Our Approach for Value for Money (‘VfM’)
Our approach to VfM is embedded in our Corporate Plan which covers the period between 2023-2026 and sets out the ambition of the organisation to optimise its assets and deliver efficiency savings in order to increase financial capacity and invest in our homes and services.
The background to the VfM Statement is taken from the Scottish Housing Regulator’s Standards of Governance and Financial Management for RSLs (Regulatory Standard 3) which states that “The RSL manages its resources to ensure its financial well-being, while maintaining rents at a level that tenants can afford to pay.”
The guidance documented in Regulatory Standard 3 includes the following in respect of financial and treasury management and balancing costs and outcomes:
Regulatory Standard 3, Guidance Note 3.1
“The RSL has effective financial and treasury management controls and procedures, to achieve the right balance between costs and outcomes, and control costs effectively. The RSL ensures security of assets, the proper use of public and private funds, and access to sufficient liquidity at all times.”
Under the Regulatory Framework, the Association is required to assess compliance with the Regulatory Standard on an annual basis, as part of the Annual Assurance Statement process.
This Value for Money Statement has been developed in order to document how value for money is assessed. The Statement will be reviewed alongside the three-yearly Corporate Plan.
Value for money is defined as the relationship between economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
- Economy – the cost of providing a service and minimising the cost of resourcing each activity.
- Efficiency – a measure of productivity i.e. how much you get out in relation to what is put in.
- Effectiveness – a measure of the impact achieved, both quantitative and qualitative or a measure of outcomes.
The Scottish Housing Regulator identifies Value for Money as being ‘obtaining the maximum benefit with resources available.’
Approach to delivering and reporting efficiencies
Both investment and savings are evaluated, approved and monitored through a clear and robust management and governance structure. The Board challenges progress against targets, for both the management of the organisation and service transformation projects.
The three-yearly Corporate Plan focusses on our Riverside Values;
- We care
- We are inclusive
- We are trusted
And delivering on our 5 main objectives;
- Warm & safe, decent homes
- Trusted Customer Services
- Support through cost-of-living crisis
- Leadership in Care and Support
- New homes, better places
The Board monitors both operational and VFM performance enabling the scrutiny of a cross-section of performance across the business. This is intrinsically linked to the delivery of the corporate objectives; driving down costs to achieve our objectives with the least amount of expenditure on resource, minimising wasted time, money and effort.
- More streamlined working practices, articulated through the business plan.
- Our stock performance has been assessed and our portfolio categorised by financial performance, a clear understanding of stock performance informs the strategic review of our asset base and ensures that investment decisions represent value for money.
- Financial performance monitoring & effective treasury management.
- An effective and comprehensive housing management service – our new Tenant Partner model.
- A maintenance service that ensures repairs are dealt with promptly, effectively and efficiently through enhanced contractor management.
- An asset management strategy that ensures the most effective use of property assets and maintains our homes to the highest standards.
- We make active use of The Riverside Group procurement frameworks to deliver VFM on contracts.
- A commitment to facilitating and increasing Customer Involvement.
- Transparency in our reporting to demonstrate to residents how the money has been spent.
- Tenancy Sustainability built-in to our services.
- A focus on Housing First for Families, rehousing veterans and homelessness.
We have focussed on the integration of our service delivery in conjunction with The Riverside Group. This includes both aligning our service delivery model and transforming our services, though our digital service offering.
We continue to invest in our planned works programme to update homes to a safe and energy-efficient status; examples of these works are Roof and Render Works, Windows, Fire Doors, Kitchens.
We have also secured £1.5 million ECO funding for energy efficiency upgrades to almost 300 homes in Dumfries including installation of internal wall insulation (IWI) and replacement cavity wall insulation.
We monitor our performance throughout the year, with regular reporting to the management team, Audit & Risk Committee and Board, and then report our final performance on the Annual Return on Charter to the Scottish Housing Regulator, published on our Freedom of Information – Riverside Scotland pages.
The indicators we monitor include;
- Published annual accounts demonstrating turnover, operating margin.
- Rent and service charges collected as % of rent due.
- Gross tenant rent arrears as % of rent due.
- Rent loss due to voids as % of rent due.
- Gross arrears written off as % of rent due.
- Housing Management Service
- Satisfaction with the quality of new home.
- Satisfaction with the overall service provided.
- Satisfaction with neighbourhood management.
- Satisfaction that rent provides value for money.
- Percentage of tenants satisfied with the quality of their home.
- Satisfaction that service charges provides value for money.
- Average days to re-let empty homes.
- Asset Management & Repairs Service
- Satisfaction with repairs service.
- Day to Day & void costs per unit.
- Repairs completed at first visit.
- Repairs appointments kept.
- Compliance with Scottish Housing Quality Standard.
- Compliance with EESSH.
- Customer Involvement
- Satisfaction with keeping tenants informed.
- Satisfaction with opportunities to participate.
- People Satisfaction
- Staff satisfied with organisation as employer.
- Sickness absence average days lost per employee.
- Staff turnover in year.
We actively seek to benchmark our performance against our peers, through analysis via The Scottish Housing Regulator published statistics, as well as more informal peer networks, such as the G8 Group.
Our objective is to achieve Value for Money by;
- Doing the right things and making the right decisions.
- Delivering maximum value while minimising cost.
- Planning our services around tenant/customer feedback to ensure we deliver in areas important to them.
- Ensuring transparent and well understood costs, detailing the quality and level of service provided.
Please note this is a draft and may be subject to change following consultation.