Our Budget Roadshow, which followed on from the success of the finance workshops held at last year’s Residents’ Show, was so successful that it has been shortlisted for a national award.
The roadshow, which has seen excellent levels of participation from residents across all schemes, had been shortlisted for the Outstanding Financial Communication category of the Housing Association National Accountancy Awards (HANA) at the time the magazine went to press.
Not only did this give residents a greater understanding of how the budget is spent, but, as part of the housing association’s commitment to involve residents as much as possible, allowed the Finance Team to understand residents’ priorities.
As a result, the Finance Team has now submitted its findings to the Board of Trustees ahead of the 2015 budget being set.
Director of Finance and Property, Lish Harris, said: “The response from residents from this roadshow was phenomenal – we gathered some fantastic feedback which has since been passed to the Board of Trustees and presented to the Resident Committee.
“I am delighted that the initiative has been shortlisted for a HANA award, which would be a very prestigious accolade for the team should we be successful.
“It is roadshows like this which can allow us to review the allocation of funds as we continue to focus on what matters most to residents.
“It also gave the opportunity for residents to understand how and why we distribute the budget to certain areas. It is definitely something we want to do again for the 2016 budget.”
The roadshows involved residents using poker chips, with each coin representing £50,000, to demonstrate how they would allocate the budget in different areas, represented by pieces of card on the table.
The actual budget spend of each area, such as service costs and community development costs, was on the reverse side of the card and was revealed to residents at the end of the session.
This sparked interesting debate and discussion amongst residents, and the Finance Team was also able to offer an insight into key cost areas of the business that were often not previously understood.
The results proved that actual budget allocation and resident allocation were mostly on par, with exceptions such as major repairs on doors and windows; major repairs on kitchens and bathrooms and spending on community pop-ins, a huge focal point for all residents.
Lish continued: “Going forward, we will now take resident feedback into account when allocating spending in future budgets. We hope that each year more and more residents will get involved in the roadshow, as those who did this time were pleasantly surprised by the engaging format of the sessions.”
Resident Anthony Hadfield said the roadshow had opened his eyes.
He said: “I know a lot of people were taken aback by the amount of money involved – it really was enlightening and I’m really pleased I went.
“It has given me a greater understanding of how Pickering and Ferens Homes is run.”
If you didn’t manage to attend any of the Budget Roadshow events, why not register your interest for the next round of sessions later in the year? Simply call (01482) 223783.