Destination 2022 Business Strategy
Destination 2022 Business Strategy
Welcome to Destination 2022, YHN’s new Business Strategy. As Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) continues its transformation journey, we have reflected on where we are currently as an organisation and where we want to be by 2022.
The last two years have seen exciting changes. In 2016, Newcastle City Council (NCC) recommissioned YHN to deliver its housing management function and set out future expectations in a new 10-year management agreement. The start of 2017 saw the completion of appointments to our new Executive Management Team and later, in the year, a smaller, skill-based, Board was established to bring a more agile and strategic approach to governance. During our ‘Gap Year’, we worked with staff to take stock of our organisation, try new ways of doing things and develop our new organisational values.
In producing YHN’s new Business Strategy, the Board and Executive Management Team have taken time to understand the current operating environment. We are excited by opportunities to grow and develop our services to benefit our customers, but are mindful of many challenges ahead. We know that if we are to be successful, we will need to be an agile organisation that can anticipate and respond to change. We will need to work with a variety of partners to maximise efficiencies, deliver solutions and gain value for the public purse. We appreciate that the next three years will see significant transformation. However, throughout the changes that lie ahead, we will never lose sight of our customers.
We will work with our Customer Services Committee to ensure that customers’ needs and aspirations are always the focus of everything we do.
Our Board has recently agreed a new purpose and vision. Now is the time to share our ambitions and set out bold plans for the future. We want to make living easier – the YHN way!
Chair, YHN Board
The YHN Way - defined by YHN people
"For those who want to start on their own two feet but like knowing there's someone on their side - YHN is an everyday hero who provides stability and looks for opportunities to say 'yes we can' more often."
A little bit about us
YHN is an Arm’s-Length Management Organisation (ALMO) responsible for managing council homes on behalf of Newcastle City Council (NCC). We were set up in 2004 to:
- Manage council properties
- Meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard
- Provide a range of support services
Our repairs and maintenance service is delivered by BCE, Newcastle City Council’s direct labour organisation. The service has recently moved to a new single point of leadership within YHN, to develop a ‘One Team’ approach, and improve the customer experience.
We are proud of the wide range of support services that we offer which set us apart from others in the social housing sector. These include:
- Advice & support services
- Sheltered housing and accommodation with support
- Services for young people
- Ostara telecare, technology and 24-hour response service
We also manage Palatine Beds, a supported business where more than 70% of the workforce are disabled.
Around 30% of YHN income comes from commercial activity. Our NFS business supplies furniture to other housing providers, voluntary organisations and local authorities throughout the UK.
Key facts and figures
- Income: £40m
- Number of properties: 26,500
- Workforce: 1000+
- Number of new homes built in the last five years: 299
- Customer satisfaction: 83%
Our journey so far....
- 2004: NCC sets up YHN to manage and improve its housing stock and provide a range of support services
- 2005/6: Our Decent Homes investment programme begins to ensure all council homes meet national standards
- 2008: Achieved three star rating for excellent housing services from the Audit Commission
- 2011: 100% YHN managed homes achieve the Decent Homes Standard
- 2015: Creation of our two subsidiary companies, Abri Trading (trading) and Asfaleia (charitable)
- 2016: New 10-year management agreement with NCC
- 2016/17: Gap Year to reflect and take stock of where we are and where we need to get to
- 2017: Transformation of our organisational structure and services begins
- 2018 onwards: Our story continues
The world we live in
YHN operates in a challenging and fast moving environment
Financial and economic landscape
The need to deliver value for money and efficient services is constant. Welfare reform has a significant impact on our customers. The transfer to Universal Credit has caused a drop in our rent collection rates and we continue to invest substantial time and resources to minimise its impact. The Government’s 1% rent reduction for four years from April 2016 provides an additional pressure on the Housing Revenue Account.
Although we welcome the increased stability provided by the commitment to return to an inflation linked increase for five years from 2020, we understand that this will increase financial strain on tenants.
While there is uncertainty about what Brexit will mean for the economy, both locally and nationally, the prospect of a North of Tyne devolution deal will, undoubtedly, bring opportunities for our customers, organisation and region.
Spotlight on social housing
The Grenfell Tower Tragedy, and its aftermath, has brought social housing issues to the fore. The Social Housing Green Paper has placed a renewed focus on safety, resident empowerment, stronger regulation, and expanding the supply of social housing.
Tackling stigma and celebrating thriving communities was also identified as a key theme. Perceptions of social housing tenants, and the frequent negative portrayal of ‘council estates’ in the media, can have a detrimental impact on both tenants and demand for our homes.
Changing demographics and housing need
We have an aging customer-base. Almost 27% of our customers are over 65, with 4% of these over 85. Changing demographics and customer expectations are reflected in the demand for our homes and services. There is low demand for some property types, particularly high-rise flats in some areas. An older customer-base and difficult financial times can mean that customers require increased support to live independently or sustain their tenancy.
Digital channels have the potential to transform the customer experience. Many customers want to communicate and access services through apps, website and social media 24/7. New technologies support more flexible and agile working, enabling employees to deliver services away from the office, when, where and how they are needed.
Our Vision, Purpose and Values
Our Vision: We want to be First for Housing
Our Purpose: The purpose of our organisation is "Making Living Easier"
Our Values: Everything we do is guided by our organisational values. These are what we live and breathe by at YHN and help to guide the way in which we all behave in our day to day work. Every single person at YHN has a key role to play in delivering this Business Strategy and helping to achieve our objectives. Only by being true to our values will we achieve this:
- Ready: Together we're prepared for anything
- Amazing: Exceed expectations
- Revolutionary: Have courage to be bold
- Energetic: Make everyday count
Our strategic objectives
We have identified three objectives to keep our business strategy simple and clear. These will guide us to Destination 2022. They are:
- Revolutionary services that support successful living
- Amazing places where people are proud to live
- Strong business fit for today, ready for tomorrow
Within each objective, we have identified three or four priorities. We will align our business to these priorities and use them to focus our efforts. Under each objective, we have also identified key high-level outcomes to help track our progress in delivering Destination 2022. Further performance measures will be agreed as part of developing our annual Business Delivery Plan, which is developed every year to support implementation of this Business Strategy.
Revolutionary services that support successful living
Priority: Easy to do business with
Customer-focused services are at the heart of what we do. We will transform our customer experience and the way customers interact with us through:
- investing in new technology and increasing ‘selfserve’ to achieve digital by choice’ channel shift
- creating a single telephone contact and seamless face-to-face service at our hubs
- developing flexible teams and agile working.
Priority: Supporting independent and successful living
Our wide range of support sets us apart from others. We will continue to develop successful and sustainable services which:
- support independent living
- promote pathways to increased independence
- provide more accommodation with support for customers with complex needs.
We will continue to align our offer with NCC’s commissioning priorities and explore new supported living options with the NHS and Social Care.
Priority: Know our customers better so we can be truly customer focused
We will use customer insight to understand what drives customer satisfaction and redesign services from this starting point. Better knowledge will help us develop and target services to meet changing needs and aspirations.
What we will achieve by 2022
- Net promoter score (customer loyalty measure): 35
- Transactions achieved through automation and self-service: 60%
- Queries answered right by phone first time: 80%
- Achieve Institute of Customer Service accreditation
Amazing places where people are proud to live
Priority: A leading repairs, maintenance and construction service
We want to create a modern and efficient service by:
- Developing one team for repairs and maintenance with a shared ambition to exceed customer expectations
- A new focus on improving the customer journey where waste and customer effort is minimised
- Delivering technical services and commercially viable construction services to other organisations.
Priority: Clean, safe and desirable neighbourhoods
We will use our influence and work with our partners to help shape attractive neighbourhoods in which customers feel safe and are proud to call home. We will:
- Minimise the impact of anti-social behaviour on individuals and wider communities
- Enable and empower our communities to influence lasting change in their areas.
Priority: Making the best use of ‘our’ assets
Our housing offer will reflect what our current and prospective customers need and want. We will:
- Work with NCC to deliver a new Asset Management Strategy and seek out new funding opportunities to increase the number of properties available
- Develop a new innovative approach to void management that gives the customer the home they want first time
- Lead the way in changing negative perceptions about social housing so our properties are not only in demand but also appeal to new markets
What we will achieve by 2022
- Satisfaction with our repairs and maintenance service: 95%
- New homes delivered: 300
- From our baseline of £31,110, we will improve the Net Present Value of our stock every year
- Minimum SAP rating (energy efficiency) for all stock: 70 (band C)
Strong business fit for today, ready for tomorrow
Priority: Financially viable and well maintained
In a testing environment, we need to be sure that we are prepared for both current and future challenges. We will deliver exceptional value for money through:
- simplified, customer-focused business processes
- agile working supported by new systems and technology
- managing risk within the board agreed risk appetite.
Priority: An exceptional place to work
Our workforce is our most valuable resource. We want to be known as an employer that attracts, nurtures and retains a diverse range of talent. We will continue to invest in employee development, apprenticeships and our employability programme.
Priority: Leading experts in our field
We want to be a significant partner in regional and local plans and our expertise to be nationally recognised across the housing sector.
Priority: Maximising growth opportunities
We aim to develop a portfolio of commercial ventures, to generate income to invest in our core housing and support services.