Grand Union is an organisation you can trust, Our strategy is based on four clear commitments, which each have a number of dimensions.
- We take our responsibilities seriously - for today and tomorrow
- We serve our customers and their communities fairly and with integrity
- We support our people in their service
- We’re an honest and constructive partner
We’re driven to do more. We empower staff to achieve more and help us evolve into a more efficient, flexible and ambitious organisation that has a positive impact on our customers and communities.
We’re in it together. Our can-do attitude and collaborative approach help us achieve our goals and provide what our customers, colleagues and partners need from us.
We deliver on our promises. We’re committed to making a difference to people’s lives and by acting with integrity, being open minded and taking ownership, we can be trusted to do what we say we will.
homes need to be built every year
of these homes need to be at genuinely affordable social rent
of emissions coming from our homes
This strategy has been prepared at a time of change for the UK. The global pandemic came hot on the heels of political transition, with housing policy not yet fully formed. Government policy in response to the disease has included unprecedented support for businesses and for individuals, including the homeless. It’s not yet clear how much of this will survive the crisis period, or what interventions can be expected in a housing market hit by the widely-expected deep recession.
Generally, we’re expecting home ownership and Right to Buy to remain cornerstone policies. But we’re waiting to see the level at which social rented housing - often more popular at local government level than at Westminster - is acknowledged. And we’re still waiting for the Government response to feedback on the social housing green paper, which was designed as a comprehensive review of social housing. Years on from the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London, we’re also still waiting for clarity on fire safety. Many housing providers, including Grand Union, are responding proactively to guidelines before legislation is introduced. We want to make sure our customers and their homes are as safe as they can be.
Despite the political climate, there have been positive steps. The landmark legislation on housing standards, and the commitments on private tenancies and on domestic abuse will help to clarify responsibilities and shape our own work in these areas. And the strategic partnerships between housing associations, Homes England and, increasingly, local authorities, are a positive development. Grand Union’s own work to deliver more land-led development schemes is starting to deliver, enabled by our strong financial standing, despite a difficult operating environment.
It is fair to accept that we are operating in a time of ‘housing crisis’; the National Housing Federation estimates that 340,000 homes need to be built every year to meet the ever-increasing need. The Chartered Institute of Housing has calculated that at least 90,000 of these homes need to be at genuinely affordable social rent, to halt the financial drain of temporary accommodation and housing benefit/Universal Credit.
Welfare reforms continue to hit the poorest hardest and our customers often need support to navigate the new systems, where errors are common for complex claims. Our own research has also shown that our customers’ chance of prosperity varies, depending on which town they live in.
We’re also increasingly aware that the housing crisis is matched by the climate emergency. With 14% of emissions coming from our homes, there’s an urgent need for a more sustainable approach to meeting people’s needs, and the added benefit is that our environmental solutions can help keep customers’ fuel bills down.
Looking forwards, it’s clear that there will continue to be a need for additional support with benefits, access to employment, and the needs of an ageing population. We’ll continue to explore ways that technology can support our customers directly, and through the automation of routine transactions. This will ensure our skilled colleagues remain available to provide one to one help with more complex or sensitive matters.
On leaving the European Union, as things settle, we will be able to operate with increased confidence and certainty. But we know there will also be challenges, and we’ll be focusing on ensuring we have access to the skills, information and materials we need to deliver on our commitments.
Our commitments in more detail
In the following pages, we describe our commitments in more detail, together with the projects and action plans that will help us deliver on them. For each of our commitments, we’ve identified the achievements that will tell us whether we’re achieving our ambitions.
Much of this detail was initially identified through round table discussions with colleagues across Grand Union, as well as an awayday with Board members, customers and colleagues.
In the coming months we’ll be developing the detail further. This will include establishing a number of key strategies, such as our Environmental Sustainability Strategy, and testing them in our business plan, to make sure we’re getting the balance right.
Detailed performance measurements will be identified within each strategy.