Jephson Homes Housing Association and Raglan Housing have announced they are to pursue joining their two organisations together, following the announcement of initial talks back in June.
Work since then has focused on building a formal business case which is now complete. As a result, both Boards have agreed to take things forward and will begin a period of resident consultation from October 21, through to 2 December. An application to the HCA will then be made in the New Year and, if approved, the new organisation will become effective from next spring.
The move would create one of the UK’s largest housing associations with a strong presence concentrated over three divisions:
• East and Yorkshire Division managing 6,500 homes
• South Division managing 10,950 homes
• West Midlands and Lancashire Division managing 8,500 homes
The main part of the business will continue to focus on general needs accommodation along with a wide range of supported and specialist services. Up to 940 additional homes would be possible, funded from more than £38m in efficiency savings over a 10 year period.
Raglan and Jephson both have ambitions to increase their effectiveness and believe the merger is an ideal strategic and cultural fit. The new Group would have over 25,000 homes, including some prime areas concentrated across areas of the East, South and West. Jephson Board Chair, Michael Collins, says a combined group would be stronger and could do more than either organisation could individually: “We are operating in a challenging sector where there is an ever-growing need for good quality homes, pitched against an increasingly tough operating environment. What makes this merger unique is the critical mass it would give us in terms of positioning and influence. Bringing our two organisations together will have a disproportionately positive impact over and above what either of us may hope to achieve alone. We believe this deal will secure a whole range of benefits for residents as well as strengthening our organisational future.”
Full implementation and integration is expected to take up to 3 to 4 years but will begin with new Board and governance structures, an early focus on an expanded programme of development and a £2m investment in new IT infrastructure to support customer interaction.
Raglan Board Chair, George Blunden, says it’s an exciting time: “Today’s news reflects our strategy which has been concentrated around investment, growth and sustainability. We want to create a new, dynamic organisation that is strong and innovative enough not only to weather the challenges ahead but to excel in meeting them. Our vision is to for everyone to have the opportunity to have a place they can call home – particularly those who may be disadvantaged or vulnerable and whose needs are not met by the open market. In today’s society, this is a growing population so government, local authorities, agencies, developers, financers and housing providers need to work together to provide creative solutions.”
Staff of both organisations have been fully briefed on today’s announcement. Work will continue on integration plans during the resident consultation period then the Boards will make a final decision in December. Assuming a positive outcome, a formal application to the HCA is expected to be made in January.