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Better Buys – improving housing association procurement practice

Better Buys – improving housing association procurement practice

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Better Buys – improving housing association procurement practice

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  1. Better Buys – improving housing association procurement practice Janet Williams Senior Research Manager Simon Reed Procurement Consultant - Cirrus Purchasing Ltd

  2. Key finding from study…. Could do better

  3. Study aims: • assess housing associations’ use of modern procurement methods; • help smaller housing associations to improve their approach to effective procurement; and • assess the residents contribution to housing association procurement. Study scope: • Housing associations > 250 units • Repairs and maintenance, and housing management

  4. Housing associations’ expenditure is significant • turnover is over £9 billion • of which operating costs are £7.5 billion • of which£2.8 billion is spent on Repairs and Maintenance • more than two thirds of spending could be subject to competition Source: Housing Corporation Global Accounts 2006

  5. … and is under pressure to be more efficient. • Efficiency agenda • Role of the regulators - HC: annual efficiency statements - AC: emphasis on vfm in inspection • Higher expectations of residents – better quality of services

  6. Procurement has a key role … • Efficiency gains represented 3.5% of aggregate turnover & 4% of total expenditure of sector in 2005/06 • A third of efficiency savings in a typical HA are attributable to procurement • HA Chief Executives expect procurement will play a bigger role in future

  7. Its not what you do – it’s the way that you do it “Our targets include annual reductions of 10% in construction cost and construction time. We also propose that defects in projects should be reduced by 20% per year. To achieve these targets the industry will need to make radical changes to the processes through which it delivers its projects." "Sustained improvement should then be delivered through use of techniques for eliminating waste and increasing value for the customer.” Rethinking Construction

  8. Its not what you do – it’s the way that you do it • Case Study: Liverpool Housing Trust • Partnered Heating Contract "2nd Generation" • Continuous improvement outside TPC2001, driven by outputs • Business analysis of contractors by external consultants to identify efficiencies and cost savings • Savings shared to offset inflationary increases • Model now an integral part of LHT partnering – investment costs shared between partners as are savings

  9. Its not who you use – it’s the way that you use them

  10. Its not who you use – it’s the way that you use them • The benefits came from standardising product and working with the supply chain to understand and eliminate the problems e.g. • Myson check radiator sizing sheets • Sentinel undertake chemical testing of installations • Worcester provide 'hospital kits' for installers • Wolseley stock and prepare plot packs for installation • Process driven by the client, who has a clear vision of desired outcomes

  11. Its not what you fit – it’s the way that you fit it • LHT had issues with high installation costs (£3,000 per system) and poor life cycles from installations (failures within 3 years in some cases) • Introduced water quality analysis to tackle quality issues • Used manufacturer expertise to inform specification issues (e.g. Danfoss room stat with red neon (boiler on) has reduced call outs) • Manufacturer training for installers to improve quality

  12. Its not what you fit – it’s the way that you fit it

  13. Its not what you fit – it’s the way that you fit it • Financial savings • £1,013,400 reduced installation costs (£500 per boiler) • £90,000 (07/08) in reduced boiler failures • £112,000 per year reduced maintenance (200 repairs pa) • “We do not see cost and quality as an inverse relationship. A decrease in cost does not need to mean a decrease in quality if you understand your processes and what you are trying to achieve. Simon Brown, Director LHT

  14. There are still savings to be made - £100 per home if all achieved top quartile performance

  15. But some associations are not even picking the low hanging fruit

  16. E-procurement under used • e-tendering can deliver average savings of 21 per cent for a non-Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) tender and 25 per cent for an OJEU tender; only used by 18% of HAs • e-auctions can deliver savings in process time and costs; only used by 5% of HAs • e-purchasing can deliver average savings of £26 per transaction; only used by 48% of HAs • procurement cards can deliver average savings of £33 per transaction; only used by 34% of HAs

  17. It is the organisational environment that matters • choice of method or contract is not the most significant factor in successful procurement • no clear correlation between performance in repairs performance indicators and delivery method • no clear correlation between efficiency savings and method of delivery. You need: • strong contract & performance management • skilled staff • open minds / performance culture

  18. And its not just a matter of group structures and shared services … • Real opportunities - but limited uptake • Process focus – losing sight of benefits • “We are part of a group but it is early days and we are keeping our own identities” • “We think we have a really strong partnering approach to procurement but this hasn’t been taken up across the group as yet.” • “It was a requirement of joining the group that we bought in to payroll and HR”

  19. HAs balance efficiency gains with other considerations … • Diversity and equalities • Regeneration and local economic development • Sustainable development • Resident/tenant choice/involvement And procurement can be a powerful tool in promoting these wider objectives – if HAs want it to…

  20. A procurement strategy Procurement training for all staff Explicit use of procurement to achieve policy objectives Measurement of procurement performance Resident involvement in commissioning and procurement Systems for addressing issues of equalities and diversity in procurement Competitive neutrality / a mixed economy of provision Critical appraisal of the costs and benefits of procurement options Procurement methods and approaches that are proportionate and appropriate to their requirements. A strong driver – business plan, inspection report, corporate direction Small associations are less likely to have these features Associations that use procurement effectively have:

  21. Key messages to contractors • SMEs – engage with housing associations 'We were a small family business employing subcontractors. We did not really understand about partnering and all this European Union procurement legislation. The housing association has really helped us. We have a projected turnover of £5 million this year and employ 80 staff, whereas before the partnership we had a turnover of £450,000. The association was 80 per cent of our business but now it is just under 30 per cent’ • Larger contractors – make sure the culture of your staff is right – engage with residents – establish local bases – support apprentices

  22. Four key messages… • Danger of partnering/consortia being seen as a panacea: more caution and a more sophisticated approach needed in promotion & financial support • The method of procurement is less important than the organisational environment • Barriers to effective procurement exist in all types of housing association – but are more acute for smaller HAs; • Effective procurement can achieve real benefits for housing associations and their residents; but the sector, and residents, are still not seeing the full benefit of good procurement practice – more needs to be done.

  23. What next? The Audit Commission will develop tools to help housing associations make more effective use of procurement: • DVD of case studies • Briefing for Board members • Briefing for Tenants/Residents • Model procurement strategy

  24. Thanks for listening.Any questions? janet-williams@audit-commission.gov.uk sreed@cirruspurchasing.co.uk