Value for Money
Value for Money means getting a good deal for the amount of money spent. Find out how we are running our business in the most efficient and effective manner so that we are successful in achieving our mission.
Value for Money (VfM) is incredibly important to us, particularly in the current economic climate. We have a strong track record in running efficient and effective operations that has been reported annually to our regulator, the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA). This has been particularly demonstrated by the fact that between 2006-2016, Luminus achieved efficiency savings of £24.6 million. However, it is not simply about saving money; it is also about striving to improve our services and keep our customers satisfied.
In 2012 we created our “Small Change: Big Difference” campaign, which we will continue to run. All staff are encouraged to share ideas that they believe will save money and improve our services. A group of staff meet to discuss these suggestions. Many of these ideas have already been implemented and have resulted in substantial savings. Here is a video our staff have made to show you some of the success of 'Small Change Big Difference'.
Self Assessment 2016
Our regulator requires us to produce an annual Value for Money Self Assessment which details how we are achieving VfM. You can download our full Self Assessment for 2016 here.
We have also summarised the key information in the sections below. Please select a tab to find out more.
And if you have any value for money suggestions or ideas, we'd love to hear them. Please select the "Share your ideas" tab below to get in touch.
The focus of our Value for Money strategy is on delivering our Mission and Business Plan objectives in the most efficient and effective manner, to ensure the business is sustainable and successful. Our strategy includes a number of initiatives:
- We appointed a tenant board member as Portfolio Lead for Value for Money to the Board in May 2014. The Board reviews progress to ensure Luminus activities fit with VfM. The Tenant Services Consultative Forum (TSCF) also receive regular updates on VfM.
- In 2012 we created our “Small Change: Big Difference” campaign, which we will continue to run. All staff are encouraged to share ideas that they believe will save money and improve our services. A group of staff meet to discuss these suggestions. Many of these ideas have already been implemented and have resulted in substantial savings.
- We completed a detailed analysis of our costs, performance and outcomes which allows us to compare ourselves to other Registered Providers. With this data and the results from our Customer Opinion Survey, we can focus our VfM activities on specific areas of the business.
- Our Scrutiny Panel will take part in a programme of regular service reviews, where it will examine the way we do things. This will help us to get tenants' views on how we can improve our services.
1. How we spent each pound in 2015-16
This diagram shows how every £1 is spent at Luminus. Breaking it down this way helps us to decide if our spending is in line with our business objectives and Value for Money Strategy. We also use the information to set targets for the reduction in spending on maintenance, housing management, and cleaning and gardening.
2. Goverment rent reduction
Following the major changes announced by the Government in the summer Budget 2015, it is very much business as usual for Luminus. The key to our success will be on protecting the business and ensuring we continue to provide Premium Brand services to our customers and the wider community, and it is in this context that we will evaluate and predict the impact of the government’s pronouncements.
The reduction in rent income, although unexpected, is not something that will divert us from our Mission. Our financial modelling shows that our Business Plan remains viable, despite taking a pessimistic approach to stress-testing parameters, as long as we continue to be as efficient and effective as possible. We have met with our financiers, who have assured us that our approach is satisfactory. Our auditor has also expressed its satisfaction with the approach we are taking.
3. Small Change: Big Difference
This staff initiative was launched in 2012. A group of staff receives and generates ideas from their colleagues in relation to saving money and improving services. Some of its notable successes of 2015-16 were as follows:
Striking off dormant subsidiary companies of Luminus Group £3,000 Moving from paper invoices to direct debit £720 p.a. Moving suppliers from cheque payment to BACS 6 days’ work saved Metering charges challenged at block of flats £500 Querying a utility bills £3,461 Pre‐court agreements, to avoid the cost of full court hearings £14,000 Printing rent letters in black and white, rather than colour £158 per quarter Mobile phone contracts £3,000 per month Printing condensation advice leaflets internally £100 Internal expertise to manage implications of FRS 102 £10,000
4. Reducing costs and improving performance
The starting point for all specific VfM related activities at Luminus is the detailed analysis of costs and performance, benchmarked against peers.
The HCA's analysis of cost variation across the sector, in "Delivering better value for money: understanding differences in unit costs", has been significant in revealing that private registered providers have achieved real terms reductions in headlines and social housing costs per unit over the past five years, while stating that the sector should deliver an operating efficiency step change over the next five years.
Equally significantly, the HCA analysis shows that Luminus' cost per unit across five key expenditure categories is in each case the lowest quartile. This validates the Board and Executive's comprehensive programme of Value for Money initiatives during the preceding six years.
Align 2015 Project
We have instigated a significant project with strategic importance to replace our existing housing management system with a new operating system and associated modules. This two-year project is called “Align 2015”. Our objective is to achieve a range of significant VfM outcomes.
During early-2015, we worked on mapping our business processes, which identified a number of ways to improve service delivery. During this process, 139 business processes have been redesigned, with many delivering 10-20% greater efficiency than current processes, complemented by some services being remodelled to accommodate more efficient service delivery.
It will be easier to deal with enquiries at the first point of contact, thus providing a much better customer experience.
We have made some great progress in achieving better VfM so far. Here are some noteworthy examples:
- In addition to our Small Change: Big Difference savings, we have been able to make other central overhead efficiency savings:
Service area Budget saving IT infrastructure £36,000 Corporate telephony £80,000 Utilities £21,000 Corporate building costs £29,000 General office maintenance £60,000 Total £226,000
An independent stock condition survey conducted by Savill's revealed that Luminus' average SAP rating is 71.7, which is better than the median average for the sector. A higher SAP rating represents the energy efficiency of a home, and therefore energy cost savings for our tenants.
- During 2015-16, the first-time fix rate improved from 76% to 80%. This resulted in savings of £75,000. The improvement represents real progress towards the median average of 92%.
If you have an idea or suggestion for how we can save money, we’d love to hear it. You can get in touch either by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the form below: