industry news

Funding of sheltered housing faces massive shortfall

Three of the key providers of sheltered housing are warning that a proposed new funding regime could see an annual shortfall of up to £64m across their services. This threatens both existing and future

sheltered housing, according to the three largest specialist providers, Anchor, Hanover, and Housing & Care 21 in a joint response to the Government consultation on funding for supported housing.

“The proposed changes threaten to devastate the sector’s ability to maintain current levels of specialist housing, let alone develop to meet increasing demand”

The organisations warned that capping

Housing Benefit at Local Housing Allowance levels would mean many residents will be left with a shortfall between their benefit entitlements and the cost of their homes and services received. They also said the protection being

offered was not fit-for-purpose and would lead to a postcode lottery, with residents in the north and Midlands hit significantly harder than those in the south. The three housing providers are leading

calls for sheltered housing to be exempt from the proposals, or, if this is not possible, a say on the decision until 2022 to allow for the implementation of Universal Credit. The joint submission warned that

uncertainty about future income also impacts on providers’ ability to invest in new developments, stating: “The proposed changes to the funding for supported housing threaten to devastate the sector’s ability to maintain current levels of specialist housing, let alone develop to meet increasing demand.” Jane Ashcroft of Anchor, Clare Tickell of

Hanover and Bruce Moore of Housing & Care 21 said: “The proposals create huge uncertainty for older people and risk breaking a part of the housing system that works well. “With an ageing society and growing

pressure on the NHS, sheltered housing has never been in greater need. There is strong evidence that investment in such services saves money for the state. “The Housing White Paper talked about

the merits of older people downsizing. Yet these proposals could have the opposite effect – reducing the number of properties available to do just that.”

10 | HMM March 2017 |

Sector scorecard to measure the efficiency of social landlords launched

A pilot scorecard to measure the value for money and efficiency of social housing landlords has been launched. Designed by a working group of housing

associations over an 18-month period, the scorecard provides a set of metrics for housing providers to compare their performance and costs. It has been developed at a time when associations are coming under greater scrutiny than ever before with Government urging them to deliver increased savings for investment in new housebuilding. The National Housing Federation and the

Chartered Institute of Housing, as well as Housing Minister Gavin Barwell are among those to have already backed the scheme. The working group has been led by Mark

Henderson, chief executive of the Home Group. He said: “We’ve been careful to look at areas which will allow us to compare like with like, while recognising that there are areas of difference within the sector. “Formulating the 15 indicators is a great

starting point, but what we really need now is for the wider sector to embrace this and sign up to the pilot en masse. By gaining the support and involvement of as many providers as possible, we’ll be able to further refine the metrics and ensure we have a system which not only fully reflects the needs of the sector, but acts as a robust mechanism for years to come.”


The scorecard measures 15 indicators across five areas of a business. The pilot will be concentrated in England and the working group is seeking as many providers as possible to sign up, including supported housing, to influence how the scorecard will work after the

pilot is completed. The 15 indicators are:

• Operating margin • Increase/decrease in operating margin • EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Tax and Amortisation Major Repairs Included)

• Units developed • Units developed (as a percentage of units owned)

• Gearing • Customers’ value for money satisfaction • Investment in new housing for every £1 generated from operations

• Investment in communities for every £1 generated from operations

• Return on capital employed • Occupancy • Ratio of responsive repairs to planned maintenance spend

• Headline social housing cost per unit • Rent collected • Overheads as a percentage of adjusted turnover

Barwell said: “I welcome this initiative to develop a set of common efficiency metrics for the housing association sector. The sector has a vital role to play in providing the homes we need, and housing associations need to be able to demonstrate that they are making the best possible use of their resources to deliver for the communities they serve.” Lending his support David Orr, chief

executive of the NHF, said: “Having a set of indicators that are owned and reported by the sector will be a real step forward. The pilot is critical in making sure the indicators work for associations in different markets and different areas and gives us the information we need to paint a coherent picture of sector efficiency.”

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