Sustainability

How we ensure sustainability

One of the most important steps we have taken is to become a member of Business in the Community (BITC) - an organisation whose purpose is to mobilise business for good, and to provide a clear framework to help improve performance and benefit society in four specific areas. These are:

  • Community
  • Environment
  • Workplace
  • Marketplace

In 2017, we reduced our carbon emissions by 1%, and achieved 95% recycling rate. We also supported 334 Social Value projects. Via these projects the business also donated £82,000 to charitable causes across the country. These achievements typify our ongoing commitment to CSR.

As a member of BITC we are committed to introducing more responsible practices in all of these areas. This involves our whole company, from the boardroom to apprentices. It is all about enhancing relationships with our customers, suppliers and the wider world that we all come into contact with. In our day-to-day work, we can all make a difference by following the guidelines and aiming for the goals identified in our CSR strategy.

Supply Chain

Through this strategy, we continue to introduce new initiatives, forums for debate, ways of monitoring progress and reporting back, and setting targets to help us measure progress.

We have always been conscious of our responsibilities, and were one of the first companies within our market sector to commit to this campaign. We see it as a key factor in achieving our goals of being a leader and innovator in corporate social responsibility.

Latest Blog Posts

How Eagle-eyed Contractors Can Help Landlords

HOW EAGLE-EYED CONTRACTORS CAN HELP LANDLORDS

  13 JULY, 2018
Kevin Rhone, head of social value at Novus, explains why housing associations can glean new insights from contractors working in their communities and use them for more than completing building works. The social housing sector faces unending challenges. Not only are they tasked with regenerating communities, pressured to provide high quality homes and services, and challenged to increase their build rates, they’re also looked to as a key stakeholder in ensuring the safety and security of people in their communities. Having eyes and ears on the ground in these communities to make sure customers are safe and well is a bank-breaking investment, however. This is particularly true of national organisations borne of the spate of M&A activity in recent years. Monitoring communities more deeply than they’re obligated to do is almost impossible over their geographic footprints. Particularly since, for these organisations, huge amounts of capital have to be spent solely on maintaining stock. However, many RPs are missing an opportunity. They’re not using contractors’ insights, yet these businesses can offer a wealth of understanding about local communities. Construction and Maintenance Teams’ Positive Impact Of course, customer care officers can’t be everywhere at once. Construction and maintenance teams interact with housing associations’ customers every day. They see it all first hand and can be friendly faces on estates while also helping associations to identify solutions to regular issues. Many on-site professionals are keen to engage. They aren’t simply there to fix and repair homes, they build relationships with communities and in some cases, can be vulnerable people’s most frequent visitor while they’re around. They will regularly help elderly residents with their shopping and can be the first to discover if they’ve had an injury. Housing associations can also ask these teams to be vigilant for signs of violence and abuse and can ask them to keep their eyes open in areas where there are suspicions of drug use. While, yes, any responsible person would report illegal activity, contractors can help further by identifying trends too – how or why certain issues may be cropping up frequently. Using them in this way can help housing associations think up new ideas of how they might be better addressed. CSR Programmes It’s not just about pointing out the problems too. Many contractors have CSR programmes and housing associations could also use these to proactively address challenges in their communities. We run a national CSR programme called Changing Lives. So far, we’ve changed over 33,000 lives since 2015 through community projects that provide work opportunities or skills development or regenerate certain areas to help improve aspirations. One of our projects in the last year saw us work with a national housing association to provide temporary accommodation for homeless young families in Sheffield, for example. Advice for Landlords Landlords can do this by opening the channels of communication. Contractors and their on-site teams can provide regular updates or join team meetings to discuss issues on estates. They can also work in conjunction with customer care teams during their day-to-day work too, offering opinions, advice and useful context before officers contact residents. Contractors are a resource often under-used in this respect. However, landlords could not only get a better understanding of the real issues in their estates, but get the insight needed to help them solve them, by involving the people who are in their communities every day.
A day in the life of Michelle, our Helpdesk supervisor

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MICHELLE, OUR HELPDESK SUPERVISOR

  05 JUNE, 2018
It’s a bright mid-May morning at Novus Scotland’s Bathgate office and Michelle has just come back on shift.   Michelle and her team of eight coordinate the responsive repairs of about 15,000 properties across Scotland, scheduling some fifty maintenance operatives to fix a whole range of resident-reported problems ranging from blocked toilets to broken garden fences. Michelle first checks the e-mail from the afterhours Helpdesk to see how her last job of the previous evening has progressed. Michelle is proud that Novus provide a 24-hour continuous service to help the residents with their most pressing maintenance issues, but sees that this plumbing job has not yet been fixed due to some sensitive safety considerations preventing Neil - the maintenance operative - from visiting the property alone.   After fully understating these concerns, Michelle contacted her Housing Association customer and arranged for Neil to be accompanied on his visit. Using the Impact Response workforce management system on-line job scheduling system, Michelle arranges for Neil to meet his Housing Association “chaperone” at 10:00am so the job could be completed. All the information he needs is automatically routed to Neil’s handheld Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) allowing him to see all necessary job details then record his arrival time at site, hours on task and capture the resident’s satisfaction with the finished job. Satisfied that the job had now been scheduled, Michelle returned to the other outstanding jobs across Scotland.  By querying the Impact Response system, she determined that twenty eight new jobs had been entered into the system - either by residents calling in, or directly by the Housing Association customers.  Michelle sorted these jobs by region and distributed them to her team for scheduling.   Michelle then got down to allocating the open jobs in her region to maintenance operatives.  She drew on her knowledge of the local area including traffic conditions during the day and of which types of repair an operative is qualified to handle.  This also involves optimising the route between jobs to ensure that each operative is busy but can make each appointment in the scheduled time window.  Michelle allocates operatives by postcode and has several printed maps of her coverage area to make this possible.   As Michelle grabs an early coffee she reflects on her morning so far.  She is delighted to have got the sensitive plumbing job underway and pleased that all the reactive repair works are being scheduled by her team.  Michelle knows how critical her team is to maintaining the resident’s quality of life, whilst ensuring that the Novus team are used to best effect to fulfil the contractual commitments.