We define ourselves as a customer service business. Building homes that meet a range of housing need is still fundamental to our purpose, but the experience our housing and care customers have is just as important.
We’ve set some ambitious targets for the future. We want to be an organisation that:
- is strong, stable and resilient
- maximises financial capacity to deliver more new homes
- provides an amazing customer experience
- is a brilliant place to work.
Our world is changing quickly. Housing and care, and social housing in particular are high on the agenda in a way that haven’t been for a long time.
Housing associations make a vital contribution to addressing the national housing crisis, and this is now better recognised by policy-makers. After four years of rent reductions, rents will increase from 2020. That will create the financial capacity to do more for our customers and to build more new homes, responding to the imperatives set out in the 2017 Housing White Paper. And with public investment in social rented housing – through grant or land – we’ll be able to do even more to provide truly affordable homes.
We welcome the opportunities presented by this new policy environment, but at the same time we know that we – and our customers – are facing a period of increased economic uncertainty. Departure from the EU presents clear risks to the construction industry – both in respect of labour and materials – and to the housing market, which generates important subsidy for our social housing activity. It also presents workforce risks to the social care sector – adding further risk to a sector already under significant pressure. Welfare reform will continue to strain our customers’ incomes, and inevitably Guinness’s too. We must manage these and other risks facing us.
Our vision to improve people's lives and create possibilities for them will need:
- Being a customer service business, working continuously to improve our services and to make things easier for our customers. We’ll give customers more choice and control by offering more services online. Our new customer liaison and estates services will provide customers with face to face contact where that’s needed. We’ll hold our contractors to high standards – we’ll make sure they share our values and deliver great service to our customers.
- Going further for customers who need more. We’ll do this by investing in tenancy sustainment, financial inclusion, access to work and by providing funds to alleviate extreme hardship.
We’ll make sure people know we’re here to help if they need a bit more support.
- Going further for the communities we work in. We’ll maintain our focus on addressing anti-social behaviour and promoting activities which create cohesion – so our communities and neighbourhoods are pleasant and safe places for everyone who lives there. We’ll work with partners to maximise our impact.
- Knowing our customers. We’ll use appropriate data and insight to anticipate our customers’ needs and preferences, so we can provide relevant services that feel really personal.
- Ensuring our customers’ voices are clearly heard. We’ll maximise the opportunities for customers to shape the way we do things and the services we provide. We’ll continue to develop the ways in which our customers can give us feedback, raise concerns and tell us if we’re getting things wrong.
- Providing high quality and safe homes that people are proud to live in. We’ll keep investing in our existing homes, maintaining them to a high standard, upgrading them, and ensuring they always meet or exceed building safety requirements. We’ll use smart technology so we know more about how our homes are performing and when work is needed.
- Making sure our homes are a good standard when people move in. Where empty homes are uneconomic to maintain or no longer meet the needs of customers, or are likely to be obsolete in the near future, we will sell them so we can reinvest the proceeds in improving other homes.
- Building more new homes. We’ll build 7,500 new homes. One third of these will be for market sale and two-thirds will be affordable tenures, with as many as possible being for rent. We will continue to build some homes for market sale and to generate subsidy for our social homes. We’ll acquire larger sites so we can develop at scale, and we’ll work with partners in our key areas to maximise our capacity. Our ambition is to build 20,000 homes over the next 10 years.
- Providing homes for older customers. We’ll develop more extra-care housing that gives customers access to the support they want as they grow older. We’ll offer some of these homes for sale, for people who may already own homes and want to downsize to meet their changing needs. We’ll invest in upgrading our existing housing for older people so that shared spaces are more modern, comfortable and welcoming.
A great place to work
- Creating a great employee experience, making Guinness a great place to work, learn and succeed. Ensuring our people feel valued, not just by offering a competitive reward and benefits package, but by supporting their growth and learning, and always remembering to say thank you for the contribution they make.
- Empowering our people by giving them the tools, knowledge and support they need to succeed.
- Being an open, diverse and inclusive organisation. We’ll promote a culture in which everyone can contribute their ideas and shape the way we do things, by increasing the ways in which people can connected and engage with our vision.
- Promoting a healthy and happy working environment. We’ll develop our health and wellbeing offer, support our people to work flexibly wherever possible, and keep investing in our workspaces and estate facilities.
- Embedding the changes we’ve made. We’ll consolidate and build on the work we’ve done over the last three years, providing a period of stability so that our people can invest in an exciting and fulfilling future with Guinness.
A great business
- Meeting our legal and regulatory requirements. We’ll make sure we have an outstanding compliance record. We’ll make sure we do things in the right way and get things right. We’ll make sure our governance structures and our assurance framework remain fit for purpose and operate effectively.
- Making sure we’re strong. We’ll maintain our focus on efficiency and value for money, looking for better and more cost-effective ways of doing things. We’ll target an operating margin of at least 30% – getting a balance between what we spend day to day, and what we generate to invest in our homes in the future.
- Managing risk. We’ll take measured risks, but we’ll make sure we manage risk so that the strength of our organisation is protected for our customers, our staff and those who succeed us.
- Investing in the future. We’ll invest in research and encourage innovation so our offer to our customers and our people meets future needs as well as today’s. We’ll keep investing in technology to make us more efficient and to make things easier for everyone. We’ll invest in sustainability – in our homes, our fleet, and the way we work.
- Strengthening our care business to protect its long term viability. We’ll invest in growing our offering to private payers, so we can create new sustainable income streams to support our local authority funded care at home work.
- Being open to merger opportunities which make the most of our capacity. We’ll partner with organisations who share our values and whose geography complements our own. We’ll also buy homes from other housing associations in areas where we have a strong presence and can provide services efficiently.
- Being focused. We’ll be focused about what we do, where we operate and where we grow. We’ll concentrate on where we can make the most difference and we’ll work with partners where that improves outcomes.
You can find out more about our plans for the future by downloading the Guinness 2023 Strategy.
Targets for our vision
We’ve set some ambitious targets for this year. By 2023 we aim to:
- achieve customer satisfaction of 85%+
- build 7,500 new homes
- achieve employee engagement of 85%+
- deliver an operational margin of 30%+
We deliver our care services and much of our maintenance and property services through Guinness Care and Guinness Property respectively. These are separate legal entities, each with their own more detailed plans.
We’ll update this strategy periodically over the coming years to ensure it remains relevant and reflects the scale of our ambitions to be a great organisation.