In 2016 Acuity introduced four new cost-per-unit (CPU) indicators with detailed definitions provided by our colleagues at HouseMark. We have prepared some additional guidance to help providers of Housing for Older People and Supported Housing.
The four measures are:
- Housing management
- Responsive repairs and void works
- Major works and cyclical maintenance
- Overheads (back office costs)
The aim is to provide smaller housing associations with robust cost measures that would give boards, HCA and other stakeholders more assurance than that obtained from accounts-based metrics. The problem with the latter is that comparisons are compromised by diverse, but perfectly acceptable, accounting practice. Cost benchmarking overcomes this by providing detailed definitions to ensure consistency, facilitating valid comparisons.
The cost of direct care and support provision, community investment, estate management and a host of other skewing items are deliberately set aside by the methodology to ensure that everybody stays focussed on the common business of managing social housing covered by the four metrics. All such excluded items are ascribed to ‘Other’ and together with the costs apportioned to the four indicators should add up to your total operating costs.