Annual General Meetings
Every year we hold an Annual General Meeting and welcome our Members and stakeholders to attend and see how we have performed throughout the year.
This years event was held on 13th September.
As with previous years, we ask our members to submit questions to our Directors, who answer them on the night
Below is a copy of all the questions from the night, along with those we didn't have time to answer during the event.
Do you have a reward scheme for employees when tenants call in to express that an employee has gone the extra mile?
A: Rob Wakefield, Chief Executive: Yes, we do have a recognition scheme. We have a goody cupboard and staff that have been put up for recognition have a trip to the cupboard for a treat such as a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine. We also have an annual staff awards scheme, and feedback from tenants contributes towards that scheme.
Do you have any services for isolated people and those suffering with financial difficulties?
A: Louise Mattinson, Executive Director of Customers and Communities: Yes, we have a number of roles within the organisation that are dedicated to providing tenants with the support they need to sustain their tenancy. Please get in touch with us because we have the people to provide help for you. Whether that’s our Tenancy Support Team for things like welfare benefit advice and backdating benefits, or our Outreach and Support Team, who are there to provide more personal support in terms of social isolation and other difficulties our tenants are facing.
There’s a £3.4m interest payment in the Annual Report. Why are we paying this, what is it for and why do we need this loan?
A: Craig Garner, Executive Director of Resources: Our debt is around £50m, that’s our mortgage, and there is a payment against that each year. The £3.4m is the total value of interest payments against that mortgage. That has been put together to support the business in terms of our development and building new homes. It does sound like a lot of money but relatively speaking, compared to many other organisations like us, that number is very low, proportionately.
It doesn’t show on the budget form in the Annual Report and there isn’t much information on the subsidiaries, why haven’t we been informed about this? Please could we have some more information? What do they entail?
A: Craig Garner, Executive Director of Resources: In May, our board approved the setting up of two new subsidiaries; both are set up to help build new homes more cheaply and effectively to help support the business. Patterdale Developments is about how we spend money on our development activity, for example being able to recover the VAT. CGA Homes is a non-charitable subsidiary which will help us deliver other types of activities which can’t take place in CGA. CGA is a charity so certain activities such as building for sale we’re not able to do. CGA Homes will allow us to use the profit from selling homes to subsidise building more homes for rent
How is the new independent living scheme coming along?
Rob Wakefield, Chief Executive: The independent living scheme is really important and exciting development for CGA. There’s 60 apartments, a mixture of one and two bed apartments, which will all be designed according to the HAPPY standards so lots of space, lots of natural light looking out on to green space. It’s a big development, it will take some time but at the moment progress is good, we are on track and I would anticipate if everything continues according to plane the scheme should be ready to go towards the end of 2019, early 2020.
Why do you provide food at functions? Could the money not be better spent elsewhere?
A. Craig Garner, Executive Director of Resources: A lot of our events are held at times where we can try and make sure they are most accessible for our tenants. We want to try and make sure that people are comfortable and can contribute, so I think it’s important we provide some refreshments. The spend that our community empowerment activities incur is relatively low and we get really value for money from that so I would like to think we don’t spend too much on food. Also, we are very clear that when we put food on for events we use local business so it contributes to the local economy as well. However, if you think we can do things better, please come along to a meeting or action group and get involved.
Is parking going to be sorted out on our road, it’s very difficult to get down it?
A. Louise Mattinson, Executive Director of Customers and Communities: We are aware that on some of our estates, parking is a particular issue. It comes down to priorities really and we have to make decisions on how we spend money and what we spend it on. If we spend money on parking, it means we have to spend less money on something else, and over the years we have prioritised a lot of our spending on doing up individual properties, with new kitchens, bathrooms, windows, door and roofing. As we move in to our new corporate strategy from next year, we will make sure we take the feedback from everybody and have a look at what those services that we deliver are going to be.
When is Brookfield going to be considered for better double glazing?
Brookfield were originally installed in 2005 and aren’t due to be replaced until 2045.
However, if individuals are experiencing any issues with their windows, you can arrange an inspection with us by calling 0800 953 0213.
(This tenant has since arranged a window inspection.)
-John Walker, Gateway PropertyCare Operations Manager
I have requested a no ball games sign due to problems with youths kicking and throwing balls into our garden. Is this something you can provide?
We don’t encourage the use of ‘No Ball Games’ signage as they aren’t enforceable, and as an organisation, we encourage children to play responsibly.
-Graham Dunkley, Tenancy Management Team Leader
When my kitchen was replaced 10 years ago, holes were made in the doors of my living room. They have been patched up but look unsightly. Will they be replaced at any time?
If you have any concerns regarding workmanship, or something in your home you feel my need repairing, you can report these to us and an inspection will be arranged to determine what needs to be done.
(This tenant has since arranged an inspection.)
-John Walker, Gateway PropertyCare Operations Manager
Fencing at a private property has been replaced by Gateway on an estate in Ingol. This isn’t fair as money on fencing should be spent on our properties.
: Land ownership details show the front garden area at this property remains in the ownership of Gateway, even though the house has been purchased, so the fencing remains CGA’s responsibility.
-Noel Murphy, Gateway GreenCare Manager
Why do some people get priority on homes when others have to take what is left on Select Move?
Community Gateway Association (CGA) is part of the Select Move Partnership and we allocate our properties in line with the Select Move Allocations Policy. All CGA properties are currently advertised through Select Move.
The Select Move Policy does allow for Partners to advertise 25% of their properties via another platform (so if Partners experience problems with demand and want to try an alternative letting method this is possible). However, I can confirm that this option is not currently being used by CGA.
All CGA properties are advertised when notice is received from the tenant so this will usually be four weeks before the property is expected to be empty. This means that when it becomes empty we usually have an applicant on offer for the property already (it also means that some properties are advertised and may be withdrawn if the tenant changes their mind about moving within their notice period).
The reason that some people get priority is because as a Social Housing provider we are expected to take into account the circumstances and the ‘housing needs’ of applicant(s). So for example some applicants may have high priority to move due to a life threatening or severe disability, others may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Priority is awarded by the Partnership using a banding system which ranges from A to E; with A being the highest priority and E being no additional preference (full banding descriptions for each category can be viewed in the Policy document via the website www.selectmove.co.uk).
Any applicants who are in the high priority bands A or B will have their application reviewed every 8-10 weeks to ensure they are bidding on suitable properties.
Alongside any priority banding we also take into account other factors when allocating properties; Housing Law, the applicant(s) bedroom need, Local Connection to the area, and the ‘effective’ date when they registered for a move.
Properties are advertised to each priority band in line with agreed percentages and any properties that do not attract a suitable applicant from the preference band would then be allocated to an applicant from another band in priority order (e.g. property advertised to Band C, the system will show the shortlisting in the order; Band C, A, B, D and then E). The number of properties that are let to each band is monitored, and the results of ‘recent lets’ are advertised on the Select Move website which shows how many applicants bid on a property, the successful applicants band and the month that they registered.