GreenSquare Merger Update

GreenSquare Merger Update
Developing our new brand – get involved!

Thank you once again to everyone who has taken part in the work we've been doing during the last couple of months around values and branding. We have had feedback from colleagues, customers and other stakeholders.

It has been really interesting to discover the fondness there is for both Accord and GreenSquare's existing brands. Many of the comments from stakeholders, internally and externally, said they would be eager to retain aspects of the familiar.

Listening to this feedback – and clear in our commitment that the newly-merged organisation will be a true partnership of equals, that builds on the great work that each of our organisations has done up until now and recognises and celebrates that history – the Board and Executive designate have agreed that our new organisation will operate as GreenSquareAccord.

The visual elements of the brand (including logo) are still being worked on and there are opportunities to be involved in this work during the next week.

If you are interested, please sign up for one of the sessions (being run by See Media) below. Simply click the session you would like to attend:

Monday 8 February at 10am

Monday 8 February at 6pm 

Tuesday 9 February at 2pm

Wednesday 10 February at 11am


In October Accord and GreenSquare boards agreed to continue partnership discussions to lead to a potential merger in 2021

The decision was made following a detailed period of due diligence work and extensive customer consultation and engagement which found there is substantial backing from customers for the proposed merger.

This marks the beginning of an exciting period as we now look in detail at the great opportunities that a merger could help us achieve for our customers and the communities with whom we work.

Combined our organisations will have the scale and capacity to build hundreds more new homes each year, we will be able to increase available resource for investment in our existing homes and we shall be able to increase the breadth of our services such as care and support, building for sale, community–led housing and modern methods of construction.  We will also be able to widen our overall offer to customers.

This is a significant milestone in the process, and marks a very exciting time for both Accord and GreenSquare as we start to look in more detail at how our two housing associations could form a successful merger and create a new organisation with a larger geography but one that enhances a truly locally based approach to customers and services.


Your questions answered

Thank you to everyone who has taken the opportunity to provide us with feedback or ask additional questions. Below are the answers to the commonly asked questions.

How would the merger happen?

The proposal is that GreenSquare Group Ltd and GreenSquare Community Housing would merge with Accord by what is called a ‘transfer of engagements’. This is when a housing association transfers all of its assets and liabilities (including their properties, tenancies and leases) into another housing association. It is an effective and relatively straightforward way of merging housing associations. GreenSquare and Accord together would create a larger and stronger organisation operating with a new name. At the same time, Westlea Housing Association Ltd would become a subsidiary of the new merged organisation – in exactly the same way as it is currently a subsidiary of GreenSquare.
Would this affect my tenancy or lease? Although the combined organisation would have a new name, this change would not have any other effect on your tenancy or lease. Your legal rights and the terms and conditions of your tenancy or lease would remain unchanged.
Would my rent or service charge be affected? No, the proposed merger won’t affect your rent or service charge or how you pay. The charges you pay would continue to be reviewed every year, as they are at the moment, in line with your current tenancy agreement or lease.
 What about the right to buy?  If you already have the right to buy, you would not lose the right and you will continue to be able to exercise the right in the same way as before.
 Would my repairs, grounds maintenance or cleaning contractors change? There are no immediate plans to make changes to any of our other contractors – as contracts come up for renewal we’ll review what’s best for all customers.
 Will I have the same contacts – my Housing Officer, for example? Yes, although the new combined organisation will have a new name, services will continue to be delivered in the same way by the same people – and you’ll continue to get in touch with us as you do at the moment, by phone, by email or via the website. 
Why GreenSquare? For us, this isn’t about merging with just any housing association. We are in discussions with GreenSquare because we believe that they share the same values and ambitions for expanding and enhancing locally-focused services to customers. We believe this merger of equals would create a stronger and more resilient organisation that’s more ‘future-proof’ and ready to deal with future challenges. Put simply, we believe we could do more together – and do it better – than we could on our own.

The Accord and GreenSquare operating areas link together geographically (Midlands, through to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, across into Herefordshire and Wales and south to Wiltshire). Customers of the new organisation would have access to homes and services within this expanded area.

Tell me more about GreenSquare GreenSquare is based in Chippenham and owns and manages 12,000 homes in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Its focus is on providing homes and landlord services for those who cannot afford to meet their housing needs in the open market; building new homes for sale helps fund more social homes and improved services.
Will your offices be closed down? No, there are no immediate plans to change offices. GreenSquare will retain its existing offices and Accord will keep its offices. In future we would explore the option of opening local 'hubs' as part of our extra investment in local community-focused services.
Why would the merger mean more investment in local communities? The larger organisation would have more resources – and increased numbers of homes in places where our current operating areas meet, including Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. This would make it possible for us to deliver new and improved services for all, including in localities where this hasn’t always been feasible.
Are there any disadvantages to the proposal? We have looked carefully at the consequences of this proposal and through a process known as ‘due diligence’ we will ensure that the merger will be of no detriment to Accord and its customers. One short-term disadvantage is the amount of time and resources required to achieve the merger and align the systems and people from both organisations, but this will result in the long-term benefits outlined above. Other than that, there is strong indication that a merger would make good business sense.
How will customers be able to influence the way the new organisation operates? We are committed to providing ways for you to get involved and help us improve our services. We are keen to hear what you think, what’s important and what we can do better. That won’t change if the merger goes ahead. Although we don’t yet know what channels or groups there might be, our commitment to you having opportunities to influence things remains. We will work with our current customer groups to make sure that your voice will continue to be heard.

Will this mean an increase in rent?

The proposed merger won’t affect your rent or service charge or how you pay. The charges you pay would continue to be reviewed as they are at the moment, in line with your current tenancy agreement or lease.

Will it be ok?

We have looked carefully at the consequences of this proposal and through a process known as ‘due diligence’ we will ensure that the merger will be of no detriment to Accord and its customers. There is strong indication that a merger would make good business sense and will result in the long-term benefits, including improving services for existing customers; investing in more in local communities and building more affordable homes.

Would we have the right to buy the property under the merger?

If you already have the right to buy, you would not lose the right and you will continue to be able to exercise the right in the same way as before.

Why does bigger mean better?

By combining our resources we believe the new, larger housing association would be better placed to improve services to customers, invest in more local communities and build more new affordable homes. Some examples of how bigger can mean better, include having access to more specialist staff across the two organisations - combining some our purchases to enable us to get better value for some products we purchase, and sharing best practice. 

Will phone numbers stay the same?

Phone numbers would remain the same for some time. You can continue to contact us as you do now, by phone, email or via the website.

Why is Accord looking to merge with GreenSquare?

We are in discussions with GreenSquare because we believe that they share the same values and ambitions for expanding and enhancing locally-focused services to customers. GreenSquare is based in Chippenham and owns and manages 12,000 homes in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Its focus is on providing homes and landlord services for those who cannot afford to meet their housing needs in the open market; building new homes for sale helps fund more social homes and improved services.

Who would customers report repairs to?

Services will continue to be delivered in the same way by the same people – and you’ll continue to get in touch with us as you do at the moment, by phone, by email or via the website.

Would this open up more jobs?

We are regularly recruiting for people to work at Accord. If you are interested in finding out more about our latest vacancies please take a look at our jobs page.

Who would my landlord be if these two organisations merge?

Legally your landlord will not change, as the proposed structure is GreenSquare transferring into Accord. It is likely we will create a new name, but this would not affect your tenancy or lease. Your legal rights and the terms and conditions of your tenancy or lease would remain unchanged.

Will the new housing association open up more houses to transfer to?

The Accord and GreenSquare operating areas link together geographically (Midlands, through to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, across into Herefordshire and Wales and south to Wiltshire). Customers of the new organisation would have access to homes and services within this expanded area.

When will the merger be active?

It will take a few more months to complete the process, we would expect things to be finalised late spring, early summer 2021

Will the service charge I pay change if the merger takes place?

The proposed merger won’t affect your rent or service charge or how you pay. The charges you pay would continue to be reviewed as they are at the moment, in line with your current tenancy agreement or lease.

Will I have to make changes to how I pay my rent - e.g with All Pay or the name on my Direct Debit?

No - no changes are required at the moment. In time we may choose a new name, but we will discuss this with you when that happens. There will be lots of opportunity for tenant groups to get involved in choosing the new name.

Can you invest in the properties you already have, instead of merging and building new homes?

We have a regular investment programme in place and we will continue to invest and maintain our existing properties. We will also continue to build new, affordable homes. Both Accord and GreenSquare are committed to providing more, much needed, secure, affordable homes for people across the country.

How will this benefit owner occupied properties?

It will not affect owner occupied properties. If Accord is your leaseholder, this will continue. The proposed merger won’t affect your rent or service charges or how you pay

What will be the name of the housing association when it merges?

If the decision is made to merge, it is likely that the merged company will choose a new name. There will be lots of work to be done over the coming months on things like this and we will keep all customers informed and let you know ways in which you can be involved.

If the new organisation has a new name, will this affect my housing benefit?

Although we will choose a new name for the new housing association, this will not affect your housing benefit.

Will repairs be managed more efficiently?

By combining our resources we believe the new, larger housing association would be better placed to improve services to customers.

Will this affect the prospect of staircasing?

For Shared Owners, the option to staircase will not be affected by the potential merger.

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