A Christmas Message from NHC Chief Executive Jo Boaden

jo-boadenAs 2016 draws to a close there will be many things we will reflect upon – significant political developments both nationally and internationally, a recognition that housing should be seen as part of the nation’s infrastructure needs, the planned creation of a separate regulator for the social housing sector, changes to the Housing & Planning Act and many many more.

One of the highlights of the year for me has been the work of the Commission for Housing in the North and I’d like to thank those members who have supported the Commission. You have all given your time and expertise to help shape what I hope is a powerful voice for the North and the springboard for us to secure the right framework to deliver the right homes in the right places. I was pleased that the residential offer element of the Northern Powerhouse Strategy echoed the work of the Commission in so many ways.

It was not just the outputs of the Commission that I valued so much but also the way in which it represented how the NHC can and will be working. At its heart was the NHC acting to connect members which each other and with new partners or stakeholders. The Commission has also demonstrated the value that we can drive by ensuring we are close to our members, engaged with you across all aspects of your businesses.

I am looking forward to continuing this approach in 2017 and we have reshaped the way in which we work to ensure we can be in the best place to support you in achieving your aspirations.

On behalf of everyone at the NHC I wish you a Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017.

North East Asbestos Group Welcomes Housing Associations

The North East Area Asbestos Management Group was formed in 2009 as a forum for council representatives to discuss common problems and share best practice.

As asbestos management is as diverse as it is similar, a decision has been made to open this group to now include housing associations from across the region.

If you have responsibility for asbestos management within your association and this is something you would be interested in attending, please contact Alison Harvey, County Durham Housing Group Compliance Manager  at alison.harvey@cdhg.co.uk or call 0191 349 7594.

Landlords come Together to Develop Gas Safety across the North East

Managing gas safety in a social housing environment can be complex and challenging, so a group of North East Landlords have come together to share best practice within their organisations with the aim of improving gas safety and driving up gas safety awareness across North East homes and communities.

Gas, Asset and Compliance Managers representing 15 social landlords with more than 200,000 homes, employing over 400 gas engineers attend quarterly meetings to discuss and share best practice and lessons learnt, develop a collaborative approach to developing key processes and procedures, and benchmark gas related performance and management.

The North East Gas Group have set up the North East Auditor Group with the objective of developing a standard and collaborative approach to quality and compliance audits which aims to share resources to demonstrate an independent assessment of work carried out within their organisations, assist with Independent Incident investigations which all provides excellent value for money for customers.

If you would like to understand more about the North East Gas Group or the North East Auditor Group, please contact Rob Wilcox, North East Gas Group Chair on 01642 836029 or drop him an email at robert_wilcox@cchousing.org.uk

The NHC is the new Chair of the North East Maintenance Forum

We are pleased to announce that the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), the organisation to which Consortium Procurement belongs, is the new chair of the North East Maintenance Forum. This quarterly forum allows its members to discuss a number of topics, all focussed on the practical elements of maintenance delivery across their housing stocks. The forum provides members with the fantastic opportunity to exchange information as well as contact details and to discuss any pressing maintenance related topics that may be of concern within their organisation.

The forum is currently made up of 15 housing associations and councils across the North East area, however is open to anyone wishing to better understand and share housing maintenance best practice.

The next meeting is scheduled for 25th January at the NHC offices (Sunderland) and will focus on ISOS housing sharing their experience of multiskilling of in-house maintenance operatives.

If you would be interested in attending this group please contact nicola.benson@consortiumprocurement.org.uk by 10th January 2017.

Highlights of 2016 – Consortium Procurement


What a difference a year makes! This time last year we were still based at our old home at the Ropery building in Sunderland. This time last year we were working hard to be able to say that we have managed to save our members a grand total of £11m through fair, open and transparent procurement exercises. And this time last year we didn’t know that 45 more new members would join us in 2016 allowing us to give them peace of mind while saving them money.

One year on, we have continued to build on our successes and adapt our services and frameworks so that they are fully responsive the needs of our members. Despite a rapidly changing business environment we have maintained our headline mission, namely to act as a first point of call to our members whenever they needed us.

Here is a look back at what we have helped to make possible and what we have achieved in 2016:

  • We launched our re-freshed frameworks for Asbestos Management Services andHeating Systems in April
  • We launched our product catalogue to complement our existing framework for Property Adaptations and Stairlifts on 1st December
  • We are currently re-developing two of our existing frameworks. The re-freshed Tenants’ Contents Insurance framework and re-freshed framework for Property Safety and Security will be added to our portfolio in 2017.
  • In conjunction with HACT, we produced the Social Value Toolkit in a bid to help our members measure the impact of implementing social value in their procurement strategies. Louise Chase, Procurement Manager at Consortium Procurement said: “Ensuring our members’ social value priorities are supported through our procurement activity has been a long standing priority for the Consortium. We understand that delivering social value in contracts is important to our members however we know it can be difficult to balance compliance with the procurement regulations and add social value.”
  • Following its introduction, we have undertaken a review of the requirements under The Modern Slavery Act 2015 and we are committed to ensuring the suppliers on our frameworks are fully compliant with them. We now include a compliance check within the selection stage of our new frameworks. We have organised a training event on The Modern Slavery Act 2015 for our members to make sure they understand all requirements for themselves and their supply chains.
  • Consortium Procurement continued to facilitate the Procurement Reference Panel meetings on a quarterly basis. This informal network provides a perfect forum for procurement professionals from our membership to meet, share best practice, discuss current and emerging procurement issues, and explore opportunities for collaboration. We will be looking to organise a panel meeting with our Midlands members in March 2017.
  • In 2016 our procurement team completed a bespoke procurement exercise(procurement of Occupational Health) on behalf of Incommunities Group Ltd and has commenced work on another exercise on behalf of County Durham Housing Group. Penny Gilyard, Assistant HR Director at Incommunities Group Ltd said: “The bespoke service received from Consortium Procurement was to a very high standard and the procurement team provided invaluable advice and support all the way through the process which was extremely reassuring.”
  • We hosted Consortium Procurement’s Village at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester for a sixth consecutive year. It enabled us to convey the full range of solutions offered by Consortium Procurement. We also exhibited at some of the biggest procurement events and exhibitions including Procurex North, South and Wales, the North West Telecare event as well as the TSA Connected Care, Homes and Communities event.
  • We have grown our twitter network gaining around 200 more followers since this time last year. Thank you twitter peeps!.

The Consortium Procurement team would like to thank our membership for your continued support and loyalty. May 2017 bring us all success and prosperity!

Consortium Procurement Reference Panel Meeting in the Midlands

The Consortium has facilitated a series of Procurement Reference Panel meetings over the last six years. This informal network provides a quarterly forum for procurement professionals from our membership to meet, help shape our framework development plan; share best practice, discuss current and emerging procurement issues, and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Following the success of the Northern Procurement Reference Panel, we are planning to expand this to our Midlands members. We would like to encourage our membership based in/around the Midlands area which would like to participate in our next meeting to let us know as soon as possible.

There is no obligation to attend regularly and we contact the group in advance for agenda items to ensure the sessions are focused and topical each time.

The last meeting’s agenda covering a range of topics including

  • Impact of the EU Referendum
  • Social value in procurement
  • Open Book Contract Management

There are only 20 spaces available for the session which is being held on Tuesday, 14th March 2017 at the The Wrekin Housing Trust offices (Old Park Offices, Colliers Way, Telford, TF3 4AW).

Please forward this information on to any colleagues within your organisation who may be interested in attending.

For more information please contact Nicola Benson on 0191 566 1000 or by email at Nicola.benson@consortiumprocurement.org.uk