Value for Money
Value for money (VfM) is something we have always considered at Howard Cottage, from our early roots of ensuring that Ebenezer Howard’s vision for Garden Cities was realised within the constraints of our charitable status, to the challenges surrounding the current economic climate and the need to be transparent about financial activities.
Our residents consider VfM to be a key measurement that we should report on. Comparison with the previous year shows a 7% increase in satisfaction, from 81% (2015) to 88% (2016). This is a significant increase and seems to indicate that the work we do on this issue is appreciated.
VfM is a regular agenda point at all our resident focus groups and an example of this in practice is that our Communications Focus Group supported our decision to move our publications such as in touch and our Annual Report online, saving us considerable money in printing and postage*.
Our performance monitoring includes performance indicators (PIs) for a variety of service areas and we regularly report on them to our residents. Each PI is discussed at management level every month and at Board level every quarter. We regularly benchmark our PIs with like-sized associations and discuss performance with our peers at other associations.
Our Board’s commitment to VfM is shown through their nomination of a Board sponsor, who, as an experienced accountant and Audit Commission Director, has a keen interest in the subject and is happy to challenge management at all times.
We are very proud of our heritage but the age of some of our homes means that we face some challenges with regards to stock rationalisation. Our Asset Management Strategy discusses this in more detail, balancing the argument of VfM verses keeping our heritage alive.
Our staff are our best ambassadors for VfM. Every member of staff has a job description that highlights their responsibilities with regard to VfM. We provide an excellent benefits package that makes us good to work for. However, pay rises are not automatic and have to be worked for, therefore demonstrating VfM and engendering a respectful environment to work within.
In summary, VfM is not just the latest buzz word, it’s an integral part of how we work. Our residents and staff recognise our commitment to providing VfM in all our activities and our Board and management ensure they deliver on it. We feel our PIs prove this to be the case.
To view our value for money statement and Board report on our accounts see our Annual Review .
* Online publications are available by post upon request and we offer computer tablet training to help residents gain skills to get online.