Keeping the ‘frozen north’ warm

Two leading social landlords operating along the length of Hadrian’s Wall and beyond, are joining forces in a new, cooperative company, to provide cost effective heating services to their customers.

Isos Housing, based in Newcastle, and Two Castles Housing, with offices in Carlisle and Newcastle, are working together on the new business venture called Isos Complete Support (ICS) which launches on Wednesday, April 1st.

The provision of a reliable, high quality heating service is a crucial area for any social landlord, to keep residents safe, and to ensure compliance with a tight regulatory regime.

Following a successful experience working together on a previous occasion, the two businesses decided on the united approach after Two Castles suggested the innovative partnership with Isos could lead to an improved service for its customers.

ICS will utilise the skills of Isos’s award winning heating team, already looking after 12,500 Isos homes, and expand that high quality provision to 2,300 Two Castles homes in Cumbria and the North East.

The Isos heating team works predominantly on gas powered heating systems, but Isos

engineers are also fully trained on oil and solid fuel systems, and renewable heating such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat, and solar thermal installations.

Five new members of staff will be required in total, working alongside the existing 18 strong heating team employed by Isos.

ICS has been formed as a ‘cost sharing company’ (also known as a cost sharing vehicle) which allows any tax exempt organisation like housing associations and schools to provide services without paying VAT.

Thanks to the partnership, Two Castles’ customers will benefit from a high-quality service from the Isos team. In addition, Isos can deliver its services to Two Castles at cost, making the service more competitive on price and ensuring good value for money.

Already, other organisations are expressing an interest in joining Isos and Two Castles in this cost sharing vehicle so they can also make savings. In the long term, Isos hopes to extend the scope of Isos Complete Support to include other services across its business.

Cost sharing vehicles are an EU-driven initiative, so there are strict rules to follow, including setting up Isos Complete Support as a separate company. This new business will officially sit within the Isos family, but will have its own name and its own board to oversee it.

Bill Tuddenham, general manager of Isos Property Services, who will oversee the new company’s launch, said:

“We are excited at the opportunity of working with Two Castles Housing through the launch of Isos Complete Support. We have always been proud of the high standard of service provided by our heating team, and now we have the ability to take that service to a much wider audience.

“We are confident this will be the start of a very productive working relationship between our two organisations.

Rob Brittain of Two Castles, said: “We spotted an opportunity to work with Isos on this project and both companies stand to benefit from our innovative partnership. By working together, Two Castles can benefit from a high-quality, reliable service that ensures the safety of our customers whilst also delivering value for money.

“The partnership is a fantastic opportunity for Two Castles and Isos alike to lead the way with this innovative new way of working.”