Community Impact Strategy 2015 - 2020
Our vision is ‘Improved Lives’. We want communities to thrive. We believe that all residents are entitled to high quality homes, safe and sustainable neighbourhood environments and increased life chances and opportunities in relation to health, education and employment. We recognise that realising this vision is heavily reliant on strong and effective partnership working with residents and other stakeholders. We will nurture and grow partnerships that are based on a shared understanding and appreciation of the issues and inequalities faced within our communities. We are keen to actively work with partners who share our willingness and passion to co-create and deliver locally focused plans that support the development of sustainable, self-reliant communities with high levels of active citizenship, pride and well-being. In the development of this strategy we have collated and considered a wide range of data and intelligence from a local, regional and national perspective and have invested extensive time and effort in engaging and consulting with a range of key stakeholders to actively contribute to the development of our priority objectives. This document sets out our strategic intent and priority objectives for the next five years in relation to Health, Education & Employment, Safe Communities and Neighbourhood Services. We aim to ensure that we tackle the drivers of poverty and maximise positive impact for residents, within the constraints of our resources and our remit as registered housing provider in an increasingly challenging environment.
The development of this strategy has been against a backdrop of continued cuts in public sector funding. The 2015 summer budget announced a number of reforms that would directly impact social housing providers. This included reforms to the rent formula meaning that social housing rents will reduce by 1 per cent a year for four years from April 2016, with housing associations challenged to deliver further efficiency savings than they have already. This is in contrast to the rent formula set out by the Chancellor in June 2013 which announced that social housing rents would increase by CPI plus 1 per cent for ten years, and was the basis upon which housing associations have developed their Business Plans.
As a result of this reform ForViva group will see a total reduction of £25m rental income over the four years for which budget cuts and efficiencies will need to be made to accommodate this. At present ForViva communities are not reaching the national average in the key indicators in relation to health, education and employment. These areas are inextricably linked. In recent years there has been an improvement in life expectancy in the UK, but this is not reflected amongst ForViva customers. These customers have higher than national levels of deprivation and their biggest health risks are linked to poverty, including poor diet, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking and mental health issues. These risks relate to lower levels of educational attainment, expectations and aspirations and are therefore avoidable.In recent years there has been an improvement in educational achievement and qualifications across the UK, but this is not reflected amongst ForViva customers. These customers have lower levels of achievement at almost every stage in their lives, most notably at Key Stage 4 making them more likely to experience high levels of unemployment, ill health and low wellbeing throughout their lives. ForViva communities are characterised by high unemployment particularly amongst young people. For those in work, most are in low-paid employment and classed as ‘hard pressed living’ with a higher reliance on manufacturing jobs. Crime, perception of crime, and anti-social behaviour (ASB) remain issues for customers and we recognise that some individuals and neighbourhoods require more support and intervention to ensure their sustainability, including a need to be robust about wilful damage in our communities. At the moment customer satisfaction is relatively high and we are able to demonstrate improvements across our localities. There are however some differences between neighbourhoods evident. The biggest determinant of neighbourhood satisfaction is ASB and crime, with maintenance (clean streets), access to facilities and housing affordability also playing an important part. As some of these key service areas are subject to public funding cuts this could negatively impact on both perceptions of safety and kerbside appeal in ForViva neighbourhoods.Enterprise will also be a key theme for ForViva, the strategic intent and desired outcomes for which are to be explored and form a key part of the Group’s commercial approach as it’s developed. We recognise that our biggest challenge will be our ability to target our decreasing resources to where the impact is most needed. In order to meet this challenge we will:
- introduce a robust approach to assessing the feasibility of projects prior to their initiation;
- work closely in partnership with our communities and partners to share resources and expertise and co-deliver plans that achieve the desired outcomes; and
- explore opportunities from a wider commercial perspective to maximise income generation and financial resources available to deliver the priority objectives of this strategy.
Aims & Priority Objectives
Our key aims are that by 2020, residents will:
- have increased quality of life;
- where able to, be working and/or learning;
- feel that where they live is safe; and
- be actively contributing towards making their neighbourhood a great place to live.
We will achieve these aims by working towards the following priority objectives in both the delivery of our core services and our partnership working:
- Support a reduction in preventable deaths and increased life expectancy.
- Enhance the quality of life for people with long term conditions.
- Prevent avoidable harm by providing a safe environment.
- Increase community physical activity and use of green space in neighbourhoods.
- Eliminate any housing or support barrier that contributes to unnecessary admissions to or delayed discharge from hospital.
Education and Employment
- Support an in increase educational attainment levels across all ages.
- Support a reduction in absence and truancy.
- Increase numbers of adult learners.
- Increase numbers of available pathways into sustainable employment.
- Increase feelings of safety.
- Support partner agencies in reducing levels of ASB, crime and reoffending using a range of interventions.
- Reduce levels of intervention by in neighbourhood dispute cases.
- Increase community leadership and ownership of neighbourhood improvements.
- Agree new standards of neighbourhood services with customers.
- Build community resilience that is underpinned by greater customer self reliance.
- Increase satisfaction with the neighbourhood as a place to live.
- Reduce the impact of public sector reform in our neighbourhoods.
- Deliver more place-based service delivery in our operating areas.
To meet our aims we will only work on projects with a clear business case, which meet a defined need within a specific community and have the active support of customers and our partners. We recognise our key strengths and expertise as a social housing provider and are clear that in the delivery of this strategy we will not become a replacement for other statutory or public services such as those provided by the local authority or NHS. We will consider what role is most appropriate for us to play in the delivery of the priority objectives and recognise that this may involve a combination of the following:
- being a sign-poster to other partners and services that will support our customers;
- being a commissioner of projects to partner agencies where they have the expertise
- and track record in delivery that we don’t;
- being a direct deliverer of services and projects where we do have the expertise and it makes business sense to do this; and/or
- establishing or purchasing a business that could deliver the outputs and outcomes we require.
Project development will begin with a review of all intelligence to ensure resources are properly allocated and that other appropriate agencies are involved from the outset. Through the establishment of the ‘Impact Hub’ we will ensure that strategic support and direction to overall delivery of this strategy is in place and that value for money and social return on investment is clear and being achieved. We will set ambitious but achievable targets and report on progress regularly via our formal meeting and communication structure. These reports will consider customer surveys and external data. They will demonstrate clear value for money as well as social impact. We will report the return on investment including social value on an annual basis.We will have clear communications plans to make sure key audiences understand the scale of inequalities that are being faced and are aware of the opportunities and support they can access to improve their life chances. Our staff will be fully trained to understand their role and provide the highest quality customer care and we will work with our partners in whatever capacity is most effective (i.e. we may not always take the lead). In all areas of our work, we will seek to influence local, regional and national agendas with our priority objectives in mind.