Guinness has changed. Ten years ago we were a group of housing associations. Over the last few years we’ve simplified things – including our group structure and the way we organise ourselves – in order to be more efficient and create capacity to do more to fulfil our social purpose.
We’re here to improve people’s lives and create possibilities for them by providing as many high quality new homes as possible and by providing great housing and care services.
Our Vision is for Guinness to be:
What matters to us is that we provide the right homes and services and that we make every customer’s experience of Guinness amazing, every time.
The more we make use of technology, the more delivering services in a way that’s local is overtaken by a way that’s personal. We recognise it is the experience individuals have of Guinness that creates relationships – and satisfied customers.
We have been on a journey over the last few years, including our merger with Wulvern Housing in January 2017, and it’s one that continues into the future. We need to keep adapting, being a better and more efficient organisation so that we fulfil our ambition as a Customer Service Business, and one that provides homes for future generations.
The environment that we operate in will continue to change, but our Vision and our commitment to our social purpose remains consistent and relevant. The things that have always been important to us – our customers and our employees – are as important as they ever were. They are why we’re here.
We’re really excited about the ongoing Guinness story, the journey and the destination.
We provide the majority of our housing services through The Guinness Partnership Limited. Our care services are provided by Guinness Care and Support Limited. Guinness Property (City Response Limited) provides repair services. The Group also includes a number of trading entities and subsidiaries as shown below.
Our housing and care businesses are regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). We have the highest Governance (G1) and Viability (V1) ratings from the HCA.
The Guinness Partnership Limited (Guinness)
registered with HCA and a charitable entity
Guinness Housing Association Limited
Non-charitable Registered Provider; provider of management services
Guinness Developments Limited
Build for market sale
City Response Limited
(trading as Guinness Property)
Responsive repairs and planned works for the Group
Guinness Homes Limited
Market rent, management services, market sale
Guinness Care and Support Limited
Care and support services
Hallco 1397 Limited
Build for market sale
Kylemore Care Services Limited Live Well at Home Limited
Care and support services
Guinness Platform Limited
Design and build for housing projects
We have more than 135,000 customers in 65,000 homes across the country.
Rented homes 23,490
Leasehold homes 4,211
Housing for older people 4,393
Rented homes 13,541
Leasehold homes 4,177
Housing for older people 533
Rented homes 11,267
Leasehold homes 1,575
Housing for older people 2,560
We continue to operate in an environment of economic and policy uncertainty, heightened by the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union.
The 2016 Autumn Statement and the 2017 Housing White Paper recognise that homes of all tenures are needed to address the housing crisis, although access to home ownership remains a clear feature of the approach.
The Government’s decision to cut rents in the social housing sector by 1% a year for four years from 2016/17, extended to supported housing in 2017/18 and implement further changes to welfare benefits, will have a far-reaching impact for our customers and for Guinness. We have adopted a range of measures to help mitigate this. The Chancellor’s March 2017 Budget recognised the need for increased funding for social care, although how this will be delivered is not yet clear.
Regulatory expectations in the housing and care sectors remain. The fundamentals of the way in which we are regulated by the HCA have not changed, despite the deregulatory measures that took effect in April 2017. The CQC’s care standards continue to evolve and we are focused on meeting its expectations.
We know that in both housing and care we are expected to deliver more and become more efficient – and we are committed to that.
The safety of our customers has always been our highest priority, and the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower reminds us how important this is. Like all housing associations, we continue to engage closely with fire safety experts and local fire services, taking any necessary measures to ensure the safety of our customers’ homes.
Our aim is to be one of the best service providers in the housing and care sectors, one of the best employers in the country, and to generate strong surpluses so that we can keep building affordable homes. For us this means:
Making every customer experience amazing, every time
Being a brilliant place to work
Being smart and efficient – so we can invest in new homes
We were delighted to be approached by Wulvern’s consultants, 3Dk, in February 2016, and to be invited to submit a formal expression of interest to work with Wulvern towards merger.
We worked hard to shape a proposal that responded to Wulvern’s requirements. We were even more delighted to be selected as Wulvern’s preferred partner at the end of March 2016.
Our shared vision and values, particularly our shared commitment to customer service and employee experience, created a strong platform from which to shape our offer. We understood how important it was to Wulvern to work with a partner who could help secure future growth in Cheshire, and create opportunities for both customers and staff.
More homes – to use our size and capacity, which allow us to take a bit more risk, to build more homes in Cheshire, and to make a significant investment in estate regeneration over the next five years.
More choice – to provide Wulvern’s customers with access to a greater range of housing options offered by our wider geographic spread, diverse property portfolio, and variety of tenure options.
More care – to build on Wulvern’s commitment to the provision of high quality housing for older people, and providing opportunities to reduce reliance on third party care providers through the use of Guinness Care.
More technology – to extend Wulvern’s investment in mobile working technology, with mobile technology for repairs operatives and a full CRM offering with online repairs booking service (towards the end of this year). These will enhance the customer and employee experience, making things easier for everyone.
More opportunities – to provide Wulvern staff with access to Guinness’s significant investment in learning and development, and further opportunities for career progression by virtue of our size.
We completed our merger through a Transfer of Engagements on 31 January 2017. The process went well:
Governance – we established a Joint Board Steering Group to oversee the merger, and a Joint Project Team to deliver it. As the process progressed, colleagues from both organisations became involved in shaping the business case, identifying efficiencies, and planning for the early stages of integration.
Employee engagement – we worked closely with Wulvern management throughout, and senior Guinness managers met regularly with Wulvern staff so we could get to know each other and address any concerns our new colleagues might have about the future.
Customer engagement – Wulvern communicated regularly with customers to ensure the merger was clearly understood and their questions were heard and responded to.
Professional advice – both parties had strong professional advisory teams to support due diligence and discussions with third party stakeholders.
Wulvern’s Executive Team are a great fit at Guinness. We are pleased to have retained Nicole Kershaw, who is now Director of Customer Experience, Kevin Williams, who took up the role of Director of Asset Strategy, and Sue Lock who became Guinness Care’s Director of Strategy & Policy for Older People.
Three former Wulvern Board members have also joined Guinness Boards – Phil Morgan and Amanda Calvert have joined the Board of The Guinness Partnership and Bob Tarry has joined the Board of Guinness Property.