Efficiency North has enjoyed very busy and exciting times in the 3 years since it became a standalone, not-for-profit, micro SME. The consortium of Yorkshire and Humber social housing landlords has succeeded in growing its order book from £4m in 2014/15 to c£57m in 2016/17. Building on this unprecedented phase of success, and in response to government goals to tackle the housing crisis, members’ concerns over the skills shortage and the looming impact of Brexit, the board approved an exciting strategy, re-structuring EN into a combined group of companies to expand operations and increase services with Efficiency North Holdings Ltd at the helm.
New Efficiency North Holdings Ltd Board
To steer this next exciting phase, EN have worked hard to bring together a 12-strong team to govern the new holdings company, starting with the appointment of new Independent Chair, Jackie Axelby MBA, MBE, previously Group Chair of Isos Housing Group, followed by 7 member directors, including Chair of Women in Social Housing, Heidi Thompson, 3 independents, including former Chair of Yorkshire Forward, Terry Hodgkinson CBE and Lee Parkinson, Chief Executive. The new board’s first meeting was held at EN’s office base at Meadowhall, Sheffield on Thursday 21 September.
Establishing EN:Able Futures
In July, Efficiency North acquired apprenticeships employer and futures provider, Futureworks Yorkshire CIC, who joined the family of companies within EN’s new corporate structure to form EN:Able Futures. Futureworks is also not-for-profit and shares EN’s values and commitment to increase training and employment opportunities in housing and construction in Yorkshire and Humber communities that have been hardest hit by the economic climate and the loss of traditional industries. EN:Able Futures will go on to develop provision of higher level shared apprenticeships around an academy model in the fields of investment, asset management, development and customer services to address the white collar skills shortage heading over the horizon for EN’s social housing landlord membership.
Innovative ways to accelerate provision of new homes
The new EN Holdings board’s first major steer will be the establishment of another new company in the EN family: EN:Able Build. This venture will accelerate the provision of homes through the purchase and development of building land under an innovative, first-time model to unlock small pockets of land for local SME building contractors to develop much needed new homes.
Dedicating up to 50% of income and all surplus to its charity, EN:Able Communities CIO, EN has already given nearly £400k in funding to 101 community groups in Yorkshire and Humber, with another £200k total pot available in 2017. In the past 2 financial years, EN has also delivered 225 training and employment opportunities through its EN:Procure and Re:allies frameworks, targeting those furthest from the labour market in the tenant communities of landlord members.
Efficiency North Holdings’ Chief Executive, Lee Parkinson, commented, “Efficiency North’s vision to work in partnership with its members to provide efficiency, high quality apprenticeships and innovative solutions for new housing places the organisation at the centre of the social housing sector agenda. Our new corporate structure brings additional strength to the organisation and will enhance the motivation and commitment of the executive team in supporting our members in their constant efforts to provide employment opportunities and high quality affordable homes to their customers.”
Jackie Axelby, Independent Chair, added, “Efficiency North has had a very successful history and I am confident it will continue to grow and thrive, helping its members to deliver their challenging agendas. Our new board has a mixture of continuity from its predecessor organisation matched by new members drawn from our customer base and, for the first time, independent members. Together, we bring a wide range of relevant skills, experience and energy to lead the organisation into its next phase of development.”