Mission and values (principle one)
The Board's purpose is to provide effective leadership, guiding the organisation within a framework of prudent controls. It determines the vision, mission, and strategy, overseeing and evaluating the Group's affairs while being accountable to key stakeholders.
The Board actively drives Housing 21's social purpose, mission, values, and ambitions. This effort embeds a positive culture with high standards of probity and conduct, safeguarding the organisation's reputation and emphasising equality of opportunity and inclusion.
Housing 21's core commitment is to provide high-quality housing with support or care for older people of modest means, enabling dignified and autonomous living. The vision is to ensure access to quality housing with support or care, empowering older people to shape services to meet their needs and preferences.
The Board directs Housing 21 in becoming a leading, not-for-profit provider of Retirement Housing and Extra Care for older people of modest means. Three guiding principles support the overall mission and guide the organisation's strategy. The entire organisation, including Board and committee members, is expected to lead by example in upholding these principles.
21: We are committed to providing a modern, forward-thinking 21st century service. This includes updating and modernising our existing housing, as well as developing new and innovative property designs and service models for the future. We will challenge ourselves to think differently, embracing the disruptive potential of new technologies and the challenges and opportunities of social change.
Better: We will strive for continuous improvement and innovation in all that we do. We will never become complacent and will constantly challenge ourselves to do better and achieve greater value for money.
Experience: We aim to provide a consistently excellent service and a great experience for all the people we serve. We seek to engage and empower residents to make choices and exercise control over the services they receive and to devolve decision making to local employees who are closest to the residents whenever practicable and possible. We are committed to acting ethically and openly in all that we do, questioning whether we are ‘doing the right thing’ and being ready to acknowledge and learn from mistakes. Ultimately the success of Housing 21 rests on the satisfaction we provide to our residents.
Our seven key priorities
In addition to our principles, the Board has agreed seven key priorities:
- Providing more homes
- The quality of existing properties
- The quality and responsiveness of our services
- Our people and potential
- Systems and technology
- Value for money
- Innovation and influence
Plus a further five areas of focus:
Accountability: To ensure we are not just listening to and engaging with our residents and stakeholders, but also enabling them to have a real and active say in setting the priorities for the services they receive and how the organisation is managed.
Diversity: To ensure that there is a commitment to diversity in representation and recognition at all levels so that all views and interests are fairly considered and appropriately prioritised in directing our efforts and investment.
Sustainability: To ensure Housing 21 is playing its part and being proactive in protecting the environment and considering ways to minimise and mitigate any harm caused.
Technology: To ensure that we are embracing and making the most of its potential to transform our ways of working and engagement with residents and each other.
Quality: To ensure our focus remains on quality with the satisfaction and perceptions of residents remaining our primary indicator of success and effectiveness.
These principles and areas of focus ensure the organisation has specific regard to residents and the principles of inclusion, integrity, openness and accountability.
Resident engagement is a fundamental priority for Housing 21. In addition to a dedicated Resident Engagement Strategy, the organisation recognises the importance of working closely with residents across all strategies. The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, including sector-wide Tenant Satisfaction Measures, has further emphasised the significance of resident engagement.
Housing 21's Resident Engagement Strategy outlines eight objectives across the organisation, contributing to future resident engagement efforts. The organisation has noteworthy examples of resident engagement at various levels, providing a solid foundation for ongoing initiatives.
Resident focus, engagement, and involvement at Housing 21 aim to provide opportunities for all residents to enhance their experiences, now and for future residents. This commitment is reflected in the guiding principles set by the Board. Engagement occurs at all levels of the organisation, from local scheme managers to various departments and up to the Executive Director level.
Board Members have a responsibility to advocate for issues important to residents. The organisation transparently communicates its activities, performance, and plans, offering opportunities for residents to hold them accountable. Board Committees of Retirement Living and Extra Care Living include resident members, overseeing engagement and involvement activities and regularly monitoring service standards.
The Board considers the impact on residents and their involvement in management decisions, with specific narratives in Board papers. Listening and responding to residents are core to Housing 21's mission, with an objective to achieve 95 percent overall resident satisfaction.
The Board is committed to having at least one Housing 21 resident as a Board Member, ensuring a culture focused on residents' needs, including utilising technology for enhanced engagement. The long-term vision for resident engagement includes multiple avenues for involvement, aiming for a holistic picture demonstrating the impact on the services offered.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
The Board actively leads in promoting equality of opportunity, diversity, and inclusion across the organisation's activities and composition, considering the communities served.
The Board oversees and approves the Respect and Inclusion Strategy, demonstrating a commitment to diversity at all levels. A new Respect and Inclusion Charter for employees, residents, and partners has been approved to reinforce the inclusive environment desired.
Diversity information in the workplace and among residents, along with associated action plans, are regularly presented to the Board. Equality and diversity impacts are detailed in Board papers.
The Board is dedicated to enhancing the diverse nature of existing schemes, as reflected in the Respect and Inclusion Strategy. There is a commitment to developing in areas of greatest need and creating new schemes in urban areas, aligning with the diversity of those communities.
The Governance, Treasury, and Transformation Committee oversee employee representation and progress, while the Investment and Development Committee maintain oversight of planned property development in underrepresented areas.
The areas of focus for Housing 21 are based around the principles of 21, Better and Experience. The Board has sought to develop a culture which are aligned with and reflect Housing 21's mission and areas of focus, capturing the diversity and personal motivations and commitments of individuals.
The Board seeks assurance over its desired culture through reviewing both employees and resident engagement outcomes, a range of satisfaction surveys, as well as reviewing complaints and compliments.
The Board has established the following values and behaviours statements which supports a positive governance culture and expects the Board to adhere to them individually and collectively.
Trust and respect
- assume good intent is meant from the outset, embracing viewpoints and suggestions
- value diversity of thought and listen to each other intently
- be mindful of language and tone whilst being truthful and candid
- adopt a ‘one team’ approach, maintaining combined ownership and accountability for strategic direction, risk management and performance
- ensure consensus is reached on all areas of importance
Listening and responding
- actively seek to understand the customer perspective in all that we do and ensure that customer perspective drives decision making
- look to the future to ensure we meet the needs of our customers, being mindful of learnings from the past
Board consensus and common understanding
- ensure differing points of view are heard and speak out when we have an alternative perspective
- encourage debate through constructive challenge and support, confirming consistency of views without repetition
- value continuity as well as the opportunity which comes from change
Create time and space
- create collective and individual space for research and understanding on issues of strategic importance before their debate
- take time to reflect on successes and challenges and the lessons learned from both
- provide support to each other to improve individual and collective effectiveness
The Board takes the opportunity to review its own culture through Board and committee effectiveness reviews and within individual Board Member appraisal processes.
The Board takes responsibility for setting an example of good corporate governance, being open, transparent, and accountable.
The NHF Code of Conduct has been adopted by the Board (details in Appendix 1). Board Members are individually and collectively responsible for adhering to the Code of Conduct. Prompt notification to the Board Chair is required if a member believes they may have breached any policy or the Code of Conduct.
The Board is accountable for its own probity, ensuring members act in the organisation's best interests. Periodic reviews include:
- Stated values of Housing 21 and their practical implementation.
- Implementation of the code of governance and its underlying principles.
- Codes of conduct for Board Members and employees.
- Effective management of actual or potential conflicts of interest.
- Policies and procedures related to ethics, hospitality, gifts, whistleblowing, access to information, and corporate social responsibility.
- A Register of Interests is maintained by the Company Secretary, publicly available on Housing 21's website. The Governance, Treasury, and Transformation Committee conduct an annual review.
Board Members are required to disclose personal interests or conflicts related to discussed business, contacting the relevant Secretary in advance or disclosing during the meeting. In cases of material conflict, individuals are requested to withdraw from discussions and decisions. For fundamental or ongoing conflicts, the Board determines whether the person should cease to be a Board Member.
The Board is dedicated to openness, transparency, and accountability to all key stakeholders, including:
- local authorities
- community groups
- regulatory bodies such as the Regulator of Social Housing and the Care Quality Commission.
The Board ensures that management actively collaborates with others to advance the organisation's strategic objectives when appropriate.
Through various published documents, including the organisation's strategy, annual report, financial statements, regional resident reports, investor briefings, and the social impact report, the Board provides stakeholders with insights into Housing 21's activities, performance, and future plans. This engagement, coupled with day-to-day regional and local interactions, offers opportunities for stakeholders to independently scrutinise the organisation's work.
In addition to engaging with residents, as outlined in Section 3.2, the Board extends its influence and voice beyond Housing 21 by actively engaging with key stakeholders at national, regional, and local levels. This engagement focuses particularly on issues related to older persons' housing and care, including initiatives to raise awareness of dementia, advocate for innovative property design, and promote digital inclusion.
Reputation and trust
Board Members bear the responsibility of maintaining trust in the organisation and upholding its reputation, as well as that of the sector.
The Board demonstrates this commitment through robust decision-making processes and a thoughtful consideration of the Board's risk appetite. It is clear that Housing 21's objectives and ambitions must be pursued while maintaining a focus on good governance and internal control. The organisation's ambitions should never compromise the fundamentals of sound operations, delivering quality services that listen and respond to the needs of residents, and ensuring both reputational and financial integrity.
Board Members have a duty to clearly distinguish, in speech or writing, between their personal views (or those of any affiliated organisation) and those of Housing 21. Communication with the media related to Housing 21 work, whether via the internet or other means, should be discussed with the Marketing and Communications Team before publication. This ensures that Housing 21's corporate views and interests are accurately represented. Compliance with Housing 21's Social Media Policy is mandatory for all Board Members.