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Consultation on proposed changes to the Board of Alliance Homes Group

We are proposing to make some changes to the make-up of our Board. We have always put customers at the heart of what we do, so we are explaining our proposals and seek your views and comments on what we would like to do.

We are also talking to other key stakeholders, including North Somerset Council about our proposals.

Background

Alliance Homes was established in 2006 to own and manage the housing stock transferred from North Somerset Council.

Currently Alliance Homes has a Board of 12 composed of five tenants, five independent members and two Council nominees. Currently, two of the places for tenants are vacant. In addition, the Board is able to co-opt up to eight additional members. The Chief Executive is currently the only co-opted member.

The make-up of the Board reflects the promises made to tenants during the Council’s formal consultation process prior to the stock transfer.

What are the changes being proposed?

We have been reviewing the structure of the Board and our governance arrangements to ensure that our Board can respond to the rigorous demands placed on housing associations. The changes we want to make will also ensure that Alliance achieves best practice in governance.

Our proposals are to:

  • reduce the total number of Board members to 10;
  • require that at least one tenant is a member of the Board;
  • continue to reserve one place on the Board for a person nominated by North Somerset Council;
  • appoint the Chief Executive to the Board; and
  • allow the Board to co-opt up to two additional members.

We have also been reviewing how we recruit our Board Members. Under the new arrangements all Board members will be recruited for their skills, knowledge and experience in accordance with the agreed Board recruitment policy.

Why we are proposing to make these changes?

The challenges now facing Alliance are very different from when the organisation was formed. The economic, social and regulatory environments have introduced greater risk as well as opportunities.

We want to take advantage of these opportunities. The Board has recently set very clear ambitions for the next five years to:

  • provide a great customer experience – we will be investing in significant changes to modernise the services we provide; and
  • increase the supply of housing – we will be significantly growing the number of new homes we build within North Somerset.

To be successful it is vital that we are able to be forward thinking, demonstrate strong control and manage risks effectively. It is important that the Board of Alliance Homes has the right skills, knowledge and experience to meet these demands and its members are able to adapt as necessary from time to time.

We have taken legal advice, looked at best practice from other housing associations as well as undertaking an independent review of our governance arrangements.

Having a smaller Board which is recruited on the basis of the skills, experience and knowledge that its members bring has been recommended by our trade body, the National Housing Federation (NHF), for some years. The vast majority of housing associations have already adopted these changes. It will mean that for the first time we will be able to say that we fully comply with the NHF's Code of Governance and it is likely to be viewed positively by our regulator, the Homes & Communities Agency.

What does this mean for you?

This proposal does not impact on the way we deliver our services or set our rents and other charges. It does not affect your rights as a tenant or leaseholder. Tenants and leaseholders will still be able to apply to become Alliance Homes Group Board members, in accordance with our new rules.

Customer engagement and influence

Over the next five years, we expect the way in which we deliver our services to become even more influenced by the way our customers want to engage with us and access our services. This is because we will be investing in additional methods for gaining, understanding and acting upon feedback. This will affect how we deliver and design our services.

As well as ensuring that at least one place on our Board is held by a tenant, we regularly undertake surveys and provide opportunities for customers to share their ideas about how we can improve our services. In addition, over 650 customers have joined the ‘Hundred Club’. Members of the Hundred Club are consulted on proposals which may affect customers, such as changes to our policies and information leaflets.

If you would like to find out more please contact 01275 398 122 or communityengagement@alliancehomes.org.uk

Next steps

We welcome any views you have on these proposals. If you have any comments or queries please do not hesitate to contact us by:

Emailing: corporateconsultation@alliancehomes.org.uk
Writing to us at: Alliance Homes, 40 Martingale Way, Portishead, BS20 7AW
Telephoning us on: 03000 120 120

Please let us know if you have any comments or queries by 12:00 noon on Monday 2nd October 2017. All feedback will be considered by the Alliance Homes Group Board before any final decision is made.