Update from the engagement panel meeting on 12 December 2023. The next meeting is on 10 January 2024.
The engagement panel met on 12 December at the BP offices.
Planned Works and Major Projects – Overview
We were joined by Steve Selfe, Brighter Places Planned Works & Major Projects Manager who gave an overview of what his and his team’s role. Steve touched on their main areas of focus – programme of works, component replacements, planned major works and surveying homes for planned works and/or repairs.
Steve spoke about how the age of home components like bathrooms, kitchens, boilers is reviewed. and the cyclical programme for replacing each component. He also explained how his team work with Data & Performance to configure what the programme will be for the upcoming year.
Steve shared a presentation which included statistics of number of replacements, photos of some before and after major works and drone footage one of our surveyors has been piloting. Panel members asked a variety of questions around budgeting, pre and post inspections and how homes are prioritised.
Annual rent review
Grant Giles, Finance Director joins the panel each year to discuss the proposed annual rent increase options with the panel to gather their feedback before a submission is made to Board, who make the final decision of what the rent increase will be for the year ahead.
The annual rent review, is about what the rent will be on the 1st of April next year. The rent standard – what the government allows, is limited to the CPI (Consumer Price Index) + 1%. Last year the government intervened and set a rent cap of 7% which had an impact on our long-term business plan as it is based on CPI + 1%. The CPI in September 2023 was 6.7%. So, this year, we can go to 7.7%. Grant asked the panel to look at the different options and look at the impact on our business plan, and what we can invest.
We want to look at the affordability of Brighter Places and residents. Our residents come from different backgrounds. Some residents are recipients of Housing benefits. The rent increase will be covered by these benefits. Others won’t receive any assistance. We need to consider the whole population, and balance this with the affordability of our business so we can deliver the service we want to deliver.
The panel reviewed four different proposals for the rent review and gave their feedback. They were able to ask questions which were answered by Grant, and Finance Manager, Steve Irwin. Each panel member then made a recommendation for which option they would support and why. All proposals and feedback will be presented to the Board in January 2024 and the Board will decide at the end of January what the increase will be. All residents will be notified what the rent uplift will be by 1 March 2024.
If any Brighter Places resident is interested in the panel meetings and would like to attend a meeting as an observer please contact the engagement team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All residents are welcome.
Engagement Team on behalf of panel members