Midland Heart staff get a say
Front line staff at a midlands-based housing association could have a say in how the organisation spends its £16 million a year surplus under plans to increase employee involvement in the business.
Midland Heart, which owns 32,000 homes, has spent £25,000 on commissioning consultancy WCL to help it come up with ways of improving staff involvement.
The association, based in Birmingham, originally considered mutualisation, which could have seen staff taking part-ownership of assets.
However, it decided not to do this following concerns the move could have breached conditions in existing loan agreements with banks.
Over the next few months the organisation and WCL will organise focus groups of staff and managers before producing a report towards the end of the summer.
Ideas could involve: employing designated staff involvement officers; involving staff in decisions about the allocation of surpluses; and giving teams more control over their work.
Janice Smith, strategy and business support director at Midland Heart, said the plans could allow the association to benefit from the principles of mutualisation without adopting a mutual structure.
She said: ‘This could help improve efficiency and motivation. It is about behavioural change - creating a sense of ownership.’
She added that cost savings were not the principal motivation for the move.
The housing association’s decision on whether or not it will adopt the practices will be announced in the autumn.