Advertorial: How easy is it to demonstrate VFM?

HouseMark ScotlandThis is the question that a group of housing associations have been getting to grips with since June, following the HouseMark Scotland VFM Club meeting that month.

Kevin Scarlett, CEO at River Clyde Homes and Jason MacGilp, CEO at Cairn Housing Association have been leading the group’s discussions following the SHR’s positive reaction to the recommendation in the CIH/HouseMark/Wheatley Group report ‘How do you know you are providing value for money?’ that the Scottish housing sector should take the opportunity to develop its own perspective on VFM.

Jason MacGilp said, “Cairn decided early this year to begin work on developing a VFM Statement as a framework for discussion with our customers, staff, partners and Board. As well as benchmarking across the sector, it is useful for us to articulate our approach and objectives for value for money as part of our usual business planning process.

Supported by HouseMark Scotland, the group met to discuss how to demonstrate that they are delivering VFM to their tenants and other stakeholders including Board and staff members. It was agreed that there needed to be a robust discussion around the need for a VFM ‘narrative’ that reflects the different operational challenges faced by the various RSLs. The group also agreed that the ARC does not really measure costs or social value so a way to overcome these challenges needs to be found.

The group has now agreed to pilot a shared, consistent approach to reporting on VFM for financial year 2015/16.The pilot will feature a VFM scorecard and VFM statement which will be combined with their annual reports for publication around September 2016.

The VFM statements will confirm to stakeholders who the RSL is and its operating context, what it’s trying to achieve for tenants and others, using the scorecard how it is performing and also what customers say using satisfaction survey results.

Kevin and Jason updated members of the HouseMark Scotland VFM club on their progress so far at the last meeting of 2015 on 29 October. Their work has been welcomed by Ian Brennan, Director of Finance and Risk at the Scottish Housing Regulator who has asked to be kept informed on the outcomes from the pilot.

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