A message from Heather Kiteley, Group Chief Executive
For many months, like most of our peers, we have been searching for ways to address the challenges presented by soaring inflation, record high overhead costs and the wider cost of living crisis.
The horrible reality is that some of our tenants are feeling overwhelmed and finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. This means that we need to find ways to cover our costs while keeping our rents as low as possible and continuing to provide excellent places for people to live and vital support services.
Having exhausted all other options to make savings and reduce overheads, we have now taken the decision to reduce our staff costs by opening a voluntary redundancy scheme for Harbour Homes staff.
We appreciate that our staff are also being impacted by the sky-high cost of living and that reducing our staff team will be disruptive in the short term, so this decision has not been taken lightly. However, we must take this step in order to safeguard the organisation in the long term. I very much hope that through a voluntary scheme this can be achieved in a way that will be mutually beneficial to the staff members involved and the organisation.
The extent of savings secured by voluntary redundancies will determine whether we can avoid moving to the next option which would be compulsory redundancy.
In the meantime, we are also seeking new ways to fund the support services we provide alongside our frontline services. For example, we are continuing to develop commercial activities across our group to generate profits to reinvest in our communities and offset some of Harbour Homes’ costs. We are also undergoing a programme of digital transformation which will help us to work more efficiently and to reduce some of our overhead costs.
We wish to be open and transparent about the situation with our tenants, fellow registered social landlords and other stakeholders, and ask that you are mindful that this is a period of uncertainty and change for all our staff.