The Exec Team Update January 2017

Thanks for clicking in to read this update from the Executive Team following our meeting on 30 January, 2017.

Following the organisational restructure, budgets have been submitted by managers for the next financial year which show the Group has become more competitive when compared to similar-sized associations.

This is important because the stronger we are, the more attractive we are to prospective partners who we want to work with so we grow and thrive - not just survive.

Our profit margin continues to improve following the restructure and budgets will now be submitted to the Board for its meeting in March.

However, we need to continue to manage our finances carefully because even as we reduce our costs in one area of the business, we are seeing increased costs in others. This includes the rising cost of building new homes, what happens to rents after 2020 are still unclear and potential impact of debt fuelled by Universal Credit.

Arrears performance remains steady

We looked at the latest arrears figures which show we are continuing to perform well on the income front.

The data is very similar to last year when our overall rent arrears stood at 0.83% - among the lowest arrears rates in the sector. Well done to everyone involved in maintaining this level of performance.

We will, however, be looking at welfare reforms in more detail as Universal Credit is rolled out across our operating areas in the coming months to gauge the impact this has on rent collection.

For example, initial studies have shown 89% of tenants on Universal Credit go into arrears. In Daventry, around 60 customers who receive Universal Credit had fallen into arrears after Christmas.

And based on forecasts, we may see a 4% increase in rent arrears due to customers on Universal Credit - so we cannot become complacent with our finances.

Performance update

We discussed the latest performance data which shows the Group is continuing to maintain its high performance levels across the board.

The time it takes for us to re-let void properties has improved but more work is still required to re-let major voids.

development update

We heard from the Development Team who reported we are on course to complete just under 200 new homes this financial year - a Futures Housing Group record.

What was particularly pleasing to hear was that customers were queuing up to get their hands on our outright sale properties, with almost all being sold before construction had finished.

We will be reviewing our development strategy with the Asset Investment Committee in May.

Protecting our data is about to get tougher

We approved a raft of recommendations in a report from Gavin Hitchcock, Head of ICT, which detailed how new data protection legislation will make it easier for organisations to fall foul of the law.

Can we remind all partners that it is crucially important to ensure your computers or devices are locked when you are away from them and to ensure that any confidential information, whether in paper or digital form, is stored securely and away from view.

There will be significant implications from the new legislation with multi-million pound fines awaiting organisations who are not compliant.

To mitigate this risk, we are seeking to bring in expertise to ensure we remain compliant and that data protection becomes a higher priority for everyone at Futures.

More information about this subject will be shared in due course.

Board director visits

The Board met in Daventry on 31 January to discuss a number of topics including our development programme.

We showed directors a few sites which showcase our asset and development work. They visited a site in Station Road, Long Buckby, a newly purchased site on which we'll build at least 13 homes.

They also visited some of our sheltered accommodation in Greenhill Court, Daventry, which is being looked at under our Fit for the Future programme which looks at making the most of our assets.

Transformation ramping up again

We heard from the Business Transformation team and we agreed the next customer systems to go through transformation as part of our ongoing Our Futures Way programme.

The income, development and repairs services will work with transformation to look at improving systems and processes which will help the Group create effortless experiences for customers.

Income will become especially important as Universal Credit is rolled out in Amber Valley later this year after already being implemented in Daventry last year.


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