Bring it Home Derby Homes Annual Report 2018/19

Bring it Home | Matthew J Fowler

In February, a new member turned up at our Customer Voice meetings and was so inspired he went home and wrote a poem. He wasn’t just inspired by the group, but the whole concept of Council Housing and the stigma that’s related to it. It pretty much speaks for itself, so here it is:

You hear council house, You hear poor and think poverty. You don’t feel ambition, You don’t see the equality.
They expect us to lose, They don’t want us to win. They hear we grew up in a council house, Why is that society's bin?
Homes are fit for heroes, Roofs for working people. Forget the stigma, Everyone should be equal.
Homes are about love, Homes are about heart. Homes are about community. That’s where they start.
Lift a smile, Leave social housing alone, Let’s paint a better picture. Let’s bring it home.
Matthew J Fowler

Matthew J Fowler is a spoken word artist from Derby in England. From his early days of reciting poetry in his English classes at Derby College, he has progressed through regular open-mic nights and public performances to wider audiences and work with charities across the region, in London and Europe.

What is this about?

This is an overview of how we did as a company in 2018/19. It includes key achievements, performance and service changes.

We know you're busy and probably don’t want to look at loads of stats and read things you're not interested in, so we've really tried to keep it short.

If you are interested in numbers, perfomance and the finer details, you’ll find links throughout to key documents and reports.

To keep things simple, we’re focusing on some of the additional services we manage on behalf of Derby City Council. This includes building new council homes and delivering the city’s Housing Options, Homelessness, Extra Care and Derby Advice services. Our customers now reach beyond tenants and leaseholders.

If you’d rather go straight to our full Annual Report and Accounts, here you go:

"to rebalance the relationship between residents and landlords, to tackle stigma and ensure social housing can be both a safety net and a springboard to home ownership."

A New Deal for Social Housing

The government’s 2018 Green Paper asked for people’s views on their vision for social housing. We ran consultation events in October to get your views. The themes of the paper looked at safe and decent homes; swift and effective resolution of disputes; empowering residents to make sure their voices are heard; addressing stigma; and boosting the supply of social housing.

You'll find direct quotes from the Green Paper throughout, linking the themes to our work. An action plan for implementing this paper is expected in September 2019.

Service that puts our customers first

Even before the Green Paper was published, we reviewed our customer service strategy and made sure it really focused on customers. The changes will not happen overnight , but we're aiming to create a true “Customer First” culture, across all teams.


“Residents should be aware of all routes open to them to raise concerns and feel confident using them.”

We made changes to our complaints procedure this year. It should now be much easier to go through our complaints process. Here's the new procedure and our performance for last year.

A Voice for Customers
“Residents should have a stronger voice to influence decisions and challenge their landlord to improve performance.”

Our tenant panel group carried out a review of themselves this year to ensure that they still had an effective and influential role in scrutinising our services.

Now known as “Customer Voice”, they’ve developed better processes when carrying out their reviews to improve the accountability of the people who manage the services.

They also have a key role to play with many other volunteers, groups and our board. We see them as an integral part of ensuring our services are putting customers first.

Health and Safety that is commended in the sector
“It is critical that landlords work closely and openly with residents … on safety issues.”

We want you to feel comfortable, safe and secure in your home. As well as general health and safety, we have always had a strong focus on Fire Safety for our residents. For this reason, we have a dedicated Fire Safety Officer who is responsible for all fire related issues in the properties we manage.

This year, we achieved a “Commended in the Public Service & Local Government Sector” in the internationally-renowned RoSPA Health and Safety Awards.

A key focus for us this year has been how we manage and reduce risk in the new services we manage. Many of these are higher-risk areas and include the management of temporary accommodation and the outreach work that puts our staff out in the city centre day and night, engaging with people living on the streets.

Outreach staff engaging with people sleeping rough in the city centre.

How are we performing?

"For residents to be empowered they need good information on how their landlord is performing compared to others."

Here are our headline performance figures for last year. You'll find links to our full performance reports for the year below.

Some of our key performance figures for last year.
Reducing homelessness and enabling access to affordable housing

Dealing with City Centre Anti-Social Behaviour

We're a part of the Proactive Engagement and Enforcement Partnership (PEEP), which works to eliminate visible on-street begging, anti-social behaviour and drug taking activities in Derby city centre.

In 12 months, over 170 arrests were made by the PEEP project, along with 29 individuals who were helped into accommodation, and 40 people began engaging with drug and alcohol treatment services.

Partners patrolling the city centre.

Support for Rough Sleepers

We now manage homelessness services on behalf of Derby City Council. This year saw the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 come into force. The act has significant new duties for councils to provide support to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Thanks to grants from central government, we've established new ways of supporting rough sleepers. We established a dedicated Re-housing Engagement Support Team (REST) in August 2018. These outreach staff work on the streets, engaging with rough sleepers with offers of accommodation and support.

In the coming year, we will use further funding from central government to develop the recently established ‘Safe Space’. This provides a basic shelter, along with rapid assessment and support for rough sleepers who choose not to engage with support services.

The city's multi-agency approach to dealing with rough sleeping is working.

The number of people sleeping rough was down from 37 in 2017 to 26 in November 2018 (with our unofficial ‘spotlight’ count in March 2019 finding only 7 individuals).

REST staff out in Derby at night and in the early hours of the morning

Working with Private Landlords

It is not possible to alleviate homelessness solely with social housing. As waiting lists increase and the turnover of properties reduces, we are increasingly looking to the private sector to help tackle the issue.

With funding from the government’s £20million Private Rented Sector Access fund, we're developing a new project working with private landlords to offer housing to homeless people. Following a successful pilot scheme, we now have the ability to expand the project, with the aim of creating 250 new tenancies within the private sector.

We work with around 224 households every month who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes. Over half (53%) of these households are single individuals. The funding will mean we can prevent more evictions and rehouse those who do become homeless more quickly.

Attracting Government Attention

In January, the then Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP visited Derby. He came to see the positive outcomes of the work in the city and to speak to people who have experienced homelessness first-hand.

During the course of his visit, Mr. Brokenshire visited Milestone House, a 37-bed hostel managed by Derby Homes. Milestone provides temporary emergency accommodation for single people and couples aged over 18. Services include access to a community psychiatric nurse, drug and alcohol support, and specialist housing advice to support residents into long-term sustainable accommodation.

During the visit, the Communities Secretary took part in a discussion on Derby's approach and visited Milestone House, where he spoke to residents and saw newly refurbished kitchen and shower rooms.
Quality homes and contributing to sustainable communities
"Social housing provides a stable base that supports people when they need it."

We've operated as an arms-length management organisation (ALMO) of Derby City Council since 2002.

We were thrilled this year to be named Social Housing Provider of the Year 2018 in the Building Communities Awards, hosted by Efficiency East Midlands. For the first time, we were also listed in 24Housing Magazines Top 50 Landlords 2018, one of just five ALMOs to make the list!

We currently represent Midlands ALMOs on the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) Board, along with our colleagues at Nottingham City Homes. Our Managing Director, Maria Murphy, is now the Chair of the NFA’s Executive Steering Group, which advises their Board.

A successful year all round!

New Homes for Heroes

We’ve delivered 406 new, affordable homes since 2013, in partnership with Derby City Council. In 2018/19, we completed work on 52 homes.

We have also been chosen as the main building partner by War Memorial Village Derby (along with the Council) to build nine new bungalows for them, which will be constructed during 2019/20. This builds on our successful partnership over the last few years where Derby Homes has managed and maintained the homes in the village on behalf of the charity.

New homes and the refurbished parade ground at War Memorial Village Derby

Supporting Vulnerable and Elderly Tenants in Their Homes

This year, we were recognised by the Derbyshire Dignity Awards for our achievements in supporting vulnerable tenants.

Our work supporting and engaging with the people living in our properties was praised by the Derby Adult Safeguarding Board and highlights how we work with tenants to enable them to live as independently as possible and still retain some control over their lives.

Parkland View, the Extra Care scheme that we manage on behalf of the Council, was also in the spotlight. It won a Gold Award at the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) Awards 2019, being one of just 300 to have won a top prize out of almost 25,000 retirement housing schemes nationwide.

The scheme was also a finalist for Excellence in Engagement in Support and Care at the TPAS (Tenant Participation Advisory Service) Awards 2019. The staff at Parkland View work hard to ensure all residents feel involved with what’s going on. They support residents to have input into tenant surveys and other consultations taking place in the local area. There is also a weekly residents’ forum and over 30 activities that take place each month, including a film club, games sessions, day-trips, shared reading groups and a range of different exercise sessions.

Recognition for our work supporting elderly and vulnerable people in their homes.

Celebrating Local Volunteers

Each year we celebrate the contribution of our volunteers through an annual Volunteering Celebration. This was also our third year of taking part in National Volunteers Week, so we decided to make things a bit special by hosting an awards ceremony.

Over 100 volunteers attended and awards were given out for Best Group, Community Champion, Outstanding Contribution, Long-Standing Commitment and New Volunteer of the Year.

Volunteer Celebration Event 2018

New Life for Community Rooms

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working on a major refurbishment of all the community rooms we manage. We’re working our way around all 22 community rooms and giving them a spruce up. All rooms are being given a coat of paint and a general “freshen up”, but some are also getting brand new kitchens - like at Fairdene Court in Normanton and Whitecross House in the West End.

To celebrate, we’ve held relaunches at the first five rooms we completed and invited residents and community groups to join us.

Re-launching refurbished Community Rooms with residents

Record fundraising for Glenn

We had our most successful year of fundraising in 2018/19 raising money for MNDA, the Motor Neurone Disease Association. There was added poignancy this year as one of our colleagues, Glenn Aughton, sadly passed away from the illness at the start of 2018.

From sponsored walks, to a fashion show, breakfast cob mornings, our annual golf day and culminating in a music quiz night supported by Glenn’s friends and closest colleagues, staff arranged and supported some fantastic events.

Glenn was well known for his generous and charitable nature; regularly donating his own time and effort to help renovate the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre in Skegness.

Staff raised £8,744 for MNDA: this has taken the total we’ve raised for charities since 2003 to over £65,000.

Over the year, staff raised £8,744 for MNDA

Improving Holidays for Derby Children

This was the twelfth year of our ongoing support for Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre in Skegness, a charity close to our hearts.

This year, our staff helped with preparation and works in fitting a new commercial kitchen, with funding from Buildbase for the building materials and a generous benefactor to the centre purchasing the fixtures, fittings and appliances. Our generous staff even contributed their own time, spending the whole week away from home and working long days to complete the kitchen.

Renovation work at Derbyshire Children's Holiday Centre, Skegness

That's all folks!

If you've seen something that interests you, have any questions or even disagree with anything we've said, why not talk to us?

You can email, call, send us a message or drop in and see us. If you think there are better ways we could be putting customers first, we'd love to hear your ideas.

Remember, we open our doors in The Hub at our London Road site every Wednesday so you can pop in and get whatever's on your mind, off your chest.

If you want to stay up to date with things, make sure we have your email address and that you follow our social accounts (if you're on Facebook or Twitter). We post all of our public meetings online, along with all relevant reports and performance information. We also post online when any consultations are taking place, whether they're just a quick survey or if we're planning something a bit more involved.

Bye for now.

Produced in-house by the Customer Communications Team, The Hub, 839 London Road, Derby DE24 8UZ.