Annual Report 2014/15

About Red Kite

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

We owned 5938 tenanted and 630 leasehold homes.

We had these types of homes available:

No. of Bedrooms No. of Tenanted Homes
Bedsits 231
1 Bedroom 2155
2 Bedrooms 1416
3 Bedrooms 2083
4 Bedrooms 47
5 Bedrooms 4
7 Bedrooms 1
8 Bedroomss 1

We had 29 sheltered housing schemes across the district, providing homes for tenants aged 55+. During the year, we made a decision to close five of our schemes as part of the sheltered housing review.

There were 15 places on our Board – 6 for tenants and 1 for a leaseholder.

We had 136 members of staff (19 of these were fixed term contracts and 20 were agency workers) and 88 volunteers.

Our focus over the last year has been on continuing to deliver the thousands of improvements made to our customers (in the Transfer Offer document) before the homes were transferred to Red Kite, as well as delivering the promises we made.

As a community organisation, we are truly tenant-led, which means that our tenants and leaseholders inspire and influence the design, delivery and outcome of everything we do, in lots of different ways.


Jennie Ferrigno


“Wow, what a report this is! You can tell from the figures that we are achieving exactly what we set out to do. Our promises are on track and you can continue to keep an eye on things via our website, which is updated regularly.

“I will not be going into detail of our achievements, some are listed, but on behalf of the Board I do want to congratulate our staff and our involved tenants and leaseholders on their amazing work ethic and dedication. I also want to thank you for your patience and if the work that you have had done hasn't gone quite according to plan or indeed your expectation we know that our team have done their level best to rectify any issues. We have experienced some problems with contractors, ever since we started, but we have done all we can to make sure that we have now turned a corner. Working with partners that don't fully understand our values or appreciate how important our promises are to you has proved a challenge but our dedicated tenant members and staff have been monitoring all the work very closely.

“Our finances remain solid and we began this third year from a very good position. We have maintained our G1 and V2 ratings with the regulator, which is quite an achievement. We continue to monitor value for money on a daily basis to ensure that you get the best possible service, from how we collect your rent to how we negotiate the right contracts.

“As always I wish you well and look forward to the next year, which will be quite a challenge for all housing providers. We will continue to do the very best that we can to ensure that our organisation continues providing a service that we are all proud of.”

Home and community improvements

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

Red Kite Annual Report 2014 Infographic

We finished work to improve more than 160 non-traditional homes (Wimpey No Fines) across the district increasing energy efficiency, reducing bills and making them more comfortable.

We made even more great progress with our flagship Castlefield Regeneration scheme, involving the Regeneration Panel in writing policies and talking through the process for moving while building work takes place.

We invested more than £403,000 in the installation of wet rooms, stair lifts, and minor aids and adaptations to support tenants living in their homes.

Work Number completed
Shower/wet room 57
Bathroom adaptations 29
Stairlift 12
Ramp/Thresholds 18
Door entry/handsets 1
Kitchen apaptations 2
Hard standing 4
Other 54
Total 177

We upgraded 182 fire doors to improve the safety of our homes.

We started work to install loft and cavity wall insulation, as well as fitting new boilers in homes to improve energy efficiency.


Margaret Gilbert

“In the Major Works Group, I have been able to proudly witness the satisfaction levels going up when it comes to both Red Kite and the partners we work with. Volunteering on this group enables me as a customer, to closely monitor performance and ensure tenants and leaseholders are getting the best service possible. This opportunity is very interesting and I thoroughly enjoy it, and we all feel empowered enough to challenge contractors where appropriate. The group doesn’t just look at complaints, it provides real insight into how Red Kite is running its major works in respect of installing things like new kitchens and bathrooms.

“Along with this opportunity, I have been able to volunteer in a number of other sections of the organisation, giving me a broad view of how Red Kite operates for and on behalf of its customers.”


Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

84% of repairs were right first time, so we were able to complete them during the initial visit.

Ian Williams delivered our repairs service up until August 2014. Following the feedback we received about issues and poor performance, we worked to select an interim contractor in Kier (supported by other contractors from our SME network) as we worked to appoint a new contractor who we will have in place from July 2015. Volunteers selected this new partner to deliver an improved repairs service

Repairs can be reported in the following ways:


Dorothy Coomer

“Having served on the Repairs and Empty Homes Group for the past two years, I have been part of an ongoing process to ensure that promises and values have been implemented to a high standard at all times.

“I am also a member of the Core Procurement Group which chooses the best contractors to carry out work to meet our needs and expectations. During this time, I have learnt so much about things like repairs procedures, how we ensure quality and maintenance of homes to a high standard and how the special requirements and needs of customers are taken into account. We (Red Kite staff, our contractors, subcontractors, customers etc) all need to work together to achieve the best results for everyone and the Repairs and Empty Homes group has made this possible.

“When homes become empty for whatever reason, they need to be surveyed and work carried out to make sure they are in a lettable standard so that new tenants can move into them in the shortest possible time. As a team, we have been involved in the process with things like choosing fittings and fixtures such as garden gates, colour schemes, kitchen work surfaces etc. We keep a check on what’s going on by going out and about to look for ourselves at standards of work. To view a home where we have had an input in the final result is very satisfying. It is good to know that we can actually have an influence on the living standards and daily lives of people, who are, like us volunteers, all customers of Red Kite Community Housing.

“I find all of this an extremely interesting challenge, one where the reward of knowing that I am helping to improve and maintain customers' comfortable and safe living standard is a reward in itself.”

The right home for you

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

We moved 30 tenants to smaller, more affordable homes. This meant that more homes were made available for families to move into.

We moved 50 sheltered tenants into alternative homes as a result of our sheltered housing review.

Our homes are available for those who need them. If you want to apply for a home please visit the Bucks Home Choice website.

If you want to move home, we can help with a mutual exchange which is a way of finding a home to swap with an existing tenant so your home better suits your needs.

From one of our customers who moved home as part of the Castlefield Regeneration Scheme

“At first I was devastated to learn that my lovely sunny flat with marvellous views, was going to be demolished. After finally feeling settled, for a number of years, I would have to move again!

“I attended the meetings and was able to contribute to the residents panel and build a relationship going forward with other members of the Red Kite Regeneration Team. Being there meant I had a voice, and I was heard. My views and preferences were taken into account along with everyone else’s, to develop the scheme for the benefit of all concerned. (I am sure the new homes and neighbourhood will be valued.)

“This was certainly reflected in the relocation and all the support I received from Red Kite and all the various workmen that helped me on the day. The removal men were great. Friendly, professional, quiet, gentle, and considerate with furniture, boxes, and newly decorated walls. Bless them, they even agreed to take several boxes of flint stones which had formerly adorned my doorsteps 'garden'. The guy who dealt with my cooker and washing machine was also very efficient and co-operative as was the heating man who arrived on the day I moved.

“Moving house is, it is said, one of the most stressful life experiences. I was a bit daunted at first when I was offered a home outside of my chosen area. “It is perfect for you” said a member of staff, when she called with the offer. Spot on! I absolutely adore my new home, new town, new neighbour, and a new outlook on life and a positive attitude towards the whole of all this upheaval. Worth it! Thanks a million!”

Rent & Arrears

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

Most of our income came from the rent and service charges that you pay – we use this money to channel it straight back into services for you, your home and your community.

Staff in our Relationship Team make sure that rent is paid on time and do what they can to help those who have difficulty paying, get back on track.

Each month, between 2% and 3% of rent is uncollected. This means that we are still devoting significant resources to tackle rent arrears. The amount of rent we are able to collect affects the number of improvements we can make to our services including the number of new kitchens and bathrooms we can install.

Anonymous customer

“Deepak (our Home Budgeting Specialist) helped us to understand the situation regarding our finances and how serious it had become. With his help we were able to provide Wycombe District Council with the information they needed.

“Paying the rent on our own instead of having help from Housing Benefit put a big strain on our finances; however now that the Housing Benefit we were entitled to is being paid again, we can relax.

“We were really happy to see Red Kite provide us with this help - Deepak went to a lot of effort to help us out of the situation and we had become very worried about the arrears that had built up. Deepak was able to ensure we were back-paid for the Housing Benefit we were entitled to and that the future payments were completely sorted.

“I would encourage anyone who is experiencing any financial problems to contact the team for help before the problems get too serious.”

Sheltered Housing

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

Following the completion of the review into our sheltered housing that was completed the previous year, a decision was made to close three schemes completely and partially close two others. As a result there were 76 tenants living in these affected schemes who needed alternative homes. We have worked closely with these tenants and during the year 50 have moved into new homes.

For homes that became empty as a result, we started a partnership with social enterprise Dot Dot Dot who find suitable property guardians to look after empty homes while we work up plans for their future. This initiative is working really well, with tenants commenting on how they enjoy the company. Property guardians also commit to volunteering in the local area and have already spent more than 100 hours with local organisations.

Between January and March 2015, Buckinghamshire County Council carried out a consultation with tenants living in our sheltered housing about the support services they receive. They held consultation meetings at most of our schemes to discuss their proposals for the support services they fund and the new type of service they want to introduce later this year.As their funding is being reduced they want to provide support in a different way and wanted to discuss their proposals for the service with our tenants and establish their views. Over 400 of our tenants attended these meetings and were provided with a survey to complete. Once the consultation was finished, they shared the outcome.

A total of £48,083 was spent by tenants at our sheltered schemes from their scheme budgets. Each scheme receives a sum of £50 per tenanted home to spend on things that will improve the scheme and the quality of life for the residents. The idea is to bring communities together and use the money for the benefit of all the residents. 14 of our sheltered schemes formed committees to manage their budget and their bank accounts while 18 carried out their own consultations but had their budgets managed by us. There were seven schemes that did not spend any of their money during the year.

Some examples of the things that have been purchased include key safes, improvements to communal gardens, garden furniture and going on day trips.


Jonathan Walton

“The last 12 months have seen lots of changes for our sheltered housing tenants. I am pleased to have been able to represent them, as a tenant myself, on the sheltered housing review group which made decisions and recommendations to the Board about the future of our schemes.

“My main concern at all times, as a member of the group, was to make sure that the welfare of affected tenants was top priority. I am reassured that the schemes that have been closed as a result of the review were the ones which were not economical to renovate and bring up to modern day standards for reasons such as not being able to install a lift.

“We have made sure that tenants were never left out of the loop as they were consulted throughout and given as many choices as possible to ensure that those who had to move, were offered somewhere suitable for their needs and a new home they were happy with.

“As a volunteer, I have got the sense of achievement that I have helped to secure the best possible outcome for those affected by the changes. For me it has made volunteering for Red Kite a very worthwhile and productive experience.”

Your Involvement

Now in our third year, it was time to have a closer look at how we involve you in what we do and the opportunities available to influence the services we provide.

As a result, we decided that we would introduce some new and exciting ways for you to work in partnership with us to help provide excellent services.

We established some new groups giving customers the chance to learn new skills and help work with our contractors to improve services in respect of major works, repairs and empty homes, development focussing on our Castlefield regeneration project and making sure we are doing everything we should be in respect of health and safety.As well as establishing some new groups, our Champions have continued to be out and about monitoring the cleaning on their estates, our editorial panel has been instrumental in putting together your Red Kite News newsletter three times a year, and our Core Procurement Group has appointed a number of new contractors to carry out work for us. The Environmental Improvement Group has met monthly to assess applications for projects such as landscaping, new parking bays, play areas and benches for customers to improve their neighbourhoods.


Robert Patterson

"Volunteering used to be something that others did. But I recognised that you can't complain about things unless you're also prepared to invest some time in working to resolve things. We all have skills that benefit our community and I've found that the knowledge I've gained from my work has been much more relevant than I expected in volunteering with Red Kite - and has equally benefited me at work.

"I've used those skills in chairing the Improvement Commission and monitoring and reviewing that Red Kite works for us. I truly believe that those with the passion and concern can help improve things for all. Make the right difference for your community, join us."

Antisocial Behaviour

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

The top three causes of antisocial behaviour were

  • Noise
  • Verbal Abuse/Harassment/Intimidation/Threatening behaviour
  • Neighbour dispute.

Injunctions have continued to prove an effective way of tackling antisocial behaviour, since the consequences of breaching the injunctions are very serious. Other low level actions like warning letters, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Good Neighbour Agreements and Notices of Seeking Possession have also proved quite effective as perpetrators of ASB are well aware that this could lead to legal/tenancy enforcement actions.

When we deal with antisocial behaviour, we are always looking for the best outcome for those people involved,so the number of notices and orders we issue contribute to the positive outcome we are working towards – there is no good or bad number.

We spent more than £40,000 dealing with antisocial behaviour (ASB), mostly on court fees.

Antisocial behaviour can be reported 24 hours a day through our website.

We have a dedicated team who manage antisocial behaviour and are available to support you and your communities to work through solutions for behaviour that affects you.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for antisocial behaviour, and work with affected tenants to improve situations as much as we can.

This can include having more contact with people who are displaying anti-social behaviour, setting out the responsibility of all tenants when it comes to behaving in a considerate way, and making it easier to report.

A tenant at Mahoney Court

“The ASB procedure works efficiently, I found it easy to report my complaint and it was handled brilliantly.”

Choosing our Partners

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

All of the contracts we awarded were shaped and chosen by your fellow tenants and leaseholders on our Core Procurement Group:

  • Repairs and maintenance – in 2013/14, Kier Services were awarded an interim contract to carry out repair work for one year, with a view to appointing a new permanent contractor (which in July 2015 was announced as Axis Group PLC).
  • IT service – following a robust and thorough procurement process, a great IT partner was appointed in Sovereign, which has already helped us to improve many of our office systems. They are also working with us to put in place newer technology to better equip all of our staff.
  • Cleaning - our new cleaning contractor Just Ask that is responsible for cleaning and maintaining our blocks and schemes.
  • External and internal decorations - a new contract was awarded to Axis.
  • Asbestos - new contracts were awarded to Aspect Contracts Ltd for asbestos removal and asbestos surveys and sample analysis.
  • Minor works - Lightside joined the team as a new Small to Medium Enterprise, carrying out minor works.
  • Tree management - we awarded a contract for Wycombe District Council.

Your tenant and leaseholder Core Procurement Group led on what the contracts looked like to make sure your needs and priorities were addressed, how the services would be delivered and who the best contractor was to deliver them, considering price but focussing on quality.


Hazel Chandler

“I am a leaseholder and started on the Core Procurement Group about four years ago knowing little about the procurement process itself. Through the training and support provided by Red Kite, however I have been able to become fully versed in the world of procurement. The training ensures we are a fully independent group. I have been instrumental in choosing key contracts that affect all customers on a daily basis, from responsive repairs to cleaning contracts where we have recently appointed Just Ask.

“I thoroughly enjoy being on the group as it gives me the opportunity to be at the heart of what matters to customers, ensuring we are getting the best quality, service and price for all. Along with this, we also save Red Kite money as our time volunteering to procure products and services would otherwise be carried out by staff or external partners.”


Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

This is where our money came from
This is what we spent our money on

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015 we received income of £36,428,000 and spent £43,532,000.

Last year we said that we would spend the surpluses we had made on the improvements to your homes.

Well, this year we spent £22,350,000 on delivering the promised improvements to your homes which is £7,809,000 more than last year.

Our audited financial statements can be read here.


Michelle Ball

“I am a member of the Tenant and Leaseholder Committee (TLC), which has recently merged with the Improvement Commission into the brand new Customer and Community Insight Group (CCIG). During my time with the TLC, I and other members of the group ensured that rents received were used in a productive and cost effective manner. We were able to scrutinise the Board papers and challenge expenditure decisions and put forward ideas and suggestions to achieve value for money. 

“This work now continues with CCIG and with further challenges ahead, it is important that more customers come forward to be part of the group and ensure the income is spent for the benefit of all Red Kite customers.”


Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

Some projects we chose to support through our community fund with a share of the annual £100,000 budget were:

  • Purchasing three scooters for Shopmobility and funding the cost of running them for a year
  • Purchasing new equipment and toys for Bucks Play Association that aid learning and help to bring communities together
  • Funding a Motor Project course at Skidz in Wycombe for young people with learning difficulties aged 16 and over
  • Recruiting and training 16 volunteers to become community mediators with Mediation Buckinghamshire to allow them to respond more quickly to mediation requests
  • Running a 12-week Business Start-up course for local residents
  • Funding The Lady Ryder Memorial Garden to fit out their educational centre
  • Supporting a group at Saunderton Lodge called Families of Children United Support (FOCUS) to finance a staff member and provide playroom sessions for children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Starting a Chef’s Club to teach people new cooking skills and how to cook on a budget
  • Supported the Wrights Meadow Community Centre to open as a facility available for people to meet and hold social events.

We will consider funding any projects or facilities that match the criteria we have set out and improve the quality of life for local residents. Our tenant group that considers environmental improvements also approved applications to spend money in your neighbourhoods on things such as:

  • A bus shelter seating area
  • Improved parking areas across the district
  • A garden shed and external water tap for a communal garden
  • Improved communal toddler play area.

There is an annual budget of £400,000 to fund these kinds of projects so if you and your neighbours have an idea to improve your neighbourhoods, then why not put in an application.

As a community organisation we ran our annual garden competition for our tenants and local schools. Last year we had 26 entries in the main competition, seven for community gardens and four schools in the junior section. Our customers were on the judging panel to choose the winners. Prizes were presented at our Annual Get Together Meeting in September.


Jenny Ryan

“I have been volunteering with Red Kite in many ways, but one of the most enjoyable has been by judging the ‘Junior’ section of our gardening competition, as part of the annual Red Kite ‘Neighbourhood awards’. I enjoy volunteering because it gives me the chance to go out into the community and meet new people and gives me a real sense of achievement. By volunteering, I’ve had the chance to visit many of our beautiful gardens and see firsthand the great things that local communities can accomplish.”

Empty Homes

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

It has taken more time on average than we would have liked to re-let a home, with the number of days increasing since the last year. We need to make sure that each home meets our lettable standard before a new tenant moves in.

This is an area which we are giving a high priority to and working with our tenants to look at ways of reducing the time taken.

During the year, we created a team of staff to step back and look at the whole process and design a new way of managing our empty homes. The revised approach was implemented at the end of the year (March 2015), results of which will be seen in the next financial year.


Janet Roake

“Red Kite has been doing lots of work looking at how we can reduce the time a home is left empty once tenants have moved out. It is important that the home is brought back to a standard that new tenants can move into as soon as possible so that the amount of rental income lost due to a home staying empty is minimised.

“As a volunteer I have been part of a team that has been involved in phoning tenants who have recently moved into their new home to make sure that their experience was a good one and to see how we can make it better for new tenants in the future. New welcome packs have now been introduced for new tenants which include a whole bundle of goodies that they will find useful in their new homes such as washing up bowl, toilet roll, duster, rubber gloves, dustpan and brush, washing up liquid, air freshener, tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

“It’s really good as a tenant myself to be involved in trying to improve the services that Red Kite is providing – I thoroughly enjoy carrying out the surveys and chatting to other customers. When I call up other tenants I think I get an honest perspective on what things are really like and this information is really helpful to the organisation. I know Red Kite is looking for more volunteers to join the team and I would thoroughly recommend it!”

Your Feedback

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015:

We continue to focus on increasing the amount of feedback captured, including complaints. We see all feedback, compliments, complaints and comments, as genuine opportunities to make a change so that either the reason for the complaint doesn’t come up again or we do more of what generated the compliment. We still have a lot more to do in terms of making sure we tell people about all the things we are doing to improve services as a result, but that’s what we’re working on nowYou can give feedback in lots of ways, which include:


Khalid Khan

“I had an opportunity last year to be part of a volunteer group to review what happens when customers give feedback to Red Kite. This is the process whereby customers can provide their comments, compliments or complaints about their experience of Red Kite’s services, good or bad. Receiving feedback from customers is very important for every service company including Red Kite as it helps to highlight what’s working and what isn’t and where changes need to be made. My particular volunteer group, (there are many) were also provided with the tools needed to perform our task. We were thoroughly briefed on the current feedback process and its strengths and weaknesses. We received expert opinion on the feedback results and the internal way Red Kite processed the feedback it received. We were also provided with office accommodation and refreshments and were supported by friendly, expert Red Kite staff from beginning to end.

“As volunteers we were able to offer a ‘critical eye’ on the feedback process and make suggestions as to what could be improved. The volunteers involved in the review learned an awful lot about project working, relationship building, report writing, debating and producing an end product.  As a result of our input Red Kite benefited from an improved feedback process and more skilled volunteers. Many volunteers (including myself) have learned and sharpened our personal skills which in turn have enhanced our employment opportunities.  

“If you have a comment, compliment or complaint, please spend a few minutes and let us have it through our feedback service and if you want to do more than just comment, then I can recommend joining as a volunteer too.”