PfH (Procurement for Housing) is a specialist procurement and framework consultancy for the housing sector.
They manage tendering opportunities and develop frameworks and DPS (Dynamic Purchasing Systems) agreements for their members, which are housing associations or Registered Providers (RPs) across the UK. If you are or want to be a supplier to the housing sector, PfH is likely to present many opportunities for your business to grow.
In 2022 PfH procured £245m of goods and services across 3,000 contracts! They have over 1000 members (public sector buyers – largely housing associations) who manage over 3.9m social housing properties. To put this into context, Government statistic notes that in 2021/2022 there was only a total of 4.4m social housing stock in England, which was an increase of 31,000 in the year. Access to PfH housing members can provide a highly efficient route to working with these organisations.
Thornton & Lowe was founded by Dave Thornton over 13 years ago. Dave has a background in housing association procurement, managing the tender process, and evaluating supplier bids and he holds an MSc in Housing Practice so fully understands the wider context and pressures on this market. We have been winning PfH frameworks and tenders for our clients ever since, thanks to our dedicated team of professional bid writers. We understand the requirements of PfH, what they expect from bidders and how to draft high-quality bid responses.
“The team at Thornton & Lowe supported us with a bid when there was little time remaining, they were professional and friendly. Ensured we were kept up to date with the progress and worked around our schedule. Overall, I would highly recommend Dave and the team. You will not be disappointed”. Shak Habib
“The feedback and advice on how to improve and perfect our bid and tenders were absolutely invaluable: XXX has already seen positive results. The whole experience went very smoothly with great communication throughout. Highly recommended! Ashvini Webster
In this article, we wanted to highlight the benefits of PfH to suppliers. To understand what a ‘framework’ is click this link to see our detailed overview.
PfH DPS & Framework Solutions
PfH uses both DPS and framework agreements to bring their buyers and suppliers together. We have produced an article covering how a DPS is different to a framework, which can be found by clicking here. One of the key benefits to suppliers is that they are continually open to new suppliers
PfH DPS Solutions include:
- Capital Works DPS – covering disabled adaptations, scaffolding, waste collection, kitchen, bathrooms, heating, insulation, roofing, windows and doors and cyclical painting
- Compliance Services DPS – covering lifts, legionella, radon testing, access control, Japanese Knotweed and Invasive Species, heating servicing and maintenance, fire, electrical testing and maintenance and asbestos
- Responsive Repairs & Void Works DPS – covering multi-discipline (full service) provision, general repairs and joinery, plumbing and heating, electrical and specialist works
- Asset Decarbonisation & Retrofit Solutions DPS – covering PAS services, Net Zero technical consultancy, primary measures (fabric first), secondary measures (Net Zero technologies installation and maintenance) , whole house retrofit, district infrastructure and systems installation and maintenance, Net Zero materials supply, Net Zero technology solutions and retrofit training academy.
Typically, DPS agreements are more about finding compliant suppliers in comparison to the best/highest-scoring bidder. There is rarely a maximum number of suppliers on a DPS, which can make them really accessible for SME bidders, looking to build up their public sector experience.
In addition to these DPS solutions, PfH also has its core suite of approved frameworks, which are usually for 4 years in duration and have a small window of 6 – 8 weeks in order for you to respond.
- Commercial & Domestic Appliances Framework
- Decorative Solutions Framework
- Electronic Payment Services Framework
- Energy Procurement Framework
- Fire Safety Consultancy Framework
- Lone Worker Protection Framework
- Fire Safety Works Framework
- Food Supplies Framework
- Furniture & Flooring Framework
- Janitorial, Workwear, PPE Framework
- Materials Framework
- Modern Method of Construction Framework (category 1 and 2)
- Office & Business Solutions Frameworks
- Planned Maintenance Framework
- Print Management Framework
- Recruitment Services Framework
- Renewables Framework
- Social Housing Emerging Disrupters (SHED) Framework
- Telecare/Telehealth Framework
- Telecoms Framework
- Vehicles Leasing Framework
- Void Property Management Framework.
PfH Scotland Frameworks
PfH also has a dedicated division for the Scottish social housing sector. This allows them to effectively offered tailored solutions for their Scottish housing association members who are looking to procure their goods and services smarter. At Thornton & Lowe we also have a dedicated office and team based in Scotland, working form our office in Fife.
Monitoring when the next key framework or tender is going to be advertise will give you time to plan and bid effectively. Typically, you would expect PfH to start procuring the new framework 7 – 9 months prior to the contract expiry date.
PfH Scotland Planned Works Frameworks:
Furniture and Flooring Framework
Kitchens and Bathrooms Framework
Technical Support Services Framework
PfH Scotland Responsive Works Frameworks:
Decorative Solutions Framework
PfH Scotland Support Services Frameworks:
Electronic Payments Systems (DPS)
Food (via TUCO)
Lone Worker Framework
Office Solutions Framework
Print Services Framework
PfH Frameworks – Bid Writing for SMEs
In 2021 PfH had a target to increase spending with SMEs to £64m per annum with this rising to over £70m in 2022. This is supported by one of their key social goals, which is to ‘create opportunities for local SMEs’.
This goal is part of their wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Goals. It is important when writing bids into an organisation to understand what is important to them and how they monitor their success, in order for your business to be part of the solution. For example, PfH wants to become a Net Zero business and wants to work with, and support, suppliers to do the same.
This is then reflected in their tender requirements, which have an increased weighting towards environmental implications. They also require suppliers to have or to be working towards (with evidence) ISO14001. They are actively targeted with increasing their spending on Net Zero products and services; in 2021 they had a £15m spend target, which increased to nearly £20m in 2022.
Social Value is another important element of PfH frameworks and tender responses. They have a Social Value Rebate Fund and also support an Energy Hardship Fund. These should be considered when drafting your social value tender responses. View our detailed and practical guide to Social Value here.
As bid writing experts, offering an outsourced bid solution, Thornton & Lowe has been helping tendering businesses win work on PfH frameworks for 13 years. This has included advising on suitable PfH tender opportunities, bid writing support and tender guidance. We also regularly help our clients secure contracts through PfH frameworks, via call-offs or mini-competitions.
We have developed some bid writing top tips, which can be found here, which will help you secure your place on PfH frameworks, covering quality, compliance and adding value.
How does a PfH Framework work?
Like any framework or tender, you will need to find a suitable opportunity and follow the instructions for bidding. For their frameworks and DPS opportunities, PfH use In-Tend, which can be accessed via this link. You can register on their portal today to view live tender opportunities or DPS agreements. You then register your interest and access the tender pack. If you require a bid writing quote we will require these documents in order to help.
For more tendering opportunities take a look at our comprehensive and free tender alert software, covering UK and Europe, Tender Pipeline. This will include PfH tenders and frameworks.
Once you are successful and awarded onto a PfH framework you then need to start winning work from it. Their main route is via a mini competition, a reduced-down version of the framework bid, but with the specific tender requirements of the housing association involved in the procurement. PfH agreements do also allow for direct call-off or award but this is usually only to the highest-scoring bidder on the framework.
This is why it is important to ensure that your bid writing skills and written quality tender submission are as strong as possible.
At Thornton & Lowe as well as offering an outsourced bid writing and bid management solution we also provide bid writing training courses across the UK. For further details of our bid writing training workshops click here.
Bid Writing Success and Feedback:
“We have recently engaged Thornton & Lowe to assist us with our entry into the bid market! We are new to this – [the T&L] team have spent a vast amount of time researching what type of tenders we should look to bid on, how to follow them and what work we can be doing now so that we are in a position to bid when the tenders are published. They have given us great guidance (as we are absolute beginners) and as a result, T&L have introduced a whole new market opportunity to us! We are looking forward to our future working relationship with them” – Greg French, MD
To view feedback from our existing clients, click here.
Our case studies can be found here, which detail what we have helped our clients achieve.