Key achievements 2013/14

We are pleased with a number of significant successes in the year.

Core performance has improved in most areas and, particularly through specific investment in operational areas of the business, we are confident that we are laying solid foundations for future growth and delivery of improved services.

We have invested heavily in improving customer experience – centralised customer contact centre, more people, new skills, better systems, training and development – and we can now obtain and analyse daily customer feedback which we are using to identify and remedy service failures. Although pleased with the improvement in satisfaction levels of tenants and leaseholders we believe in delivering outstanding customer service and are always striving to improve. We provide top quality neighbourhood management services, placing our customers at the heart of all we do.

Despite progress in delivering a number of development schemes as highlighted below, we were disappointed in our shortfall in delivering in full our 2011–15 Affordable Housing Programme in London. Construction has emerged as a key risk to delivery, with delays to a number of our projects because of supply chain problems.

Key highlights of the year

  • We have handed over 438 homes: 233 for rent, 122 for shared ownership and 83 for market sale
  • A net surplus of just over £40 million, £22 million ahead of budget. This was driven by strong market and asset sale performance and by operational savings
  • Our IT investment programme has become a success having overcome a number of difficulties of the previous year. All releases of the new Orchard system have been on time and on budget and we will complete the programme by the end of June 2014
  • We have completed the first block in the regeneration of Wornington Green in North Kensington, which has been well received by tenants and buyers alike. We have a high level of pre-sales on the remaining two blocks in phase 1 and have submitted a planning application for phase 2
  • Shared ownership sales have gone very well and we have outperformed budgeted values and profits
  • We exchanged contracts for the sale of the Acton Care Centre, in pursuit of our strategy of exiting from nursing and residential care
  • We have recruited a very strong new development team, enhancing our capability in land acquisition, project management and quality control
  • We completed a successful review of our governance structures, resulting in the board having direct investment oversight and the creation of two customer service committees to further our ambitions to improve customer experience
  • Planning consent has been secured for the regeneration of the Havelock Road estate in Southall where we will develop almost 1,000 new homes as well as creating a new neighbourhood
  • We have had success so far in helping our tenants to cope with the challenges of welfare reform. As a result our cohort of bedroom tax cases ended the year in net credit
  • One of the keys to the latter success has been the implementation of a centralised income collection team, which has helped us to reduce our arrears from 6.9% to 5.9%
  • We have successfully completed year 1 of our three-year plan
  • Performance on the basics of customer satisfaction, rent collection, and maintenance has been good, and we will be reviewing our void performance in the coming year
  • We made the reserve list for the government’s Build to Rent Fund with a market rent programme developed in partnership with the London Borough of Ealing
  • Our financial indicators remain exceptionally strong with net gearing at only 41% and interest cover at 223%
  • We have had excellent internal audit results, reflecting our commitment to strengthening our internal control environment given the riskier world in which we operate

This year, we have introduced a variety of methods to capture feedback from our customers about the services we provide and what we should do to improve them. Although three-quarters of our residents are satisfied with our overall service, we know that there are areas of dissatisfaction, so will be using this feedback to drive improvement.

Above all, we have continued to attract great people in key positions and there is a noticeable increase in strength and depth across the organisation.

Recognition

Catalyst has won a series of awards across the business this year. We received a number of awards for being a great place to work, including:

  • Best Companies 2 Star accreditation
  • 32nd place in the Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work for list, and
  • A UK Best Workplace award
  • Two of our people (David Truesdale, south east area manager and Santosh Kanwar, Southall Day Centre manager) were recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list
  • Leasehold Service of the Year at the National Leasehold Conference
  • Best Sustainable Scheme in the National Housing Awards for The Greenway (our zero carbon scheme)
  • Ninth biggest developer of market sale homes in London in 2013 (CBRE ‛Building to Match Demand’)