Without a doubt, 2022/23 has been an enormously challenging year for all, with inflationary pressures such as rising prices, interest rates, energy costs and overall cost of living becoming intensive and unrelenting.
Nigel Wright, Chair
We recognise the significant effect these challenges have had on our business and all of our tenants, customers and colleagues. As such, we have worked hard to focus singularly on our core social purpose by providing a wide range of excellent housing and related services whilst maintaining sound finances despite the government-imposed rent cap.
Notwithstanding the difficult operating environment, Progress Housing Group has had a successful year delivering most of our Strategic Plan objectives, including continued delivery of new homes to increase the supply of affordable housing and maintaining our existing stock to a high standard.
Among our achievements last year was the full integration of Reside Housing Association following the merger in October 2021. This further consolidated our position as one of the UK's largest providers of high-quality supported housing for people with a learning disability, autism, an acquired brain injury or a mental health condition.
We have maintained the highest standards the Regulator of Social Housing set with our G1/V1 rating. The Board will continue to focus on good governance, leadership and financial stability to assist us in retaining this rating. From this position of strength, we can continue to provide quality services to our tenants, including keeping them safe in their homes.
We will focus on investing in our existing homes, proportionate new development, and sound finances, ensuring we take even more time to listen and collaborate with all our stakeholders to strengthen our relationships and build transparency and accountability.
We are well prepared for the forthcoming consumer regulation and embrace the aims of the Better Social Housing Review, both of which present challenges to improve tenant satisfaction and governance structures that empower tenants and customers to engage in and influence our work.
Our six business streams will concentrate on delivering services to a wide range of tenants and customers, each delivering a business plan that reflects the needs of those we serve. Collectively they will ensure we achieve our future strategic aims and priorities.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all our tenants, customers, employees and partners for your continued commitment and trust in us and my fellow Board and executive colleagues for their enduring hard work and unwavering dedication to our core social purpose.
This annual report captures the overall resilience of Progress Housing Group and the positive impact we continue to have on the lives of our tenants, customers, and communities in the face of significant challenges. We hope you will celebrate these achievements with us.
Chief Executive's foreword
At a time when there are enormous struggles in our lives, society, and the world at large, it is even more important we remain true to our social purpose.
Jacqui De-Rose, Group Chief Executive
We often talk about what we do as housing organisations. But we rarely say why we do those things. This annual report talks about our positive impact on people’s lives and the communities where we work. It highlights how we help people overcome homelessness, escape domestic abuse, regain independence, rebuild their lives after a crisis, tackle poverty, understand mental health issues, and overcome loneliness. It demonstrates our crucial role as a sector in challenging stereotypes, creating more equity, forging new opportunities and supporting people.
We do this because we believe everyone has the right to a decent home and the right to the opportunity to live their best life.
This report takes real-life experiences and shares people’s journeys and our role in helping that transition happen.
We share these stories to help others understand why we do what we do and how social housing is tackling inequality and disadvantage in our society.
Our role includes raising awareness of these issues in our society and working with individuals, other agencies and the government to find solutions that change our world for the better.
We know this will take time and sustained effort, but we are committed to doing our very best to make sure we tackle the issues individuals face daily to create a better life for everyone.
We hope you enjoy reading this report and invite you to join our campaign.
Our shared vision and purpose
We are one of the UK’s leading and most innovative housing providers.
Our shared vision is to ensure everyone has a place to call home and the opportunity to live their best life. We do this by providing more and better homes, supporting individuals and communities to achieve independence, and creating opportunities for our tenants.
All these things are important, and each one is closely related to the other. We remain committed to investing our surplus budget to deliver our strong social purpose. Our Strategic Plan for 2022-27 sets out our business priorities against our strategic objectives and commitments to our tenants, customers, people, carbon, equality, diversity and inclusion.
People are at the heart of our business. By treating everyone fairly and understanding diverse needs and strengths, we can serve people better and provide services and opportunities that positively impact the lives of tenants, customers and colleagues.
We work together to search for and implement innovative solutions and ideas that overcome challenges our tenants, customers, communities, partners, and colleagues face.
We use our knowledge, expertise and learning to invest in a positive future for all and aim to excel in all we do to provide the best possible standards of service.
We are open and honest, with a friendly, enthusiastic and energetic way of working, which is true to what we stand for.
We work in partnership with our tenants, customers, colleagues, local communities and other experts, bringing everyone together to achieve more.
Who we are
How we operate
We are a well-run, financially resilient organisation with a team of over 800 people who are deeply committed to delivering our social purpose. We are a diverse organisation, providing a wide range of services to tenants and customers.
Our business is made up of six business streams. Each is defined from the point of view of our tenants and customers, and each serves a distinct group of people with a particular set of services.
Progress Housing Group
Progress Housing Group is where we started. We are lead providers of affordable housing and homes for people over 55, especially in the Central Lancashire and Fylde Coast areas. We are expanding throughout the region and into West Yorkshire. We invest in people, not just property.
RWP is one of the largest providers of high-quality supported living accommodation for people with a learning disability, autistic people, an acquired brain injury or those with a mental health condition.
We innovate. We build partnerships. We advocate for those we support. We provide excellent quality housing.
Progress Lifeline is a national leader in technology-enabled care (TEC). It supports over 65,000 people by providing person-centred services that help them to live independently. We believe that TEC improves people’s quality of life and should be easily available for all who need it.
Key Unlocking Futures (Key)
Our charity supports individuals and families, helping them to realise their potential and be the best they can be. This is achieved by providing a range of person-centred services. Key Unlocking Futures also supports people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including the provision of supported housing.
Progress Living supports key workers with high-quality accommodation where it is needed. We tailor our services to meet the specific needs of healthcare and other key workers.
Concert Homes provides well-designed, exceptional homes for sale across the North West. Any surplus from these housebuilding activities is reinvested in the Group to provide more affordable housing.
Housing stock by type
General needs homes
RWP supported living
LiLAC supported living
Supported shared ownership
We provide good quality homes and neighbourhoods where people are proud to live. Each year we invest millions to improve and maintain existing homes and build new ones to meet local demand.
This year, we spent more than £30 million improving homes to make them more modern and energy efficient. We fitted 180 new kitchens, more than 300 bathrooms, 420 doors, 140 roofs and more than 400 heating systems.
We also invested around £19 million in our repair service, completing almost 45,000 repairs.
During the year, we signed a 10-year contract with the Bell Group to consolidate our repairs contracts to provide repairs and maintenance to properties outside the North West. While our in-house Property Services Team continues to repair and maintain homes within the region.
Our overall repairs performance reached a high standard this year. The percentage of appointments we attended on time went up slightly to 93.8%, and 94% of repairs were completed within priority timescales.
We work hard to make sure our homes are let quickly once a tenant has left. This year, we took care of 600 empty homes, taking an average of 18 days to let a property. For our independent living properties, the average turnaround was 17 days. In addition, 84% of properties were let on the same day they were ready. This is a significant improvement from previous years, with a saving of £60,000 in rent lost.
Safe and healthy homes
We spend around £7 million each year making sure our homes meet strict health and safety standards. During the year, we carried out 586 fire risk assessments, 7,099 gas safety checks, 623 electrical checks, 63 asbestos inspections, and 88 water hygiene risk assessments. Following a series of audits, we received substantial assurance for our housing compliance obligations. We maintained full compliance with gas servicing.
As part of our commitment to robust compliance and safety, we procured new suppliers to manage specialist home safety checks, including out of area electrical testing, fire alarm and emergency lighting servicing, and asbestos surveying and removal.
During the year, we received an increase in requests for damp and mould inspections in tenants’ homes. This was expected and welcomed by us. Our inspection team were well prepared and no severe cases were found in any of our properties.
We have a well-established process for tackling damp and mould which includes carrying out regular property surveys, checking for damp and mould during repairs visits, acting quickly when tenants report a problem, following up on problems that have been addressed and involving tenants in our approach to tackle damp and mould.
Creating homes is about much more than the bricks and mortar – making neighbourhoods happy and vibrant places to live is important to us. We aim to provide high quality services, create sustainable communities and promote pride and opportunity.
In consultation with our tenants, we have identified four key priorities – clean, green, safe and connected – that are important in shaping our approach.
We have started delivering on these priorities through various community-centred projects. For example, in St Annes, near Blackpool, we have worked with tenants on three separate environmental improvement initiatives – the transformation of a ‘green wall’, a community garden refurbishment and a neighbourhood tidy up.
In nearby Lytham, the Estate Caretaking Team worked with apprentice volunteers on our Kickstart programme to spruce up and re-plant some of our green community spaces. And in Accrington, we held a community clean-up day which included helping tenants remove unwanted bulky items from their homes.
Tenants Barbara and Lynda, winners, Progress in Bloom
Continuous Improvement Team volunteering at Saltcotes clean up day
Goal posts in Penwortham funded by the Community Investment Fund
Group pic outside Kingsfold Community Centre
Transforming a community garden in St Annes
Progress in Bloom 2022, winners
Litter picking at a community clean up day on Kingsfold
Community clean up day at St Annes
We want people to feel safe in their community, and we take anti-social behaviour, harassment and neighbour nuisance seriously. Our dedicated Community Safety Team works with tenants and residents to make sure our neighbourhoods are pleasant places to live. This year we saw cases of anti-social behaviour drop. We dealt with 709 cases – 54 less than last year.
Being able to access homes to carry out gas and electrical safety checks is vital for the safety of all our tenants. This year, we continued to see a reduction in applications to the court to gain access to homes, but the number of no access cases we dealt with increased from 327 last year to 452 due to a number of factors, including the impact of the cost of living. We are reviewing processes to address no access going forward.
During the year, we launched a Community Safety Business Innovation Group, which works with employees across the Group to improve neighbourhood safety. To begin with, we have reviewed our Anti-social Behaviour Policy, improved our communication methods with tenants, and created a performance dashboard to help us monitor our performance in community safety.
We also delivered several training sessions for employees to better understand how to deal with anti-social behaviour – including anti-social behaviour injunctions, access injunctions and Section 21 notices.
We continue to work alongside key partners such as the police, social services and healthcare providers. We also refer people to our own services to get help with debt, finding work and support for their wellbeing. During the year, the team referred more than 100 tenants to our services and other specialist providers.
Building new homes
As a social housing provider, we play a key part in tackling the chronic housing shortage. We know that homes of all types are urgently needed – including homes for social and affordable rent, shared ownership, outright sale, homes for older people and supported accommodation for people with a learning disability, autistic people, an acquired brain injury or those with a mental health condition.
In 2019, the Group adopted a five-year Development Strategy with a goal to build a minimum of 1,000 homes by March 2024.
We are on course to exceed this target. This year, we built 205 homes in Lancashire, including 89 for affordable rent, 41 for shared ownership and 75 supported living properties. A balance of 221 affordable homes will be built during 2023/24 to achieve our 1,000-home target.
Of the £30.9 million invested into developing new homes, £1.4 million came from Homes England and £1 million from an NHS grant.
Working in partnership with Onward Homes, we have secured strategic partnership grant funding from Homes England to provide affordable homes up to March 2026. Two developments are underway, which, when complete, will provide a further 128 homes.
Work has also begun on our flagship Extra Care scheme in Lancaster. Due for completion in May 2025, the high-specification development will provide 108 low-cost homes, including 92 apartments and facilities such as a roof terrace, games room, laundry, hairdresser and communal areas designed to be ‘sensitive to dementia’.
In Nottingham, we were proud to open our latest supported living scheme, Annear Place – in memory of Andrea and Paul Annear, who were former Progress Housing Group tenants and the first couple with learning disabilities to get married in the UK. The scheme provides accommodation and life-enhancing support for up to 12 people with learning disabilities.
Homes for sale
Our subsidiary, Concert Homes, creates a variety of homes for sale on small, exclusive developments across Lancashire. Any surplus made from the sale of homes is reinvested into the Group to provide more affordable homes of all types. This year, we completed and sold 38 homes at developments in Wrea Green, Clitheroe and Inskip.
Ongoing developments include our first direct build scheme of 30 homes in Inskip, where we are managing the whole project ourselves, and 27 homes for affordable rent in Weeton. Work on a further 17 homes for sale is now underway.
Concert Homes continued to build on its success, securing land for 59 homes in Lancaster and 14 executive homes in Bolton. Along with our existing sites, we have the land capacity to meet immediate business targets in the next 12 to 18 months.
Concert Homes - Living Room
Concert Homes - Kitchen
Concert Homes - Dining Room
Concert Homes - Bedroom
Concert Homes - Living room
Homes for key workers
Our Progress Living business stream works in partnership with United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to provide homes for NHS employees and other key workers. We manage 573 purpose-built units across three hospital sites in Lincoln, Boston and Grantham.
2022 was Progress Living’s most successful year, with an overall occupancy for the year of 94.6%, compared to 85.9% last year – which has provided more income for the Group.
This increased occupancy is a result of the Trust’s successful international recruitment drive, which we have supported. We also made some operational changes to the service, which included having employees on site to help new recruits settle into their homes and become accustomed to the local area. Progress Living played a critical role in the response to Covid-19 and continues to support the NHS to deliver a world-class health system.
Progress in numbers
owned or managed homes
invested in improving homes
invested to make sure our homes are safe
invested in our repairs service
invested in the development of new affordable new homes
We have a long track record of providing specialist care and uniquely tailored support services to people with a range of individual needs. We put our tenants and customers at the heart of everything we do and design services around them.
A leader in supported living
We are one of the UK’s leading providers of supported living accommodation for people with a learning disability, autistic people, an acquired brain injury or those with a mental health condition.
In April 2023, we launched our brand new supported living business stream, RWP, following a merger with London-based Reside Housing Association, a specialist housing provider. The partnership means we now manage 4,272 supported living tenancies.
During the year, we have focused on developing our specialist teams and tailoring services to meet the needs of our tenants. For example, we have set up a dedicated call-handling team for RWP and revised our service model so tenants get more regular visits from their housing officers. We have also appointed a new national repairs contractor to meet our tenants' needs better.
We developed six new supported living properties to extend our services to more people, creating 17 supported living tenancies. We also bought the freehold for 60 units in Merseyside, which we previously leased.
We arranged 262 property adaptations, such as wet rooms, access ramps and handrails, and completed 153 environmental improvements.
In consultation with tenants, we created a new RWP brand, launched a website, tenant newsletter, and improved our tenant information leaflets to make sure they are easy to read and understand.
To create more social benefits for tenants, we ran nine community projects funded by the Group’s Community Investment Fund. For example, tenants at a scheme in Leeds received a £500 grant to develop a communal garden to grow food and plants.
Similarly, in Scunthorpe, tenants created a community garden after receiving £500 from the fund and a further £200 from a Soup Dragon’s Den event where community groups pitch for funding.
We are also active participants in the Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network, where we campaign for more high-quality housing for people with autism and learning difficulties. We have been involved in research and lobbying for the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill through the network.
Helping people through challenging times
The welfare of our tenants is important to us. We have a long track record of supporting people who are struggling to pay their bills and manage their debts. Over the last year, we have stepped up our support to offer help with the rising cost of living. We have created two new initiatives that have so far helped hundreds of tenants access financial assistance and get help with their wellbeing and resilience.
Tenant Support Fund
We launched a £250,000 Tenant Support Fund as part of our Progress Tenancy Sustainability Service, a collaboration between Progress Homes (general needs housing and independent living), RWP and Key. Since October 2022, the fund has supported 353 people with an average spend of £422 per person. The money has been used to buy food, fuel, white goods and furniture for those most in need.
New support and wellbeing service
We partnered with Life & Progress, a specialist wellbeing and mental health provider, to provide our tenants with a free support and wellbeing service. Services include counselling, as well as help with managing debt and legal issues.
Through our charitable company, Key, we support people across Lancashire who are going through a tough time. We help them find a home, get a job, improve their health and wellbeing, strengthen their resilience and connect with others in the community. During the year, we reached 5,801 people across the county, offering a range of services, including some new ones:
Support for children
We provide health and wellbeing services in schools, with support available to pupils aged up to 18. Services include a wide range of therapeutic support, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Our supported housing schemes in Preston and Chorley provided safe accommodation and support for 85 young people and adults facing homelessness – 88% of whom have successfully moved on to a tenancy.
This year, we provided safe accommodation to 54 families at our refuges in Chorley and South Ribble. We have improved our Clare House refuge by fitting new kitchens and bathrooms. We are working towards Women’s Aid Accreditation for our domestic abuse services.
We provide critical tenancy support to those at risk of losing their home. We are also now offering counselling at our homeless schemes.
The Base Community Centre
The centre supports more than 700 people living in Broadfield, Leyland. The Base’s community shop and café provide good quality food for a small fee, and anyone from the community can join.
Now, a new larger community centre, offering a wider range of services, is being developed close to The Base. Funding has been provided by the Group, South Ribble Borough Council, and The Lancashire Environmental Fund.
During the year, we handled 1,450,402 calls from people needing assistance.
Support at home
Progress Lifeline is our award-winning technology-enabled care service, supporting over 65,000 people. We provide personal alarms, emergency home response and lifting services, and other assistive technology services to people with different health conditions.
During the year, we handled 1,450,402 calls from people needing assistance. In addition, our Emergency Home Response service attended 12,822 fall-related call-outs, of which 9,374 resulted in an assistive lift for those who were not injured.
This valuable service has helped reduce the demand for the North West Ambulance Service, enabling them to prioritise their emergencies. We now provide responder services throughout Lancashire, Yorkshire, Merseyside, Manchester, Herefordshire and Gloucester.
As an innovative service provider, we are also working in partnership with the NHS, supporting its Urgent Community Responder pathways, which provide urgent care to people in their homes. Individuals who have had a fall but who are uninjured are referred to our service. As well as reducing pressure on the health service, it enables more appropriate care to be provided closer to home, without hospital admission.
We continue developing our technology and service offer, ready for the UK-wide telecommunication switch from analogue to digital in 2025. Over 30% of our customers have been moved to digital equipment as part of our swap-out programme.
We continued to invest in and improve our independent living offer, responding to the changing needs and aspirations of older people.
We have 30 independent living schemes across South Ribble and the Fylde Coast for people over 55. Each scheme offers self-contained apartments, communal facilities, support from an independent living coordinator, and 24-hour emergency assistance.
We continued to invest in and improve our independent living offer, responding to older people's changing needs and aspirations.
This includes an ambitious 10-year programme to refurbish all of our independent living schemes for the benefit of our tenants. Each scheme will be redecorated with the addition of new flooring and furniture. The project will see close collaboration between our Independent Living and Asset Management Teams to refurbish three schemes yearly.
We have also developed an action plan with tenants to improve our repairs and gardening services, social activities, communication, and understanding of how to better support tenants with disabilities.
Work at our innovative new-build scheme in Lancaster commenced as part of our strong commitment to transforming the provision of independent living and accommodation for those with extra care needs.
people supported with a learning disability, autistic people and those with a mental health condition
people supported with £150,000 in emergency funding to help them with the cost of living crisis
vulnerable people helped through Key Unlocking Futures
young people and adults facing homelessness provided with safe accommodation
committed to our Tenancy Support Fund
families provided with refuge from domestic abuse
As well as providing homes, we support people to improve their quality of life. This includes help getting into work, support for community groups and opportunities to get involved with us.
Over the last ten years, our Progress Futures service has helped more than 2,000 people into jobs, education and training.
Progress Futures offers a free service to people living in our homes and communities to help them to achieve their aspirations, and support them in accessing opportunities to improve their future prospects.
This includes our award-winning Project SEARCH internships, a renowned apprenticeship programme, as well as a new initiative for tenants called Brighter Futures.
Supported by our Community Investment Fund, Brighter Futures will offer employment for six months with salaries at the real Living Wage. We actively encourage tenants to apply for these jobs.
Project SEARCH, our pioneering internship programme has helped to transform the lives of 18 young adults with a learning disability and autism, or both. The programme has been a great success and won the Diversity and Inclusion Programme award at the Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards 2022, and was shortlisted again in 2023. During the year, OFSTED commented that the wrap-around support from the team involved in Project SEARCH demonstrated best practice within the sector.
This year, Progress Futures supported 341 people to make the next step towards the life they aspire to live. Ninety-eight people went on to get a job, while 89 people enrolled in training or education.
As well as providing dedicated one-to-one support, we have offered support to more than 1,401 people through community-based job clubs.
We have high targets to meet as part of our external funding, and are currently the best-performing partner in Central Lancashire.
Progress Futures supported 341 people to make the next step towards the life they aspire to live.
We use the insight gained from surveys to focus on what matters most to people.
Putting tenants at the heart of everything we do is one of our key strategic objectives. We want to make sure that all our activities deliver great results for the people who live in our communities.
We use the insight gained from surveys to focus on what matters most to people. And we provide lots of opportunities for tenants to get involved – such as through surveys, digital platforms, community chats, local groups, forums and more.
We also have a vibrant Tenants’ Voice - Improving Services group, which scrutinises our service and monitors tenant experience. Our volunteer tenants carry out a vital role in checking the quality of the services we provide by inspecting homes and communities.
Highlights this year include:
Tenants’ Voice - Improving Services group
The group reviewed our out-of-hours repairs and community safety services. It made several recommendations for improvement in both business areas. Throughout the year, we supported the group with independent mentoring support.
Tenants got involved in Talkback forums to share their experiences of our service.
Volunteer tenants carried out 26 community checks of their neighbourhoods. This useful exercise led to removing fly-tipped items, unblocking drains, tidying gardens and clearing pathways.
We carried out six rounds of Community Chats, where we visited homes in our neighbourhoods to ask tenants and residents to give their thoughts on our services and communities. The feedback has been used to create improvement plans for the six neighbourhoods, which we have shared with tenants.
We ran 268 events, which 3,257 people attended, including 2,085 tenant tenants from our Independent Living schemes. These included various social events, training, consultation and scrutiny events. Other events included our annual Progress in Bloom gardening competition, a scarecrow festival, and Progress Community Champion Awards, which recognise our valuable tenant volunteers.
We provide funding for four community centres in Lancashire where tenants and residents run their own activities to benefit everyone in the community.
Looking ahead, we are working to create a new engagement framework for our RWP supported living tenants. This will help us to ensure our services for people with autism and learning difficulties continue to be relevant and offer value for money.
Funding for communities
Strong communities are vital in creating social connections and a sense of belonging; this can also inspire and support people to thrive. Our Community Investment Fund is one way we support our communities to grow.
We invested £197,376 to support local groups and community-led projects during the year. This included funding for 26 projects which paid for community gardens, activities for young people, arts and crafts groups, support for food banks, social activities for older people and more.
A further 15 resident groups also received funding after pitching their ideas through our innovative Soup Dragon’s Den initiative.
In addition, our Charity Fund supported the fundraising activities of 29 tenants and employees, benefitting causes such as St John Ambulance, Alzheimer’s Society, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Macmillan Cancer Support and North West Air Ambulance.
Residents enjoy balloon fun at our Cultural Celebration
Colourful costumes at our Cultural Celebration
Tasting foods from around the world
Performance at our community event
RWP tenants enjoy seed planting
Sharing tasty treats at our Cultural Celebration
Sharing experiences of windrush in Lancashire
Fun at our soup dragons event
Support from our Community Investment Fund for the Brothers of Charity Services reading gr
More fun at our soup dragons event
Involvement Officer, Sam, with our winners at the soup dragon event
Listening and acting on feedback is vital to continuously improving and transforming how we do things.
Learning from complaints
Listening and acting on feedback is vital to continuously improving and transforming how we do things. Complaints provide valuable insights and create opportunities to improve customer experience.
Following the publication of the Housing Ombudsman Complaint Handling Code in October 2022, we have improved our complaints process, reducing it to two stages to make it easier for tenants to give feedback.
This year, we received 1,376 reports of dissatisfaction. Of these, 961 were recorded as Stage 1 complaints but, positively, we were able to resolve 415 dissatisfactions at first point of contact to the tenant’s satisfaction.
Ongoing support is provided to teams to ensure dissatisfactions are addressed quickly.
The Group received 187 compliments, with the majority for our repairs services. The operatives were complimented on their professionalism, efficiency and friendliness when engaging with tenants.
Lower Lane Community Centre
Car parking Tudor Drive
Car parking Tudor Drive
Supporting tenants and residents
people helped at our community-based job clubs
people provided activities to combat loneliness at our independent living schemes
people supported to access energy bill discounts
local projects and 15 resident groups received funding
invested in community projetcs
To thrive, we must create a culture of growth, innovation, value for money and continuous improvement alongside high standards of corporate governance and customer experience.
We are ambitious – we want to deliver sector-leading services, meaningful customer engagement and homes and neighbourhoods where people can flourish. This means finding the right balance between our social purpose and commercial focus, where investment in technology, robust procurement processes and diverse income streams are vital.
Our financial performance for the year continued to be strong. Our turnover increased by £16.1 million due to a £12.1 million increase in rental income, a £1.4 million increase in Progress Lifeline income and a £2 million increase from property sales.
Operating costs increased by £12.5 million, mainly due to Reside Housing Association joining the Group.
Our operating surplus stood at £16.7 million compared to £13.8 million last year. The underlying surplus after tax increased by £1.8 million to £9.3 million.
Total fixed assets increased by £28.2 million to £605.0 million. Total capital spend for the year was £33.2 million, with a capital grant of £3.6 million being secured to support the delivery programme.
Collecting rent on time is important for our cash flow. Our rent arrears for current and former tenants stood at 5.8%.
We offer guidance and support to tenants struggling to pay their rent. Our dedicated Financial Inclusion Team helps people with budgeting, debt and benefits. Our 'Preferred Landlord Status' enables us to work closely with our tenants and the Department of Work and Pensions on benefit applications.
As a not-for-profit housing organisation, delivering value for money is vital. Every one pound spent on homes and services has to work for our tenants, customers and communities. Value for money is at the heart of our strategic approach, and our targets are ambitious and stretching.
- Achieving an operating margin of 13.9% against a target of 13.3%
- Maximising our grants claims to fund our energy efficiency work
- Re-procuring contracts totalling £10.7 million, resulting in £0.5 million in savings and improved services for tenants.
Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is integral to what we do, how well we do it, sustainability, and impact. Our vision is that everyone should be enabled to achieve their full potential and live their best life. Recognising and understanding inequality in our society, and championing equality in its place, is therefore integral to our mission.
We work hard to ensure our culture and customer experience is inclusive and enabling, celebrates difference, and is built on trust, respect and kindness.
Our EDI Strategy and action plan ensure that we maximise the positive impact of our work. Some of our main achievements over the past year include:
- Making sure EDI and social value are embedded in our approach to procurement and contracted works.
- Ensuring spaces are accessible, welcoming, and safe for everyone.
- Supporting national campaigns to give a voice to misrepresented and under represented groups.
- Delivering our Project SEARCH internship programme for young people with a learning disability and those who are autistic.
- Implementing new recruitment systems and processes to improve workplace diversity.
- Nurturing our EDI networking groups to encourage conversations, learning and support for our diverse communities.
- Further investment in mental health first aiders, wellbeing champions and EDI-focused training programmes.
- Improving the accessibility of our tenant communications and contact channels.
We also actively encourage diversity at board level through our award-winning Achieving and Harnessing Board Diversity scheme. This is a non-executive director training programme for tenants. We currently have three trainees on a two-year part-time board training programme.
Our Gender Pay Gap Report helps to inform our EDI agenda and highlights where we could be more inclusive and diverse.
One Team Summer Socials
Roots EDI network
Celebrating Black History Month
Sponsoring the Typhoons Inclusive Rugby Club
Sponsorship of Euxton Under 11s Girls' Football Team
Easter event at Lower Lane Community Centre
Team away day volunteering at Martin Mere
Volunteers bulb planting at Martinfield independent living scheme
One Team Summer Social
Investing in our people
We firmly believe that our employees and non-executive directors are our greatest resource. By working together as one team and valuing the contribution that everyone makes, we will achieve even more.
We are Investor in People accredited, and our personal development opportunities align with our Strategic Plan and Business Priorities, underpinned by our vision, mission and values.
As well as providing tenant training and development opportunities, we invest in our employees to help them improve their skills, confidence and future job prospects.
Over the past year, development opportunities have ranged from mandatory training and e-learning to coaching, mentoring, and career development programmes.
We have supported those who want to volunteer or gain qualifications and have run management and leadership training programmes to develop strong leaders across the business.
Our most recent employee engagement survey had a response rate of 73% with an Engagement Index Score of 77% and a healthy Employee Net Promoter Score (how likely employees were to recommend the organisation) of +22.
People told us that they work well with their colleagues, are committed to continuous improvement and think their manager cares about their health and wellbeing. Our focus continues to be on employee wellbeing and work-life balance.
Trained 45 employees in ‘carbon literacy’ and gave energy advice to tenants.
Our journey to carbon zero
We are committed to playing our part in achieving decarbonisation targets and building a better environment for the future.
Our core purpose is to provide good-quality, affordable homes to people in need, and environmental sustainability is directly linked to this purpose.
Our Environmental and Sustainability Strategy aims to reduce our overall environmental impact, cut carbon emissions in homes, improve the long-term viability of our properties and reduce energy bills for tenants.
During the year, we continued to deliver against the goals of our Environmental Sustainability Strategy. It covers all our business activities, including existing homes, new homes, tenant engagement, fleet transport and offices.
We are working to meet government targets of building low-carbon homes by 2025 and having all our homes at net zero by 2050. Achieving net-zero carbon emissions means removing as much carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as is emitted.
With this in mind, we have continued to move forward at pace with the goals set out in our strategy. Highlights include:
- Increasing our average energy cost rating to above the sector average. We have achieved this through investment works such as fitting loft insulation, double glazing and A-rated boilers.
- Achieving energy performance certificates (EPCs) for 71% of our homes. Our target is to achieve 100% in 2028. We are on track to ensure all our homes meet the required EPC rating C by 2030.
- Secured a new electricity contract for the Group, which will save more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
- Trained 45 employees in ‘carbon literacy’ and gave energy advice to tenants.
- Carried out a pilot installation of an air source heat pump with a solar PV system.
- Delivered an LED lighting upgrade at our Derby House independent living scheme.
- Upgraded our energy modelling software and introduced an ISO14001-aligned environmental management system.
- Surveyed communal schemes for energy efficiency improvements – leading to a reduction in gas use of 27% in one of our first independent living schemes to be upgraded.
To assist in delivering our plans, we successfully bid for more than £650,000 in social housing decarbonisation funding (SHDF). We will look to maximise investment through funding streams such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
We understand that we cannot achieve zero carbon targets on our own. We are involved in several zero-carbon partnerships.
As active Vantage Zero Carbon Club members, we have been looking at how registered providers and local authorities can collaborate to share best practices and maximise value for money in retrofit projects.
Through our new contract management standard, we are working with contractors and suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of work carried out on our behalf.
We also have an environmental working party, which brings together representatives from across the Group to drive initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint.
We will continue working with the government, other housing providers, our tenants, and supply chain partners to share best practices.
Delivering social value
As a responsible organisation, it is important for us to do so much more than provide good-quality housing. We offer a range of services that benefit individuals and bring economic and social benefits to communities.
These services include help getting into work, money advice, homelessness support, refuge accommodation, support for older people, technology-enabled care, specialist supported living accommodation and more.
During the year, we have continued to work with colleagues, contractors and other suppliers to make a difference in our communities. As a result, we have seen the following benefits for tenants and residents:
- Our sponsorship of the Typhoons RUFC, Lancashire’s first inclusive rugby club.
- Additional parking spaces at Lower Lane Community Centre by NMS Civil Engineering Ltd, making the centre more accessible for the community.
- Donations from suppliers to support the work of our charity, Key Unlocking Futures.
- A community garden project at an RWP scheme in Exeter, supported by Bell Group.
- A new communal kitchenette at an RWP scheme in Leeds, provided by Morgan Sindall.
- A donation of Easter eggs by Bell Group to our Clare House women’s refuge.
- Sponsorship of our Soup Dragon’s Den event by Arjo, including contributing to the food and refreshments served to 100 people.
- A kitchen refurbishment at The Place Community Centre in Leyland by our Property Services Team, including a new range cooker, kitchen units, decoration and flooring.
- A donation of £10,000 to social value projects from our Property Services Team, using the money from recycling metal with Recycling Lives.
Bulb planting at Sollam, Bamber Bridge
White Ribbon and 16 days of action against domestic abuse
Starts at Home national campaign
Volunteering clean up at Saltcoates
Volunteering day at Tuson House
Colleagues volunteering at St John's independent living scheme, Lytham
Digital Services voluteeering on garden project
Contractor Bell decorating Key's drop in
The Group has undertaken several pledges and commitments aligned with our shared vision and values.
Pledges and commitments
Homes for Cathy commitments
We have united with other housing associations and homelessness charities to help end homelessness. We have signed up to nine Homes for Cathy homelessness commitments, developed with Crisis, which guide and benchmark best practices within our organisation.
CIH Make a Stand pledge
We have pledged to Make a Stand against domestic abuse. The Chartered Institute of Housing has developed the pledge in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance to enable housing organisations to make a visible commitment to support people experiencing domestic abuse.
CIH Equality and Diversity Charter
We are committed to the CIH Equality and Diversity Charter to help us strive for a better balance in opportunities, resources, and decision-making processes for employees, customers and communities.
National Housing Federation's Commitment to Refer
We have signed up to the National Housing Federation's Commitment to Refer to make a positive, public statement that shows housing associations are serious about ending homelessness.
Disability Confident Employer
Disability Confident organisations play a leading role in changing attitudes for the better.
Respect ASB Charter
We have signed up for the new Respect Anti-social Behaviour Charter for housing. The charter aims to improve the anti-social behaviour services of housing bodies.
Time for Change
Progress Housing Group signed the Time to Change Pledge in 2019, signalling our commitment to helping break the silence and end the stigma around mental health.
The Group supports Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer's Society initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia.
South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance
We are members of the South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance as part of our commitment to improving the lives of those living with dementia and their carers.
The Group has committed to working towards Harry's Pledge, which includes making offices and community spaces we offer as accessible as possible, installing ‘Changing Place’ toilets in any new offices open to the public, and being a 'carer friendly' employer.
Learning Disability England
We are a member of Learning Disability England.
Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network
We are a member of the newly formed Learning Disability and Autism Housing Network.
Supported Housing in Partnership (SHiP)
We are a member of SHiP.
Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG)
We are a member of VODG.
Project SEARCH is an international transition to work programme committed to transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism.
Our Brighter Futures programme offers fully paid job placements for six months to give our tenants a stepping stone into paid employment.
We are committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in all our corporate activities and to ensuring that our supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking.
Zero Carbon Club
With decarbonisation at the heart of the social housing sector's agenda, 43 housing providers have joined forces to create the Zero Carbon Club. The group represents approximately three quarters of a million homes across the UK.
A national voice
Stop Social Housing Stigma (formerly known as the ‘See the Person’ campaign)
We are a founder supporter of See the Person. This national tenant-led campaign was established in 2017 to help smash the stereotype publicity around social housing. We continue to actively support the Stop Social Housing Stigmacampaign, promoting the value and benefit our tenants and customers bring to our communities.
Supporting Carers Week
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face, and recognise their contribution to families and communities throughout the UK.
Gas Safety Week
We support the annual national gas safety campaign to help you promote gas safety and keep people safe.
National Housing Federation's Commitment to Refer
We have signed up to the National Housing Federation's Commitment to Refer to make a positive, public statement that shows housing associations are serious about ending homelessness.
White Ribbon and 16 Days of Action
We support the annual White Ribbon and 16 Days of Action campaigns to end domestic abuse.
Starts at Home
Starts at Home is a national day of action where our members and campaign supporters unite to showcase the value of supported housing.
Learning Disability Week
We support Mencap's annual Learning Disability Week.
Awards April 2022 – March 2023
Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards - Winner
The Group was awarded the Diversity and Inclusion Programme award at the Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards for our Project SEARCH work.
ITEC Awards 2022 - Winner
Progress Lifeline won the Partnership in TEC Award at the ITEC Awards 2022 and was also a finalist in the TEC Hero category.
Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards - Finalist
Progress Lifeline was named a finalist in the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards in the Collaboration/Integration category.
Lancashire Business View Red Rose Awards - Finalist
Business View Red Rose Awards Customer Service category.
UK Housing Awards - Finalists
RWP was named a finalist in the Best Supported Housing Landlord category.
The Group’s Progress Futures service was also a finalist in the Best Resident Employment and Training Scheme category.
Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards - Finalist
Diversity and Inclusion Programme category for the Group’s second Project SEARCH cohort.
ROSPA 2022 Gold Award Logo
Disability Confident Committed Logo
Investors in People Logo
Living wage employer logo
Gas Safe Logo
Customer Service Excellence Logo
Cyber Essentials (PLUS) Badge Logo