Our products and services are designed to tackle
financial exclusion and protect vulnerable people.
Welfare reform and financial inclusion
Helping our customers manage their finances has always made sense to us. With the Government introducing radical changes to the welfare system, this has never been more important. We’re gearing up for these changes - this means making sure our customers are aware of the impact of the reforms.
Many of our customers are unable to borrow money due to poor credit history. They often resort to loans with very high interest rates. Our non-profit affordable loans service helped more than 849 people access affordable finance in 2015/16. We also give our customers access to debt advice services, insurance and mortgages. In 2015/16, we helped customers increase their household income by over £2.3 million in total.
Working with contractors and suppliers
We’re making a positive impact on communities as well as the environment. As part of the tender process we ask all contractors to demonstrate how their training and recruitment decisions deliver maximum community benefits. We’ve also invested in new systems like our online supplier portal.
Giving customers a say
We recognise that our purchasing decisions have a big impact on our customers. That’s why we involve them in all our major purchasing decisions. They help us to decide which supplier or contractor is selected and what products we buy.
Paying on time
Missing payment dates can have a negative impact on our biggest suppliers and contractors. Sometimes this has a knock-on effect on their supply chain - often hitting small businesses the hardest. In 2013/14 we paid 94% of suppliers within 30 days of invoice. And we're improving all the time - our new electronic system has made payments faster.
Cleaning contractor Carter and Faraday Associates Ltd submitted a tender to work with the Places for People Group.
Adam George, Business Development Manager:
“The whole process was very professional and we knew exactly what they expected from us. We needed to demonstrate that we had an equal opportunities policy, a good training programme and that we were up-to-date with technology and innovation. These were just some of the requirements.
“3 Places for People customers were on the selection panel. This helps contractors like us to forge a relationship with residents.”
The company were successful in their bid. They’re now 18 months into a 3 year contract with the Group and provide cleaning services to 71 sites in the South East.
“We’re more than just a supplier,” says Adam. “We work in partnership with Places for People and have direct contact with their customers through regular coffee mornings, estate walkabouts and other events.”
Aircraft engineer Chris Monk and his wife Samantha were struggling to buy a house due to high deposit rates.
“I have a young family and had been in search of a new home for some time, as our previous rental wasn’t sufficient to meet my growing family’s needs. However, faced with the demands of a 20% deposit on an older property, or paying a premium for a new build with a lesser deposit we knew that buying a house in the current market wasn’t an option.” said Chris.
They were attracted to our stylish new development, Lock 54 in Blackburn, Lancashire, which was completed in early 2012. After seeking the advice of the Places for People sales and financial teams, Chris opted for our Rent to Homebuy scheme.
“The Rent to Homebuy scheme has provided us with the perfect balance of being able to live in a stylish new home that’s right for us, and providing us the opportunity to continue saving towards that all important deposit. The scheme has given us the stability of knowing our house will soon be ours to own and the flexibility to achieve that,” Chris commented.
It’s put Chris and Samantha on the first step to home ownership. They’re renting their dream home at a subsidised rate of 80% of the market rate for 3 years. This means they can save for the 25% deposit that’s needed after that time.