Written evidence submitted by Peabody [RSH 093]
Peabody is a registered provider of social housing. We are one of the oldest and largest housing associations in London and the Southeast, established in 1862 by the philanthropist George Peabody.
Peabody is responsible for 66,000 homes, including 3,500 supported housing homes, and we provide quality housing and support services to over 150,000 people in total. This includes helping over 18,000 people covered by our care and support services reach their personal goals, live well, be self-reliant and connected to their community. We provide supported housing services for people with a wide range of needs, including mental ill health, complex needs and learning disabilities, as well as vulnerable young people and the homeless.
Our mission is to help people make the most of their lives. We do this by developing and delivering reliably good modern services, building and maintaining the best quality developments, working with local communities and building long-term partnerships, and growing and using our position of influence to create positive change.
As a member of the G15 group, a joint submission has been prepared with our involvement and our views on the specific questions raised are set out as part of that response. The inquiry raises matters that are important to us here at Peabody, so we have taken the opportunity to supplement this collective response with some key points from purely our perspective.
We feel that regulation is very important for securing the best outcomes for customers and maintaining high standards. We find overall that the current regulatory system is effective; it is firm and yet fair. However, we welcome the scrutiny into how the practices work from our perspective and the customers that need to access these routes, as this can only bring improved services for our customers.
On the regime for regulating social housing, and their powers:
Our forthcoming merger with Catalyst is predicated on providing an improved customer experience and we are taking this responsibility very seriously. We acknowledge that as we get bigger we need to do things differently, and are structuring ourselves to have a greater understanding of our strengths and weaknesses at a local level, to stay connected, and to drive action that has the most impact.
We take customer engagement seriously, using the insight we gain through these channels to drive improvement, and regularly take a deep dive into areas of our service to understand our performance from all perspectives. In the future, we will use this insight to understand our local areas better.
On the Social Housing White Paper and resident voice:
We feel that everyone should have access to a high quality and affordable home. Ensuring our homes are safe, warm, and dry is fundamental to helping more people to live well. We find ourselves in a position where we have a number of financial pressures that all need addressing with some urgency in order to ensure we make good on this commitment. This includes building safety remediation work, retrofitting our homes to make them more energy efficient, improving the quality of existing homes and building more affordable housing. We are committed to tackling all of these pressures, and prioritising investment to continue to do so and reduce any potential impacts to our customers.
We have recently seen an increase in damp and mould cases and the destructive impact this has on our residents. We have repositioned ourselves to deal with this, employing a specialist damp contractor to take a holistic approach to the homes affected, and empowering our teams to do the right things to ensure quality of our homes. A new standard around our homes will need to be flexible enough to consider a wide range of quality issues for a diverse stock profile now and into the future.
On the financial pressures we face and the decent homes standard: