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Self-Evaluation

The Welsh Government set the expected performance standards for all social landlords in Wales.

They state that they expect us to deliver in 10 key areas in order be effective as a social landlord.

In order to demonstrate this, we undertake an annual self-assessment against each of the performance areas and provides the findings to the Welsh Government.

Our Interim Regulatory Judgement has been confirmed as Standard for both Governance and Financial Viability.

Read our most recent self-evaluation

Assessment: March 2021

  • Governance (including tenant services)Standard (December 2019 judgement confirmed).
  • Financial ViabilityStandard (December 2019 judgement confirmed).

 

Read the guide to Interim Judgements.

  • PS1 - Effective Board and Executive Management

    Rating:

    Summary

    We have an effective Board and Executive management with a clear and ambitious vision. Board assurance is supported through sound governance practices underpinned by a robust control environment.  

    Activity

    Key activities undertaken during the year to support the overall rating include : 

    • Intra-Group Development Framework developed to support the implementation of the Development Strategy by Adra and its subsidiary Medra Cyfyngedig. 
    • Strengthened both Adra and Medra subsidiary Board through a skills-based recruitment process.  
    • Rules changed to allow for a flexible Board size and conversion of empty tenant seats to independent seats to minimise governance risk. 
    • Undertook Board Chair succession planning and appointed a new Vice Chair in readiness to step up to the Chair role in September 2021. 
    • Enhanced Board assurance on Health & Safety matters with enhanced auditing work by specialist providers and the provision of further training to Board Members. 
    • The Board and Executive quickly adapted to remote working following the onset of the pandemic with meetings being conducted over Zoom and the roll-out of Microsoft Team.  

     

    Performance 2017/18  Performance 2018/19  Performance 2019/20 Goal 2020/21 2020/21
    Welsh Government Judgement of our financial viability  Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
    Welsh Government Judgement of our Governance and Services  Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard

     

  • PS2 - Effective Tenant Involvement

    Rating:

    Summary

    We place great emphasis on ensuring appropriate tenant involvement in the design and delivery; shaping and influencing of all of our services.  The importance of Customer Participation is highlighted in our new Corporate Plan 2019-2022, which states that “Our tenants will continue to be at the heart of what we do”. This is primarily catered for through the administration of our Tenant and Resident Partnership.   

    Activity

    Key activities undertaken during the year to support the overall rating include : 

    • A new Customer Participation Strategy and Framework has been developed on the basis of the TPAS review undertaken in the previous year.  
    • The Customer Panel was relaunched, with over 400 tenants registered to take part in quarterly consultations on service delivery, and the development of new ideas / initiatives. 
    • We continued to consult with our customers in a variety of ways such as Task and Finish Groups, Online consultations etc on a range of different subjects such as Grass Cutting, Rechargeable Repairs etc. 
    • We reintroduce our Quality for Customers Team, made up from Partnership Members who contact Adra customers to seek their opinions on services received.  
    • We have involved our Partnership members in the Review of Landlord Health and Safety, with an overview of the ‘big 6’ Health and Safety items included on our Partnership Agendas. 
    • Adra’s Customer Engagement frameworks were reviewed in a Mazars audit during the year, which awarded a ‘Substantial’ level of assurance, thus providing assurance on these operations.  
    • We once again achieved the Customer Service Excellence accreditation during the year, achieving two ‘Compliance +’ ratings for our response to the Covid pandemic and our partnership working with the Police. 
    • More broadly, tenant feedback / insight continues to be gained through our Tenant Satisfaction Questionnaires (TSQs) – 1,216 tenants were contacted during 2019-20. 
    • The Community Strategy 2018-30 has been bolstered by a new Delivery Plan, which will focus on actions to be delivered during the 2020-22 period 
    Performance 2017/18  Performance 2018/19 Performance 2019/20  Goal 2020/212 Performance 2020/21
     % of our tenants that are satisfied or very satisfied that we listen to them and act on their views  81% 82% 83% 84% 80.4%
     % of our tenants that believe we a trustworthy or very trustworthy  85% 87% 87% 88% 90.1%
  • PS3 - Assessment of Business Impacts and Risks

    Rating:

    Summary

    The company is adept at assessing and managing business impacts and risks.  Adra adopts a measured approach to taking on new developments and has a Development and Growth Strategy – supported by Development Viability Appraisals in place to facilitate decision making.  Such processes are being constantly reviewed and refined based on sector best practice. 

    Activity

    Key activities undertaken during the year to support the overall rating include : 

    • Revision and updating of Adra’s Development Strategy 2020-25 in addition to a comprehensive set of Technical Advice Notes to facilitate implementation. 
    • Treasury Management Policy updated following re-financing so set key controls for effectively managing treasury activities to optimise performance. 
    • Work was undertaken to enhance stress-testing activity to include a focus on Decarbonisation and the Bank of England’s “worse-case scenario”. We also continued with multi-variate stress testing and recovery planning.   
    • Substantial assurance was provided by our internal auditors on both our Business Planning and stress testing activity. 
    • Adoption of a revised Development Viability Appraisal model, which increased the functionality and flexibility of the appraisal process; 
    • Further sensitivity analysis introduced within our Assets Performance Model in line with best practice. 
    • In response to the climate emergency and the pressing need to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, Adra has worked proactively to prepare its first ever Decarbonisation Strategy 2020 – 2030 in partnership with the Carbon Trust.   
  • PS4 - Clearly Evidenced Self-Evaluation

    Rating:

    The self-evaluation process has been mainstreamed into normal business of the Executive Work Programme and the Board / Committees; and is viewed as a continuous process of improvement and refinement throughout the year.  Adra as a mature social landlord has all the key processes, systems and reporting frameworks in place to monitor and challenge its performance with regard to governance, compliance and financial position.   

    Summary:

    Activity

    • Given the impact of the pandemic during 2020 which saw significant business disruption across the sector, Adra adapted well to managing its core services in line with expectations of RSLs under the lockdown period.  Given the continual investment in the organisation’s ICT infrastructure, it was able to quickly mobilise remote-working which allowed the Governance Team to press ahead with its Annual Self-Evaluation process.   
    • The Self Evaluation for 2020 is presented on behalf of the Group. Although the Medra subsidiary itself is not specifically subject to this regulatory regime, at all times it follows governance and sector best practices, and takes inspiration from the principles of the Performance Standards. 
    • To further enhance the Board’s focus on assurance in relation to the Regulatory Framework,  Adra’s Chairs Group continues to meet to discuss the Master Forward Plan (MFP) and key issues so as to keep the Board and its Committees focused on matters of strategic importance.   
    • Significant effort has been made during the year to develop the intra-group governance, including a series of Technical Advice Notes establish an Intra-Group Governance Framework which details how the Group should operate in future to provide assurance to both the parent and subsidiary Board. 
  • PS5 - Achieving Positive Outcomes

    Rating:

    Summary:

    The business has a strong track record of achieving positive outcomes and responding appropriately to new challenges and performance issues.  Adra continually strives for service improvements and sets challenging targets on an annual basis to provide the best possible service to its customers.  

    Activity

    • A review of the impact of the pandemic on the delivery of the Corporate Plan was undertaken, and Board members were provided with updates on the impact of the restrictions on movement, including delivery of landlord compliance on a regular basis during the initial lockdown.  
    • Adra’s process to receive and review tenant feedback has been embedded in the organisation. This has enabled a greater focus to be placed on identifying the causes of poorer feedback and positive feedback to improve and learn as services develop.  
    • Adra established a Corporate Customer Service Excellence project to ensure that corporate targets in relation to customer satisfaction remain on track and will be achieved by the end of 2022.  
    • The annual Customer Feedback report presented to Adra’s Board demonstrated the progress made by all individual services within the company to meet the 90% satisfaction aspiration by 2022, with an average score of 89% in 2019-2020.  
    • Adra’s Executive Leadership Team has approved the continued implementation of the new voids standard. This includes an additional investment of £500k per annum to improve the quality of property Adra offers its tenants. 
    Indicator Performance 2017/18  Performance 2018/19 Performance 2019/20 Goal 2020/21 Performance 2020/21
    of our tenants that are satisfied or very satisfied with our overall service  80% 80% 80.5% 88% 83.2%
  • PS6 - Delivering Value for Money

    Rating:

    Summary:

    Delivering efficiency and value for money is fundamental to the way Adra operates, and one of the underlying principles of the new Corporate Plan.  The company continually seeks ways of improving VFM and has been very active in finding additional means of deriving enhanced value for money.  Key highlights for 2020 are included below – further improvements will be made in this area over the coming year with best practice being sought and implemented. 

    Activity

    • The main VFM related achievements over the last 12 months was savings on interest costs of over £1m per annum as a result of the refinancing exercise  
    • The annual “Budget Challenge” is a key element of Adra’s VFM Action Plan and was undertaken yet again this year to identify savings within the budget. 
    • Adra commenced its “Financial Transformation” project with one strand focusing specifically on “Embedding Value for Money.   
    • Adra participated in the Autumn 2020 “Sector Scorecard” VFM pilot – relevant data was gathered and analysed and was then verified by Housemark.  
    • Adra uses the HACT Social Value tool to assist with monitoring the social impacts of our investments.  The “Financial Transformation” has a strand on “Social Value” – assessment of the HACT tool will be part of this strand, and delivering VFM will be a prime consideration in this assessment. 
    Indicators Performance 2017/18  Performance 2018/19 Performance 2019/20 Goal 2020/21 Performance 2020/21
    of our tenants that are satisfied or very satisfied that their rent provides value for money  88% 87% 85% 88% 83.5%
  • PS7 - Compliance with Regulatory / Statutory Requirements

    Rating:

    Summary:

    Adra has robust arrangements in place to comply fully with regulatory and statutory requirements, and has a Board Assurance Framework that subscribes to the Three Lines of Defence Model.   The Governance Team is charged with co-ordinating the key regulatory returns to the Regulator, with the HSQE Team leading on statutory non-compliance matters with the HSE.   

    Activity

    • All Regulatory Returns were completed and submitted to the Regulator on time.   
    • The Company Secretary kept an open channel with the Regulation Manager on issues affecting the company as a result of the pandemic. 
    • Adra responded proactively to the Regulator’s Business Continuity Survey during the pandemic and provided further explanations for any aspects that were raised by the Regulator. 
    • As part of Adra’s accreditation to ISO and OHSAS Management System Standards, external audits are carried out at six monthly intervals by Alcumus Isoquar.  This year, Adra successfully migrated to the new ISO standard for health and safety 45001. 
    • Electrical safety – Adra’s drive to ensure all properties had a 5-year certificate for electrical conditions reports have improved significantly, although lockdown impacted on the timescale for completion of all properties. The aim is for these to be brought up to date by April 2021 at the latest with any defects being addressed. 
    • HQN, specialist Health and Safety Auditors, were commissioned in September 2020 to undertake a deep dive audit on Fire Risk Management and the auditor gave their first ever ‘Substantial Assurance’ to a housing association based on the excellence demonstrated at Adra.  
    • An internal review of water hygiene control demonstrated issues for further redress.   Key recommendations were made, and an Action Plan was produced for responding to all matters raised within a 3-month period. 

     

  • PS8 - Financial Performance

    Rating:

    Summary:

    Adra’s successfully re-financed the business in late 2019 and this fundamentally changed Adra’s financial operating basis, affecting all “financial plan and business plan” matters relating to this Performance Standard. This exercise provided additional private finance for the Group to develop over 1,350 additional homes over the next 10 years – this means that Adra can play its part in meeting housing need across North Wales.   

    Activity

    • Systems and processes to support the business plan and to monitor financial performance effectively were further developed in the year;  
    • The “Budget Challenge” process was undertaken once again to assess each service’s budget requirement, scope for efficiency and potential improvement in service delivery.   
    • The “Financial Monitoring Report” continues to be presented to the Audit and Assurance Committee on a quarterly basis – this summarises Adra’s financial position (e.g. performance against budget) and gives updates on other relevant financial issues, e.g. the impact of Covid-19.  
    • Treasury matters (e.g. covenant compliance) were part of the “Financial Monitoring Report” until the end of 2019. Given the requirement for additional focus on treasury following refinancing, a separate “Treasury Management Report” is now produced every quarter and presented to the Audit Committee and the Welsh Government.  
  • PS9 - Effective Treasury Management

    Rating:

    Summary:

    The last 12 months were very significant in respect of Treasury Management at Adra, with the refinancing exercise successfully concluding in December 2019. This was followed up in the first months of 2020 with the setting up of a new compliance regime in respect of the new funding agreements. The following matters were progressed during the year:

    Activity

    • The new Treasury Management Policy was implemented post re-financing detailing how treasury risks should be managed, and the reporting requirements in respect of the revised treasury arrangements. 
    • The Bank funding exercise was successfully concluded in late Summer 2019. 
    • A Private Placement borrowing worth £75m was successfully arranged with two investors (£50m from Rothesay Life and £25m deferred from BAE). 
    • In total, the refinancing increased Adra’s loan facilities meaning more funding is available to part-fund the additional homes ambitions set out in Adra’s Development Strategy.  
  • PS10 - Liabilities and Assets Performance

    Rating:

    Summary:

    The company has a clear understanding of its assets and liabilities performance and has developed a comprehensive register to monitor the situation.  Further, Adra has developed a sector leading Asset Performance Model which interrogates financial and social performance of all assets with a view of identifying which are assets and which are liabilities for the business.  Such intelligence is key to securing the future viability of the business. 

    Activity

    • “Intelligent Energy” software was purchased as an add on to Keystone to allow greater visibility into the energy metrics of the properties and the flexibility to model the impact of decarbonisation opportunities. 
    • Formal Stock Condition Surveys (SCS) have been undertaken however numbers have suffered due to the restrictions on movement and access to properties.  
    • In order to facilitate the formal SCS process, Adra has invested significantly in mobile working technology, with stock condition surveys being created on-site using mobile devices (tablets) that link directly to Keystone via the Foundation module.