The stock condition survey identifies required spend by element and by property. The stock valuation sets our asset/debt capacity relationship.

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1 VALUE FOR MONEY SELF ASSESSMENT Value for Money Strategy The Trust s VFM strategy has four key objectives, designed to assist the achievement of Value for Money at all levels and throughout all service areas. These are: Objective Objective Number 1 Carry out the right activities and use the right resources to deliver our mission, vision, values and objectives as described in our Corporate Plan and policies 2 Invest in the right assets; housing stock, businesses and wider operational assets. 3 Deliver the right outputs across all strands of activity; operate effective business operations, enhance community capacity through regeneration activity, be a leader and supporter of the communities we serve. 4 Achieve the right outcomes and have a series of qualitative and quantitative measures that enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of the resources employed in delivering our objectives. The strategy reflects our agreed priorities, reflects our tenant and service user needs and priorities, ensures internal resources are fit for purpose and delivers VFM while ensuring that the best possible value for money is obtained across the organisation. Our intention continues to be that value for money remains at the centre of everything we do in terms of achieving our Corporate Plan objectives and targets. The overarching responsibilities delegated from the Board and expressed through our strategy are informed and shaped by a range of key internal and external factors, processes and forms of information that are integral to understanding the Trust s VFM envelope and operating arrangements, and include: The Business Plan sets out the strategic direction and detailed financial information of the Trust and is tied into key financial covenants laid down with our external funders. The stock condition survey identifies required spend by element and by property. The stock valuation sets our asset/debt capacity relationship. The planned maintenance schedules set our priorities for the future of our stock. Regional and local strategic spending plans and resource constraints set the context in which we work locally, for example the City Council Housing Strategy and wider service planning arrangements. Financial reporting and annual published accounts provide a benchmark for assessing performance against the governance and financial viability standard.

2 The VFM standard and self assessment specifically put VFM at the heart of our planning. Performance indicators for key service delivery targets (which are monitored in monthly or quarterly cycles) provide a summary of performance and are then supported by external benchmarking. The rent-influencing regime, through the rent standard, which limits rents to a target level to ensure consistency throughout the sector, but which also acts as an overall cost control. The wider changes to the welfare benefit system and the impact on the rent recovery process. All of the above contribute to shaping the way we approach VFM and in tandem help shape a framework for practical VFM delivery. In this way the Trust s VFM priorities, projects and initiatives have emerged. These are detailed in full in the strategy and are subject to annual update, review and progression as part of each self assessment cycle, but for the purposes of this self assessment are grouped under a series of themes, aimed to reflect some of our VFM activities and our direction and plans for the future. VFM Themes - the year under review and future priorities Keeping rents affordable With continued challenging economic conditions, welfare cuts and caps, affordable rents are at the core of what the Trust aims to achieve. Current rent statistics across Greater demonstrate that our rents remain extremely competitive and affordable, perhaps even more so when our proximity to the city centre is considered. Our rents remain governed by the rent control regime, but new development (see below) does require a mix of affordable and market rents to make new housing supply a reality. Table - Comparative rents across Area City South Greater North Greater South All Greater Studio 1-Bed 2-Bed 3-Bed 4-Bed 5-Bed 6+-Bed Source: Average rents (excluding service charges, 52-week basis) as reported to NROSH SDR for 2011/12 general needs social housing.

3 City South all social stock in (including CSM) Greater North all social stock in Bolton, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale Greater South all social stock in Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford All Greater all social stock in the nine boroughs (Excludes Wigan) Maintaining and investing in properties. City South Housing Trust was created in 2008 to deliver approximately 100m of property investment over five years. Our stock valuation has risen accordingly, as the following table shows. Table- Stock/ Asset valuations 2010/ / /13 Asset Valuation/value m 85m 105M 106.5M Source: Savills annual stock valuation The improvement programme commenced in June 2008 and set an initial outline budget of m. Our current planning identifies a predicted final spend of m. The final out-turn reflects a range of works and specifications that were altered and refined as plans were delivered. Our partnership contracting removed much of the cost inflation risk, while our detailed planning identified just over 13m that was realigned" to match emerging programme needs or aspirations, notably the overcladding of our multi-storey blocks and the closure and swap out of the legacy district heating system in Moss Side. Our stock condition survey was re-evaluated in the autumn of 2012 with the following conclusion from Savills, our independent surveyors: The main focus of the organisation during the last 5 years has been the delivery of the promises and ensuring that the properties meet the Decent Homes Standard. The promises have now been met and the Decent Homes Standard has largely been exceeded in the process. The challenge for the organisation now is to continue to maintain the properties at the high standard that has been achieved and look to the future in terms of meeting tenants aspirations, the sustainability agenda and the wider objectives of the organisation in terms of provision of new housing. Savills October 2012 Practically, our business plan has been informed and updated by the revised 30 year stock condition survey and our investment planning will be shaped by that in the next five years and beyond. Our budget planning for 2013/14 has earmarked a total asset spend (pay and non pay) of 6.749m for responsive, cyclical and planned asset investment. As part of our investment work we are also exploring methods of securing third party funding to support a range of energy efficiency projects and programmes. Maximising rent collection and minimising rent losses Our asset valuation and business plan are underpinned by effective rent collection and efficient void and bad debt management. Our rent statistics detailed in the table below show a consistently high level of rent collection. Like other social housing providers, a considerable part of our planning in 2012/13 has focussed on the implications and implementation of planned welfare changes, including the under-occupation penalty (or bedroom tax ), the benefit cap and universal credit. Planning has had two key strands: the identification of those tenants and families impacted by the changes and the provision of a broad

4 range of support and opportunities, which is core to our work. Tenants identified as being impacted by the welfare changes have been offered support and guidance. This could include budgeting, benefit maximisation, energy and tariff planning and advice on home energy and insulation. We also seek to provide a range of training and work guidance (delivered through our award-winning employability hub, The Works), signposting to other agencies and work experience. The intention is to help our tenants to maximise their incomes and minimise costs. In 2013/14 a priority is to protect rental income collection but to protect tenants as well. Rental recovery procedures will add key support stages to ensure that all guidance and advice has been offered. Our strong regeneration theme around worklessness will be extended to include volunteering. While all measures will be taken to keep tenants in their homes, some debts may become irrecoverable. Our bad debt provision has been increased to 3% of rental income to protect the wider business and tenant base. Table: Rent collection statistics Area Secondary 2010/ / /13 Income Collection Rate % % % Void rate Actual Cost 103k 75k 83k % Rate 0.6% 0.5% 0.4% Bad Debt : Actual Charge/Cost 109k 79k 100k Service Charge :Implementation No Yes Yes Improving service delivery and maintaining a strong financial position The Operating and Financial Review highlights a series of key projects and work programmes that have started in 2012/13 and that will come to completion or will continue in 2013/14. Significant pieces of work include the future shape of the repairs service, reflecting the repairing policy change that that began early in 2013/14 and linked running cost savings. Additional services will be delivered through the call centre in 2013/14 and this will be a key element of our right first time service delivery. Our performance KPIs are monitored regularly. We validate externally our service performance through Housemark and this will be extended in 2013/14 to include a broader set of indicators. In addition, our back office services will be benchmarked through a benchmarking club coordinated by Baker Tilly. Generally our cost indicators show us to be more expensive and in quartile 4, albeit improving. Our work in 2013/14 will look to extend our cost base understanding. It is intended that the savings identified below will improve our management costs at a unit level. Our customer satisfaction with our services, including repairs, gas servicing and general satisfaction are much more positive when benchmarked through Housemark, with results comparable to quartiles 2 and 3.

5 Cost control and best value for monies deployed sit at the heart of VFM. Three themes of work are noteworthy. The first is the solution for the expensive and outmoded district heating system on the Alexandra Park Estate. The second is other cost savings achieved in 2012/13, and the third is our key plans for 2013/14. District heating has been a continued financial risk and strain on resources. Following termination of the contract with the provider, we worked closely with tenants, leaseholders and freeholders to swap out 947 district heating systems for modern economical heating systems. The table below shows the financial impact of closing off the system: Table: Managing out District Heating Area 2010/ / / /14 Trading Losses - Actual - 557k - 771k - 211k - 0k In setting the overall corporate objectives to 2014 a key target was to make recurrent savings in 2012/13 and 2013/14 of 1m. Work in 2012/13 focussed on two major cost areas - ending the losses on district heating as detailed above, and secondly, with the 100m improvement programme coming to an end, a greatly reduced but logical planned maintenance programme. The staffing structure was streamlined in 2012/13 to reflect future operational needs and priorities. These two key projects have realised a recurrent saving of 994k. A range of cost saving initiatives is planned for 2013/14 with a total savings target of 320k. Key elements of the savings plan include material and labour savings on reactive repairs, the in-house provision of highways inspection, and a reduction in the cost of fleet, mobile data and telephony, communal electricity and specialist property services. Investing in communities, neighbourhoods and people Regenerating our neighbourhoods has given the Trust both a regional and a national profile. Staff teams work in all our neighbourhoods on community and regeneration events and projects, and work closely with partner organisations, including the police and City Council, in supporting our communities. Other initiatives include training and access to work, advice on energy management and planning, debt advice and income protection, and supporting and developing the local business community. The Works continues to provide a hub for employability advice, with 1,400 people receiving support in 2012/13 and similar volumes planned in the year ahead. We continue to work with the Prince s Trust, with 30 young people attending the programme this year. We also aim to increase local employability access, in part through our growing number of apprenticeships - seven to date. Ten new businesses were supported this year; this is an area we are keen to grow and it is hoped that this will help inform our own procurement arrangements. Culture, education and youth activities are an important parallel area of activity. A hundred people attended our lunchtime seminars and 150 people attended a joint youth theatre event with Z Arts. In addition, our Youth Network has 37 active members. We are investing in new lead officers for employability and volunteering in 2013/14 to strengthen and extend these areas of work. We are also keen to measure the social impact of much of the qualitative and quantitative work undertaken. We are part of a small group of housing associations working with HACT to develop a

6 range of measures that will help inform and shape quantitative measures of added value and social impact delivered. Investing in new developments and business opportunities Diversifying our income streams not only provides opportunities for our staff but also supports our linked services to our customers. Our Money Mentor Team has realised income from contracts of 157k and is actively bidding for new work in the year ahead, in addition to a three year Big Lottery funded money advice programme of 1m. Our in-house repairs and grounds maintenance teams continue to win small contracts with local charities and businesses and this is an area we are looking to expand in 2013/14. In addition, we are continuing to explore new ventures with local and regional social enterprises, either to deliver new joint projects such as our new business incubator, The Pod, or by direct investment. Extending our housing management services through the purchase of or joint work with a lettings agency would also provide a strategic fit. New build and housing supply is the other key strand of our growth agenda. Making projects work with little or no grant is challenging and the move towards both affordable and market rent based schemes is inevitable. Accordingly the Trust is looking to progress housing developments within its area. We have planning permission for a small twelve unit development on Claremont Road and we are currently looking to secure grant to deliver this affordable scheme in 2013/14. Development opportunities for 2014/15 are in the initial planning phase, with early discussions underway with both our funders and the City Council. Those schemes are more substantial and we are hoping to develop over 150 market rent units in the City South Housing Trust area.

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