Smarterbuys Essentials helping vulnerable residents in Stockton and Northumberland

Economic and financial inclusion services provider Five Lamps has been using the Smarterbuys Essentials service for over a year, providing vulnerable and disadvantaged residents with white goods and furniture.

In 2013-14, more than 300 Smarterbuys items were provided across the Stockton and Northumberland areas.

One Stockton-on-Tees resident, who received new items through the scheme, commented: “I am so grateful for this help getting a new fridge and washing machine. Access to this kind of service has made a massive impact on me getting back my independence.”

Five Lamps Welfare Assistance Manager, Louise Robinson, said: “This is a service which is simple and it works. It provides a service which can really make a difference to the lives of our tenants when an emergency situation occurs. Having used Smarterbuys Essentials for just over a year, we have found the service to be very efficient and effective.

“The process of sending in an application for delivery of the product often takes as little as two working days and our applicants receive a good service with quality items being delivered and fitted efficiently.”

For more information about Smarterbuys Essentials contact Martin Adams on 0191 566 1028 or email

Children and young people: briefings and good practice

The Northern Housing Consortium are developing a work programme around children and young people. The programme will explore and understand:

  • What members are doing around children and young people and how this fits into their wider business strategy
  • Key priorities around children and young people
  • Key issues faced by this group
  • Share good practice and learning
  • Raise the profile of work housing providers are doing with children and young people

As part of this work programme the NHC will be producing a series of briefings around ‘What Housing Does’. These briefings will cover themes around:

  • Communication and engagement: this will include housing organisations’ approaches and how they are giving young people a voice, and different ways of communicating/engaging via social media, youth forums/councils etc.
  • Housing: hearing views of children and young people on their housing experiences, either in a family setting or individual tenancies, covering what support is in place around accessing the right accommodation and sustaining tenancies and/or addressing issues in current accommodation
  • Education: how are housing providers working with local education institutions? What focus is there on early intervention? Do you have the right balance? What are the gaps? Any developments around holiday provision to address food poverty over school holidays and beyond
  • Training, skills, enterprise and employment: the role of housing providers in supporting young people in obtaining skills and training, preparing them for work and for employment and apprenticeship opportunities. What housing providers doing to support young entrepreneurs, including improving aspiration and confidence. This follows on from the current work being done around this.

The briefings will include:

  • Case studies of different approaches adopted across the different themes
  • Young peoples’ experiences
  • The case for housing providers and the impact this is having, including partners involved and any parliamentary activity/engagement

We would like to hear from our members around any good practice around the above themes, and if any would like to be included as case studies for the briefings. If you have anything that you would like to share or would like further information please contact Satty Rai.

New kitchen framework launched by LHC

LHC, a collaborative partner of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), has launched its new pre-tendered kitchen framework for public sector organisations in England, Wales and Scotland.

The Manufacture, Supply and Delivery of Kitchen Cabinets, Worktops, and Associated Products framework provides organisations with a comprehensive range of options to suit all quality and budget requirements.

The four ranges include entry level options and a range of units designed for properties where tenants have disabilities.

All products meet British and European Standards and have received the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) Gold Award certification.

The new OJEU compliant arrangement can be used in conjunction with LHC’s Whole House Refurbishment framework where the installation of kitchens is required through a framework.

Six companies have been appointed to the framework with at least four available in each of LHC’s 14 areas across Great Britain.

John Skivington, Director, commented: “The manufacture and supply of kitchen units has been one of LHC’s most successful arrangements over the last 40 years, evolving with each edition to take into account the changing needs of the market. In this latest edition – K5 – the quality specifications and price structures have been designed to meet the broad range of requirements of social landlords.

“The framework is complemented by LHC’s technical support and customer service resource available to all users. We believe this framework will be a very popular choice.”

To find out more about the NHC frameworks available visit

Is asbestos management a problem for you?

Did you know that asbestos was used extensively as a building material right up until the 1980s? This means that many properties still contain asbestos, which can cause a real problem for local authorities and housing providers.

With this in mind Consortium Procurement developed a framework agreement with 13 quality UKAS provided suppliers appointed across the UK to deliver asbestos management and removal services.

Since its launch over 25 organisations have benefited and accessed the framework and £4 million has been spent – delivering savings of 15% to customers.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you manage your asbestos please contact the Business Development Team on 0191 566 1000 or

Tenants’ insurance framework provides a lifeline for Your Homes Newcastle residents

It’s not until we need to claim on our insurance that we really appreciate it.

This was the case for many Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) tenants, when disaster struck in 2012 resulting in hundreds of flooded houses.

Uninsured, the impact and cost to tenants would have been great. But, thanks to the team at YHN, many tenants were able to replace the contents of their home as they were covered by Simple Household Contents Insurance, a framework provided by Consortium Procurement – part of the Northern Housing Consortium.

Maureen Grainger, Income Manager at Your Homes Newcastle, said: “That year really brought it home to us how important this framework is. We’ve been customers for years and had never seen flooding like it before.

“Many of our tenants had to claim that year and ordinarily that would have meant an increase in premiums. However, due to the buying power behind being part of Consortium Procurement, the costs were offset against the other 80 members who access the framework – so the risk was spread.”

The tenants’ contents insurance framework offers a flexible insurance policy for your tenants: there’s no excess, and flexible payment options are available – including ways to pay for those who don’t have a bank account.

To find out more about how the tenants’ content insurance framework can help you, contact a member of the Consortium Procurement team on 0191 566 1000, or visit

LHC launches PVC-U framework for new four year period

LHC, a collaborative partner of the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), has launched the latest version of its popular PVC-U windows and doors replacement framework for local authorities, housing associations, schools, community buildings, and other public sector bodies.

In its ninth iteration, the PVC-U Window and Door Products (U9) supply and installation framework has been refreshed to take changing market requirements into account. Ten companies have been appointed across 14 areas in England, Wales, and Scotland.

Offering a range of styles using high performance profile, colours, and patterns, all products are CE Marked and conform to the appropriate British Standards. Enhanced security options, in line with PAS 24 and Secured by Design, are also available.

Companies appointed to the framework through LHC’s stringent, OJEU compliant tender process, have demonstrated experience of working in public sector properties. All companies offer a full survey and installation service including programming and resident liaison.

John Skivington, Director of LHC, commented: “We are pleased to be launching the latest PVC-U Window and Door Products framework which we know is extremely popular with our customers.

“We again have a versatile range of companies that meet our rigorous tendering process that focuses on compliancy, quality, efficiency and sustainability. We expect this framework to be extremely popular again.

“The framework also ensures that we continue to deliver a full portfolio of window and door framework arrangements, including timber and aluminum, providing customers with a one-stop-shop for their refurbishment requirements.”

See more at:

To find out more about the NHC frameworks visit