Our new strategy
The Silva strategy shares our vision and plans for the next four years to 2025. It has been developed by working with groups of customers, colleagues and board members.
You can learn about our new strategy below.
Our new vision
Our vision explains what we are aiming for and how we want to be seen by our customers and the people and organisations we work with. We have updated this for our new strategy:
Building trust as a thriving social business by:
- Creating safe and secure places to live
- Delivering excellent services to customers
- Forging strong and successful relationships
- Embracing diversity, sustainability and growth.
What is our business strategy?
During the next four years, we plan to focus on eight themed strategic priorities, which you can read more about below.
Putting customers and communities first
At the heart of our vision is delivering excellent services to customers. Here are some of our plans:
- Creating a customer service programme that embeds our customer charter and enables colleagues to consistently deliver excellent services.
- Further developing digital services, such as video chat and WhatsApp, making it easy for customers and colleagues to interact with each other.
- Focusing on the quality of services and improving the physical environment in communal areas (including open spaces and trees).
- Launching a £1 million community investment programme over the first three years of our strategy, clearly defining our expectations in terms of its impact and our desire to work with other organisations to achieve our ambitions.
- Strengthening engagement with our customers and providing wider opportunities for influence over services.
- Promoting greater access to our independent living schemes and services including catering, health and wellbeing events.
Maximising the delivery of new affordable homes
Providing high quality new affordable homes enables us to meet housing need and reduce homelessness. Here are some of our plans:
- Maintaining our geographical focus in and around the M3, M4 and A34 corridors.
- Considering opportunities outside of these areas where they enable us to consolidate our presence.
- Ensuring a sustainable tenure mix of social rent, affordable rent, and shared ownership homes.
- Developing market sale homes if it facilitates the creation of affordable housing.
- Continuing to work with developer partners to acquire homes through planning gain (section 106) where they deliver good quality and value for money.
- Diversifying our programme to focus on opportunities for more land-led schemes where we can achieve greater control over design, quality, and tenure.
- Exploring more opportunities for strategic partnerships and joint ventures with local authorities, developers and other housing associations, to share risk and reward.
- Increasing the proportion of new homes that can meet our sustainability requirements, including modern methods of construction, to meet net zero carbon emission targets.
- Continuing to appraise the options for our existing estates (including our older independent living schemes) to see how we can enhance the quality and sustainability of homes.
- Continuing to apply an open-minded and honest approach to opportunities for merger which may better deliver our ambitions for growth and our wider strategic objectives.
Investing in existing homes and keeping customers safe
Creating safe and well-maintained homes and communal areas is central to our vision. Here are some of our plans:
- Reviewing the Silva Property Standard to ensure that it reflects agreed customer service and home standards, any changes in the Decent Homes Standard and promotes healthy homes.
- Continuing to develop our repairs service, focussing on follow-on repairs, customer communications, and capitalising on efficiencies through our materials supply chain.
- Implementing digital solutions to improve the effectiveness of our programme of servicing and safety checks.
- Continuing to deliver the planned investment programme, using good quality components and applying sustainable technologies as they become proven, cost-effective and affordable to use for our customers.
- Ensuring full compliance with our suite of health and safety policies, management plans, and KPIs, regularly obtaining independent assurance that they are fit for purpose and fully embedded.
- Implementing new building and fire safety legislation and associated regulatory requirements.
- Continuing to manage ASB-related issues, ensuring that customers feel safe and supported.
- Considering opportunities to make better use of garage sites and for the provision of improved parking on estates.
Tackling climate change and promoting sustainability
We know that climate change will have an impact on all aspects of our lives. Here are some of our plans:
- Setting clear targets for the reduction of carbon emissions from our homes and our business ahead of statutory targets so that significant progress can be made by 2035.
- Launching a £1 million fund over three years for climate change pilot projects and studies to help develop a robust, fully-funded long-term plan.
- Developing and implementing a programme of work to improve thermal efficiency across our stock, prioritising homes with an EPC rating below band C.
- Working with developers to ensure new homes have reduced carbon emissions and high levels of thermal efficiency.
- Reducing carbon emissions from our transport, including introducing electric vehicles as part of our next fleet renewal.
- Promoting awareness of our approach to climate change and more environmentally sustainable behaviours amongst customers, colleagues, and our external business partners.
- Investigating financing solutions that are more closely aligned with our climate change and wider sustainability ambitions.
- Evaluating the potential to create a sustainability project that can support our aims for working with customers and communities.
Being a great place to work
We want to recruit, train, and motivate colleagues with the right skills, behaviours, and experiences. Here are some of our plans:
- Enhancing our learning offer with a focus on promoting colleagues’ personal development including through universal careers coaching.
- Ensuring all colleagues and teams are aligned with our culture and the priorities in the Silva Strategy.
- Establishing a ‘future ways of working’ commission to consider ideas for more innovative and flexible working arrangements including shorter working weeks, alternative hours and substituting benefits.
- Improving the digital skills of all colleagues and supporting them with suitable technology.
- Considering options for further developing the colleague experience, including enhancing the impact of leadership and further developing our wellbeing offer.
Embracing technology and new ways of working
Embracing technology and new ways of working are essential for all modern businesses to be successful. Here are some of our plans:
- Creating a more flexible, smart approach to working, adapting what we have learnt during the pandemic and making our office spaces work better for all colleagues.
- Enhancing our use of data to manage our business and provide assurance.
- Keeping ways of working aligned to the Silva Strategy, changes in legislation and regulation and as our approach to serving customers evolves.
- Continuing to invest in IT hardware and software, including developing digital services for customers and achieving greater integration of data between business systems.
- Investing in training for colleagues and customers so they can make best use of the systems available to them.
- Keeping our systems and our data safe as the potential for cyber-crime increases.
- Digitising more key processes, making use of artificial intelligence and smart technologies.
- Considering how we can better unleash creativity and innovation within the business.
Promoting equality, diversity, & inclusion
We want to have a great reputation for being inclusive and promoting diversity so that customers and colleagues can thrive, whatever their circumstances. Here are some of our plans:
- Further embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion within our culture to ensure that we think and act positively.
- Continuing to make positive statements about our commitment to, and support for, equality, diversity and inclusion.
- Creating a safe space and giving colleagues the confidence to have open and inclusive conversations with the right language.
- Improving the data we hold and report on, to help us to design and deliver better customer services, demonstrate fair access to our homes, and enhance the effectiveness of recruitment, colleague experience and opportunities.
- Enhancing the diversity of our board and demonstrating the accessibility of our governance arrangements.
- Eradicating any form of discrimination in our policies and practices through comprehensive impact assessment and audit processes.
- Providing comprehensive learning opportunities for colleagues to better understand equality, diversity and inclusion issues and having the skills to engage with customers, stakeholders and each other.
Ensuring viability, good governance & value for money
Financial viability, good governance and achieving value for money are necessary for us to be successful. Without them, we may get into financial difficulty or regulatory problems. Here are some of our plans:
- Setting clear, relevant and effective golden rules and key performance indicators that guide our decision making and protect our viability.
- Ensuring we continue to have an appropriate mix of affordable and accessible funding in place that supports the delivery of our objectives.
- Continuing to embed our approach to risk management and assurance throughout the business.
- Optimising our income within the context of our wider strategic aims and priorities.
- Delivering on the outcomes of our triennial review of governance and fully complying with the new NHF code of governance from October 2021.
- Undertaking a detailed review of our compliance with the regulatory standards in 2021.
- Ensuring that we are best placed to respond to regulatory changes arising from the social housing white paper.
- Ensuring that we have fully prepared for the next regulatory in-depth assessment (anticipated in 2022).
- Strengthening the customer partnership board’s role within our governance structures.
- Further developing our approach to value for money, focussing on procurement, contract management and partnerships.