Group Chief Executive
A year of change
Over the past twelve months, we’ve started to see vast changes in the housing landscape. As ever, we’ve strived to do our best by our customers and since re-locating to our new offices at 52 Regent Street, we’ve been in the perfect position to do this.
A year of change 2014/15 has also seen us prepare for the establishment of a new formal group structure. City West, along with ForWorks construction and Villages Housing Association have joined hands to become ForViva. Through ForViva, City West will continue to positively impact the communities in which we operate and with David Cummins at the helm, I’m confident we’ll continue to work closely with customers and partners to help improve lives.
Shaping the future
Whilst this report focuses on looking back over the performance of the last year, we’ve also taken the opportunity to include some of our goals for the future. Under ForViva, we aim to improve the lives of our customers by promoting health and wellbeing, providing greater education and training opportunities and actively encouraging more sustainable employment. Through the ForViva group we are fast becoming a forward thinking social business, committed to delivering excellent services and building safer communities to help shape a bright future and enrich the lives of our customers.
These arrows are used to show if we’ve achieved the goals we set ourselves in last year’s Annual Report.
These icons are used to show how we compare to other housing associations in the country, (Where the statistics are available)
The VfM icon is used to show where we have achieved high quality, but cost effective services.
Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.
Your opinions and ideas are invaluable to help us improve services.
We devised acorn, which is our approach to customer involvement and our way of ensuring customers continue to be at the heart of everything we do.
This year alone 199 homes were developed with investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
The HCA help create successful communities by making more homes and business premises available to those who need them.
We've used the very best intelligence on housing demand and supply to make sure plans for building new homes are financially viable and gain the support of Salford City Council and the HCA.
Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16. After the build of 199 new homes last year, we’ve planned a further 400 new homes for rent and shared ownership between now and 2018 Watch this space
Customers are satisfied with their new build homes
Providing the very best housing is essential to our aims and that’s why all our new homes are built to Code level 3. (This is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new, sustainable homes).
We ensure 100% of our eligible homes benefit from affordable warmth through cavity wall and loft insulations.
This year we also researched and developed new technologies to further improve the comfort and efficiency of our homes.
Click more for further info.
We have externally insulated 100 of our least efficient solid wall properties saving customers up to £250 on their heating bills each year.
We have installed solar photovoltaic panels (PV) on over 1,200 properties in order to further reduce our customers’ energy bills and help reduce carbon emissions.
We work with NICEIC accredited contractors to install internal and external wall insulation and to offer customers advice on how to reduce their energy bills.
For information please contact the service centre on: 0300 123 5522
Repairs completed right first time
Emergency jobs completed on time
Repairs appointments made and kept
Thank you for fixing the leak on my window so quickly. I was pleasantly surprised to see the workmen attend and fix the problem so efficiently. Great job.
Miss Khumalo from Worsley
The doors to our first purpose built Extra Care scheme have officially opened this year with staffing and support services at Amblecote Gardens promoting a vibrant living space with a range of activities and social opportunities for customers.
As care services for the most vulnerable in our communities are stretched, we’re committed to providing more high quality services and facilities which focus on maintaining independence for over 55s.Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.
Following the success of Amblecote Gardens we have invested in works on 12 of our sheltered schemes and are in the process of developing our second Extra Care facility in Walkden.
When 88 year old Joyce Hayes moved into Amblecote Gardens, our extra care scheme at Little Hulton, she had little idea of the positive impact the decision would have on her and her family.
Our improvement works service has maintained 100% decency since September 2013 and this year has been no different with us continuing to improve our properties which since 2008 has included:
Customers are satisfied with the improvements service
This year we implemented our ‘Protecting our Assets’ initiative which focuses on maintaining and improving the homes in our communities. Because of this we’ve seen a reduction of costs associated with empty properties.
Our team have worked with customers to implement a new process for re-letting homes more efficiently, with non essential repairs being completed within 21 days of a new customer moving in.
This year we invested in improving our high-rise blocks at the Ladywell Green development. Since work began on the external insulated cladding, full internal refurbishments and innovative heating systems, our customers have seen reductions in their energy costs of £470.
Both College Croft and Southway high-rise blocks have seen works starting, which will continue into the 2015/16 programme.Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.
With the success of the Ladywell Green improvements, works have also taken place at our Barton Village high-rise development with the fifth and final block, Mees, to be completed in December 2015.
Work complete December 2015Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.
Our Customer Involvement strategy provides customers the opportunity to influence decision making and work with us to improve services.
At City West we are dedicated to finding ways for great ideas to shape what we do and how we can do it better. That’s why we have acorn, our way of showing how you can become an Involved Customer.
Measuring the impact of acorn (our Customer Involvement Strategy) helps us understand which methods are popular with customers and which need to be reviewed.
Involved customers feel they have impacted service delivery
Through acorn we make it easy for customers to get involved: this could be from home, by taking part in one off activities, being involved at the centre of City West or taking part in regular involvement activities within neighbourhoods.
Encouraging customer inclusion and engagement is essential to our community model.
Throughout 2014/15 we interacted with customers at a number of events, for example through our work with the Salford Refugee Forum, to promote engagement and involvement with our 80 Black Minority Ethnic (BME) customers.
Feedback from 80 BME customers at our Colours of Friendship event, indicated that attending regular meetings is not something they would like to be involved in. That’s why we are planning to launch an on-line engagement group, linked to our Communities Facebook page, in partnership with the Salford Refugee Forum.
Customers felt they had impacted the City West services
Throughout the year our involved customers have taken part in a number of training events to make sure they have the necessary skills to enable them to effectively influence and challenge.
YEP is our Youth Empowerment Panel which involves 23 young people aged from 13-24 years old who help us work well with their age group.
2014/15 saw the first YEP anti-cyber bullying campaign of which 1,048 young people completed our unique survey, aiming to raise awareness of the consequences of bullying and how to access help and support should you find yourself affected.
The campaign attracted support and publicity from a number of high profile celebrities and had one of the highest response rates to a customer engagement campaign this year.
We now have a parents and guardians Facebook account where we share hints and tips for protecting young people from this form of bullying.
Find us on:
Our four Local Area Panels have granted £20,000 of funding to community projects and initiatives
Our Customer Scrutiny Inspectorate (CSI) work with us to shape our services and Service Excellence Groups give customers the opportunity to get involved and give their feedback.
The accessibility of the website was identified as an area for improvement and with the help of customers plans are in place to make the site more customer friendly.
Our Local Area Panel in Irlam have sponsored a number of key community projects this year including a junior PCSO project, a healthy living initiative by funding an excercise class as well as a trip to the Salfordian Hotel in Southport.
Our acorn Customer Involvement Strategy was audited independently to assess our approach to customer engagement. It identified areas of good practice including:
1. How our strategy links and refers to business objectives and reflects involvement aims.
2. The acorn leaflet provided to customers challenges the traditional approach to informing customers of involvement activities. Ranking all involvement equally, it actively promotes those activities which require less of a time commitment.
3. Staff within the Service Centre promote acorn, where appropriate. An example of this is the promotion of activities to those customers who call to raise a concern about service standards, or to make a complaint, as an opportunity for those customers to have an impact in improving services themselves.
Improving lives for our customers is at the heart of everything we do. And that’s why this year we contributed to a Government backed project which aimed to review tenant involvement for housing providers. This gave us an opportunity to share our experiences and examples of success such as the work undertaken by our Youth Empowerment Panel.
TLC workshops were held this year and highlighted that all housing providers are experiencing similar challenges in terms of increasing and widening engagement with their customers. Despite this, we evidenced a higher level of success in our involvement and engagement with young people particularly through the use of social media.
We hosted a Customer Awards Ceremony in September where customers and City West staff members submitted over 100 nominations to celebrate the achievements of customers who make a real difference in their communities.
The event was planned and organised with the support of customers from the Customer Conference Group.
Over 200 customers attended the Customer Awards of which 38 had not been involved before
At City West, we like to get to know our customers. Every 6 months our team ensure we update our customer profiling information to keep up-to date with the make-up of our communities and individual customers’ needs in order to tailor our services accordingly.
Through our Service Centre we are proactive in identifying customer vulnerabilities. Staff are trained to recognise trigger points and are empowered to change priorities for work to be carried out based around a customer’s vulnerability.
At induction, staff attend a “soft skills” training session, where they are shown how to listen out for customers who may be vulnerable and to ensure they provide a service that meets our customers’ needs.
Our ‘Winter Plan’ exercise identifies all customers aged over 75 who are living alone and provides an opportunity to identify vulnerabilities during a one to one conversation.
All of these activities played a major part in retaining the DIBA and CSE accreditations during 2014/15.
This year we’ve continued to enhance our support to those customers affected by the changes to the Welfare Reform. From offering financial help, to improving access to advice and our online claims process, we ensure our customers are given the help they need and are up-to-date on the latest measures.
Our Welfare Reform Officer has delivered tailored Universal Credit training to all front line staff and involved customers to ensure that they are able to assist customers with Universal Credit enquiries.
This year our staff have become Digital Champions, in order to build customer’s confidence with computer and internet use. This helps customers save time, navigate through online forms and be more aware of money, as well as helping them to keep in touch with friends and family.Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.
Customers also have the opportunity to complete an ICT qualification.
We collected 100% of the rent charged.
The total rent arrears at the end of March 2015 was 3.9% (£2,336,600)
In 2014/15 we made 680 referrals to our Money Advisors generating £413,000 in additional benefits for customers and £193,000 in additional income for City West.
Our dedicated Welfare Reform staff have forged excellent relations with a lottery funded project, to help support customers with personal budget training.
Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.We’ll continue to work with Salford Citizens Advice to deliver a single city wide debt advice service. A longer term plan for a co-commissioned service delivered by CAB and supported by Salford City Council, City West and other partners.
Through the Salford Financial Inclusion Practitioners’ Group, we’ve continued to work in partnership with the Illegal Money Lending Team. Here we raise awareness of the consequences of illegal lending to our customers and signpost the triggers to watch out for as well as providing information on more affordable credit options such as My Home Finance and the Salford Credit Union.
City West welcomes all feedback and we aim to respond as quickly as possible. Here’s a summary of this year’s feedback:
this year (including four complaints carried over from the previous year)
were responded to within published timescales
were resolved informally through our Get it Sorted process
Of the 426 compliments received, the below show the top rated service areas:
“Wanted to compliment the operative for his professionalism and going the extra mile”
“The Scheme Manager went above and beyond”
“A very caring organisation who help people when they are truly in need”
Our Customer Complaints Performance Panel:
Contact the Business Excellence Team
T: 0300 123 5522
No experience needed, just enthusiasm.Training will be provided. The Panel meets every three months.
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why this year we asked an independent company to collect feedback from 227 customers who made a complaint.Acorn
satisfied or very satisfied with the way their complaint was handled.
satisfied or very satisfied with the outcome of their complaint.
satisfied with the overall service provided by their landlord.
* Recorded from transactional surveys
We have worked with our involved customers to review and agree service standards to make sure they meet customer needs and expectations. The following new standards were introduced:
Keeping customers informed about anti-social behaviour complaints including the reason for closing cases
Providing a specialist officer to assist customers with support needs during gas servicing and repair works
Our re-let standard was reviewed to focus on the key areas that are important to customers: homes that are welcoming, secure, safe, waterproof and practical
Our involved customers work with us to inspect empty homes each month to ensure all homes meet service standards including being welcoming, secure and suitable for our customers.Acorn
All our service standards are available online and by request.
Through daily contact with our customers along with our satisfaction surveys we now hold a high number of email addresses and phone numbers, as well as intelligence on customers’ access to the internet and preferred method of communication.
5,505 of 5,795 of customers are satisfied with our Service Centre
153,602 of 189,353 of service centre calls are answered in less than 20 seconds
The CSE assessor said: “with the leadership strong in commitment and delivery of service, the focus remains clearly on the quality of service to their customers.”
Customers were satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live
*recorded from transactional surveys
Following the successful partnership of YEP and Healthy Communities Collaboratives (HCC) we established a health-focused Youth Action Group comprising of 19 members. The group organised and attended a number of events and engaged with over 200 young people to raise awareness of health issues.
We continued to work in partnership with several external organisations such as the Salford Health Bus giving customers access to information on health and wellbeing issues as well as mini health ‘MOTs’ which include checking blood pressure, pulse rate, height and weight measurement.
This year we have focused on supporting people living with Dementia in our communities. Over 260 of our staff members are ‘Dementia Friends’ who attend extra information sessions for advice on providing better support for people living with Dementia, whilst 11 further staff have trained to be Dementia Champions to run information sessions in the community.
For more information visit
We have further plans to deliver Dementia Friends training with a number of local schools. The Music for Memories group meets once a month. Customers and residents enjoy meeting friends, socialising, reminiscing and joining in a good sing-a-long to help exercise their minds and voices with live entertainment, guest speakers and refreshments.
We aim to develop and run a small Dementia Café in the community – this will be supported solely by our Dementia Champions.
We’ve successfully secured funding through the Health and Wellbeing Board to deliver a project in Little Hulton in partnership with Salford Health Matters and The Big Life Group, delivering and engaging our customers in health plans.
It is anticipated that this project will achieve the following 4 outcomes
1. A better understanding of the health needs of customers in Little Hulton.
3. Behaviour change of customers in Little Hulton with specific targets to reduce smoking, unsafe alcohol use, low mood and obesity.
2. Increase the use of health and social care services by customers in Little Hulton.
4. Improve sustainability of communities and neighbourhoods within Little Hulton.
A health support worker will work with customers to identify their individual needs and improve wellbeing.Shaping the Future - Look out for our Shaping the Future icon to see what we aim to do in 2015/16.
Our enhanced pre-tenancy offer makes sure that new customers are let properties which best meet their needs. We support existing customers who need to move to smaller properties through transfers and mutual exchange. Customers who were unable to move due to financial reasons have been supported with claims for Discretionary Housing Payments.
To support balanced and sustainable communities we’re reaching out to those in housing need.
We aim to be a landlord of choice for those who may not have looked to social housing previously.
We’re involved in key activities with the Salford Strategic Partnership through Salford City Council. One of these projects is to promote resources to the wider community and to identify gaps in community facilities in the areas we work.
Decision making is by collective consensus and all Board Members act in the best interests of City West and have equal responsibilities and liabilities, representing the Board as a whole and not their individual constituent groups.
The Government set formula in 2014/15 was based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) Plus 1%
Consumer Price Index is a measure that examines the prices of items associated with the cost of living such as housing, food and transportation. Changes in CPI are used to assess price changes in areas such as rent.
100% 13,879 of 13,879 Properties have a valid gas safety certificate
We have taken legal action against those who refuse entry to their homes for safety standards.
This service has been independently validated and is recognised as a standard of best practice within the sector.
VfM is a clear priority for City West that underpins everything we do. We have a strong track record of delivering VfM, achieving high levels of efficiencies and year on year improvements in performance and customer satisfaction.
Let us know your thoughts by filling in the feedback form below.
Joyce had suffered with Alzheimer’s for around five years, but the passing of her husband last year had sparked an acceleration of the disease. Since the move, Joyce’s family say that they have seen a staggering improvement in her condition.
Joyce’s granddaughter Sam said: “We need more of these kind of facilities to support people like my grandma. She is a really happy person now – not just a woman living and dealing with her illness.”