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Social Housing Consultancy Services

Within our Social Housing Consultancy division, Thornton & Lowe, provide commercial and operational services, specifically to the housing association sector.

Working with social housing providers, we offer the following advice, consultancy and services:

  • Form, grow and manage your DLO
  • Supply chain management
  • Outsourced contract management

Management Consultancy for Housing Associations

Housing associations engage our services to help them:

  • Help form, grow and manage maintenance teams or DLOs. DLOs (direct labour organisations) are increasing within the social housing sector as a route to achieve value for money, drive efficiencies and gain control of critical services. Our specific focus is estate management services, including asset management consultancy

  • Provide estate services consultancy, audit and benchmarking services. Our estate services audit is third party assessment of your estate services whether in-house maintenance team (DLO and in-sourced) or outsourced. We review people, plant, equipment and biodiversity. It is a chance to assess your performance against your peers, benchmark your costs, prepare for an upcoming procurement exercise or find improvements and efficiencies. This covers all estate services, including grounds maintenance, communal cleaning, graffiti removal, waste management and pest control, for example

  • Improve supply chain management and development practices. As a social housing provider it is essential you have an effective supply chain, which also shares your mission and ethics. Sector knowledge, alongside supply chain engagement, monitoring and management expertise, allows us to make significant improvements for our housing association client base. This includes identifying and developing the skills often key local suppliers lack, such as KPI reporting or bidding to ensure they can compete effectively for your contracts and deliver the value you know they can

  • Challenge contractor performance through outsourced contract management and support. Historically within the social housing sector this has been an underdeveloped area, with insufficient capacity. As a result of the Procurement Act, and in line with continuous improvement, we are seeing more housing associations invest into contract management. Establishing effective systems, processes and contract management skills are a few of the areas we support our clients with

  • Offer procurement support and engagement of suppliers. Auditing and engaging your current suppliers prior to re-tender for estate services, grounds maintenance or communal cleaning, for example. This includes benchmarking and cost implications of improved specifications, stakeholder surveys and engagement ensuring residents have their say. Creating a procurement plan and timeline. Researching the number of bidders from other recent procurement events to understand the likely interest in your contract, as well as framework agreements, as part of our procurement options appraisal. Developing improved specifications, tender documents and pricing schedules

  • Plan the journey to net zero, including biodiversity and sustainability best practice. This includes developed estate services or DLO specific carbon reduction plans

  • Develop income generation strategies and business plans. Offering commercialisation, business development and social housing bid writing support. Guiding social housing diversification, commercial ventures and enterprise projects.

Social Housing Consultancy

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“Steven is highly experienced and knowledgeable. Very approachable and responsive - Steven integrated well into the team. Steven provided value add and great input around the commercial and project approach.” Matthew Rains, Head of Procurement, Longhurst Group

"T&L are consummate professionals, taking time to understand business needs. Dave and his team have a pragmatic, outcomes based approach. Highly recommended!”
Matthew Edisford, Chief Executive, Care Housing

How to engage our Social Housing Consultancy And Asset Management Services?

As a niche social housing consultancy our projects are largely low value meaning engaging our services is simple, often requiring a single quote.

We are also approved with the following compliant frameworks, which allow direct award:

  • CCS
  • Procure Assist
  • Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC).

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Why Thornton & Lowe?

We are expert led specialists in social housing estate management, DLOs and commercial services. Operationally focused, customer centric and produce flexible, quantifiable and demonstrable results.

Customer service is key. You ring and we are there! At a practical level this means, if you contact us we respond within a couple of hours at a maximum, we attend your update meetings, without an additional charge, and we offer only tried and tested solutions.

Feedback and repeat business is telling us we are doing things differently and better for our clients. We are not a large consultancy and have a small number of highly important and ‘looked after’ housing association clients.

Across our team we have worked with over 50 housing associations across the UK, mobilising and delivering services, driving efficiencies, innovation, social value and continuous improvement. Via our Social Housing Consultancy Division, our clients include:

  • Bournvile Village Trust
  • Care HA
  • Incommunities
  • Longhurst Group
  • Prestwich North West Housing Association
  • Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
  • South Lakes Housing
  • Thenue Housing.
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Beyond asset management and estate services consultancy, and with a focus on income generation, growth support and bid training services, we have also worked with:

  • Adullam Homes
  • Ashton Pioneer Homes
  • Clarion Housing Trust
  • Leeds Housing Concern
  • Nottingham Community Housing Association
  • Oasis Aquila Housing
  • Orbit Housing Group
  • Riverside
  • Six Town Housing
  • South Yorkshire Housing Association
  • Your Housing Group.

Beyond this, we have also worked with wider public sector bodies supporting commercial initiatives, for example, Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCs). See the case study of Totally Local Company, which is wholly owned by Stockport Council.

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