The head of Scotland’s leading provider of housing, care and support services for older people has spoken of the need to manage the ongoing financial pressures facing the sector while continuing to deliver high standards.
Brian Logan, chief executive of Edinburgh-based Bield, said delivering its next five year plan from 2015 will be crucial as he looks to lead the modernisation of the organisation – which has services in Airdrie, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Motherwell, Newarthill and Wishaw - through difficult times.
And he highlighted that while the Referendum has provided the answer to one key question, it is still clear that change is coming to the sector.
Brian said: “My priority and that of the senior management team and Board collectively over the coming months will be to ensure we have a sustainable financial plan which allows us to do all the good things we want to do but keep us viable in the long-term.
“That means being serious about making the best use of existing limited resources, reviewing our processes and harnessing the investments we’ve made to help us reduce our costs.
“I meet regularly with chief executives of other housing associations and they are all facing similar issues.
“Our final priority for 2014 into 2015 will be to start the process of reviewing our major planning document, our Business Strategy. It will soon be five years since we approved ‘Bielding the Future’ – and we’ve achieved much.
“Bield today is very different from Bield five years ago. But there is more to do.
“So in 2015, we’ll start that detailed consultation with our customers, our staff, our partners to draw up the next five-year plan.
“I have lots of ideas about what should be in our next modernisation programme.
“But central to all of that will be understanding what our tenants and service users want.
“That means engaging more with them - delivering the services and standards that they want and expect.”
Brian, who was speaking at the AGM of Bield, added that there are a number of measures being planned that will create positive, exciting changes for people who use Bield services.
These include developing a handyperson service, providing repairs by appointment, building more new homes, upgrading existing stock, ensuring customer service scores consistently high, expanding the Bield at Home homecare service, further developing into the telecare market and providing the innovative services for people with dementia.
Brian said: “We’re facing budget pressures like never before. Our income is being squeezed and our costs continue to rise.
“And through all of that, our values of caring for each other remains at the forefront of our everyday actions.
“That means acting with dignity, inclusion, honesty, advancing equality, celebrating diversity, being ambitious for our people and sticking to our ethos of ‘free to be’.
“These values will act as our anchor in what will undoubtedly be choppy waters ahead.”
The Bield AGM, which was held at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel in Edinburgh, also heard of the success of a number of initiatives over the last 12 months, including the appointment of their new Energy Manager who is working to make Bield more energy efficient, the Tenancy Sustainment Team, a new Tenant Handbook and the launch of the new Bield People Strategy.
Bield is also looking to develop and expand various existing areas, including its dementia evening care service as well as boosting its property stock through development expansion in different parts of Scotland.