Open the door on our performance

Annual Report 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016

At the start of 2015, as we joined forces with Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) to form Torus, we laid out our five year plan which reflected some of the things you, as tenants, prioritised.

Since then a lot has changed. We have a new Government with a different view of social housing and more changes to benefits. This has reduced our income and the income of many of our tenants.

What hasn’t changed is our belief in the value of what we do. Providing good quality affordable homes and services has and always will be our purpose. But we have less money to do it with.

In a challenging financial climate, the past year has found us reviewing the way we work as a business, saving money where we can, improving our efficiency and getting better value for you. We’re working together to get the best results, so whether you see a Golden Gates logo, a Helena logo or a Torus logo you can be sure of the same great service.

We’re proud to say that 93% of tenants are satisfied with what we do.

This annual report highlights some of the things we achieved and reflects on the work we have yet to do.

Watch The Torus Plan

What’s new this year?

Our objective: Helping you get more from our website

33% of customers have an online account, up 15% on last year

Now you can:

Case Study

Helping you
manage your home
more easily

We’ve made some big changes to our website this year all focused on helping you to manage your home more easily.

By opening an online account you get access to a growing range of services. You can:

  • Check your rent balance
  • Make a payment
  • Report a repair and make an appointment to fix it

And you can do it all 24 hours a day, without picking up the phone.

The new online services were introduced at the end of 2015. From then, all new tenants received a ‘Digital Demo’.

It explained the benefits of having an online account and the services they could access.

We showed them how to open an account and link it to their home simply by inputting their tenancy reference number.

Then we demonstrated how to report repairs, view rent balances and statements and make a rent payment, quickly and easily.

Six months later, 76% of new tenants have an online account and use it regularly.

You can find out more about creating an online account at or by emailing

76% of new tenants have an online account and use it regularly. They tell us that being able to check their rent balance and report repairs online is easy and convenient.


Maintaining and repairing homes

We are pleased to say that 99.72% of our homes now meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard.

Here’s an idea of how much we invest in maintaining our homes:

  • Routine maintenance spend (2015/16) £5,453,000 (2014/15) £5,134,000
  • Planned maintenance spend (2015/16) £4,824,000 (2014/15) £4,741,000
  • Major repairs spend (2015/16) £6,739,000 (2014/15) £6,804,000 – offset by grant receipts of £352,000.

Routine, planned and major repair costs

Unit costs across the group decreased to £1,356 but are still above the sector average of £1,239. By standardising our repairs services and introducing more efficiencies we hope to lower this figure to £1,063 by 2019/20.

Over the past year we installed







Central Heating Systems


Central Heating Systems




External wall insulation


Homes benefited from external wall insulation; this will help to reduce the cost of heating the home by £400 per annum

Solar thermal technology


Homes also benefitted from the installation of solar thermal technology. This can reduce household bills by up to 70%, saving the average household £150 per year

Reduction in carbon emissions

861 tons

Reduction in carbon emissions

Major adaptations


Major adaptations were made to help people with disabilities remain at home

Smaller property adaptations


Smaller property adaptations were made to support people with disabilities to live independently

Local Council funding


Was spent on adaptations - £447k of this was funded by the local Council

And we have built

  • New homes built


    New homes built against a target of 73

Our repairs results

  • 99.7% of emergency repairs are completed in time against a target of 99%
  • 99.2% of responsive repairs completed right first time against a target of 98%
  • customers were satisfied


    Of customers were satisfied with our repairs service against a target of 93%

  • gas safety certificate


    Of homes had a valid gas safety certificate. We take legal action against those properties we cannot access as your safety is one of our top priorities

  • tenants satisfied


    Tenants satisfied with overall quality of their home

The Year in Pictures


Making the most of your rent

Ever wondered what your rent pays for? We monitor every pound we spend across all our activities. Here’s how it all adds up:

  • 13p

    Major repairs and improvement projects on properties

  • 3p

    Services including grounds maintenance, caretaking, communal heating and lighting

  • 15p

    Annual depreciation charge

  • 2p

    Tailored support services for vulnerable customers

  • 25p

    Management costs for offices, staffing and the delivery of our services

  • 7p

    Other Social Housing activities

  • 10p

    Day-to-day repairs in response to customer requests

  • 1p

    Non Social Housing activities

  • 9p

    Planned maintenance and improvement works like gas servicing and repainting

  • 2p


  • 13p

    Interest on loans taken to fund property improvements and to build new homes

  • Average Rent


    Was the average rent for a 3 bed property

Making your money go further


198,854 calls were taken in 2015/16

Our customer service centre, One Call, deals with an average of 799 calls per day. During 2015/16, calls increased compared to 2014/15’s total of 186,280.

This has been due to various campaigns, seasonal trends and changes to working practices.  However, we are doing further analysis of call types and aim to reduce the volume of avoidable contact and support people to carry out more transactions on line including paying their rent, checking rent balances and reporting repairs.

We know we don’t always get it right, that’s why we react and respond to every complaint we receive. Here’s how we’re doing:

Complaints completed in time

96% of complaints were dealt with within 5 days, against a target of 95%

Management voids

These are empty properties that are to be re-let as soon as possible after remedial works and safety checks have been completed. Below shows the number of management voids as at 31st March for each year.

Management Voids

123 against a target of 140

Non-management voids

These are properties which are awaiting disposal, sale, demolition or undergoing significant works during which period they are not available for letting. They can also include properties undergoing conversion. Below shows the number of non-management voids as at 31st March for each year.

Non Management Voids

109 against a target of 98

You said, we did

Following the STAR survey results highlighting the difference in tenant expectations and the delivery of the repairs and maintenance service, a consultation event took place with tenants to discuss future provisions in this service. Following the consultation, tenants from Helena and Golden Gates Housing Trust can now expect the same level of service in relation to response repairs timescales.

You said:

We needed to provide some consistency of delivery for repairs and maintenance in Warrington and St Helens

We did:

We have now standardised our repairs offer with tenants at both GGHT and Helena receiving identical response and repairs times

You said:

The standard of the communal areas could be improved

We did:

We worked with VIP (the Value Improvement Panel) and reviewed the standards of decoration within communal hallways

The Tenants and Communities Committee (TCC), made up of tenant representatives, helped to shape key strategies and policies across the organisation including the Social Investment Strategy, ASB Policy, Young Person Strategy, Tenancy Policy and Assets and Development Strategy.

Case Study

It’s our house
but it’s your home

Next to our homes, the services we provide are crucial to our tenants. We’ve spent the past year reviewing these services and the way we provide them. Our aim is to be as efficient and effective as we can be.

So what have we done?

  • We’ve integrated our teams across St Helens and Warrington. They’re all keen and customer focused. In fact, customer satisfaction is 93%
  • In consultation with tenants we reviewed the repairs services at Helena and GGHT. We now have a common set of priorities and response times. This will help us save £1m
  • We’re moving more of our services online. This means you can manage your home more easily, 24 hours a day
  • We’re working hard to make our homes easier to let
  • We will attract £4 of external funding for every £1 we invest in our community services and employment initiatives. We recently won £10m in funding to help people into work in Warrington and will be looking to do the same in St Helens
  • Widespread cuts are threatening services for older and vulnerable people. To help us continue to offer support where it’s most needed, we’re working with local partners to create sustainable and affordable services

What will this mean?
Providing face to face services isn’t always an option and the majority of our tenants manage their homes without needing one-to-one support. We’re creating services that are tailored to suit you as individuals. Improving our online services is key to this.

Support will always be there for those who need it but most tenants will be encouraged to register for online services and manage their home online.

It’s our house but it’s your home
As a business, our main source of income comes from the rent we charge. That’s why we view our tenants as valued, paying customers. Your rent enables us to repair, maintain and improve our existing homes. It also enables us to build more. Without it we can’t provide the services we do.

We know that changes to benefits mean that money is often tight but paying your rent, and sticking to your tenancy agreement, should always be your priority.

We’re creating services that are tailored to suit you as individuals. Improving our online services is key to this.


Places you can be proud to live

The safety and appearance of our neighbourhoods is a top concern for our customers. Along with rent, it’s one of ours too. Here are just some of the ways we’ve tried to improve our places:

The Year in Pictures


Working hard to get you a job

Helping to create work and training and employment opportunities continues to be a big focus for us.

Case Study

On track to
a new career

Earlier this year we were awarded £130,000 to help fund jobs in the transport sector. Job seekers were given free on the job training, giving them the skills they needed to secure employment and providing employers with a ready made workforce.

Newly employed track maintenance operative, Ricky Ashcroft, said:

“Initially I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to do the job.

“However, the training was great and my confidence grew. Now I’m training to be a controller of site safety, which will open up even more opportunities for me.”

Four people are now in employment working as railway maintenance engineers and a further three are in training

Our 2020 Vision

We’re not just here to build and manage homes

The Torus Group are committed to regenerating communities, creating opportunities and improving peoples’ lives both now and in the future. Here are some of the things we aim to achieve:

Case Study

We aim to
build 1,200 new
homes by 2020

Providing good quality homes at an affordable price is a priority for us. As part of our corporate plan, we aim to build 1,200 new homes by 2020.

The good news is we’re well on our way to achieving our target. Last year we built 76 new homes and we’re currently on site developing 104 more.

We build according to local need and to address the shortage of one and two bed homes. Most of the new homes in Sutton, Sutton Heath and Moss Bank were for rent and were let very quickly.

The remainder were for shared ownership (part buy/part rent), which makes getting onto the property ladder or downsizing much more affordable. Again, matching local need, our shared ownership homes were a mix of two and three bedroom properties. Perfect for working couples and growing families.

Last year we built 76 new homes

During 2016/17 all support services will be provided by the Torus Group

Teams have been brought together to contribute to the efficiency targets across the Group. Efficiency plans are in place for 2016/17 and beyond to achieve the following impact on the net profit position of the Group as at 2019/20:

Group £m GGHT £m Helena £m
Opening net profit 5.18 (2.09) 7.27
Standardisation of unit costs and lifecycles re component renewals 2.70 2.34 0.36
Management costs and transformation savings 4.34 2.32 2.02
Reduction in pay awards 1.58 0.63 0.95
Non Social Housing and Discretionary services 1.46 1.13 0.33
Gift aid from commercial subsidiary 0.50 0.25 0.25
Revenue funded repair costs 1.75 0.95 0.80
VAT shelter payments to Warrington BC 0.70 0.70 -
Capitalisation policy 0.88 - 0.88
Other (including debt re-profiling interest savings) 3.10 (0.20) 3.30
Additional pension costs (2.12) (0.85) (1.27)
Total Efficiencies 14.89 7.27 7.62
Closing Net Profit 20.07 5.18 14.89

The Year in Pictures

Your Thoughts

Your feedback is really important to us

If you have any thoughts or comments about our annual report, please let us know:

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