Spending Review 2015

The Northern Housing Consortium’s On the Day Briefing for the Spending Review 2015 is now available. You can read it here.

For housing and local government, the Spending Review has been a mixed bag. While we welcome housing being at the centre of the review, we remain concerned about local authorities and their abilities to provide services to their local communities. Some of the pre-spending review rumours proved to be exactly that, although with the Housing and Planning Bill 2015 having not yet passed through Parliament there may be more detail that produces a devil.

As ever with announcements of this nature, our on the day briefing is designed to give you and immediate assessment of the thrust of the document but we will continue to work over the coming days to more fully understand the impact across NHC members.

NHC Appoints New Chair as John Craggs Steps Down

The Northern Housing Consortium has elected Tom Miskell as the new Chair of its Board of Directors. He was appointed at the AGM on November 12 and started his new duties on the same day.

Tom has been a member of the Board since October 2006 and was originally proposed as part of the Chair succession plan in July of this year. He is also Vice-Chair of the Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust. Tom takes the reins from John Craggs who steps down after five years as Chair. John is also Interim Chief Executive for Gentoo Group as well as Vice-Chairman of the North East Chamber of Commerce for Wearside.

The Consortium would like to take the opportunity to thank John for all his hard work over the last five years and wish him the best of luck for the future.

Commenting on Tom’s appointment, Northern Housing Consortium Chief Executive, Jo Boaden, said:

“I am delighted that Tom is the new Chair for the Northern Housing Consortium. Tom has great experience across the housing sector and is passionate about housing in the North. I look forward to working with him as the NHC continues to develop and deliver highly regarded services for our membership. I’d like to place on record my considerable thanks to John Craggs as he steps down as Chair. John became Chair at the same time as I first joined the NHC and he proved an invaluable source of support for me over the past five years. Whilst he is no longer on the Board I’ve no doubt John will remain a committed supporter of the Northern Housing Consortium.”

Tom Miskell added “I’m delighted to become Chair of the Northern Housing Consortium following John Cragg’s excellent stewardship. It is almost a cliché to comment on the pace of change the housing sector is facing but within that I do see opportunities for NHC members – I passionately believe the Consortium’s ability to bring leaders from housing and local government sectors together to jointly deliver innovative and high quality services and influence government thinking is absolutely essential in the current environment and I look forward to playing my part as Chair”.

Housing and Planning Bill Briefing

The Housing and Planning Bill underwent its second reading on Monday 2 November 2015. The NHC have prepared a briefing of the debate for members focusing on issues we know to be of interest to our members.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Bill and provide regular updates on its progress.

You can read the second reading briefing here.

 

New Technology Enabled Care Services Framework Now Available

Our new framework for Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) – Product is now live and available to all members of the NHC (please note this framework replaces the previous Assisted Living framework and contracts/orders can no longer be awarded under Assisted Living).

The new product framework allows for both direct award and further competition call offs. This means that should you wish to directly contract with one of the following suppliers you will simply need to establish an overarching contract with the supplier and then you are free to order products directly with them (copying in the NHC for audit purposes).

Alternatively should you wish to test the market, against your own bespoke requirements, the NHC can facilitate a further competition with the framework suppliers to ensure best value for your organisation.

Please contact your dedicated account executive or email XXX@consortiumprocurement.org.uk to discuss which option would be best for your requirements.

New Framework for Legionella and Water Hygiene Services Launched

Consortium Procurement is delighted to announce the addition of one more fully EU compliant framework to our portfolio.

Our framework for Legionella and Water Hygiene Services – Consultancy/Monitoring and Maintenance is now available for members to access.
The framework provides a flexible route to procuring services from suitably qualified and experienced companies, that can assist duty holders fulfil their legal requirements in line with the Health and Safety Executive Guidance, HSG274.

The following nine organisations were successfully appointed:

• BIOCHEMICA UK Ltd.
• CLEARWATER TECHNOLOGY Ltd.
• GRAHAM ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
• H2O CHEMICALS Ltd.
• HARTLEPOOL BOROUGH COUNCIL
• HBE RISK MANAGEMENT
• HERTEL SOLUTIONS Ltd.
• MSM ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES Ltd.
• NWG ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS

Louise Chase, Procurement and Contracts Manager said: “Consortium Procurement engaged with the market to develop a robust and detailed specification and fully test Supply Partners’ ability to carry out the required services for our Members. We are delighted that this framework is available to all current and future members of the NHC until 2019”.

This new framework has been developed into four separate lots:

• Lot 1 – Consultancy for Legionella and other waterborne pathogens
• Lot 2 – Consultancy for Legionella and other waterborne pathogens (including cooling towers, evaporators, swimming pools, hydro spas)
• Lot 3 – Water quality system maintenance for Legionella and other waterborne pathogens
• Lot 4 – Water quality system maintenance for Legionella and other waterborne pathogens (including cooling towers, evaporators, swimming pools, hydro spas)

All Consortium Procurement frameworks are let under the European Union Procurement Directive and are fully compliant with its rules and regulations. Our procurement professionals strive to deliver best service to our members by taking the risk away from the procurement process and ensuring legal requirements are fully met.

If you would like to receive further information on the framework, please give us a ring on 0191 566 1000 or email us at solutions@consortiumprocurement.org.uk

Forthcoming NHC Events

The landscape for the sector has changed considerably over recent months, and with that, our events programme has been flexible and fast-paced. NHC is committed to a responsive and up to date events programme, offering excellent value for our members. You can view all events that are open for bookings here.

In early 2016, we’ll be holding the following conferences and seminars:

Business Resilience – January 2016 (Bookings Opening Soon)

This event is for HR professionals and leaders of organisational development. Looking at performance, morale, redundancy and organisational shocks, and with speakers from both the housing sector and beyond, this conference will ensure the sector is prepared for what is to come.

Delivering Social Value in Harder Times – 21st January 2016 (Now Open for Bookings)

The July Budget blew existing business plans out of the water, with rent reductions, welfare reform, Right to Buy, the sale of high value properties, pay to stay, devolution, and broader public sector cuts bearing down on the sector. With an emphasis on budget cuts, value for money and efficiency, where does this leave social value? Why is social value still important?

If social value is to be meaningful for value driven organisations, we need to start thinking about the total value we deliver, across the whole business – in procurement, development, housing management, regeneration, as well as in traditional areas such as community investment. The Social Value (Public Services) Act 2012 still bites and we need better and more evidence driven ways of driving and demonstrating the value in all that we do.

Income Maximisation for Housing Organisations – 2nd February 2016 (Booking Opening Soon)

Led by solicitors from Ward Hadaway, his half day seminar explores ways those working in income management can ensure they achieve the maximum rent return, whilst ensuring that customers have access to the full income they’re entitled to. With sessions for general income management, and leasehold management, this is a key event our members can’t afford to miss.

Northern Housing Summit – 22nd February 2016 (Now Open for Booking)

This year’s Northern Housing Summit is set against backdrop of considerable policy change. The political direction of travel on both devolution and housing fronts is taking shape and the Summit, with its new February date, provides an opportunity to reflect on what these changes mean to housing in the North and consider the role that housing can play in the Northern Powerhouse and how we are housing an aspiration generation. The Summit programme explores key themes such as housing supply and routes to owner occupation, economic growth and public sector reform, connecting health and housing, welfare and work incentives and will also provide an update on the Commission for Housing in the North.

Asset Management – March 2016 (Booking Opening Soon)

At this event, aimed at senior leaders, Heads of Finance, Asset Management and Governance, we will look at value for money, stock rationalisation, and regeneration.

Housing and Health – March 2016 (Booking Opening Soon)

The housing and health conference, delivered in partnership with HACT, will explore the health challenges faced in our communities, the changing operational environment for the NHS, local integration of health, housing and social care and the opportunities for housing to engage in the new models of care. With a line up of senior leaders in the NHS, Public Health, Social Care and Housing, this event will be key for those looking to extend develop and strengthen local partnerships with health.

Keep an eye on our events pages for more information. If you’d like to sign up to our weekly events update, please email lucy.thompson@northern-consortium.org.uk and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

NHC Digital Inclusion Solution

A lot of the work to get people online has in the past been done through digital inclusion officers from Housing associations and local authority initiatives. With both Housing Associations and Local Authorities coming under pressure to find cost savings many of the roles these organisations perform in regard to digital inclusion are being either cut altogether or scaled back.

The Northern Housing Consortium has recognised that if tenants can get online this will help their members tenants access savings, as well as allowing their members to use technology to cut costs by tenants accessing their services digitally. To overcome both the issues of cost and fragmentation in both training and access, the Northern Housing Consortium have come together with Happus and Silver Training to provide members with a fully joined up digital inclusion solution.

Through the Northern Housing Consortium members will be able to put together training in place for tenants either in their homes or in groups to give them the skills needed to get online. The offer also includes affordable hardware in the form of tablets or reconditioned laptops so that tenants have the hardware in place straight away. To get them online straight away there is a very affordable range of broadband deals that start at £12.60 per month inclusive of line rental, connection and router.

One of the major factors cited by many digital inclusion officers apart from those mentioned above is how to get people to and maintain attendance at training sessions. Again the Northern Housing Consortium and its partners can help with this. With years of experience in fostering support in tenant engagement our partners can help in getting and retaining tenants on the courses provided.

The result is that the Northern Housing Consortium with its partners can offer members a joined up affordable solution to the digital inclusion conundrum at a cost effective price.

For more details contact Consortium Procurement on 0191 511 1173.

Data Quality and Value from Benchmarking

The use of benchmarking services with other providers is a well-established feature of performance management and regulatory engagement. The question many organisations are asking themselves is:

“How do make sure that the benchmarking we undertake is adding value to our tenants and the services we deliver?”

NHC is keen to assist in ensuring that benchmarking exercises are

• timely
• accurate
• providing true comparison
• allowing comparisons that are bespoke to your organisation

We are working with QA Housing Consultancy to provide a service that is all of the above, and competitively priced to ensure value for money.

If you would like to hear more, please contact our Efficiency Manager, Nigel Johnston on 07843 356445 or email nigel.johnston@northern-consortium.org.uk

Members may be interested to know we are hosting a free seminar to discuss Value for Money and Benchmarking:

Date: Wednesday 9th December
Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Venue: Mosscare Housing, Moss Side, Manchester (map)

Please contact Nigel on the email address above if you are interested in attending.

Added Value Services: The Future for the Northern Housing Sector

Delivering social value as well as economic value is a large part of the business for social housing providers; this includes supporting, empowering and helping tenants reach their potential and providing opportunities. The work in this area across the sector has been recognised as best practice in their approach across the following areas:

• Tackling digital exclusion
• Supporting tenants into employment or training
• Apprenticeship opportunities
• Community development and empowerment
• Tackling financial exclusion and poverty

In light of the announcements made by the Chancellor at the summer budget, and challenges facing the sector brought about by Right to buy, rent reform, welfare reform, pay to stay and broader public sector cuts, members are reworking their business plans and implementing changes to mitigate the impact.

The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) are undergoing a piece of work to gather intelligence from members around the change of direction organsiations are/will be adopting and to understand the scale back of ‘added value’ activities and services.

The NHC would like to hear from members around the level of scale back and output projections for 2016/17 compared to the previous two years, across organisation ‘added value’ services. i.e. how many tenants organsiations supported into employment or training in 2015/16 and projections for 2016/17.

Please email satty.rai@northern-consortium.org.uk with any of the above information by Monday 14th December 2015; please pass this on to the most relevant colleague within the organisation.