Annual Report 2017/2018 DERBY HOMES

Mike Ainsley | Chair of Derby Homes


I'm normally asked to write the introduction to this annual report, but there's been a big focus on listening to tenants' voices over the last year, particularly in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, and again more recently in the Social Housing Green Paper. As this report is supposed to be directed at tenants, I thought I'd hand this bit over to tenant board member and vice chair: Bob MacDonald, who also happens to be the board's champion for customer service.

Bob MacDonald | Tenant & Vice Chair

Hello! As a tenant, I want to make sure this report focuses on customers. It's quite a task pulling a whole year's worth of information together into something that's accessible, open and easy to follow. I was pleased when the initial ideas for this were all about making it shorter and cutting back on the amount of unnecessary statistics, whilst still trying to inform you about what's happened over the last year. The only statistics you'll find in this report relate to satisfaction. Everything else can be found in the supporting documents.

Derby Homes has acknowledged that many tenants feel that they don't always listen. The number of tenants who are satisfied that their views are taken into account by Derby Homes has fallen to 79% (84.2% the previous year). This has led them to take actions to address this, many of which you should be hearing about during 2018, such as a new complaints policy and a "customer first" strategy.

This report is all about ensuring you have access to relevant performance information that will let you see how Derby Homes is doing, but also give you the ability to scrutinise anything you're particularly interested in. I've asked that the Customer Priorities come first. After that, the information is grouped into each of Derby Homes' four strategic aims, with "Great Neighbourhoods" first as this is the one most likely to be of interest. We're not aiming to bombard you with too much here. A lot has been left out, but links are provided throughout to relevant reports to allow you to further explore things (if you want!).

Remember, this isn't the end of the story. You can help shape things. Read things that interest you. Question things. Get in touch. At the end, we've included details on how you can contact Derby Homes if you want to chat about this report or get involved to help ensure all customers get excellent services. You could even consider joining the Operational Board of Derby Homes like I did.


The customer priorities were the most common issues that came out of the customer surveys we carried out in 2014 and 2015. We spoke to 2,253 customers and the responses helped us to create an action plan to tackle some of the issues that affected many of your neighbourhoods.

The final report looks at what we'd achieved up until September 2017. Here's some highlights followed by a link to the full report.


To help tackle litter, we look at where we can work with the Council and our partners, to see where we can have the biggest impact. This can involve taking action against residents where we identify them, but it can also mean working to solve local issues that could lead to littering.

For example, at some of our schemes on Keldholme Lane, Humber Close, Slindon Croft, we worked with StreetPride to trial extra recycling bins for residents. Similarly, the communal bins at Field Lane flats were old and unlocked causing issues of contamination, with items being dumped and causing a mess. Again, StreetPride provided us with new lockable bins and a separate bin for recycling. Staff are now monitoring the situation.

This year, we also engaged in a proactive litter campaign across all parts of the city, with staff, volunteers and even school children out and about picking up litter! Mash Up Derby worked with young people in Osmaston and ran a poster competition and a series of drama workshops to raise awareness of littering, amongst other things.


The majority of anti-social behaviour complaints we receive are about noise. You told us that this is the most annoying issue for tenants across the city.

We’ve been using the Noise App for a few years now. It’s free and it lets you easily record noise nuisance on your smartphone for us to investigate. Last year, we received almost 4,000 reports of noise nuisance from 182 separate cases. Of these, 1,500 were recordings of loud voices, and nearly 900 were of music.

The app helps us to manage noise complaints more efficiently. Where cases of noise nuisance are persistent and serious, our staff intervene. Our approach to tackling anti-social behaviour is to deal with the problem, by focusing on prevention, early intervention, support, enforcement and diversion.


In 2015, we introduced a Pets Policy making it a requirement for all new tenants who want to keep a pet to inform Derby Homes and request a pet permit. These are a good way to encourage people to be mindful of the nature of pets and wider circumstances such as property type and suitable/responsible keeping arrangements. Initially, we only implemented pet permit agreements for new tenants, but we are starting to issue permits for all pet-owning tenants in stages.

This was the second year we held our "Pets Days" across the city. Three took place this year, giving more residents access to professional advice from the likes of Cat's Protection and the RSPCA, as well as health checks and discounted/free chipping and neutering.

In recognition of our strong pets policy, this year we were awarded the RSPCA’s Silver Housing Footprint Award, which recognises housing organisations that have a positive policy around pet ownership.


Parking is one of those issues that always comes up in our survey. Over the last year, we've spent over £170,000 solely on new driveways across the city to reduce the impact of on-street parking.

In addition to the driveways, we've improved the communal parking on Maple Drive, Chellaston (£30k), parts of the New Sinfin estate (£50k), Greenacres in Littleover (£10k) and Hadden Drive in Spondon (£51k). In Meadow Lane, Alvaston, we spent £46k widening the road to allow safer parking on street and improve access for emergency vehicles.

We've also carried out resurfacing of various existing car parks, such as Launceston Road, Alvaston.

Some of the improvements to communal parking areas in New Sinfin and Littleover.

Tony Holme is a leaseholder. He's also the person responsible for kickstarting our programme of installing LED lighting across the city. He kept telling us there was a need for better lighting in the communal areas of flats and that there would be cost savings for both residents and Derby Homes. We listened – and he was right.

With funding from the rent you pay to the Council, a specialist team of electricians was set up to carry out the works. LED lighting is not only significantly brighter – which reduces the risk of crime – but the lights are far more energy efficient. Using LED lights should mean the bulbs have to be replaced far less frequently, and cuts the cost of electricity.

We estimate the energy cost savings to be around 15%. There have also been savings in the cost of maintenance and repair costs have fallen drastically. This investment not only saved money but helps the environment and reduces crime and the fear of crime: a true win/win.

Supporting documents
Full Annual Report and Financial Statements

Our official Report and Financial Statements were presented to the board in July 2018 and give a full account of how we performed as a company for the financial year 2017-2018. It includes details of membership of the board during this period, along with a statement from the chair and various reports on management, strategy and of course lots of financial information.

Supporting document


A good part of our work takes place outside of your home. It includes proactive estate management, dealing with anti-social behaviour and a wide variety of projects that develop neighbourhoods and support communities. Here are some examples of things we've been involved with over the year, followed by links to performance information and estate improvement proposals for 2017/18.


On 2 June, we held our second annual Derby Homes Volunteer Celebration Event, as part of National Volunteers Week 2017. We brought together volunteers from our different community rooms - along with those from our partner organisations such as MashUp Derby and Enthusiasm.

Activities on the day included a close-up magician, and volunteers were treated to a performance from The Invisible Friends - a choir made up of people with ‘invisible’ disabilities or illnesses. Our Managing Director, Maria Murphy and Derby Homes’ Chair Mike Ainsley attended to show their support and give thanks for the difference our volunteers have made over the past year.


In August, the National BMX Championships were held right here in Derby at Alvaston Park. We were there to hand over a cheque for £25,000 to Derby BMX Club. This money, alongside funds Derby City Council had secured from Sport England, helped to install new flood-lighting to allow them to run their training into the dark winter months. In exchange, Derby BMX Club have provided free coaching sessions for children and young people living in homes we manage.

While we were there, we stopped to watch the parade - BMX clubs from all over the country put on a show with some amazing bike tricks and wild, colourful costumes.

Photos from the National BMX Championships in August

In April, we officially opened the brand new Arkle Green play area, which has been completely renovated. The project was funded by Derby Homes, Derby City Council, Veolia Environmental Trust and the Landfill Communities Fund.

Pupils at Grampian Primary Academy designed artwork for the play area sign and safety surface artwork. Thanks for your help Year Five!

Some of the new play equipment on Arkle Green, Sinfin

The Heritage Lottery fund awarded £21,696 in funding for the ‘Osmaston Window Project.’ The initial idea came from and was shaped by the local community: Osmaston Community Association of Residents (OSCAR), Enthusiasm, Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre and Osmaston Primary School. The project was supported throughout by Derby Homes and Derby City Council.

The aim was to connect the community with their heritage and to share the local story. We wanted to bring the younger and older generations together to share conversations and to learn about the heritage of Marble Hall.

A memorial stone was built to remember those who lost their lives during a Second World War air raid on 27 July 1942, targeting Rolls-Royce as a manufacturer of wartime engines. The memorial stone is located in the memorial garden at the rear of Marble Hall. To mark the 75th anniversary of this fatal raid, OSCAR organised an Osmaston Memorial Dedication event on 27 July.

Supporting documents


Homes. The biggest area of our work. As well as the core services we provide, like day-to-day repairs, improvements and new homes, this year we've started directly managing a number of new services on behalf the council, such as homelessness and Housing Options. You can read general performance information in our main, performance management report, but we've also included reports on the allocation of homes and homelessness below. We've chosen to focus on some important work on homelessness that took place this year.


Over the past few years, rough sleeping has risen in Derby as elsewhere. We've seen a significant increase in the number of people who are at crisis point, along with a rise in the number of homelessness approaches (people who come to us having lost their home and in need of emergency accommodation).

In March, we helped to launch Derby's Homelessness Charter, working alongside partners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the Homelessness Liaison Forum. The charter is a pledge for organisations across the city to come together and adopt a set of shared values, and share information to work towards ending homelessness in Derby.

This year saw the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 come into effect. The aim of the act is to tackle homelessness by identifying those at risk as soon as possible, and expanding the provision of services.

We are also proud to be developing a true partnership approach to reducing the numbers of people forced to sleep rough in our city. The local authority, statutory partners and the voluntary sector have worked together to agree proposals for a co-ordinated pathway which will help people access safe housing solutions backed up with the support and treatment that they required.

Supporting documents


There are a number of different ways we measure satisfaction. There are measures that are specific to different services as well as the overall measures we collect from our Customer Survey. Statistics are just one measure and they're only ever an indication of what customers think. We also look at what people complain about, to see where things might not be so good and if we do something about it.

Here are a few of the ways we're working to ensure we keep our focus on what customers want by asking for feedback and getting people to scrutinise our services.


Over five weeks in September and October, over 100 members of staff visited over 6,000 homes across the city. We were able to get 1,900 completed surveys from tenants. The results from the survey showed that Derby Homes continues to maintain a high level of satisfaction, with 90% of respondents reporting that overall, they we're satisfied with the service we provide.

The responses from the Customer Survey help us plan and deliver our services, based on the improvements you’ve told us you’d like to see. In previous years, we’ve used the data collected to create a set of ten Customer Priorities - the same ones that are featured at the start of this Annual Report.

The results of this survey will tell us if you think we’ve met the targets we set, and help us to agree new ones.


Our Tenant Panel meet once a week. Their role is to scrutinise our services.

Though we offer guidance and support when asked, the panel largely run themselves. They decide what services they want to review, which members of staff they want to speak to, and which recommendations go in their final report to our Operational Board.

This year, the panel undertook a review of themselves and how they do things. It's going to lead to some big changes. By the time this report is published, they’ll be known as Customer Voice and will have even more power to challenge our services. Watch this space.


MyAccount was launched in October 2017 and is our new online portal for customers. It replaced the previous "Dashboard", and is a key part of our new housing management and maintenance software: Open Housing. Since its launch, we’ve had over 3,000 people sign up.

We want to develop our online services so customers can do more things when its more convenient for them and without needing to phone us. Simple things, like reporting a repair should be quick and easy to do.

For those who can't or won't go online, there'll always be a real person to speak to, especially in the case of emergencies.

Supporting documents


It's important that we demonstrate we're making the most of the money we manage. 89% of tenants currently feel that the rent charge is seen as value for money (Source: Customer Survey, up from 88.5% in 2016/17).

Our Value For Money annual report looks at a few measures for what our services cost. For 2017/18, our planned annual costs (excluding major work) were £2,642 per property. This puts us in the median range of costs in comparison with other social landlords.


Our Charity of the Year was Derbyshire Mind, which tied in nicely with our ongoing support of the Time to Change initiative. This focus has led to a much greater awareness of mental health in the workplace and more openness from staff when it comes to having conversations or seeking help on what is still a subject that carries a lot of stigma.

Over the twelve months, staff raised a total of £4,660.13 for the charity.


We have a long history of support for the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre in Skegness. The centre provides many children with a holiday that they may otherwise not get. This year, they provided over 660 places for Derbyshire children.

Our staff regularly donate some of their own time to help with repairs and renovations at the centre and we often secure additional materials and labour through the "social value" element of our contracts (a procurement requirement for many of our successful service providers).

For some time, we had been planning some major improvements to the building. We approached Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS), who are leading a major "Think Sprinkler" campaign to highlight the benefits of domestic sprinkler systems in new homes and in existing properties, where vulnerable people are at risk from fire.

With funding from DFRS and other organisations supplying materials or services free of charge, our staff carried our all of the related building and electrical work to ensure the project was a success. The holiday centre celebrated the end of the project in January 2018.

This is a project we are particularly proud to have been a part of in the year we received our third ROSPA President's Award (12 consecutive Gold Awards) for Health & Safety. Nationally, we are one of just four housing organisations to achieve recognition at this level.

“Families in the community will be reassured to learn of the generosity given by those organisations, generosity which will now greatly benefit their children’s safety; and who gain so much more from the holidays the centre provides." BILL TOMLINSON, CHAIR OF DERBYSHIRE CHILDREN'S HOLIDAY CENTRE
A behind the scenes look at a sprinkler installation.

Seven apprentices completed their apprenticeships this year, with six gaining employment with us and one going on to further education. At the end of the year, we had 21 apprentices in roles from plumbing and electrical to housing management and surveying. Seven are due to complete their apprenticeship in 2018/19 and we plan to recruit up to 16 new ones.

Our Apprenticeship Scheme gives those who are over the age of 16 and not in full time education the opportunity to work for a real employer. Our apprentices all earn the National Minimum Wage for their age rather than the lower apprentice wage, reflecting our view that apprentices make a real, valuable contribution to our workplace.

The work they get involved in often goes beyond the regular day job and sees them get involved in a whole range of varied and exciting projects, like building new homes or renovating an underused community building. This means the value of their roles reaches far beyond the organisation, benefiting communities across Derby and giving them more skills and experience for their own careers.

We provide our apprentices with transferable qualifications and work experience to help them achieve a future career with us or with another employer. We aim to educate all apprentices to Level 3. Depending on the level of study, an apprenticeship with us will take anywhere between one and four years to complete.

Supporting documents
What's next?

That's it! What did you think?

We've made a real effort to try to make this interesting and be open and transparent about what we've done over the last year, how we've performed and the impact we hope it's had.

This is the end of the report, but it doesn't have to be the end for you. If you think we could do better, tell us how. If you'd like to get more involved in how we do things or help to constructively challenge our services, get in touch. You can do as little as responding to the occasional survey or if you have some time you'd like to fill, you could join our Customer Voice or even our Operational Board. Give us a call or pop into The Hub at our London Road site for an informal chat.

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