Coronavirus Update

We continue to focus on the priorities of customer safety, protecting employees and business resilience. Please read here for our latest position. For customer information, please visit our dedicated coronavirus webpage.

Responsible business

We have a rigorous approach to governance, financial management and compliance. We are proud of the high standards we have reached in these areas and we continue to maintain a strong health and safety culture.

For us being a responsible business must also include our responsibility to create social value. In 2020, we invested £5.7 million directly into our communities through our Community Investment programme which, using the Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT) social value calculator, delivered £10 million of social value alone.

We also aim to deliver social value through our relationships with suppliers, social enterprises and partnerships.

Our belief that strong financial management and a social value ethos can work together to empower local economies and create employment opportunities has resulted in us working with Supply Change to increase our relationships and spend with social enterprises.  We now work with over 10 social enterprises, spending in excess of £1.6 million per annum and are actively looking to increase the percentage of spend with social enterprise partners.

We work with supply partners who share our values and play an important role in supporting our communities through the creation of social value. In the last year they have contributed over £240,000 towards our programmes.

Finally, through our involvement in partnerships such as South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), a partnership of organisations to support the social economy in South East LEP region, and the New Anglia Social Investment Partnership (NASIP), a partnership of organisations in Norfolk and Suffolk, we aim to support social enterprises to grow and thrive by accessing business support and finance to increase their impact in the community. This has resulted in us investing over £1 million of loan finance into social enterprises within our communities and delivering a £300,000 support programme to build the necessary infrastructure for the sector.

Culture of Health & Safety and compliance

Keeping our customers safe is the single most important thing we can do as a housing provider. It is a huge responsibility and an area where we are never complacent. 

Having a strong culture of health, safety and compliance across the whole business ensures that all employees understand the importance of taking ownership and responsibility in these areas.

Sector-leading approach to Safeguarding

Safeguarding is a priority at Orbit, and we are proud that we were the first registered provider of affordable housing to achieve the ‘Leaders in Safeguarding’ accreditation, the quality mark awarded to organisations in recognition of their commitment to keeping adults and children safe.

In 2021, following extensive work to encourage disclosure of domestic abuse and to develop our approach to domestic abuse cases, we also received the accreditation from the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA), the UK benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse in the UK and recognised in the government's Ending Violence against Women and Girls Strategy: 2016 to 2020.

We take these responsibilities extremely seriously and have an Executive Director sponsor for safeguarding, an Organisational Safeguarding Lead across the business, and an Organisational Safeguarding Forum, which oversees safeguarding arrangements and responds to identified trends and themes. In addition, we also have Designated Safeguarding Leads to provide advice and support and trained Mental Health first aiders across the organisation.

Partnering with leading authorities to achieve best practise

We work with various safety experts and organisations to ensure best practice across all areas of the business.

We are currently partnering with RoSPA on its ‘Safer by design: framework to reduce serious accidental injury in new build homes’. Through evidence-based changes to home design, RoSPA aims for the number of accidents in the home to be reduced. Safer by design is closely aligned to our own design standards and we are RoSPA’s lead housing association partner on this project.

We were the first housing provider to work with a partnering fire authority - West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) - and we were the first large housing provider to achieve PAS7 certification which is UK’s highest fire safety certification.

Values led, performance driven culture

We are delighted to be recognised as a Sunday Times Top 100 Best Company (not-for-profit) having placed within the top fifty in 2020.

We are a values-led business with an inclusive culture that promotes diversity and provides employees with the opportunities to develop and grow their careers. We offer apprenticeship and graduate schemes as well as several levels of internal training programmes, secondment opportunities and agile working.

Our employee offer aims to attract and retain the best people and our employee benefits package includes a contributory pension scheme as well as a range of other employee benefits including fully funded private medical insurance, employee wellbeing programme, enhanced maternity/paternity pay and up to 27 days annual leave.

Ethical supply chain

When tendering for partners and suppliers, our procurement team includes a social value requirement, to ensure that we work with like-minded businesses who share our vision and values. Our procurement team actively identifies opportunities to further our social impact. through working in partnership with our supply chain.

Over £300,000 has been invested into local community projects from our partners including Fortem, MPS, AD Group, Dodd Group, Bell Group, Southern Land Services, Shield Environmental, Just Ask and Anthony Collins Solicitors.

Through our repairs and maintenance contractors, Fortem and MPS, we offer customers work experience, apprenticeship and training opportunities. Trades ranging from bricklaying to plumbing, offer skills for life and provide a valuable opportunity for our customers.

At Tanyard Farm in Coventry, Dodd Group supported the refurbishment of our community centre there through its ‘Community Crew’ who installed and decorated the kitchen, fitted replacement lighting and re-decorated the main rooms. In Hastings, Shield Environmental supported our request for asbestos to be safely removed from outside a local charity. The asbestos had been dumped there and the charity asked for help getting it moved legally and safely.

Complaints procedure and reporting

We are committed to delivering an excellent service for all our customers and fully support the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code, which is designed to ensure all residents understand how to make a complaint and what they can and should expect from their landlord when they complain, whilst also encouraging ongoing improvements in landlord service delivery.

For information on our complaints process and the service our customers can expect to receive, please see our customer complaints procedure.

For details of our self-assessment against the Housing Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code, please see our self-assessment form.