In the fifth of our spotlight series, we spoke to Steve Wood, Finance Director at Onward Homes to discuss sector challenges and how the PI Club benefits him.

What was the main driver for you joining Performance Improvement Club?

The opportunity to join the PI Club came at exactly the right time for us. Internally we were having a reshuffle and we were doing some rethinking on our Metrics. We were also looking at definitions; at what and how we report to the Board. We realised that it could be incredibly helpful to be a room with other people who were interested in the same issues as us; to access key information from other peer organisations. Being part of the PI Club not only made this possible but also it was a relatively pain free process. Through discussions with other PI Club members we were able to look at some of the relevant issues afresh.

What has been your biggest learning or light bulb moment since joining the PI Club?

We’ve had several lightbulb moments. However, our biggest was probably around benchmarking. Before we joined the PI Club I don’t think we had ever really used benchmarking properly. Up to that point we carried out reviews but often failed to act on the information. Membership of the PI Club helped us use benchmarking information as a can-opener to look at why we had been doing things one way and then make changes where necessary.

The ability to quickly get in touch with other members and get some instant feedback on what others are doing is also invaluable. For example, the Board wanted us to do some research into component review and replacement cycles. Through the PI Club we could quickly log onto the system and see how we compared to other organisations in the sector. We were able to easily demonstrate that we were largely in line with what other organisations were doing and give the Board some much appreciated context.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of joining the PI Club?

Everyone is welcome, but we really want people who engage and are proactive. We don’t want passive members but rather people that want to actively take part and push the agenda forward. You definitely get out what you put into this group.

What do you think are the key challenges for the sector?

We are constantly being told that we need to develop and build more housing stock. I think there is a real challenge to us to do this without losing sight of our social focus. We have a responsibility to our communities to build houses in a way that keeps the community and the social aspect at the heart of what we do. The pressure from Government on us to deliver more homes shouldn’t compromise our social agenda.

To find out more about the Performance Improvement Club and how you may be able to benefit, register your interest here or give us a call on 0151 342 5989