Circle announces £25m surplus
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Finance
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Circle Housing Group has announced a surplus of £25 million for 2012/13, up from £21.5million in 2011/12.
The Group's operating margin increased from 26.8% to 27.5% over last year and it has also reported a fully funded capital investment plan, liquidity in excess of £500m, and free security in excess of £800m.
Circle says it has adopted a robust approach to managing risks to ensure its long-term stability, including a focus on helping tenants tackle the challenges presented by benefit reform.
The social landlord has created a house exchange service, which now deals with around 250,000 visitors a month. It is also offering a wide range of financial inclusion activity to support residents into employment and training. Its customer satisfaction rating has remained steady at 83%, and arrears fell to 2.8% from 3.3%, over 2012's sector average of 4.8%.
Circle’s key achievements for the year 2012/13 included:
• Completed £70m five-year regeneration and investment programme at Parkside in Tower Hamlets.
• Delivered phase 2 of £80m regeneration programme at Orchard Village in Havering, which was named by the government as one of the top five developments in the country.
• Developed 608 new homes, including the regeneration of the old gasworks in Sydenham which won best architectural design at the First Time Buyer Awards.
• Supported 9,400 customers in developing skills and confidence to get into work.
• Helped 8,600 customers in managing their money and benefits advice through a comprehensive financial inclusion programme.
The Group has also made savings of £5m as a direct result of the implementation of a new procurement strategy across the business. It predicts a further £100m in cash savings will be achieved over the next ten years, following the sector’s largest ever repairs and maintenance procurement. In addition, an estimated £50m worth of employment and skills activity will be delivered through the contracts, including up to 233 apprenticeship opportunities, 77 graduate placements, 309 work placements and 166 volunteering opportunities.
CEO Mark Rogers said: “Our philosophy of acting with a business head and social heart has led to a strong and stable financial performance with excellent liquidity and a fully funded business plan. I’m particularly pleased to see our operating margin increasing to 27.5 % ahead of the sector benchmark which in last year’s global accounts stood at 23.4%.
"As we leverage our scale to deliver better value for our customers and protect the future of our organisation, we are starting to benefit from savings from our new procurement process. We will continue to build on this success to ensure that we are ready to face external challenges, and support our customers through the transition as a result of welfare benefit reform.”