Sunday, February 03, 2008

Better Buys – housing association procurement and repairs

On Friday the Audit Commission published an enlightening and challenging study on housing association procurement. The Better Buys report (pdf available) includes the diagram above which presents the “low hanging fruit” and the less easy wins available diagrammatically.

The study found that a third of efficiency savings by housing associations in 2006/7 came from procurement. But significantly shows that further annual savings of about £100 per home could be made through the better procurement of housing maintenance services.

The report’s main recommendations for housing associations (but with relevance to other social landlords) are:

• identify gaps in procurement skills and take steps to fill those gaps, either by building in-house capacity or seeking external expertise;

• identify and collect information on the market before considering procurement options and ensure that performance monitoring and benchmarking is undertaken as part of the procurement cycle;

• consider and evaluate all models of collaboration for achieving greater efficiency, including shared services in groups and consortia;

• explore and evaluate a greater role for e-procurement tools; and

• ensure that residents are involved in, and have appropriate opportunities to influence, relevant procurement processes.

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