Chair’s Report – Annual Report

Another Great Year at APH

My second year as Chair of the Board at Ashton Pioneer Homes has been far more challenging and has been focused on forward planning because of welfare reforms. This report covers the year ending March 2013 and will also touch on some of the steps we are taking to prepare for the future.

2012/13

APH recorded excellent year-end performance across our service delivery although the effects of the recession and some decisions preparing for welfare reform, has impacted on rent collection (now 98.10%) and the level of current arrears (2.87%). The fantastic partnership of tenants, staff and Board has collectively helped us to face these challenges and to ensure we continued to perform well compared to our peers. Empty properties are turned round on average in 19 days which is performing ahead of other Associations but this has been affected by increased pressure on lettings due to the bedroom tax rolled out on the 1st April 2013.

On average 99% of all responsive repairs were completed within the agreed target time and the new appointment system is working really well, offering increased choice to tenants.

The Pioneer Panel, independently recruited volunteers who perform a tenant scrutiny role of our services have received and participated in extensive development and training for their role.  They have presented, to Board, their first scrutiny review with management actions on gas servicing and already many of their recommendations have been implemented.  Their contribution to improving our services will be a key factor for the future.   The Panel and Pioneer People have both been working to develop their social media presence and they continue to record successes and offer opportunities for others to join them.

The Ashton Pioneer social media strategy has developed and with nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter and 200 Facebook ‘LIKES’, we are communicating more effectively with our customers and stakeholders. Please log-on and find out more as it’s a great way of finding out what is going on and keeping you informed. Remember that as a non-profit making company, if we can save our customer’s money with more cost effective e-communication then it will benefit all our tenants!

We organised several roadshows (e.g. at Church in the Middle) back in the autumn of 2012 to explain and raise awareness of the pending welfare reforms and the impact that they may have on our tenants. These were very well attended and allowed us to start work with those affected before the various reforms were actually implemented.

Finally, I would like to record sincere and heart-felt thanks and recognition on behalf of all our tenants, Board and staff as well as many members of our local community, for the massive contribution which our dearly departed friend and colleague, Linda Fletcher, gave to Ashton Pioneer Homes.  Firstly, as a member of RAWTARA, and then as member and more latterly Deputy Chair of our Board. Linda, you will be sorely missed.

Thank you for your support during my year as Chair of Ashton Pioneer Homes.  We will strive to continue to deliver Linda’s legacy of working together towards a better place to live.

Colin McCord – Chair of Ashton Pioneer Homes

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