2016 Annual Report

A Message from the Chief Executive

During last year the Association celebrated 40 years of providing good quality, affordable homes to the communities of Mid-Wales. In very broad terms, this means that over those years the Association has helped around 6,000 households to have a home of their own - a record we can all be proud of. We tell the story of some of these people elsewhere within this report.

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Shane Perkins

Chief Executive

We started the year with five broad objectives:

First: to continue to build a culture of excellence

We quickly realised that the Association’s New Business team was under- resourced, and moved swiftly to restructure it. By the end of the year we had a new structure in place able to deliver both our development programme of new housing, and an investment of over £600,000 into the modernisation of our existing housing. 

We also wanted to benchmark our overall performance as an organisation and adopted the principles of Investors in People. We were thrilled that after comparing our procedures with best practice we secured a Bronze award.

Second: to provide an excellent customer experience

This remains an aspirational target as we recognise that not everything we do reaches this high standard.  However, we are clearly moving in the right direction.

  • Current tenant rent arrears fell from an already low 3.48% to 1.79% of rent owed, despite upward pressure from the devastating effects of Welfare Benefit reform on our tenants. The success reflects earlier decisions to invest resources in supporting our tenants through financial difficulties.
  • The time it took to relet properties which became vacant also fell to just 0.54% - just 15 days.
  • And at the same time, an independent survey of our tenants, saw satisfaction levels increase. In particular, we had significantly high satisfaction levels with the repair service, and tenants felt the rent charged was value for money.

Third: good corporate finance and maintaining income 

All that the Association does is dependent upon it being financially sustainable. For instance, it can only invest in improving its homes if it has the income to do so. Through a combination of factors ranging from the management of debt mentioned above through to managing the reduction in loan interest rates, the Association outperformed its budgeted surplus by £167,000. Read more in our Financial Performance section 

Fourth: develop further housing 

The Association’s five- year rolling programme aims to develop at least 175 new homes – roughly 35 per year.  However, given the peaks and troughs of capital investment this is rarely a smooth number each year and, despite the mini-restructure of the New Business Team early in the year, a total of 31 new homes were completed.

Fifth: increase those helped by Care & Repair in Powys 

The Association’s subsidiary faced some monumental challenges in the year, with funding from Powys County Council being cut by £79,000. Together with other financial challenges, the Agency was faced with a further need to restructure and sadly reduce staff numbers. Despite this, the Care & Repair in Powys team still managed to help 1,927 older people in a range of issues.

In particular, the Agency’s staff received 1,405 requests through the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme scheme which helped avoid admission to, or facilitating early discharge of clients from hospital. 88% of clients reported that their lives and wellbeing had been improved as a result of the work undertaken through this scheme.

So overall, it was another year of challenges which my colleagues rose to and in many senses surpassed.

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