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Housing Association Procurement Compliance & Value for Money

At Thornton & Lowe we understand the challenges facing Housing Associations in the UK. Dave Thornton, Msc Housing Practice, founded the business in 2009 with a background in Housing Association procurement; helping organisations achieve compliance and value for money.

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Our Commercial and Procurement Services

Our specialised Estate Services division has developed from this foundation and is now headed by Steven, Director of Housing Consultancy. Steven is a leader in the facilities management sector, with 25 years’ experience in Housing Association grounds maintenance and wider estate services.

Steven's focus is on service design and specification, delivery and outcomes, improvements, customer satisfaction, health & safety, social value, procurement, and supporting Housing Associations to bring the service in-house. His extensive experience in mobilising and managing over 50 multi-million pound contracts in the sector has given him a deep understanding of the challenges, frustrations, and opportunities that come with managing these services. He is committed to developing, improving, and creating accountability and transparency throughout the service while maximising value for money.

We offer a range of support to help Housing Associations manage their estate services, grounds maintenance and cleaning services more effectively.

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Estate Services Audits - Procurement Preparation

As part of our highly success estate services audits, we often work with housing associations to help them prepare for a procurement exercise. The comprehensive audit of your existing estate services, grounds maintenance and cleaning services identify areas for improvement and cost savings.

For many Housing Associations, their grounds maintenance and cleaning services, as well as repairs, are critical elements in ensuring resident satisfaction. For this reason, Thornton & Lowe offers Estate Service Audits. Our experienced auditor will analyse the full service, from specification, site visits, commercials, supplier interviews and resident and service user satisfaction surveys. Not only do these audits provide a tool to independently verify your grounds maintenance performance, along with improvement actions, they can also identify quick wins, potential problems ahead of time and a chance to reassess and develop the service. This can be a vital tool in contract management, as well as a starting point for the next procurement exercise.

Continually assessing the delivery as it happens allows for a flawless service delivery whilst at the same time identifying training gaps within the team. It’s also a great opportunity to monitor compliance and health and safety, both for team members but also the general public.

Issues that get highlighted in these audits can have a large bearing on the customer experience but include points such as:

  • Quality of work
  • Missed items from the specification
  • Missed areas of the site
  • Quality of the finish
  • Health and Safety
  • Contract and wider compliance
  • Security
  • Interaction with the residents or general public
  • Environmental issues
  • Training opportunities
  • Brand and appearance - how the team are perceived

It’s also an opportunity to collect feedback from residents, asses if the specification is still 100% relevant, check site plans, and collate ideas and future proposals to improve. Undertaking regular independent audits and recording this data demonstrates a high level of commitment to quality and value for money. It also provides a route to consistently monitor whether you are receiving the service and social value which has been promised in the bid.

Auditing contracts prior to contract start and then at regular intervals also gives the client a benchmark and KPIs, as well as demonstrating continuous improvement.

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Procurement Support for Housing Associations Estate Services

Once we have completed an audit, our social housing client will have a clear plan and recommendations, as well as fully costed procurement options appraisal, with a new and bespoke specification designed as a solution to your specific challenges.

From here, we can:

  • Engage suppliers and the wider marketplace
  • Assess your options with regards to existing frameworks and DPS, in comparison to the likely results of running your own tender exercise
  • Produce a procurement plan and timeline
  • Develop your procurement pack
  • Support the evaluation and award stage
  • Be part of your interview panel for presentations
  • Complete supplier / bidder due diligence
  • Support mobilisation and contract management.

Estate Services

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