work with members to encourage better financial understanding and any profits generated are shared among members.

Credit Unions are also a healthy alternative to ‘pay day’ and high cost loan companies as members can borrow small amounts that they can afford, interest rates are comparatively low and there are no penalties for paying back money early.

Bringing value for money to life
The Value for Money Forum, a sub-group of the Genesis Senior Leadership Team, with representatives from across the business, exists to encourage and promote value for money at Genesis and is responsible for ensuring value for money is continuously assessed and approved.

The Forum has developed a five-year Value for Money strategy, aligned with the Corporate Strategy to support delivery through the business. We have continued to promote case studies through our internal communication channels and celebrate examples of value for money across the business.

Making our money work smarter (internal blog)
How do you increase your financial surplus in the current housing sector environment? When we set out this high level outcome in our corporate strategy it was most definitely an achievable goal. Since then, as you know, the Government has handed down a budget that presents a significant challenge to our plans…

We are facing a 1% rent reduction on social housing for at least the next four years (broadly £1m reduction in 2016/17 compared to 2015/16). As our plans were based on the increase that had been in place before this reduction was announced, it means quite a change in our resources. There are also areas where costs have increased, for example tax on Insurance (IPT) has increased by 3%. There will be higher interest as we enter into more borrowing to fund our development commitment and we are required to complete more compliance work across our properties to cover our Health &Safety responsibilities as well as the ongoing need for investment in our properties to maintain and improve standards. There is no doubt it will be much harder to improve our surplus than we first thought.

And yet… we rely on our surplus to enable us to meet our lender’s requirements to fund the building of new homes, so we just have to find a way. You might think that you don’t have a role in this but actually… the big thing we can all do is to increase our mindfulness of Value for Money when we are taking decisions.

As we start to look at how we deliver the high level outcome: ‘Improved financial surplus through good budget management, being efficient and delivering value for money’, you might ask yourself ‘what exactly is value for money?’
Here’s what I think:
We all make decisions personally every day about the things we buy and spend money on. Should we get the cheaper version? Is it actually any different to the more expensive version? If we are to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers, we should be treating the money Genesis spends as if it were our own.
As a social housing landlord everything we do is using someone else’s money – from customers to lenders to government bodies. We therefore have an obligation to prove that what we do with it is the best thing we can. The cost of each and every one of us, and what we do, has an impact on how efficient Genesis is.
We have made huge strides in recent years, however, we are still a long way from being able to say that a pound invested in Genesis is better than elsewhere.
Over the coming five years we have set ourselves a goal to improve the operating margin of Genesis by 0.5% each year. If we achieve this we will deliver £1.3m a year improvement on our bottom line.
This saving would allow us to:

• fund an additional 130 new homes a year
• employ staff to support those with physical, mental or financial needs, or
• via our foundation, help to educate and support those trying to get ready for employment in the effort to reduce our exposure to the ever reducing benefits trap.

More for your bread and honey (internal article)
How much Bangers and Mash (cash) do we have in the Tin Tank (bank)? And how much Bread and Honey (money) is enough to make a difference? Could we save a Lady Godiva, a Pavarotti*, a Pony or Macaroni, or even a whole Bag of Sand?
If every single colleague found savings of £1000 (a grand, a bag of sand) we’d easily have an extra £1.4million to work with.

And that could offset the government’s recently announced rent reduction, which is forecast to cost us £1millon in the first year starting in April.

Or it could pay for:
1) window replacements to 350 homes
2) or improving all Genesis homes rated F and G EPC (low energy rating) to EPC C/ SAP 70 (higher rating).
3) or kitchen replacements to 300 homes
4) or new energy efficient boilers to 824 properties.
5) Equivalent subsidy to support building of 21 new homes for Affordable Rent (now called Discounted Rent) in London.
6) Equivalent subsidy to support the building of 56 new shared ownership homes in London.
So come on then, every Abergavenny (penny) counts!

Value for money
Genesis Wellbeing Fund
Return on social investment
Impact of Universal Credit
Revamped Genesis schemes in Cromer get MP seal of approval
Focusing our resources
Clever conversions
The current position is based on the 22 services shown.
95% (21)
of Genesis’ services are within the green areas of the value for money grid shown.
Introducing Quality Inspections
Thoughts on value for money (blog)
Improving our repairs and maintenance service
Read our Value for Money self-assessment in our Financial report. Visit our Value for Money page on the Genesis website:
Current tenant arrears attributable to unpaid HB %
Direct cost per property of anti-social behaviour non-pay costs. Ranked 1st for the 2nd year
Properties accepted on first offer %
Overhead cost per property of major works (service provision). Ranked 1st for the 2nd year
Direct cost per property cyclical maintenance
Overhead cost per property cyclical maintenance
Total (management) cost per property of cyclical maintenance. Ranked 1st for the 2nd year
Cyclical Maintenance (management) % of total cost
Direct cost per property responsive repairs and void works costs
Housemark benchmarking results for year ending March 2015.
Genesis was ranked No.1
amongst G15 Housing Organisations:
We have been founding members in a group supported by the property data organisation IPD, to enable social housing landlords to use commercial skillsets and methodology to appraise the value and growth in the value and performance of their property assets. This work has allowed us to quantify both the capital growth and revenue return of all our assets. Benchmarking of growth and income return on the Genesis portfolio in comparison with other landlords is now available.

Economic performance of our property assets
Capital Values (£’ bn)

The total capital value of assets under consideration equates to £3.3bn. There has been an increase of approximately 15% in capital values of stock under consideration between 2013 and 2015.

Capital Values


2014 2015
£2,887.7bn £3,033.6bn £3,308.1bn

Income and Capital return
Return and operating cost comparators
The annual growth in 2014/15 was 7.8%
(4.0% capital, 3.6% revenue), higher than the benchmark group.
Genesis’ capital growth is in the top quartile against the benchmark group. This is an increase from 2014 from 6.8% total return from the portfolio

The benchmarking group is still relatively small, with five landlords. As other landlords participate in the index, benchmarking will support decision making regarding portfolio management.
GPMS sub-contractor consolidation exercise implemented to save around £200,000
Working more closely with our main repairs and maintenance partner– Kier
We transferred emergency boiler installations to Kier to improve cost control – saving around £300,000.
All voids were transferred to Kier to realise management efficiencies to save around £300,000
Tighter management of complex reactive repairs spend was put in place, to focus on improved job repair time, improved customers satisfaction and improved financial control – saving around £50,000
Working with the Procurement Team, a specialist contractor was appointed to undertake disrepair work, improving quality and saving around £300,000
Strict grading of properties was carried out using the HouseMark Estate Inspection Standards
The gradings used were Bronze, Silver, Gold and Fail and helped determine where to focus our resources.
We aim to work in partnership with customers through a proposed Volunteer programme of community champions.
Movement of services from 2014/15 to 2015/16
Including Temporary Housing , Key Worker and Market Rent management
Full transcript