Why form a partnership and how did it come about?
Philippa: “We had been looking to find the right partner who could help us to deliver even more, and enable us to make a bigger impact on more customers across the communities where we work.
“We were both aware that on our own we could do good things, but that with more scale we could have an even greater impact. We had a discussion in the spring and came back to it in the summer.”
Robert: “We’ve been increasingly of the view over the past 18 months that joining forces with another organisation is the right strategic decision if it means we can make more of a difference for our current, future and aspiring customers.
“As a result, we’ve been researching potential partners and being absolutely clear on what really matters.”
What were you looking for in a partner?
Robert: “I think we were both looking for three things. Firstly financial strength; any partner had to be financially strong like ourselves.
“Secondly, we were extremely keen a potential partner had values and behaviours which matched our own – we believe very passionately about that. And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the real focus on making a difference to customers.
“We believe wholeheartedly we enable people to build and rebuild their lives, and so it was really important any partner had very similar views around this.”
Philippa: “It’s not just about how many homes you build or how many homes you own, but about what happens to people as a result of living in those great homes.
“We were definitely drawn by that similarity in approach. We also looked at things like geographical compatibility and it’s fair to say Merlin really ticked all our boxes.”
You mentioned making a difference to customers. What benefits will the partnership bring?
Philippa: “Like Bromford, Merlin offer much more than a traditional landlord service and they have set up in partnership with other agencies a Wellbeing College that helps people overcome barriers to get into training and work.
“This partnership will enable us to extend our neighbourhood coaching approach and localities programme to customers in Merlin’s homes, as well as expanding the Wellbeing College to customers living in Bromford homes, among many other exciting initiatives.”
Robert: “The other key element of the partnership is the number of new affordable homes that we can build together.
“Individually we can build a good number but jointly we think we can invest £1.5bn in new homes over the next decade.
“Given the strength of the balance sheet of the new organisation we’ll be able to undertake a range schemes, which I think individually we may not have been able to.
“Our operational area has been designated for huge growth and we both passionately believe we can deliver something as one big team that is truly transformational.”