We are an organisation made up from people who come together to meet their housing needs under co-operative principles.
Business Planning Training Day
Raj Kumar – Facilitator
Investing in Our People – G. Archer
What are the benefits and aspiration of a housing co-op?
The first part of Gerry’s presentation focused on what are the benefits and aspiration of a housing co-op, referencing a statement of CDS (Cooperative Development Society’s website) the benefits of co-operative housing.
Using this framework Gerry enabled group to explore how a coop allows its tenants to benefit from financial control, quality of service control, and opportunities for community and social engagement, personal development and become stakeholders in their local community.
In the context of Imani Gerry highlighted that Imani service provision offered “the BME community a chance to embrace their cultural heritage and experience through support from a lens of the BME community perspective in the UK as it relates to issues of Health, Education, Employment, Housing, Social exclusion and stereotypical responses from a mis-informed society.”
The second part of the presentation, Investing in our people posed the question, Who are our people? and whom do we serve?, to which an explanation that while a particular focus is on our tenants who are from African Caribbean origin, we serve BME applicants based in Wandsworth, BME communities based in Wandsworth, public sector and community organisations based in Wandsworth, extending to all members of society, who make enquiries of Imani. Further slides explored what community services Imani is involved in and what services underpin Imani’s work. What is the organisations level of involvement, level of expertise, time constraints and the evidence of that work.
Imani’s roles in service provision, the presentation identified:-
Housing, Advice and Guidance, Mediation, Debt Management, Signposting, Referring, Planning, Supporting, Assessing needs, Developing, Creating, Researching, Instructing, Monitoring.
Further questions posed were, Are we known to our communities?, Are we seen as a useful resource?, Do we have evidence of this? Are we encouraging participation? How and when?
How do we become a World Class Service Provision? Is this realistic? Why steps are we taking to achieve this?
Gerry suggested the following:-
Programme for participation for 2017/2018
Localism Act Research
Regular Tenant meetings and Focus Groups
Create a strong development committee
Explore developing a framework for purchasing properties from Auctions
Develop partnerships with Private Developers to acquire minimum of two units
More visibility as RSL
Set minimum yearly target of acquiring/developing homes
Clarify use of surpluses
Implement annual participation programme
Budget for Training, Casual Employment, Research and Development
Development Sub Committee
Develop sense of ownership linked with responsibility and outcome
Mid – Morning Session
Khalid Mair – A Strategy To Maximise Growth and Access Additional Income Streams
What should Imani being doing?
Highlighting Imani’s Key Goals with the question what should Imani be doing Khalid highlighted Imani’s Vision, Mission, and Aims in the organisations Statement of Intent.
To be a world class dynamic social enterprise that generates surpluses to reinvest in empowering the communities we serve
1. Social Enterprise
seek opportunities to create and support social enterprises that serve our communities ever changing needs
2. Financial Strength
ensure our business model is robust and generates surpluses to deliver our ambitions
seek business opportunities that will increase our income streams
dedication to excellence in the provision and delivery of services
3. Empowering Communities
seek every opportunity to develop initiatives that improve the quality of life of our residents and empower individuals to be the best that they can be
openness and accountability to stakeholders
4. Collaborative Consumption
to promote positive relationships and partnerships to advocate, secure and access resources to improve lives
to share resources to maximise returns that benefit the communities we serve
to facilitate the fullest participation by our members in the management of the organisation
to develop our members potential and relevant skills through effective educational and training resources
to promote excellent relationships and work in partnership with other agencies, groups and individuals
Giving a historical context Khalid next spoke to a slide from the 2016/2017 annual report
FROM THEN TO NOW – 30 YEARS AND COUNTING
Imani Housing Cooperative Ltd is 30 years as of 2016. Being able to make such a statement as a Black Led Community Organisation in the UK is a significant achievement. If only from the perspective that many other organisations founded by Black people have struggled to last beyond 5 years because of the immense systemic and historical legacy challenges faced African peoples to build and sustain their communities. For this achievement credit must go to all those who have been and are still involved with Imani Housing Coop as stake-holders, tenants, ex-tenants, members and former members.
Imani as a black led housing cooperative has continued to deliver what it set out to from the very beginning, high quality affordable housing. Imani was formed and became a Registered Social Landlords in the mid-1980’s along with a number of other Black and Minority Ethnic led housing organisations; supported by the then Housing Corporation BME Housing Strategy lasting 10 years which acknowledged the lack of diversity in public housing provision Arguably the most significant structural response to address discrimination in the UK ever. Since its incorporation members of Imani Housing Coop have utilised the framework of the highly regulated environment of the social housing sector to negotiate its own organisational development and established itself as a model cooperative organisation.
Social Housing Rent Revenue Model – Difference To Private Rent Sector
Lower Rents and Secure Tenure = Affordable Housing
The next slide gave Imani’s Net Profitability from 2013 -2017 which equalled £477000 over the period an average of £95400 per year and led onto the question why growth?
Answered by the next slide Growth provides Imani with Sustainability enabling it to last another 30 years and beyond. Alternatively if the organisation does not continue to grow, Who will control the assets in 30 years?
So how does Imani Grow? Increasing Net Profitability year by year
Khalid shared an article in Inside Housing written by John Swinney of Pinnacle Housing in 2002, whose business is a private company were the forerunners of the idea of the social business, explaining how they overcame the tension between profitability and social acceptability.
Government’s rent cut affects future development
The next slide spoke to research/survey quoted in Inside Housing where one third of Housing Associations CEO’s in April 2015 planning to halt development of sub-market rent accommodation as the governments 1%/yr reduction in housing rent prompting a dramatic change in the social housing sector.
Leading on to the question:-
So What is Social Housing? Does That Term Have Any Relevance Any More
With the future development of affordable housing provision is subject to marketforces. Where does that leave Imani and its own plans for future development?
Khalid further highlighted a numbers slides look at the Social Housing ecosystem locating where Imani fits as a housing coop. Outlining the legislative and policy framework that housing providers have to adhere to a comparing local authorities, housing associations and private sector company that dwarf Imani in administrative capacity to reconcile all the areas that a Registered Social Landlord has to meet minimum standards.
Khalid produced the Leadership and Control booklet produced by the National Housing Federation as key documentation that highlighted that registered social landlords had a more challenging business model maintaining their social purpose and the balance of prudent financial management geared towards achieving profitability and maximising value for money. Against a for profit model that seeks to make profit, which an easier undertaking in comparison minus the regulation.
Referencing Imani’s Mission statement to seek Financial Strength Khalid proposed that Imani should Create Income Streams Through Investment:-
Improve net profit by increasing return on investment cash and property assets through different investment vehicles:-
The Good News
BME London Landlords
Khalid presented The Good News as being Imani signing up to BME London Landlords collaboration project which had already produced numerous benefits such as savings with membership HALA (Housing Association Legal Alliance) potential opportunities in development Imani are already pursuing. As well as equitable membership of a Learning and Development, Employment and Procurement programmes that present value for money savings and key skill development benefits for the committee, staff and tenants of Imani.
Key Goals of BME London
Data for Action, Data for Impact
Khalid presented Imani’s 2016 Strategy Sheet which highlighted that Imani should seek to brand itself as a business, community, creative and sustainable solutions provider.
Next few slides related to research presentations presented at 2016 BME National Conference by representatives from Joseph Rowntree, Equalities and Human Rights Commission, The Runnymede Trust, Office of Civil Society. Public Health England, Heriot Watt University. cover stats of how BME communities are disproportionately affected in different areas of their lives.
What is Imani Going To Deliver?
Raj gave his feedback on questions posed by both morning presentations as a way of giving suggestions for the way forward and setting some key targets. Raj framed the question as How realistic are the targets for what Imani wants to do as a way of stimulating discussion.
Sector target for Development set at 5%, which translated as 2.5 properties/yr. Raj pushed to find out what would Imani Mansion Proposed Development produce. Khalid an estimate of 16 units plus cash.
Raj in reviewing the Lindhill Developments proposal suggested that Imani should seek to work with a housing development partner such as another larger BME HA who have experience in developing, L&Q, or someone like Lindhill.
Options facing Imani to do the Imani Mansion Development or smaller initiatives of acquiring smaller number units.
All of the above to present ideas and guidance on how we can take this forward.
Khalid outlined that finance team to meet with financiers to look at options of development, confirming that the draft development plan had already given that directive.
Deadline for decision
Gerry Archer proposed that a deadline should be set where Imani makes a decision on the way forward. Discourse established that tenants have been informed that Committee will make a decision by November 2017.
Targets for Increasing Net Profitability (Surpluses)
Raj proposed that Imani set a target to achieve a surplus target of £200,000 which is doubling Imani’s current net profit. And then asked what are the ideas for increasing the organisations surpluses, KM’s response was that a way of making this happen was setting up a charity. As well as investing in property as a way of increasing the returns on Imani’s current assets. It was also raised that achieving this target was not defined in terms of time and should be. It was pointed out the possible profits on a Imani Mansions development could up to £1m plus
Raj suggested setting up the charity so that it is ready to go. And set a target to maintain Imani’s current surplus of £100k for the current year. By which time the organisations position on Imani Mansions will be clear. Suggesting this would give an indication of where your surpluses are likely to be.
Action – Create a Charity/ Explore Trust funds
Value For Money Survey
Raj asked do we offer value for money to our members. KM that compared to sector unit costs is at the higher end of the scale. Tenants around the table were asked and indifferent responses were returned.
Do you believe you rent offers value for money? Raj suggested that this was a key question to assess where the organisation is in relation to its tenants. ie. How happy they are with the service. If you don’t measure you don’t know what satisfaction rates are with your service delivery. Raj gave a scenario that if Imani’s satisfaction rates were 60% in 2016. This would not be world class, but get and idea of where the organisation was would give Imani the areas in which it could improve.
Gerry stated that Imani had done surveys had taken place, and a discourse ensued about whether the committee had reviewed the information.
Gerry had outlined in his presentation a range of programmes to be delivered this coming year. Raj asked about what else was on the agenda. And the Raj gave examples of work he had already done such as an Annual Food Event for the community initiative in Harrow, outlining that these were an opportunity to take Photos create memories and is the best feel good factor in Community Engagement.
Raj also suggested doing a Local Dragons Den Competition – something he had done in Harrow with an organisation called Meanwhile Space. Discussion then centred around providing a budget for supporting community activities, possibly providing small grants and creating success stories, which can demonstrate investment in the community.
The Capacity Challenge – Are you prepared to pay to put the resources in?
A further discourse around resourcing Imani’s capacity challenge, Raj asked what does Imani need to achieve all the targets and potential opportunities in the offing.
Options were a new post/A Service Offering/Interns/Money – Risk comes with all these options and if a consultant engaged does not deliver.
Khalid said that the consultancy budget had been extended to £20000 to resource growth plans moving forward. Questions were raised about increasing the numbers on the main committee and cooptee’s with specific knowledge, skills in areas that are needed for the development of the organisation
Digital Strategy – Online Training Portal
Khalid suggested that presentations made be put on Imani’s members portal and Social Media could be used to promote Imani’s activities. Gerry highlighted that the website had not been launched, with Abdul suggested a community activity could be organised to achieve this objective
Community Led Housing
Khalid said Imani should be promoting Community Led Housing as its profile has risen in recent times and become primary advocates for its community.
Marketing – Whats needed?
Abdul suggested that Imani could partly fund community events in the Borough talks on issues relating to health, education, employment, with invited guest experts giving information that would serve as way of promoting the Imani Brand.
Again it was acknowledged a budget for this needed to be developed.