ASSET MANAGEMENT OUR APPROACH

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1 ASSET MANAGEMENT OUR APPROACH

2 CONTENTS FOREWORD 3 INTRODUCTION 4 ASSET MANAGEMENT? 6 THE NEED FOR CHANGE 6 KEY PRINCIPLES 7 APPENDIX 1 19 GLOSSARY 20 2

3 FOREWORD Few things affect our customers ives as much as the homes we provide and the investment we make in those homes and in in our communities. Therefore effective, efficient management of our assets is crucia for us to meet both our business objectives and our tenants expectations. The environment in which housing associations operate is changing significanty and quicky. A revised reguatory framework, changes to funding arrangements for new homes and to wefare benefits, energy and carbon reduction targets and a changing housing market, a present significant chaenges to the sector. To hep meet these chaenges effectivey and successfuy, Symphony Housing Group members recognise the need to have a greater understanding of the ong-term financia vaue and performance of our property assets. This information wi aso need to be used to support our strategic decision-making and future direction and wi make a huge contribution in terms of our approach to vaue for money. This guidance document has been produced by group members and estabishes a number of key principes which Symphony beieves underpin a robust and effective approach to asset management. It doesn t seek to repace member organisation s own asset management strategies, but it is intended to inform, support and compement them. A reated action pan sets out a number of key areas where coaborative work across Symphony is either on-going or panned. The aim of these actions is to deveop and embed a progressive, consistent, group-wide approach to asset management. I woud ike to thank members of the Asset Management Steering Group for a their hard work in producing this guidance. I am sure it wi hep us continue to drive improvements for the benefit of those who matter most our customers! Phi Gandy 3

4 INTRODUCTION This is the first asset management strategy guidance framework for Symphony Housing Group, foowing its formation in Apri We want to estabish a set of common principes to create a framework which compements members own asset management strategies and ensures consistency. Each member has their own asset management strategy, refecting their size, operationa area(s), stock profie, heritage and business needs. Symphony recognises that members are best paced to address their own oca priorities, and the Group does not wish to be prescriptive or prohibit oca innovation. However, members see the benefits of avoiding disjointed approaches where coaborative working wi deiver better outcomes. The Group has a combined deveopment programme to deiver 616 new homes up to A fu profie of members assets is in the Appendices section at the back of this document. This document and the resuting action pan support Symphony s key corporate priorities of: 1. Deivering outstanding services 2. Being an inspiring organisation 3. Buiding successfu partnerships 4. Sustaining financia strength and improving efficiency Symphony Housing Group comprises 10 member organisations with around 40,000 homes in ownership and management vaued at more than 1.3 biion. 4

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6 WHAT IS ASSET MANAGEMENT? Asset management is knowedge of and management of the performance and risks associated with a assets (residentia, commercia property and offices, and, and garages). The traditiona approach to asset management of maintaining stock standards and ensuring they meet the reguator s and residents expectations is being superseded by a more dynamic way of using resources to maintain and deveop homes and services. This approach requires a fu understanding of the ong-term financia vaue and performance of assets, and the use of information to make strategic decisions about their future in terms of: New investment Retention or disposa Type of housing offered to meet customer needs and aspirations now and in the future Range of activity undertaken THE NEED FOR CHANGE Significant change and uncertainty facing the housing sector present a range of chaenges, demanding greater commerciaity and innovation. Key areas of change incude: Substantia cuts in pubic expenditure Growing expectations from existing and new customers. Providing fit-for-purpose housing products, for exampe shetered schemes A different approach to funding new homes in ight of reduction in grant eves New fexibiities for Registered Providers, incuding the potentia to provide a mixed range of tenure and the part these wi pay in subsiding new deveopment in the future The impact of wefare reform on residents abiity to pay, and the potentia negative impact upon our income The impact upon funder confidence (and therefore future costs) arising from the above Meeting energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets by tacking fue poverty The revised reguatory approach, which requires economic and/or tenant scrutiny Impact of the changing financia cimate on demand for accommodation Regiona/oca housing poicy, and egisative change The Group expects members asset management strategies to deiver: Effective stock investment: An investment programme designed to keep stock to required standards (e.g. Decent Homes) and meet carbon reduction targets Active asset management: Identifying properties that have a poor socia, economic or environmenta performance because of ow demand or high costs. Either improving them or repacing them with properties that are fit for purpose Support for wider objectives: Carify how asset management is supporting objectives such as new deveopment and community investment, and any strategic interventions An approach that compies with statutory and reguatory requirements and refects best practice Heath and safety Performance data management for investment panning 6

7 KEY PRINCIPLES 1. Be consistent The Group expects each member s asset management strategy, and the programmes that fow from it, to be consistent with their organisationa aims to refect, support and ink to the business pan and financia pan and to inform the risk strategy. It shoud aso ink to other key strategies, incuding: Neighbourhood Management Deveopment 2. Be hoistic 2.1 Identify assets deivering and demonstrating vaue for money The reguator s vaue for money standard chaenges associations to deiver improved outcomes, new initiatives and criticay, more affordabe housing by unocking the vaue tied up in their assets. We must ensure we take a proactive approach to asset management, so that properties with poor financia, environmenta and market performance are identified. Symphony s federated structure has created a huge asset base, diverse property portfoio, and arge income/cost streams. As a group, we shoud investigate a suitabe approach to cassify the ong-term performance and return of properties through a systematic anaysis. This shoud provide detaied financia profies, based on income and expenditure, to assess the financia viabiity of the ong-term efficiency of assets. An appropriate mode woud be capabe of capturing a income and expenditure associated with stock over 30 years, and identify its vaue. This financia assessment, together with the use of sustainabiity indicators, woud offer a hoistic approach to gauging the ong-term viabiity of stock. This woud enabe us to adopt rationa strategies, ranging from continued investment, through change of use, transfer to other Registered Providers, and disposa. 7

8 2.2. Know our markets The current rent regime aows us to charge different rents and maximise revenue. Deveoping a greater understanding of oca housing markets, particuary the private rented sector, is centra to reviewing and setting rents. Members need to ensure our research and approach enabes members to identify and respond to the needs and demands of our neighbourhoods. Key to deveoping our understanding wi be working with oca authorities and other strategic partners, creating new reationships and using customer information. 2.3 Know our residents Gaining a greater understanding of our residents, and identifying their needs and aspirations, coud direct future deveopment activity and ead to the reease of existing housing to address unmet needs. Do we know the eves of under-occupation in our homes and residents interest in moving? Is there a need for additiona oder peope s accommodation? Answers to questions ike these coud inform future deveopment and are aso key in reation to wefare reform. Gaining a greater understanding of rent eves, house prices, need and demand for accommodation, incuding tenure, property type and size, wi enabe members to provide an appropriate housing offer. This wi assist in assessments of both the ong-term sustainabiity of stock, as we as estabishing the right product mix. We wi make use of the information from Taioring Our Services to avoid dupication of work Know our neighbourhoods Members are committed to the sustainabiity of communities and understand they have to identify an appropriate roe to pay in supporting their neighbourhoods. This is to ensure residents can ive in safe, secure and thriving neighbourhoods, and members can safeguard the vaue of their assets and income streams. We know the popuarity of our homes and desirabiity of neighbourhoods is affected by many factors, incuding access to empoyment, avaiabiity of quaity amenities and responsive oca services. So, for each member organisation, reguar anaysis of neighbourhoods has to be an important diagnostic too within the asset management strategy. The approach to this evauation wi take account of and refect the nature, size and ocation of their stock. An anaysis of housing data, and neighbourhood sustainabiity indicators, wi hep our understanding of how a neighbourhood is performing. In turn, this wi assist us in determining the roe we need to undertake in deivering oca services, and providing the right housing products and eve of community investment. Members, through their housing management or neighbourhood management teams, wi undertake reguar anaysis of neighbourhoods and this information wi be used to inform future activity. This anaysis and any resutant pans wi be incuded within members asset management reports to their management team and board. 8

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10 3. Share good practice in invoving residents invoving residents in what we do is centra to the way we work. A particuar chaenge is having a cear understanding of the needs and aspirations of both current and future residents so that maintenance, investment and reinvestment decisions are abe to deiver housing of the right tenure, type, size, ocation, standards and affordabiity. We need to be cear about how we use residents views and deveop mechanisms that aow those opinions to infuence asset management at a oca eve. We aso want to be abe to show how information we obtain is used to meet customer aspirations and expectations. As a group we wi share good practice on effective resident engagement and this wi cover: How each member organisation engages with residents in deveoping reinvestment/investment programmes, and how their views infuence a aspects of asset management activity How each member promotes a cuture of resident engagement How we approach diversity and disabiity needs, and engage with hard-to-reach groups Understanding what impact we make Demonstrating how adopting good practice has ed to better outcomes Identifying residents across the group whom we coud consut about our approach to asset management Invoving coeagues from member organisations so we have a critica friend from each to enabe us to evauate what we currenty do and deveop our approach to invoving residents in asset management 3.1 Offer tenant choice We ive in a society which offers choice, so it is important that members consider what choices they can provide to new and existing residents. For exampe, current tenants may want more reinvestment in energy efficiency and be wiing to pay a higher rent to fund this. Perhaps they want investment in wider community faciities. Do the choices we currenty offer meet expectations and shoud we work to increase choice? Information for residents about the choices avaiabe shoud be promoted and pubished in annua reports. 3.2 Set standards Given that most of our properties now meet Decent Homes Standards, members need to determine and review what standards they are going to appy in the future and shoud: Map out the standards and choices across the group and use this information to chaenge and inform their approach Deveop standards that can be funded through the business pan and are based on residents requirements Have regard to the Homes and Communities Agency reguatory standards Be cear about the choices avaiabe to residents, particuary between socia, affordabe and any market rent tenancies Make the standards avaiabe to residents Have a monitoring framework to ensure deivery 10

11 4. Take stock and be consistent 4.1 Stock Information We need to be cear about what information is needed and why, as we as ensuring we have in pace robust stock information to effectivey inform business decisions. Coaboration between members on estabishing minimum stock information requirements to be hed across the Group; the adoption of common software (Keystone); and the use of new technoogy shoud be expored to support improvements in data quaity. A data management strategy which defines how stock information data is hed, how it is maintained, and who is responsibe for maintenance might be appropriate. 4.2 Stock Condition Stock condition information is drawn from surveys (interna and externa) and updated though day-to-day work and programmes of work. Individua members sharing their approach to compiing and updating this information might estabish common ground for members, covering their: Approach to how it is updated and frequency Use of interna and externa surveys Use of technoogy (hand-hed computers, Keystone) Approach to externa vaidation Anaysis of stock condition data 5. Deveop, impement and report The Group expects members to adopt a consistent approach to reporting on asset management activity and have a robust performance management framework to monitor and assess performance and provide a transparent and consistent basis for further improvement. Each member shoud identify a ead officer to ensure the asset management strategy is maintained and reguary updated to meet organisationa aims and business pan requirements. It is a ive document! 11

12 Reports to management teams and boards on asset management activity shoud be provided at east every six months, and cover key areas so that there is a consistency of approach across the Group. Key areas shoud incude: Reporting on updates and reviews of the asset management strategy and action pan Reporting on sustainabiity of stock Reporting on financia performance of stock Reporting on progress/targets set out in the business pan Reporting on outcomes of neighbourhood anaysis to determine soutions and interventions Reporting on environmenta sustainabiity of stock Reporting on repairs service and deivery of investment pan Reporting on achievement of Best Vaue in asset management Report on stock standards, compiance with standards, and affordabiity within business pan Annua report to incude option appraisa outcomes, transfer/disposas Providing specific training for board members shoud be seen as an important step in engaging members in the deveoping approach to asset management, and in particuar a cear understanding of their roe and responsibiities. Identifying an asset management champion from each member s board shoud be considered. 6. Consider asset transfer Members shoud support the drive for economy, efficiency and service improvement by exporing options for asset transfer with other registered providers, and between member organisations of Symphony Housing Group. Members recognise that opportunities for asset transfer, both within the Group and with other registered providers, may offer benefits in terms of service deivery and/or efficiency. Within the Group, we have some members working in the same oca authority areas, and some members stock situated coser to an operationa base of another member. Some members have deveoped homes which other members manage on their behaf. Disposa of stock to other Registered Providers has aso taken pace. Whie we are not proactivey pursuing the acquisition of stock from other Registered Providers, or seeking to dispose of stock, we wi consider opportunities that arise. Asset transfer may be more of a priority for some members than others. However, any potentia opportunities wi require carefu evauation for their impact on a subsidiaries, and need to be considered within an interna and externa context. In addition to asset transfer, we shoud aso consider further opportunities for deivering services differenty, if this provides benefits for both residents and members. We have a track record of asset transfer and service deivery which provides the Group with a weath of experience and expertise to expore further opportunities, both internay and externay. 12

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14 7. Improve energy efficiency and reduce fue poverty 7.1 Sustainabiity and retrofit of new technoogy We are committed to ensuring a properties perform as we as possibe in terms of environmenta impact, and that we offer affordabe warmth to a tenants. Members investment programmes continue to buid on the egacy of Decent Homes programmes to achieve agreed standards. Given the chaenge ahead to reduce our carbon footprint, and growing concerns over increasing energy costs, future investment wi aso need to consoidate on work aready undertaken so we continue to deiver in both these areas, effectivey and cost-efficienty. The principe of retrofitting existing properties and evauating the benefits of new technoogy has aways been supported by group members. However, we are aware that there have been significant advancements in green technoogy over recent years which have produced a wide range of products and soutions. Members are cear that there is a need to deveop a greater understanding of the range of technoogies avaiabe and adopt a panned/coherent approach to ensure that technica and investment decisions deiver the right outcomes. Members are committed to initiating research, sharing good practice and undertaking piot studies, incuding benefiting and earning from projects funded by CESP, LEAF and other externa sources. Members wi identify areas within the green agenda to ead on and offer potentia benefits across the Group. Members housing stock comprises new and improved properties. Our priorities incude having an overa assessment of the environmenta performance of our stock and sufficient detai on individua property types to guide our approach to retrofit work. Given the range of dweing types and that there is ikey to be simiar or identica archetypes, we want to work out the most efficient way of deveoping a ow carbon pan for each dweing type which does not meet standards. 7.2 Targets In the absence of specific Government targets, members wi estabish their own targets to improve the average SAP ratings of their homes. Current average SAP ratings are set out beow: Average SAP rating Beechwood Baantyne Community Housing Association Contour Homes Cobat Housing Hyndburn Homes Liverpoo Housing Trust Peak Vaey Ribbe Vaey Homes 2013/

15 7.3 Sustainabiity We intend to deveop a Group Sustainabiity Strategy and set out members approaches to the greening of our existing stock, as we as our approach to future deveopment activity. Working coaborativey wi enabe us to be innovative and deiver soutions that provide vaue for money. The Green Dea was aunched by the Government in October 2012 and across the group we are deveoping responses to this major initiative. 7.4 Fue Poverty This exists where a househod is unabe to afford enough fue to keep the property warm and we-it. Three main factors that affect rates of fue poverty are: Househod income. Energy prices. Energy consumption. We need to engage with at-risk househods, incuding singe parents or customers who appear in financia difficuty. These might incude those in arrears or seeking wefare or debt advice. Member organisations wi identify those in fue poverty and provide hep. 7.5 Behaviour change Changing residents behaviour is critica in reducing energy consumption. We wi engage with customers to ensure they get the maximum benefit from energy saving measures. At the very east, we wi provide information about these measures, aong with advice about the benefits of changing behaviour to save energy and reduce costs. 15

16 8. Vaue for money procurement Symphony s Procurement Strategy estabishes a cear framework for the Group, which refects the vision and vaues, and is aigned with the Vaue for Money Strategy and objectives of continuous improvement. The Procurement Strategy wi detai how panned procurement savings wi be achieved, and wi aso provide a cear framework for members to coaborativey expore how to deiver further efficiencies in the future. A key priority is to estabish a cear, group-wide strategy and framework for cost effective procurement which heps ensure that services continue to deiver the optimum baance between economy, efficiency and effectiveness. To support the Group, members new approaches to procurement wi: Determine which works and services coud be procured across the group via joint procurement opportunities Estabish a group-wide schedue of services and works from their asset management activities Identify what coud be deivered and procured differenty e.g. ifts Be abe to demonstrate improvements in efficiency and vaue for money arising from asset management activities Produce a contract register Create visibiity of areas of spend. Create visibiity of panned investment Create a skis and knowedge bank of staff which can be used across the Group Deveop standard terms and conditions for group-wide use Use E-tendering as the preferred procurement route 9. Robust risk management Members need to have a risk map that aigns with their business pan and other key strategies, evauate risks, their ikeihood, and potentia impact and put in pace appropriate contros. Members, together with support from Business Assurance, wi expore the merits of having a consoidated approach across the Group to risks associated with asset management, covering: Identifying risks and contros Minimum KPIs Monitoring, updating and reporting arrangements Training Appropriate poicies and procedures which sets out guidance and carity around roes and responsibiities Having a roing programme of audits which ooks at different eements of the asset management strategy Sharing information (e.g. risk maps and benchmarking) to support continuous improvement Reviews by Business Assurance 16

17 10. Commitment to training and empoyment Members have a track record of creating opportunities within the communities they work in. Group s expectation is that members wi continue to identify further opportunities around their asset management activities. Initiatives such as Green Dea and work associated with carbon reduction coud, for exampe, create jobs and training paces. Annua targets shoud be estabished and performance against them detaied in asset management strategy reports. Members wi map out what they do, who they work with, and set targets to increase training and empoyment opportunities. This wi be a key aspect of our deveoping Symphony Extra concept. 11. Maintain and review strategies The Group wi provide a forum to support members in deveoping their approach to asset management by the sharing of good practice, and identifying opportunities for coaborative working. It wi agree actions, review progress and provide information to Group Board and Senior Management Team on asset management activity and compiance. Members wi continue to maintain and review their asset management strategies to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet business needs. It is envisaged that members wi identify appropriate ways for customers to scrutinise this asset management document and the work of the Asset Management Steering Group Case study: A new approach to easehod and shared ownership A key priority for the Group is to review the approach to asset management for Contour Property Services, given that it does not own any of the properties it provides services for. In the Group, we have a significant number of shared ownership and easehod properties which are either owned by members and managed within the Group, or are owed by cients and we manage on their behaf. We recognise the importance of deveoping a bespoke approach to asset management for our portfoios of easehod and shared ownership stock. This is so that we have robust arrangements for advising and consuting easehoders and for recovering aowabe costs for repairs and improvements to meet ega requirements, and deiver a vaue for money service. 12. Compy with egisation Within their asset management strategy, each member wi have a compiance statement regarding their ega obigations reating to the contro and management of asbestos, as we as the assessment of fire risk, egionea, gas and eectrica safety checks. Poicy and procedure shoud be in pace which sets out compiance with ega requirements and good practice, and actions required to carry out poicy together with carity around roes and responsibiities. Quartery compiance reports to Member Boards, Group Heath and Safety Committee and Group Audit, Risk and Assurance Committee shoud be provided, detaiing risk assessments, surveys undertaken and panned, issues identified, progess on compiance etc. An ongoing review shoud be in pace to ensure the approach to Heath and Safety is fit for purpose. Members are committed as part of a review of procurement to identify opportunities to deiver vaue for money soutions in this context. 17

18 The action pan beow has been deveoped by the Asset Management Steering Group and this has been informed by consutation across the Group, so that we have in pace an agreed pan to deiver the Group strategy. Progress wi be reported to Group and Member Boards. Area Action Lead 1. Stock condition data & knowedge of stock Capture data via use of keystone to improve the quaity and avaiabiity of data. Deveop a robust performance management framework to support investment panning. Proactive investment panning set out and updated in asset management strategies to meet organisationa aims and business pan requirements. Ann Louise Gimore Genn Martin 2. Sustainabiity Estabish a Symphony sustainabiity group and produce guidance so there is a framework for deveoping the approach to sustainabiity across the Group. Deveop a strategic approach to fue poverty. Identify funding opportunities and work coaborativey across the group and externay to secure externa funding to support a range of initiatives for exampe to improve the energy performance stock. Chris Gregory Wayne McDonad 3. Procuremnt & VfM Achieve and identify socia vaue through procurement activity. Ensure activities compement group wide procurement strategy. Identify areas for joint procurement. Steve Everitt Tony Dunne 4. Empoyment & Training Ensure Empoyment +Training activity compements Symphony Extra activity. Promote opportunities for E+T through active engagement with externa partners(contractors, procurement cubs E&T speciaists and Loca Authorities) Simon Brown James Wiiams 5. Asset and services transfer Undertake a group wide assessment of interna opportunities and a market assessment to identify externa opportunities for asset and service deivery transfer Group CE and MDs 6. Compiance with property reated egisation Meet minimum H+S standards by: Robust risk assessment of stock. monitoring, updating and reporting arrangements poicy and procedures incuding guidance and carity regarding roes and responsibiities training Pau Obey David Eden 18

19 APPENDIX 1: The parent body, Symphony Housing Group, is a imited asset hoder; the majority of stock within the Group is owned by subsidiary members. Subsidiary Member Stock Loca Authority Areas Beechwood Baantyne Cobat Contour Homes Hyndburn Homes Liverpoo Housing Trust Peak Vaey Ribbe Vaey Homes Profie of Assets Across the Group members own/manage a wide portfoio of assets: Category Residentia: socia rent Affordabe rent Market rent Leasehod Shared ownership Garages Parking spaces Commercia: Shops Enterprise centres Green space Pay areas Deveopment and bank Offices: Liverpoo (LHT/Symphony) Saford (CH,CPS,Symphony) Liverpoo (LHT, Atrium) Liverpoo (Waton Road) Haton (LHT) Liverpoo (Cobat) Hyndburn (Hyndburn Homes) Tameside (Peak Vaey) Preston (Contour Homes) Bury (Contour Homes) Odham (Contour Homes) Boton (Contour Homes) Citheroe (Ribbe Vaey Homes) Wira (Beechwood Baantyne CHA) Hyndburn (Hyndburn Homes Repairs) 19

20 GLOSSARY Asset base: the number of residentia homes in ownership and incude other assets such as offices and and. Asset transfer: transfer of ownership of homes usuay between one housing association and another. Decent Homes programmes: programmes of works to improve the condition of socia housing. E-tendering: a way of buying goods and services via a procurement system on a website. Financia profies: vaue and performance of homes within housing stock over time. Housing stock: tota number of homes in ownership/management. Panned investment: annua expenditure on programmes of works such as kitchen repacements. Procurement: acquisition of goods and services usuay through a process of obtaining a price from them. Registered Providers: aso known as housing associations. SAP ratings: a rating based on an estimate of the annua heating and hot water costs per square metre of a property. The SAP scae runs from 1 to 120, with 120 being the best. Stock investment: money spent on homes to maintain or improve them. Sustainabiity indicators: indicators such as demand for housing and crime which are used to hep determine whether an area is a pace where peope want to ive and are abe to. Sustainabiity of stock: commony defined as the abiity of housing stock to meet the needs of the present without compromising the abiity of future generations to meet their own needs. Tenure: the reationship between a person and the home they occupy (tenant or owner occupier). Under-Occupation: a househod iving in a bigger property than they need. Vaue for Money: is a term to describe a commitment to ensuring the best possibe resuts possibe from money spent. Wefare reform: Government changes to the benefits system. 20 Proactive asset management: having a fu understanding of the financia performance and risks associated with housing stock.

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