Swan is a housing provider and landlord managing more than 11,500 homes, including social rent, shared ownership, NHS accommodation and supported schemes.
It operates in East London and Essex. These areas are not currently covered by Orbit but are close to where we are operating and have existing properties. Our geography is therefore complementary.
In December 2021, we updated our website with the news that we were entering into early discussions with Swan Housing Association, with a view towards Swan joining the Orbit Group.
Should the partnership proceed, Swan would join the Orbit Group as a subsidiary, creating a combined housing association with almost 60,000 homes. A subsidiary is an organisation that is owned – either partially or wholly – by another organisation.
There would be no change to your tenancy or to any services you receive from Orbit. The proposed partnership would strengthen the ability of Orbit and Swan to deliver an excellent customer experience. We can do this through the better sharing of our technology, our people, and our resources.
We are committed to delivering our Customer Promise and placing customers at the heart of everything we do. This remains our focus as we strive to offer good value, high quality homes and help our customers and communities to thrive.
Should the partnership go ahead, we believe Orbit and Swan would be stronger together. We would share our technology, our people, and our resources to ensure you receive an excellent customer experience while also strengthening our future plans.
Swan shares our ethos and values and is committed to investing in communities and providing good quality homes that people can afford in places they are proud to live.
Swan is proud of its development schemes across East London and Essex where it is regenerating existing communities, managing these estates with its own teams, and creating great places for people to call home. It provides housing and support services for young homeless people, specialist accommodation for people with a learning disability, homes for NHS key workers and CQC Regulated care services.
Like Orbit, Swan is dedicated to excellent customer service and is passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and their communities. It delivers a range of community development activities through its specialist teams, including actively programmed community centres, education and training support programmes and ‘growing and greening’ initiatives.
In December 2021, the Social Housing Regulator reviewed Swan’s governance and financial viability and downgraded this from G2/V2 to G3/V3. A grading of G3/V3 indicates that Swan currently does not meet the Regulator’s governance and viability requirements.
Swan remains committed to the communities it serves and is continuing to work with the Regulator to address its findings and improve its position. We have been working with Swan and sharing our knowledge and expertise as Swan progresses a series of actions to deal with the immediate challenges within its business.
By working together, Swan would be able to take the necessary steps to implement improvement plans without any direct impact on the services provided to you.
There are currently no plans to sell any properties, although we may buy or sell properties in the future as part of our ongoing asset management strategy.
No, your rent or service charge would not increase as a result of the proposed partnership.
Rents would continue to follow the government’s rent setting rules and we will continue to calculate service charges in the same way so you will only be charged for the actual cost of services.
Should the partnership go ahead, there would be no immediate change to the ways in which you can report repairs and the ways in which we manage repairs, planned maintenance and home improvements.
We would continue deliver an excellent customer service, through our partner network.
Orbit and Swan are both committed to delivering an excellent customer service and, should the partnership go ahead, there would be no immediate change to the ways in which you contact us.
There are no immediate plans to combine Orbit’s Customer Service Centre and Swan’s Customer Relations Officers.
Swan customers would continue to contact Swan regarding their tenancies and services.
There are currently no plans to make any changes to Orbit’s digital platforms or our future digital strategy as a result of the proposed partnership.
The proposed partnership would incorporate Swan’s current way of working within the Orbit Group structure, therefore there would be no immediate plans to close any Orbit offices.
Should the partnership go ahead, joint branding would be developed. No decisions on brand names or visual identities have been made at this early stage in the discussions.
Both Swan and Orbit are committed to listening to you to truly understand your priorities and to involving you in decisions about your home and community.
We have involved customers in writing these FAQs and, should the partnership go ahead, it is vital that we continue to engage with you. We would want to gather your feedback to establish our priorities and ensure decisions are made with your best interests in mind. So, whilst there are no immediate plans to combine the Swan and Orbit customer engagement functions, it is very important that they both work together.
No, we will not be sharing any personal details about individual Orbit customers with Swan during these discussions.
Your opinion matters to us and we would like to invite you to give your feedback on the proposed partnership.
The six-week feedback period will start on Thursday 3 March 2022 and will close on Tuesday 19 April at 5pm. During this time, you can provide your views in any of the following ways:
Fill in the online form at: orbitcustomerhub.org.uk/yourfeedback
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to us at: Customer Feedback, Orbit Housing Association, Garden Court, Harry Weston Road, Binley Business Park, Coventry, CV3 2SU.
If you need any assistance to submit your response, please call 0800 678 1221, select option 4 and leave a message. A member of the Orbit team will call you back to take you through the questions in the online form and fill this in on your behalf.
After Tuesday 19 April, we will collate the responses and update the FAQs to reflect your feedback.
The updated FAQs will be published on our customer website, or you can call 0800 678 1221 and ask for a copy to be sent to you in the post.
Your feedback will form part of the information Orbit’s Board will use to decide whether the proposed partnership with Swan should be progressed.
We will provide an update on our proposal later in spring 2022.
Should the partnership go ahead, we expect it would be formalised late summer 2022.