The past year has continued to be a challenging year for all housing associations including City West. We’ve made sure that supporting our customers and improving your homes is at the heart of what we do. Our new look Annual Review shows you our highlights over the past year, including completing our first new build homes in Little Hulton, providing skills and employment opportunities locally and our continued commitment to improving services and your neighbourhoods.
The opening of our new office at 52 Regent Street, Eccles, enables our customers greater access to our services and a wider range of facilities. Throughout this review we have highlighted our ‘Goals’ for the next 12 months. What we aim to achieve includes the opening of Amblecote Gardens our Extra Care scheme, introducing ‘Bright Futures’, and a commitment to providing more much needed housing. Finally, we hope you enjoy reading our new look Annual Review, we would love to hear what you think, please fill in our feedback form at the end of this report.
Compare the targets we set ourselves last year to see how we have actually performed.
See how we compare against other housing associations in the country. (This is shown when we have access to this information).
High quality, cost-effective services which our customers want. Look out for our top VfM successes.
Your opinions and ideas are invaluable to help us improve services.
We devised ACORN which is our approach to customer involvement and our way of ensuring customers continue to be at the heart of everything we do.
As involved as you want to be
Challenging what we do
Opportunities for all
Representing your community
Nurturing new ideas
Look out for our Goals icon to see what we aim to do in 2014/15.
Early in 2014 work began on Wade House. This canal-side accommodation is the fourth of five 1960s buildings on the site to be given a new lease of life and is part of our award-winning £14.3 million Barton Village development.
Work to all Ladywell Green blocks was completed in 2013, this included:
College Croft internal apartment works are now completed and work to the communal areas and external cladding is well underway.
To begin work on the next high rise block in Eccles,
At both Barton Village and Ladywell Green we have installed Ecopods to provide efficient heating to customers’ homes. The addition of solar thermal panels to supplement the communal gas system helps further reduce heating costs. We also fitted self cleaning windows with the highest energy efficiency rating and the building exterior has been further insulated by wrapping around a thermal cladding. We are in the process of improving our remaining high rise blocks.
These high rise blocks now benefit from being amongst some of the most energy efficient social housing properties in the country.
Customers are saving between 40-60% on their heating bills, averaging out at £459 per home per year.
Property improvements have saved 4.5 million kg of CO2 emissions and 58.4 million litres of water.
Since October 2013 the Solar Panels fitted at Astley Court have helped us save £1,491.
We are breaking new ground by working with partners such as BRE Trust and Leeds Met University to develop new energy efficiency solutions that could further reduce our customers’ energy bills.
We’ve carried out thermal improvements on our properties. Some are being monitored by the University of London to measure the energy costs.
Phase 1 of our Amblecote Green development began last year, with new affordable family homes and bungalows completed in August 2014. We also handed over 16 new homes on nearby Wildbrook Road to our customers in January 2014.
This investment comes after City West was named as an Investment Partner by the HCA (Homes and Communities Agency), meaning we are eligible to bid for future Government investment to build more new homes.
In line with high new build standards all of our homes are built to meet Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. This is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes.
In September 2013, we finished our £235 million initial 5 year programme, 6 months ahead of schedule. As at 31st March 2014 the following works had been completed:
Product selection events have been used to allow customers to choose the high quality products for their home.
We have transformed 8 of our over 55s accommodation schemes with a further 4 currently being refurbished.
Our first purpose built, modern Extra Care scheme will enable older and vulnerable customers to live independently in their own homes. This will include care and support services on site to manage the smooth running of Amblecote Gardens and support the residents living there.
We will establish staffing and services at Amblecote Gardens and promote a vibrant scheme with a range of activities and social opportunities for customers.
Via our subsidiary maintenance company, City West Works, he have
CHOICES programme continues to offer support to young people to encourage them to make better choices. Results have shown a reduction in agency involvement, predominantly Police and Social Care, with all participants aspiring to have a ‘good job’ in a specific career.
National award through SLCNG* for project of the year.
*Social Landlords Crime and Nuisance Group
We will work with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and others to develop the Salford Advice and Information Network, to enhance the money advice offer in Salford.
At an early stage we identify those customers who may need additional support throughout their tenancy such as training or help from our money advisors.
We’re signed up to this.
Free and independent advice services for customers.
We’re working hard with our partners to prepare customers for the introduction of Universal Credit in 2014/15.
Our Rightsizing project will soon be in full effect, offering customers affordable homes that will meet their individual needs.
100% RENT COLLECTION
Current Tenant Arrears as a % of Rent Charged 3.96%
Our customer Welfare Reform group has been set up to give us a customer perspective, to influence the way we contact and support our customers through these changes.
We achieved 10 Compliance Plus ratings for going over and above the standard which focuses on delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism and staff attitude.
We were praised for excelling in areas including delivering a wide variety of community projects, using customer feedback to improve services, social accounting and tackling ASB.
Awarding the Living Wage is a step in the right direction to maintaining staff engagement, retaining skills within the business and reducing turnover.
To maintain the Living Wage across City West employees’ salaries.
We will also be working with our partners to ensure that staff who regularly work in our premises are paid the Living Wage.
Customer involvement provides City West customers the opportunity to influence decision making and work with us to improve services. Through Acorn we make it easy for customers to get involved:
Our Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate (CSI) and Service Excellence Groups also give customers the opportunity to get involved and give their feedback.
Please see our Delivering Excellent Service section to see the work that has been carried out by these groups.
YEP is our Youth Empowerment Panel which involves 23 young people aged from 13-24 years old. They help us engage with 100s more young people by designing, producing and managing:
Yep work with us to decide how cash from our Quids for Kids fund should be spent. Over £6,000 has already helped to pay for initiatives.
Helping Years 10 and 11 develop skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, managing risk, creativity, innovation and leadership through setting up and running their own company over the course of one academic year. With the chance to compete against other schools, locally and regionally.
Our Local Area Panels continued to thrive this year. Each LAP successfully allocated their project fund to a variety of projects benefiting many customers living in our communities.
Customers and City West staff members submitted over 100 nominations to recognise those members of our neighbourhoods who go above and beyond in their contribution to the community. The winners were chosen by our independent judging panel. This year we combined the Awards Ceremony with our Customer Conference Party with over 250 customers gathering to celebrate City West’s 5th birthday.
The event was planned and organised with the support of customers from the Customer Conference Group.
City West welcomes all feedback and we aim to act as quickly as possible. Here’s a summary of this year’s feedback:
Top three service areas receiving compliments:
Stage at which complaints were resolved:
Our Customer Complaints Performance Panel
Interested in getting involved?
Contact the Business Excellence Team
T: 0300 123 5522 E: email@example.com
No experience needed, just enthusiasm.
Training will be provided. The Panel meets every three months.
Throughout 2013/14, City West collected regular customer satisfaction feedback through an independent company. 550 surveys were completed monthly across 10 service areas. This provided us with a high volume of detailed customer feedback, to assess and help improve the quality of our services.
Each service area is continually working on improving 2-3 areas identified by customers as a priority and meet every two months with the Business Excellence Team to progress these actions.
ASB – There was a low satisfaction level amongst customers when being advised of the member of staff dealing with their case. The ASB Team have responded by reviewing the procedure for case handovers.
Investment Works – Customers identified that they were not satisfied with the ‘Notification Period’ provided. City West have revisited the wording of the notification letter and asked the Contractors to be more ‘date’ specific.
City West provides a wide variety of support services to customers at our 15 sheltered schemes including money advice, social activities and tenancy support. We are committed to delivering services for older customers, promoting their ability to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
Independent Living Services will support our customers through the completion of investment works at Sindsley and Hulton Avenue.
Customers moving to Amblecote Gardens have visited 3 local Extra Care schemes to prepare them for moving.
We are continuing to support our customers with a range of financial help services, including sharing the latest information on Welfare Reform to help improve our customers’ incomes.
We are expanding our support to customers affected by Welfare Reform and increasing the practical support available for those customers who wish to mutually exchange properties.
Our dedicated Welfare Reform support staff have also forged excellent relations with the Help With Rent team and Salford Discretionary Support Scheme to help support customers with the financial stress of moving home.
In 2013/14, assistance from our Money Advisors resulted in our customers receiving £300,000 in extra income.
Of 347 customers surveyed 80% (278) of customers accessing the service feel more confident financially and 98% (340) of customers are satisfied with the service they received.
We have helped more than 250 of our customers move to a smaller City West home in response to the Government’s Welfare Reforms. Many more have been relocated through our work with Home Search. We have also supported more than 80 mutual exchanges and assisted 100s of customers to access additional Discretionary Housing Payments to help them manage financially.
Our City West Housing Trust website is now fully accessible from smart phones and tablets. This includes the new online repairs reporting tool, which sends an email containing all the repair details to our Service Centre.
For all the latest City West news and updates visit www.citywesthousingtrust.org.uk
Our Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate (CSI) regulary review and challenge our services and report to our Board, resulting in savings and service improvements.
The role of each Service Excellence Group is to focus on developing ideas for achieving service excellence across the board.
During 2013/14 all the recommendations identified by the Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate were implemented by City West. The CSI looked at customer satisfaction with their new home and found that overall satisfaction from new customers was high.
The CSI also did a review of the Customer Journey Map. The letters customers receive when they are to be charged for work that was carried out have been rewritten to make them easier to understand for customers.
Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate
Following recommendations from CSI, a new approach to neighbourhood walkabouts was implemented and a programme of Action Weeks developed with the focus being on a different neighbourhood each week. Neighbourhood inspections have also been developed which are conducted by the neighbourhood teams on a monthly basis.
For 2014/16 we’ll have between 8 and 12 Promises per neighbourhood, at any one time. These Promises allow us to be more flexible at a local level.
All promises are available on our website www.citywesthousingtrust.org.uk
Following customer feedback we have streamlined the way our original Neighbourhood Plans were structured and monitored. Focus of the new Neighbourhood Promises now concentrate on day to day management plus responding to any hotspots in any particular neighbourhood.
If you’re out and about in your neighbourhood and see something you do or don’t like – Spot it, Snap it, Send it. Photograph your likes and dislikes and send them to us by text 67200 or
Through our neighbourhood plans, over the past 3 years our ratings have gone from
5 Bronze20 Silver6 Gold to:
In February 2014 we welcomed back two Assessors from HouseMark to conduct our ASB Accreditation re-assessment. Our onsite reassessment ran very smoothly, resulting in a very positive outcome for City West and our customers. This reinforces our pledge to staff and customers that we remain fully committed to tackling ASB and are continually looking at ways of improving our service.
Our ASB Mediation Service went live in September 2013 and ASB cases suitable for mediation are now dealt with by our own team of trained volunteer mediators. A number of referrals have been made to our new service, resulting in four successful outcomes so far.
91% (655 of 720)
ASB cases resolved or referred for legal action within target
A full review of costs and savings will be carried out later this year.
City West Housing Trust has purchased 78 homes in Salford from Great Places Housing Group. In addition, we have also acquired 5 empty homes and refurbished them to bring them back into use. These properties, in Little Hulton, are at the heart of our neighbourhoods and will benefit from the same first class service that we already provide to other homes in the area.
We’ve been working up the environmental schemes ready for delivery in 2014-15.
These include planned environmental schemes to maintain or replace boundaries (walls, fences, driveways etc) across 4 neighbourhoods, with work across low rise blocks also continuing.
Customers involved at all stages through environmental steering group and surveys.
From our new offices customers benefit from better access to a wider range of City West services and community facilities. A key feature will be a ‘no queue’ policy, with knowledgeable staff on hand to answer enquiries. Staff working in the community will also have access to ‘hubs’ in your local area where they can call in and work from.
The Board of City West is responsible for exercising all the powers of the organisation, controlling its strategic direction and setting its policy framework.
How our groups feed into the City West Board:
Decision making is by collective consensus and all Board members act in the best interests of City West and have equal responsibilities and liabilities, representing the Board as a whole, not their individual constituent groups.
Deputy Chief Executive
Director of Corporate Services
Director of Communities and Neighborhoods
Director of Finance
52 Regent Street, Eccles, M30 0BP
We maintain 100% compliance for valid gas safety certificates, taking legal action against those who refuse entry to their homes for safety standards. This service has been independently validated and is recognised as a standard of best practice within the sector.
City West were proud to support Gas Safety Week (16th - 22nd September 2013). Our Gas Team went out in the community to raise awareness of gas safety and offer advice to our customers.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 brings a number of changes to the tools and powers available to organisations that tackle anti-social behaviour. This year we will increase our awareness and knowledge of the new tools and powers which we will then share to staff and customers.
Rent increases are set in accordance with Government guidance which is based upon achieving “target rents” based on property value and local earnings.
Rent is set in accordance with Government guidance (RPI*) + 0.5% + £2 > RENT CAP
The Government formula is based upon achieving “target rents” based on property value and local earnings.
Highly commended for “Excellence in Youth Involvement” (YEP).
Winner “Resident Involvement Officer of the Year” (Leanne Gleave).
We have also been accredited for the following:
Direct Labour Organisation (DLO)HQN re-accreditation.
Repairs and Maintenance HQN re-accreditation.
2013/14 Cashable Value For Money Efficiencies
We delivered over
£40,000more efficiencies than our target. (Actual: £569,000, Target: £519,603)
VfM is a clear priority for City West that underpins everything we do. We have a strong track record of delivering VfM, achieving high levels of efficiencies and year on year improvements in performance and satisfaction, and a culture that sees positive results.
View our financial information on income and expenditure, including our value for Money statement.