Annual Report 2015/16

About Red Kite

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

We owned 5,911 tenanted and 633 leasehold homes.

We had these types of homes available:

No. of Bedrooms No. of Tenanted Homes
Bedsits 228
1 Bedroom 2155
2 Bedrooms 1407
3 Bedrooms 2070
4 Bedrooms 47
5 Bedrooms 4
7 Bedrooms 1
8 Bedroomss 1

We had 29 sheltered housing schemes across the district for people aged 60 and over.

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

We had 133 members of staff (6 of these are fixed term contracts and 7 are agency workers) and 78 volunteers.

Over the last year we have continued to focus on delivering thousands of improvements that were promised, in the run up to the end of our first five years – by the end of 31st March 2016, we had completed 97% of what we had planned, which was a total of 11,473 improvements!

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


“Another year of immense change has come and gone, yet it has also been one of great achievement. A time of challenge and opportunity lies ahead. But in the midst of all the uncertainty there are important constants that we must not forget. Firstly, why we are in business and what we are here to do. We are here to realise the potential in our communities. We remain a community-based provider of homes and services; a business that knows and understands its customers, communities and local stakeholders. In particular, we will continue to provide homes to rent for those for whom alternative housing options are either unaffordable or unavailable.

“Secondly, how we go about our business. We are and will remain a tenant-led business. We will continue to provide the means for tenants and leaseholders to shape our direction and determine what type of organisation we are and will be. Our focus now, more important than ever after the clear voting by millions on the EU referendum, is to listen to and articulate the views of our customers and not to adopt a ‘we know best’ approach or embrace government policy without challenge. And we will remain true to our values of partnership, respect, pride and creativity.

“Thirdly, we are a successful business. We have completed another impressive year. We are on the verge of completing the delivery of the promises made to tenants five years ago, ahead of schedule, within cost and to the satisfaction of our customers. We have invested in social enterprise, creating training opportunities for young people; we have begun a fundamental shift towards delivering services digitally; we have reduced both rent arrears and the length of time it takes us to re-let empty homes; and we have reduced our annual management costs by £3,800,000.

“Our success, and the strong foundations that we have built in just 5 years, have been recognised by our regulator, who awarded us “top marks” in their July 2016 review. So where do we go from here? We certainly are not complacent or satisfied with what we have done. Our new 5-year Corporate Strategy reaffirms who we are and what we are here for, but it also sets a new course. With the delivery of the transfer promises behind us and having built a financial capacity to invest in new homes, we are embarking on the development of desperately needed new homes for our communities. We will increase our investment in projects that create community benefit, including social enterprises. But most importantly, we want to inspire people; to realise their individual potential and the potential within communities. I cannot miss the opportunity to thank those who have made all this possible. I would thank my fellow Board members who have ensured that we remain true to our purpose and our values, especially Hazel Chandler, Sheelagh Jones and Jonathan Walton who have recently stepped down. And I must thank all our staff and the host of volunteers who work tirelessly to deliver our success, and all our partners too. So to the future; one in which our creativity, resilience and passion will be key to our continued success. And one in which we must continue to listen and respond to the views of our customers and communities”

The right home for you

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

We moved 23 tenants to smaller, more suitable homes for their household needs. This meant more family-sized homes were made available for those who needed them. We paid £23,000 in downsizing payments to help people move into their new homes and settle in.

We have re-designated two of our less popular sheltered schemes to general needs and this has made them available to local people on Bucks Home Choice.

We partnered with Experian and CACI to make sure we know more about the people that live in our homes and to allow our customers to get the same benefits of building a credit profile that people who own a home do in the future.

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.

Anonymous customer

“I have never in my life had so much help and reassurance in moving. First there was the welcome pack which came in very useful. The flat was clean from top to bottom, I didn't have to clean anything. The information left for me was so helpful. Thank you Red Kite for making my move a happy one.”


Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

Following the successful procurement of our Repairs and Empty Homes contract, we started working with our new contractor, Axis Europe, during July 2015. Axis demonstrated immediate improvement with the delivery of our repairs service and our customers were quick to respond positively. We went through a detailed and honest discussion to make sure we selected the right contractor. This was a welcome change in how customers felt about our repairs service, after experiencing a prolonged time of challenging performance from our previous contractor. We have been open and transparent about the difficulties we faced previously when it came to repairs, so the great performance of Axis is a testament to our customers who were involved in the process of procuring our new contractor, and we are now seeing a much improved service.

Axis has maintained a consistent level of performance and we are working hard to improve things even further. A Service Plan has been put in place to clearly set out the direction, results and performance we expect to see in the future.

Repairs can be reported in the following ways:

Brenda O’Carroll

“I joined the volunteering team in November 2015. Initially it was more out of curiosity as I wanted to know how things worked. Having attended various meetings I was invited to join the Repairs and Empty Homes Group, among others. It turned out to be a good move as it is interesting and at times very lively. Not only do I see how everything works but I have the opportunity to put forward my opinions along with my fellow volunteers. We meet the people and contractors responsible for maintaining the homes we live in and are able to ask questions. Importantly, we put forward the thoughts and feelings of residents who sometimes, rightly or wrongly, feel they are not included in decisions which affect their day to day living. I would recommend that anyone with a few hours to spare each month and is interested in having a voice about where they live, should contact the volunteering team and have a chat about what they can do.”

Rent & Arrears

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

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.

At the end of the year, we had an arrears level that was lower than the same time last year. We are still devoting significant resources to tackle rent arrears and make sure payments are made in future. 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, so having rent payments up-to-date benefits all our customers.

This year we saw the official launch of Universal Credit and we have currently had a small number of customers make a claim under the new system.



Simon Archer

Tenant Volunteer on our Customer and Community Insight Group and a Resident Inspector

“Being a member of the Customer and Community Insight Group (CCIG) is very rewarding. I think many would be surprised at how much input we have and the ability to truly shape Red Kite for the benefit of the customers. The staff at Red Kite are always supportive, we work particularly closely with the Volunteering Team who are always willing to engage with new ideas we have. As part of my role as a member, I have had the chance to meet customers from other organisations and I must say I'm particularly proud of Red Kite’s level of involvement.

“Rent is the main income for Red Kite and one of the many areas we look at during our meetings, arrears, is therefore an important item to monitor. As part of CCIG's monitoring we look at the impact proposed benefit changes might have on people’s ability to afford rents, performance indicators and the available support Red Kite offer to help ensure customers on benefits are receiving all they are entitled to.

“Rent arrears can be a difficult subject, however Red Kite are committed to working with customers and discussing all options available. When repayment plans are needed Red Kite have made a point of ensuring that they will not cause additional financial problems for the customer or leave them without essentials. I would encourage anyone who feels they are having difficulties to contact Red Kite as early as possible and make use of the support that’s available.”

Sheltered Housing

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

Sheltered housing review - Following the review into our sheltered housing and the decision to close four schemes completely and partially close two others, we had 26 tenants living in these affected schemes at the beginning of the year. We have continued to work closely with them to find suitable alternative homes. During the year we have found suitable homes for 23, leaving only three who are waiting to be re-housed. As part of the review, we also announced that Liston House and the old part of New Court in Marlow, as well as Lincoln House in High Wycombe would be sold since they are no longer fit-for-purpose and could not be brought back up to the Red Kite standard.

Support services - Our contract with Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) to provide support services ended on 31st January 2016. The service funded by BCC included the community alarm service and the support service carried out by Red Kite staff such as check calls and support plans and daily scheme visits. Having written to all customers in August 2015 to inform them that BCC were going to change the way support services were provided, BCC also consulted with tenants before deciding on the type of service they wished to fund. The new support contract started in February 2016 and Connection FS were appointed to provide the new ‘Engage and Support Service in Sheltered Housing’ throughout Buckinghamshire. Six Red Kite staff were transferred over to Connection FS to help provide the new service. The Community Alarm Service also changed from February 2016, where previously all sheltered homes had a hard wired community alarm provided through a speech module and pull cords. BCC were no longer willing to fund a service to all sheltered homes, and instead they now fund a county-wide alarm service which is called Telecare. This works from the tenant’s phone line with a pendant they can wear on their wrist or around their neck. Tenants can choose whether they wish to receive the service and it is provided free of charge for those in receipt of Housing Benefit or Pension credit.

We have helped our tenants apply for the new service and by the end of the year, 672 had been provided with their new Telecare alarm. A programme to remove our own hard wired community alarm equipment from homes also took place, and we retained our communal connections within our schemes which receive calls from door entry systems, fire alarms and the speech modules located in the communal areas.

Scheme budgets – a total of £73,304 was spent by tenants at our sheltered schemes. The intention is for tenants to choose how they wish to spend the money so that it benefits all residents and brings communities together. As at 31st March 2016 we had 14 schemes that had set up their own committees to manage their scheme budget. Some examples of what our tenants have chosen to spend their scheme budget on include day trips to the theatre, scheme outings, gardening, garden benches and buying a TV for their communal lounge.

Bedsit conversions and refurbishment – we have carried out a programme to refurbish some of our hard to let, empty bedsit flats in our sheltered schemes and convert other empty bedsits into larger 1 or 2 bedroom flats. This means that we have more suitable homes available for those who need them. During the year we have let 25 homes that have either been refurbished or converted which brings in more rental income to invest in our homes. Eight of these were refurbished bedsit flats while 17 were empty bedsits that we converted into 1 or 2 bedroom flats.

Barrowcroft Sheltered Housing Scheme budget Working Party

“The residents at Barrowcroft and all those associated with our complex, would like to thank you so very much for the budget scheme money - you have no idea how it has helped so many of our residents. For example, the funds have enabled us to hire a coach for disabled people, so that they could have a wonderful day out at the seaside. Our weekly coffee mornings have encouraged more people to come together each Wednesday to build friendships and have given many something to look forward to each week. On one of these occasions, Red Kite even came and made breakfast for residents.

“Over the festive season, the funding created a great opportunity for many people with limited options to broaden their horizons, by giving them access to Christmas markets and allowing tenants without transport, to do shopping and enjoy the festive season. One of the highlights was when residents went to see a live show in London. Many of our residents have never been to London, so this was a very special treat indeed! The funds have had a far-reaching impact on the lives of our residents – from the thrill of the Christmas pantomime made accessible with return transport, to social evenings with a good meal and live music.

“In addition, the funds have also benefitted the lives of many with the purchase of a much needed tumble drier and other appliances. We also have a special group of people (especially Val, Pam, Brian & David) who volunteer their own time to work in our gardens and they often invest in the gardens out of their own limited pockets. This has become very much a labour of love and our gardens not only bless residents and uplift our premises, but also just send out a welcome to anyone passing by. Once again a huge thank you, for all the support and for working with us to make this all possible. For many, the impact has been life changing, as people who have at times been prone to depression as a result of physical and financial limitations, have been given opportunities to get out and enjoy the fellowship of new friends and new places. Knowing that this is a priority in the prevailing financial storms means so much to all of us and we would value any continued support for this initiative.”

Antisocial Behaviour

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

The top four causes of antisocial behaviour (ASB) were:

  • Noise
  • Neighbour disputes
  • Verbal Abuse/Harassment/Intimidation/Threatening behaviour
  • Litter.

Mediation has continued to prove an effective way of improving relationships between neighbours and people who come into regular contact with each other. Last year we referred ten antisocial behaviour cases to mediation services.

We continue to use low level actions like warning letters, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Good Neighbour Agreements and Notices of Seeking Possession. Low level actions are effective as perpetrators of ASB are made aware that this could lead to tenancy enforcement actions being taken.

When we deal with antisocial behaviour, we are always looking for the best outcome for everyone 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 of notices and orders.

We spent more than £60,000 dealing with antisocial behaviour, mostly on taking legal action against those who have committed serious ASB.

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 towards solutions for behaviour that affects you. The new IT system we introduced is helping us deliver a more effective ASB service.

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

Anonymous customer

“We would like to take this opportunity to record our appreciation and gratitude to Red Kite in dealing with the matter of noise nuisance we experienced for over three years. I feel compelled to say that the way in which Red Kite have dealt with this matter has been exemplary and thoroughly efficient from day one. Although it has taken a seemingly endless time to have the issue resolved, Red Kite have been extremely helpful throughout, never once did we feel they dismissed our grief or doubted us in any way; they have shown continual courtesy and responsiveness to us in this extremely distressing situation and we will be forever grateful to them.”

Help and support for customers

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

We saw the official opening of the ToolShed, which is the social enterprise that we funded and now support to provide multi-trade traineeships and attitudinal training for local young people.

We ran another super successful Business Start-Up course that culminated in a Dragon’s Den event and saw new local business ideas receive funding to get themselves off the ground.

Our Chef’s Club returned to teach people cooking skills and give budget advice on how to prepare meals without spending too much.

We took our Red Kite News online so that we could share news more regularly without spending on postage each time – this has given us the ability to track the readership and things that customers are interested in, so that we can share more of the news people care about – feedback has also increased, with comments such as: “Some interesting stuff going on, well done” and “thank you, always interested in what you have to tell us and I like to take part when I can” and “Thank you for the info, very interesting”.

We launched our new website and refreshed our app so that they were both more accessible, more easy to navigate and now look and feel more like ‘us’.

Annabel Balderson

Annabel Balderson

Leaseholder and Business Start Up Graduate 2015

“The Business Start up course actually gave me the push I needed to start my business from a hobby, along with the knowhow and the confidence to actually do it!

“It gave me all the tools, support and funding too. It was my best achievement in 2015... If it hadn't been for Red Kite and the opportunity you generously gave me, I wouldn't be doing what I do now.

“You've given me drive, direction and determination to succeed in running my own little business. Thank you for that!"

Choosing our Partners

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

All of the major contracts we awarded were shaped and chosen by your fellow customers on our Procurement Group:

  • Repairs and maintenance – in July 2015, it was announced that Axis Europe had been appointed as our new repairs and maintenance contractor for a contract worth approximately £5m.
  • External works to roads and footways owned by us – a framework of six contractors, the majority being Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s), was procured for our external work to roads and paths.
  • Playground inspections and maintenance – our current supplier, ARD Playgrounds, was successful in the re-tender of this key inspection and maintenance service.
  • Customer satisfaction surveys - Arena Partnership Ltd was successful in winning a contract to introduce a new method of measuring customer satisfaction levels in a way that will provide a whole picture of the customer experience and make it easier for us to act on feedback.
  • Foxes Piece balcony and external works – this important refurbishment contract was awarded to Keepmoat.
  • Grounds maintenance – following a contract review and performance assessment, the Procurement Group approved a two year extension of this contract to John O’Connor.

Angie West

“Being part of the Procurement Group offers a real opportunity for people who live in Red Kite homes to take an active part in contributing to the planning, quality, price, standard, monitoring and terms of work being offered by contractors. Members of the Group bring a range of skills, knowledge, and experience to the Group, and work to make sure that promises to maintain/improve/sustain Red Kite properties are delivered. Red Kite is an innovative, forward-thinking company, with the interests of tenants and leaseholders at the heart of the business. It’s refreshing to be a part of that.”

Home and community improvements

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

We invested more than £538,000 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 124
Bathroom adaptations 32
Stairlift 13
Ramp/Thresholds 16
Door entry/handsets 0
Kitchen apaptations 10
Hard standing 0
Other 71
Total 266

We upgraded 26 fire doors to improve the safety of our homes.


Steve Morton


"I sustained my injury as a result of tomfoolery in the summer of 1994 and after a year of rehabilitation was released into my adapted accommodation. Red Kite took ownership of the accommodation a couple of years ago and this year they decided it was time for my flat to be re-vamped.

"The Occupational Therapist team helped to see that my requirements were met. The lowered sink was discarded because I never used it and my carer had to stoop to use it.

"The work was carried out to a high standard and the kitchen and bathroom are beautiful! There was minimum disruption to our routine and the workmen were very co-operative. Thank you Red Kite."


Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

This is where our money came from

This is what we spent our money on

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016 we received £36,996,000 and spent £41,297,000. The deficit was planned and is funded from the surpluses generated in the previous years since transfer

This year we spent £19,130,000 on delivering the promised improvements to your homes which is just over £2million less than last year as we move closer to finishing all of our promises.

Our audited financial statements can be read here.


Robert Paterson

Leaseholder and Chair of our Customer and Community Insight Group

“As a leaseholder volunteer and chair of the Customer and Community Insight Group (CCIG) and before that, chair of the Improvement Commission, I’ve always understood we have a key role in making sure Red Kite is a tenant-led organisation. The two groups’ roles of scrutiny of Red Kite on behalf of the tenants and leaseholders make sure Red Kite maintains its focus on value for money and providing high quality affordable homes to the highest standards.

“As more customers step up to help, there are lots of ways we can help make sure that Red Kite is spending money in the right places. Our Contract Review groups monitor our contractors’ performance against agreed standards, our Environmental Improvement Group make decisions on applications for improvements to our neighbourhoods our Resident Inspectors who work alongside internal auditors and provide us with further insight and assurance on the business.

“I have been a volunteer now for over four years and found the experience really rewarding. There is a volunteering role for everyone so if you’d like to join the team and help ensure money is spent in the right places, contact the Engagement and Volunteering team for more information.”


Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

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

  • Wycombe Sound - £10,000 to purchase a playout system and licences for a year
  • FOCUS (Families of Children United Support) - £8,000 to fund salaries to enable staff to support vulnerable families with training and practical help
  • Toddlers play equipment at Piddington recreation ground - £3,000
  • Micklefield Community cafe - £10,000 to fit out the new cafe
  • Buckinghamshire Mind adult counselling - £5,000 for 1-1 counselling sessions
  • Active in Go Tri - £5,000 to encourage young people into triathlon events across the district
  • Business Start Up Course giving 25 local residents the opportunity to attend a 12 week workshop to learn how to set up their own business.

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.

We launched a new Neighbourhood Award rewarding our customers and local schools for having great gardens, members of the community for being great neighbours and our volunteers at Red Kite for being amazing. Last year we had 80 entries in the best garden section, six entries in the good neighbour section, one community hero nominee and two amazing volunteer nominations. Our customers were on the judging panel to choose the winners and prizes were presented at our Annual Get Together Meeting in September.


Janet Roake

Tenant Volunteer

“Red Kite genuinely wants to support people in the local community. That’s why they hold an annual community morning every April and all of their staff and volunteers get out and about supporting local organisations.

“As a tenant volunteer with Red Kite, I was part of the team visiting the Princes Centre in Princes Risborough that supports vulnerable people on April 27th this year. All of us participated in the activities taking place, including games and arts and crafts and were greeted with enthusiasm by the clients taking part.

“It was one of the most heart warming mornings I have experienced in a long time. This was a place full of love, acceptance and empathy which was given in abundance.”

Empty Homes

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

We have worked hard in the Voids and Lettings team to make sure that the number of days taken to get a home ready for letting was reduced from last year, so that customers could move into homes sooner.

In 2015/16 our average void time is just under 35 days, which is a huge improvement on last years’ 43.5 days. We have also had a number of zero void days which means that we were still able to let a new home to our lettable standard but not lose any rent which is a fantastic achievement.

Patricia Brion

Tenant Volunteer and member of our Repairs and Empty Homes Group

“The offices and staff make it a really enjoyable experience to get involved, so I like carrying out surveys and listening to customers in a comfortable environment. Repairs are such an important service for our customers so it’s interesting to be involved and do what I can to help. I’ve also learnt some new skills through volunteering and it gives me a new purpose.”


Our volunteers helped us make some key decisions last year including recommending new cleaning contractors (Just Ask) and repairs contractors (Axis). They also sat on interview panels to appoint new staff including a database administrator, Relationship Advisors and a Knowledge and Feedback Manager. Our Environmental Improvement Group made decisions to fund works such as a new patio at Chichester Close, improved security lighting at Fir Tree Cottages and to provide extra parking at Larch Close. Our volunteers are instrumental in making sure we are spending money in the right places and in making sure we are an effective tenant-led organisation.

Our Customer and Community Insight Group has really flourished this year, with membership going from strength to strength. They agreed new Terms of Reference and the introduction of Time Credits to reward volunteers. They have been involved in helping us formulate new policies and looking at our audit process. To make sure that our customer views are incorporated into the audit process, they also agreed to introduce a new volunteering role for Resident Inspectors who would be trained and work alongside our internal auditors (Mazars) looking at customer-facing services.

You can find out about the range of volunteering opportunities here. If you are interested and want to know more, contact us at


Waqas Arshad

Customer and Community Insight Group Member

"After experiencing the issue of housing shortage myself, I became committed to standing up and speaking for those in need in our community. I wanted to change how things were in my local community with regards to housing shortage; I wanted to see what actions local authorities were taking to ensure provision of a basic necessity like housing, I wanted to find out how tenants are represented in the local housing sector.

“Many questions like this encouraged me to volunteer and no other organisation could have been a better choice than joining a tenant-led organisation. An organisation that is on the side of tenants, an organisation where everyone from the person on reception to the Chairman of the Board strives for the common goal of improving the living standard of our community.

“It's been less than a year since I joined Red Kite as a volunteer but the learning experience has been incredible. The organisation has a very friendly team that fully supports new members. As a new member, I don’t for a second feel like an outsider!"

Your Feedback

Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016:

We received 347 compliments about our staff and services - we now have a Knowledge and Feedback team which supports the Feedback Co-ordinator to make sure we have captured and responded to every bit of feedback and learnt from what we have received.

We have introduced Arena surveys which ask our customers directly about their experiences with our services. These take place in a much more timely way so that the information is more relevant and we can get to work on things that need improving, straight away.

You can give feedback in lots of ways, which include:

Alan Butler

Alan Butler

Tenant Volunteer

“Feedback, both positive and negative is really helpful to Red Kite as it helps them to know what they are doing well and to make changes to improve things where they aren’t performing. I have been involved as a volunteer with Red Kite helping to collect feedback by carrying out phone surveys since 2011. I have found it most enjoyable and have received some very good feedback when talking directly to residents myself as well as some feedback that has resulted in Red Kite making changes to the way it does things. I feel the service I give as a volunteer is very valuable and that by being involved and meeting staff, I have helped to achieve a great deal by keeping contractor's on the right track in keeping with the good service Red Kite provide.”