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10th Oct 2022
Broadland Housing chief executive Michael Newey addresses the organisations AGM sm

A leading regional housing association has launched a new strategy incorporating 12 key objectives – after successfully coming through ‘possibly the most challenging two years’ since its establishment in 1963.

Michael Newey, chief executive of Broadland Housing, outlined the significant challenges facing the social housing sector in the coming years at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting, held in Norwich.

With rising costs and a probable rent cap in prospect, Mr Newey said that Broadland Housing would focus on the immediate priorities for tenants, and that some longer-term ambitions may have to be scaled back in the short-term – something he called ‘incredibly frustrating’.

However, he said that launching the new five year Corporate Strategy was a sign of the organisation’s ability to maintain a long-term perspective, and demonstrated Broadland’s ‘resilience’.

Despite the challenges of the continuing Covid pandemic during 2021/2022, Broadland Housing delivered 136 new homes during the year, including 111 for affordable rent and a further 25 for shared ownership.  The organisation allocated 482 homes during the year, including to 163 homeless households.

A focus on catching up with non-urgent repairs after the lockdown period saw 17,761 repairs carried out during the year.

Nevertheless, Mr Newey acknowledged at the meeting that the immediate future would present particular challenges for the social housing sector.  “After two years operating in a pandemic, we all hoped that the coming year would see a more benign operating environment, but the truth is that we are presented with some very tough economic conditions.  Costs continue to rise, affecting our budgets, and particularly the cost of maintenance materials.

“At the same time, our tenants are also facing a really challenging economic period, with soaring energy prices and high inflation.

“It seems likely that the government will implement a rent cap at a level below inflation for social housing.  That is a good idea, in that it recognises the financial challenges our tenants face.  However, we can only spend each pound once, so we will have to find a way to live within the cap and deal with our rising costs.

“That means we must focus on the immediate priorities of supporting our tenants, and unfortunately that will entail scaling back some of our short-term ambitions, especially in terms of new development and planned improvement works. 

“That is incredibly frustrating, but I am confident that we are a very resilient organisation which can maintain a longer-term perspective, and our new Corporate Strategy will help us to achieve that.”

The new Corporate Strategy outlines 12 key objectives for Broadland Housing for the period 2022-2026:

  • Providing high-quality housing management services that meet the needs of existing and potential new tenants
  • Providing high-quality repair services
  • Supporting tenants at risk of losing their homes by working with them to minimise the number of failed tenancies
  • Investing in tenants’ homes to improve quality and energy efficiency
  • Involving tenants in shaping services, and being accountable to them on how services are delivered and money is spent
  • Working to reduce homelessness locally, and lobbying for policy change nationally
  • Maximising the number of new affordable homes built each year, without compromising services to existing tenants or threatening the organisation’s long-term stability
  • Using financial resources responsibly and effectively to deliver strategic aims
  • Managing financial resources sensibly
  • Ensuring good governance at board, committee and leadership team levels
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of Broadland’s homes and activities
  • Ensuring Broadland is a good employer

Thanking staff, tenants, Board members and partners for their support during the year, Mr Newey promised that Broadland Housing would remain focused on its core mission during the coming year.

“We have the resilience and the determination to get through what will undoubtedly be a tough economic period, and we remain dedicated to supporting our tenants, helping to reduce homelessness, and making a positive contribution to communities in Norfolk and north Suffolk.

Broadland Housing, which was established in 1963, provides nearly 5,500 homes in Norfolk and Suffolk.  A copy of the 2021/22 Annual Report can be downloaded from https://www.broadlandgroup.org/about-us/governance-documents/annual-reviews.  A copy of the Corporate Strategy 2022-2026 can be downloaded from https://www.broadlandgroup.org/about-us/governance-documents/corporate-strategy.