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Update 18th October 2021: The numbers are in… Riverside/One Housing Group partnership consulataion closes
Our consultation on a proposed partnership between Riverside and One Housing Group has now closed. The six week consultation, which began on September 6, was shaped in co-ordination with a group of customers and asked for your views on the proposal for the two organisations to form a complementary partnership.
We had an excellent response with 3,632 people taking part. Thank you to all customers who responded and more information and a breakdown of the responses can be found here.
What are we proposing to do?Back to top
As a customer of The Riverside Group you will have been contacted directly either by email or in writing inviting you to take part in the consultation process, the information contained in that correspondence can be found in this proposals booklet or below for reference
Riverside and One Housing are proposing to come together to create a long-term partnership. We will do this in two steps:
Step one: One Housing Group would join The Riverside Group as a subsidiary. This means that, like now, One Housing Group would have its own Board running the association on a day to day basis. The difference is that One Housing would sit within a Group which is financially much stronger, agreeing its overall plans and direction with Riverside.
Step two: After the first two years of the partnership, we then plan to create a single housing association, with one Board and a consistent approach to delivering better local services and more cost effective support functions such as finance and IT.
Why do we think this is a good thing?
The Boards of Riverside and One Housing recognise that we can be better and stronger together. As charitable housing associations we have very similar values, and want to do the best for our customers and the local communities we serve. We work in different parts of the country, although we both have homes in London and the South East, where there is an opportunity to work together to deliver better and stronger services such as repairs. Crucially, by coming together we think we can create an organisation that can do even more for our customers and communities.
What would this mean for you?
It is only worth coming together if we can deliver real benefits for you, our customers. Put simply, we need to show that we can do more together than we can apart. We have put together a series of pledges or promises, which set out what we think we can achieve over the coming years. These are backed by a realistic financial plan.
What are our pledges?
The risks of forming a partnership and our solutions...Back to top
Whilst we believe that coming together can bring huge benefits to customers, it is also important to be honest, and recognise that partnerships like this are complicated and bring risks. We have thought very carefully about this, and what we can do to make sure these risks do not present us with future problems.
How we can address the risk
|The partnership becomes a distraction and stops us from delivering the commitments we have already made.||We have made it clear to our teams that their main focus must remain on improving homes, services and communities in line with existing plans. A small team is working on the partnership, but for the majority of colleagues it is very much ‘business as usual’.|
|The partnership will result in too much change too quickly – we would be ‘biting off more than we can chew’.||We are deliberately planning the partnership in two stages, with One Housing joining Riverside as a subsidiary at first, where very little will change in our approach to delivering services. This will give us time to plan and engage with customers on the next step, which is full integration where we will look at the way we deliver locally and how we organise our support services, getting the full benefits of our scale and resources.|
|As a larger organisation we will become too remote from our customers.||We will make sure this does not happen. At first there will be no changes to local service delivery – other than improvements we had already planned – and we will focus on giving customers a greater opportunity to influence. In time we will look at the way we deliver services, especially in those areas where both organisations own homes. Customers will be involved in deciding how local services are run in the long-term.|
|A much bigger organisation with greater commitments would make us financially weaker.||In fact the opposite is true. We have put together a long term financial plan for the combined Group which shows how strong we would be. This includes the money needed to deliver the pledges set out in this booklet. We have also tested our plan to look at the impact of things that could throw us off course – such as increasing costs, or a major economic crash. This shows just how robust our plans are.|
|The partnership could become uneven with a risk that increased development will see homes sold in the South to pay for building in the North.||The whole point of the partnership is to create an organisation that will work nationally, with a balance of homes and services across the country and offices in both London and Liverpool. The Board’s job will be to ensure that our plans and investment benefit all of our communities, with more effective customer involvement providing greater accountability for the decisions we make.|
There are also risks if the proposals do not go ahead:
For One Housing Group, some very difficult choices would need to be made about priorities for investment. With fire safety being the number one priority, the opportunity to start to improve energy efficiency and do more regeneration would be very limited.
For Riverside, this would be a missed opportunity to improve the services it delivers, particularly for customers in London and the South East, where our combined scale would provide the chance to deliver better, more cost effective services. Riverside would also miss the opportunity to become more efficient, generating more to invest in improving homes and services.
About our two organisations in a nutshell...Back to top
|Charitable housing association, based in Liverpool but working across much of the country, with a subsidiary in Scotland.||Charitable housing association, based in London. Working across the capital and South East.|
|Founded in 1928, but with roots going back to the late 19th century and the work of The Church Army. Grown over the years with nearly 60,000 homes.||Long-history dating back to 1883. Has come together through previous mergers. Now owns and manages 17,000 homes.|
|Experience of stock transfers and mergers – track record of delivering promises.||Formed from a network of mergers and stock transfers – continually evolving and improving our services alongside new partners.|
|Wide range of housing – social and affordable family housing and flats for rent, shared ownership, homes for outright sale.||Wide range of housing – social and affordable family housing and flats for rent, shared ownership, homes for outright sale.|
|Significant and growing care and support services: focus on older people and homelessness.||Significant and growing care and support services: emphasis on mental health, older people, homelessness.|
|Active in development and regeneration – building nearly 1,000 homes each year, with large scale regeneration experience in London and the North.||Active in building new homes and estate regeneration in London.|
What do we look like together?
One of country’s biggest housing association groups
Strong and stable financial foundations
£600m annual turnover, £5bn assets.
Capacity to do more.
Operating nationally, but with a passion for local services.
Country’s largest housing association provider of supported housing.
A clear voice, able to influence government policy nationally and for London and the North.
What happens next?Back to top
The consultation has now closed. You can read about the initial results here.
The responses will now be discussed with our Joint Customer Advisory Panel (JCAP), the group of customers from both organisations covering a variety of tenure types who helped to guide the process. We will also discuss the main messages that have come from the comments that have been mad
e. The JCAP are being supported by TPAS, a leading tenant engagement company who have been serving as an independent advisor.
Once the responses and comments have been collated, they will be presented to the boards of both organisations in November, before they make a final decision about whether to go ahead with the partnership.
Once a decision is made, we will write to all customers to explain the outcome and next steps.
The Regulator of Social Housing has been kept informed of progress throughout.