New Electronic Payment Services framework launched

After a comprehensive development and procurement process, we are delighted to announce that our new Electronic Payment Services framework is now available for Members to access.

allpay Ltd, have been appointed as the sole supplier on the framework for four years from 1 June 2015.  Under this framework allpay Ltd can provide our Members with a fully managed network service with the Post Office and Paypoint, and also offer a variety of payment methods, including:

  • Payment Cards
  • Bar Codes
  • Credit/Debit Card
  • Direct Debits
  • Text Payments
  • Smart phone app Payments
  • Telephone Payments
  • Online Payments

The benefit of using this framework is a compliant, easy and swift route to contract without the need to carry out your own tender process.

Tracy Harrison, Commercial Director at NHC, said:

“We have been offering a solution for electronic payment services for over 10 years. In excess of 100 members across the UK currently procure their contract via the NHC framework. With the wider roll out of Universal Credit on the horizon, it is more important than ever for members to offer a range of payment options to their customers. Allpay Ltd offers a suite of innovative payment methods and we are delighted to be continuing our highly successful partnership with them. The savings offered on transaction rates through this new framework provides members with even greater value for money. We look forward to working with allpay for the next 4 years to deliver a fantastic service to our members.”

allpay Managing Director Tony Killeen said the Consortium Procurement framework had now become one of the most recognised frameworks nationally, and that the new agreement would continue to offer members savings through cost-effective bill payment technology.

He said: “allpay is delighted to have been awarded sole supplier status on the framework for a third time. This shows that we continue to offer the widest range of payment options for members at market-leading rates. There is great demand from housing organisations and local authorities to streamline their payment services across cash, debit/credit card and direct debit acceptance where this can be supplied by a single organisation under a single contract.

“Members will also benefit from the direct investment we are making in online, mobile and direct debits over the next 12 months, further streamlining processes and aiding in payment collection.”

If you would like to receive more information, please contact Consortium Procurement on 0191 566 1000 or email solutions@consortiumprourement.org.uk

New TECS framework currently in development

After David Cameron called for immediate action last year to accelerate the development of drugs for dementia, those health – and older persons – related issues seem to persist in society. What is more, the issues facing the housing sector and social care as a whole seem to be greater than ever.

The Northern Housing Consortium’s nationwide experience so far confirms this, which is why we have decided to develop our Assisted Living framework further as it approaches its fourth consecutive year. Our experience throughout the last three years has shown us that our members tend to commission Assisted Living services in a variety of formats and scale, which means that there is a high demand for it.

We would like to remind our members of the nationwide availability of this particular framework delivered by our procurement arm Consortium Procurement. Our procurement professionals strive to deliver outstanding service and support to our stakeholders nationally, helping our members to make efficiency savings whilst continuing to deliver great quality key housing services to their tenants and residents.

In order to deliver value for money through a framework agreement but still facilitate viable service solutions this procurement framework has been structured in six different “lots”, appointed based on their areas of expertise:

  • Lot 1: Product Provision
  • Lot 2: Installation Services
  • Lot 3: Service, Maintenance and Repair
  • Lot 4: Call Monitoring
  • Lot 5: Mobile Response
  • Lot 6: Control Centre Equipment (Installation/Maintenance)

Because we strive to deliver best service to our members, the framework gives the ability to contract for one or several lots depending on their individual requirements.

The framework aims to provide for all needs and offers a wide range of products and associated services.

Members can specify flexible yet bespoke solutions for their individual requirements to promote choice to service users who wish to live independently yet with the confidence that assistance can be reached.

Some of the key benefits our new Technology Enabled Care Solutions framework will deliver are:

  • Fully EU directive compliant
  • Confidence and peace of mind – the NHC has 20 years’ experience in this market place
  • Flexible specifications to meet members’ and contractors’ bespoke requirements
  • Significant cost efficiencies

Since the new Assisted Living framework is currently being developed, the Consortium would like to encourage its members to advertise it to its supplier chains and to help us generate interest and involvement.

If you would like to understand more about the current Assisted Living framework or about the new TECS framework, please contact the team on 0191 566 1000 or drop us a line at solutions@consortiumprocurement.org.uk.

National Holiday Hunger Task Group: 10 Guiding Principles released

The issue of food poverty is often exacerbated for families over the school holidays, when free school meals are not available. There are approximately 170 non-school days (including weekends) in the year in the UK that free school meal (FSM) pupils cannot access their entitlement to a school lunch, which is often the only hot meal that is available to them over the school term.

Over a million UK school children rely on free school meals during term time: it is a vital social support to low income families with regards to financial burden, health, and wellbeing. However, during school holidays the issue of food poverty and the wider impact has become a real concern, with food banks and community projects reporting more hungry families seeking extra provisions to put food on the table and feeding their families.

Over a million UK school children rely on free school meals during term time.

The Northern Housing Consortium have been engaging with members across the sector – as well as wider partners – to understand and learn about some of the challenges faced by families over school holidays and the wider impact it has on children and their families. As part of this activity the NHC recently published a good practice paper showcasing a number of good practice initiatives adopted by the housing sector and wider, around tackling school holiday challenges. The full briefing can be found here.

The National Holiday Hunger Task Group, led by independent School and Health Advisor Lindsay Graham, is made up of various individuals and organisations working to tackle food poverty and the challenges faced by families and children over the holidays. The group’s vision is to ensure no child goes hungry during the school holidays, with the mission to support communities with a framework for providing good food as part of holiday learning, play, and activity programmes.

The task group was set up to look at simple guidelines for organisations looking to set up provision of holiday meals and/or wellbeing programmes. On Tuesday 2nd June they launched their Filling the Holiday Gap: 10 Guiding Principles.

The NHC would like to hear from members on plans around food and wellbeing programmes that will be running over the forthcoming school summer holiday, please contact satty.rai@northern-consortium.org.uk.