Prior to our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 27 September 2018, attendees were able to gather information about our development programme, customer experience offer and see our resident portal in action. Once the formal business began, share members heard from our board chair, Nicola Somerville, who reported on the progress of our 2020 Vision, and from our chief executive, Ceri Doyle, who summarised the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.
Tim Jackson our executive director of resources, went on to summarise our financial performance and Bevan and Buckland, our external auditors confirmed the financial statements were a true view of the association’s financial position. In finalising the formal business of the evening share members voted on the re-appointment of Bevan & Buckland and noted board membership for the coming year.
New to the 2018 AGM, was a resident feedback session with the board chair and Shelley McGuire who represented the NCH scrutiny partnership. The scrutiny partnership was formed earlier this year to provide residents with an opportunity to inform strategic decision making, test the board’s annual self-evaluation and give assurance to the audit & risk committee that residents have had the opportunity to inform board decisions.
The following summarises all the questions received.
- How does the Board determine its focus on regeneration? Eg how were the Pill and Ringland estates chosen?
At the time of transfer it was recognised that fundamental regeneration works were required in these areas, rather than straight forward WHQS works. We are now implementing the legacy of the original board in taking forward work in these areas. Future regeneration programmes will be informed by data that reflects the costs of ongoing maintenance, the popularity of the area, and whether the type of accommodation suits residents’ needs, and demands.
(Scrutiny Partnership answer)
The scrutiny partnership’s role is to ensure that residents’ views are considered. In relation to regeneration plans, scrutiny partnership will give the audit & risk committee assurance that resident views have been considered, and have informed proposals presented to the board.
- The Self Evaluation document only focuses on the positives, what is being done about the negatives that appear to have been ignored.
Our self-evaluation is the board’s assessment of its progress in achieving our 2020 Vision. It seeks to identify good performance and case studies to evidence this, but also areas where we need to improve, which are set out under the ‘What next’ section.
(Scrutiny Partnership answer)
The scrutiny partnership’s role is to scrutinise the evidence that has been considered to inform the draft self-evaluation. This document forms an important part of NCH’s system of internal control and the scrutiny partnership plays a key role in providing the Audit & Risk committee with assurance of its accuracy. Progress is reviewed in partnership with the senior management team twice a year.
- The Board:
- What is a single status board?
- What is the make-up of the board?
- What skills does the board possess?
When creating the association, the constitutional model that was adopted included one third tenants, one third independents and one third council nominees. As part of our governance review in 2017, the board conducted an options appraisal to consider whether the constitutional model still suited the association. As a maturing association, the board determined to adopt a single status constitutional model whereby future board members would be recruited for their skills, knowledge and experience determined by a skills audit. We currently have a board of ten members, with the opportunity to recruit up to twelve members in total.
(Scrutiny Partnership response)
The approach to recruitment of the partnership last year mirrored that of the board to ensure we all had the relevant skills required eg collaboration, ability to interpret complex information, objectivity, putting the best interest of NCH residents above personal opinion and good verbal and written communication skills. This allows us to work effectively with the senior management team and scrutinise the work of the association to ensure residents are at the heart of decision making.
Those questions that couldn’t be addressed at the AGM due to time constraints, are presented below for information:
1. Will the results of the recent stock surveys be made public and what plans are in place to address the failings?
Our homes meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) set by Welsh Government. In order to give assurance of our compliance to Welsh Government, we undertake a stock survey which ensures all stock is surveyed over a five year rolling period. Whilst we will not be publishing this data as it refers to individuals homes, as well as contract delivery, it is used to inform our planned maintenance programme and ensure continued compliance with WHQS.
- Do you have a homelessness projection for the next 10 years and how well does 827 new properties address this problem. In short, is it enough?
The Welsh Government has a commitment for 20,000 new homes in Wales by 2025. Our 827 new homes will contribute to this. The board is additionally considering our capacity to increase our objective of 50 news homes per year to up to 250 new homes per year.
- Always appear to be restructuring – this is confusing enough for staff, let alone tenants. What is the rationale behind so many restructures in recent years?
We have to be flexible to meet the challenges faced by both the city and the sector. Recent changes such as universal credit, the removal of supported people funding change the needs of our residents. We are constantly evolving to respond to these changing needs. Sometimes, this requires changes to be made to a service we provide or the staffing of a service area. We continuously attempt to learn from the best and embed the most effective working practices.
Our thanks go to the residents and staff involved in making this year’s AGM such a success.
If you would like to learn more about our resident engagement strategy or our scrutiny partnership, please contact Jonathan Conway, Community Relationship Manager, 01633 Ext 227754 or at Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org