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Category: Uncategorised

Are archaic supplier management and reporting methods holding back FM industry?

Many managers are failing to use software to manage the FM function, according to the Annual FM Software survey by Service Works Group and i-FM. In this technological age, 31% of FM organisations are still relying on spreadsheets (Excel) and 14% on paper-based tools, the survey reports.

According to the authors, such a failure to make use of modern software is “leaving (those firms) not only without global access to information for consistent management reporting, but also vulnerable to serious service failure, lack of compliance or health and safety breaches.”

FM software usage

Survey respondents (45% of which worked in-house and 31% were outsourced service providers), reported that they were, however, using FM software for:

  1. Maintenance (91% using Computer aided Facilities Management/CAFM for reactive maintenance and 88% to manage planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedules).
  2. Asset management (72%)
  3. Contract management (47%)
  4. Mobile workforce management (35%)
  5. Health and safety (34%)
  6. Resource management (32%)
  7. Space planning and move management (29%).

Over half of the FM service providers reported that they had integrated their FM software with other systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, health and safety and financial systems.

Discover the all-in-one contractor management software >

The most significant trend identified was the move to mobile apps, with 72% of respondents reporting that they were using tablet and mobile technology as part of their FM strategy to manage contractors and operatives. This had increased from 45% last year.

Commenting on the survey, Len Simmons, Chief Operating Officer for FM compliance specialist Altius, said:

“While many FMs are utilising smart technology to manage suppliers and contractors, there’s a sizeable number who remain reliant on old fashioned paper-based or spreadsheet systems, which are no longer fit for purpose. These archaic management processes eat up multiple manpower hours and  expose organisations to risk because there’s a lack of visibility and it takes so long to retrieve essential information.”

Integrated solutions can help

He continued: “The survey also shows that nearly 50 per cent of FM providers aren’t integrating their software solutions. In the case of supplier management and supply chain compliance, If data sits in ‘silos’ across multiple platforms there will be blind spots, which can add risk and inefficiency.”

Altius’ cloud-based Exigo software enables FM providers to gain complete, real-time visibility of the compliance of their suppliers. This provides a real-time, collaborative solution that scales with their business and enables them to focus on developing productive and secure supplier partnerships.

Exigo data is flexible and can integrate with any other enterprise or back office systems to give users the complete picture based on information from across the enterprise. It can be integrated into existing finance or ERP systems, allowing users to measure compliance risk against up-to-date spend information. The data can be easily exported in a wide range of formats.


KPIs for housing contractors: Top tips to improve their performance

KPIs for housing contractors

To ensure that your contractor abides by your contractual agreements and meets their targets, you need to have a system in place so that you can monitor their progress. As well as checking the contractor’s performance on the work they have completed, you should also ensure they meet your contractual criteria over any additional factors you need them to complete, such as CRB checks for staff working in your properties.

To monitor contractors, it is advisable for you to use KPIs. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are practical and objective measurements of progress used to monitor suppliers and contractors. Designed to compare the performance of a contractor towards a predetermined goal, or against a required standard of practice, carrying out performance monitoring ensures contractors are delivering to the standards of both their contractual output and compliance too.

These should be set at the start of a relationship with new contractors, giving you a benchmark to assess their performance. To ensure you gain the maximum benefit from implementing KPIs, here are some top tips for you to follow:

KPIs that are activity dependent

While you may ask your food suppliers to be ‘on time for their deliveries 95% of the time’, your I.T. suppliers would benefit most from a different KPI such as ‘server down time’. Tailoring KPIs to each contractor or supplier takes a long time but gives you a better assessment of how well they are performing in relation to other companies in their industry.

Don’t set the bar too high

Setting the KPI too high, especially for a new contractor, could damage the working relationships between the two parties. Understand that your contractors need time to adjust to your expectations and way of working – giving them an unrealistic performance target may mean they cut corners elsewhere to make it happen. Likewise, don’t set the performance bar too low.

Improve your social housing contractor compliance today >

Routine feedback is paramount

Use KPIs to provide routine feedback on how your contractors and suppliers are doing. Communicating these results ensures your relationship continues and that contractors don’t think their endless supply of data is simply going into a ‘black hole’.

Look for trends

Whether you discover a problem externally with the contractor, or internally within your association, KPIs can give you the statistics to take action. If for example, a contractor has failed to meet your KPIs in three years despite prompts and help – you now know it is time to make a change.

Introduce a KPI management tool

Relying on a spreadsheet just isn’t good enough anymore for procurement and health and safety managers in associations. Having a software that can accurately store and monitor KPIs can help take the burden off you, and instead put the focus back on the contractor to sort out any problem.

Monitor the ‘other’ side

Statistics alone don’t tell the story. Mitigating factors may mean that contractors have a reason for missing their KPI – this should be communicated effectively between both parties to find a resolution. Also, any work associated where your tenants are exposed to contractors should include their opinions too – after all, these are your end users.

Don’t forget their track record

Alongside their physical performance, judging the track record of contractors in their administration and communication with you is essential. As an association who demands the upmost compliance with all of their contractors, it’s important that you monitor when essential information comes back to you – such as insurance documents, certifications, etc.

For more tips…

For more tips on keeping contractors and suppliers compliant by using KPIs, take a look at the free Altius eBook, Best Practice Guide to Social Housing Contractor Compliance, here.

Download the Best Practice Guide to Social Housing Contractor Compliance

Don’t forget your PQQs: Altius launches checklist for housing managers

A free new tool to assist housing associations and social landlords in appointing and managing contractors has been launched by supplier assessment and compliance specialist Altius.

The ‘All-in-one PQQ Checklist for Housing Associations‘ helps managers to define a bespoke contractor questionnaire to reduce risk and increase performance when outsourcing.

This covers both the basic information requirements housing associations must include in a PQQ, plus key additional information, for example; CRB checks, compliance with the Modern Slavery Act, working with vulnerable adults, and enhanced health and safety details.

Streamline and automate

The checklist also includes tips on implementing a new PQQ into current contractor management processes and how to streamline and automate the process using specialist software systems.

Len Simmons, Chief Operating Officer for Altius, said:

“Despite the assistance from the Government on PQQ best practice, mandatory information covered by PAS91 and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 is sometimes not enough.”

“Managers responsible for procurement, contracts and health and safety are routinely using adapted PQQs  to screen and manage their suppliers, particularly during the due diligence process, to ensure effective appointment and ongoing management of their contractors. Our checklist makes this task easier and ensures that nothing is forgotten.”

Download ‘All-in-one PQQ Checklist for Housing Associations

Download the all-in-one PQQ checklist for Housing Associations

New social housing contractor policies every association should have

Social housing contractor policies

Keeping on top of contractor management is difficult – even collecting updated insurance information every year can be a painful task, let alone checking the actual work that contractors do for you. When it comes to keeping your most active contractors compliant, you should have in place a set of rules and policies for them to adhere to, depending upon the activity they are set to carry out.

To ensure you and your contractors are always compliant in the wake of new and recent legislation, make sure your housing association has the following social housing contractor policies in place.

CRB checks

Now under the ownership of the Government’s Disclosure & Barring Service, a CRB check is a record of an individual’s unprotected convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that can also include intelligence held by the police that relates to an individual and their suitability for a job position.

With many housing associations providing homes to the elderly, people with mental health problems or disabilities, vulnerable families with children or even younger single people, it is a requirement that anyone who is carrying out work for the housing association to have an enhanced CRB check. Find out more about CRB checks on our blog.

Health and safety sentencing guidelines

The new Health and Safety Sentencing Guidelines have been described as the most dramatic change to health and safety legislation since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. The new guidelines have been introduced to give courts comprehensive guidance for offences and also introduce a structured nine-step approach that the Court should follow, so as to calculate sentences correctly. More on sentencing guideline here.

The revised penalties for these guidelines have increased dramatically and it is expected that in the event of a conviction, the newly revised penalties will have a substantial and damaging impact on the convicted business, compared to that of previous sentencing guidelines penalties.

Modern Slavery Act

As of January 2016, the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) is in force. While the obligation falls only on large housing associations (those who turnover £36m), smaller housing associations can publish a statement if they wish, and it would be considered best practice for this to be the case.

Improve your social housing contractor compliance today >

The obligation on a housing association to consider whether such crimes exist within their business extends to its supply chains. By outsourcing or sub-contracting, housing associations need to consider how to carry out the necessary checks and standard terms should be introduced with contractors to ensure that they are aware of the housing associations stance on modern slavery. More about the Modern Slavery Act.

Public Contracts Regulation

For associations still within the public sector, you will fully understand the role of the Public Contracts Regulation created by the European Commission already. With the aim of cutting procurement costs and implementing a fairer tendering process, the new regulation has meant a lot more work for procurement managers in particular.

Although this regulation doesn’t affect the work contractors do on a day-to-day basis, it does impact the way they tender for work, and how a potential contract could increase/decrease in size depending upon requirements and performance. More information on the Public Contracts Regulation.

Corporate social responsibility

The call for all associations to embrace a more sustainable and economical future has been met cautiously by the majority, despite the introduction of the Public Services Social Value Act in 2013. The act was introduced to encourage procurement in the industry to think about social value when assessing the viability of contractors and suppliers.

While value for money is still seen as the overriding factor for procurement, associations are urged to work with companies that are making a positive economic, social and environmental impact – something that should be questioned during the PQQ or due diligence process.

Importance of policies and rules

Ensuring and evidencing that suppliers are operating in line with policies and rules is just the start. You need to ensure that contractors have read your policies and rules, they understand them and are complying with them on a daily basis.

For this to happen, you or your team need to personally source the correct documentation, send and approve the fact that the new contractors have understood what’s been given to them. Another time-consuming job, but one that is incredibly important.

Outside of the policies and rules that you set specifically for your contractors, keeping on top of legal changes can be a burden. To help you create, implement, and monitor these contractor policy, take a look at the free Altius eBook, Best Practice Guide to Social Housing Contractor Compliance herehere.

Download the Best Practice Guide to Social Housing Contractor Compliance

Five common oversights in housing association procurement

Common oversights in housing association procurement

As housing association procurement teams up and down the country grapple with ever shrinking budgets and calls for more efficiency, there has never been a better time for the UK Government and European Commission to step in and help out.

A year on from the implementation of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, housing associations are now on target to achieve a 10% cost efficiency through the new legislation, but is there more that procurement teams can do to achieve even greater efficiencies?

Below, we take a look at just five common oversights that you and your team may have missed, and how they can help you maintain a quality level of service while being as efficient as possible with your budget.

Fully embrace the digital future

Social housing procurement teams have already embraced the digital era, making use of e-sourcing platforms, PQQ tools, and online procurement organisations.

You will be aware that in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, social housing procurement is expected to be fully digitised by 2018 – less than two years away. While industry sources, such as Inside Housing, were quick to point out that this process would mean more work for procurement teams upfront, the standardisation and time saved through keeping contractor and tender documents online could be significant.

Moving towards a fully digitised future before the 2018 deadline not only means that you’re not rushing around last minute to comply, it also means you can safeguard the future of the association’s procurement procedures, and start seeing a real efficiency benefit earlier.

Screening new contractors thoroughly

PQQs, as you know, are a great way to gather essential information from contractors before moving onto the next step of the tendering process. Asking the right questions associated with the products or services that you are requesting, can inform your team better when it comes to making decisions.

Unfortunately, many associations still use standardised PQQs that have simply become a necessity in the process, rather than a way of extracting useful information. However, screening new contractors thoroughly with a bespoke PQQ, something we talk about more in our All-in-one PQQ Checklist Guide, can give you a greater understanding of who is right for the job – saving time sourcing and getting the job done quicker.

Gain a better understanding of your prospective contractors >

This has become even more essential following the updates to the Public Contracts Regulation whereby associations test for contractor and supplier capability and financial strength until the contract has been awarded. Likewise, it has now become harder to exclude bad suppliers who have submitted for a new tender. Because of this development, there has never been a better time to get your PQQ template right.

Don’t discount SMEs

In a push to spread the wealth from public contracts across the full spectrum of contractors and suppliers, an initiation by the Government has been introduced to include SMEs in future work. Public housing associations with contracts over £25,000 and under the EU tendering threshold will be automatically added to the Government’s contracts website.

While PQQs will be scrapped for this service, essential health and safety, insurance and financial information will be gathered to ensure contractors meet the most basic of requirements. While associations may have good relationships with larger organisations, the chance to save money, and potentially get a better product or service, could mean that working with SMEs is the best option going forward.

Pushing for a bargain

You wouldn’t be in procurement if you didn’t get a buzz from achieving a bargain. While some associations do still accept the first tendering quote that comes through to their email, rule changes have meant that pushing for a bargain has never been so accepted or standardised.

While the trick of accepting a supplier tender and then working with them to reduce the cost has now been killed off, new legislation means associations can still get a better deal while feeling they’re not pushing suppliers too hard. Post-tender negotiations mean that you can go back to all tendering companies and ask them whether they wish to stick or twist with their initial quote. Pushing the onus back on the suppliers like this, knowing they’re still in competition with other firms, may see a larger discount than you imagined.

Contract growth flexibility, at last

Common sense has prevailed. The regulations around the growth of an initial contract with a supplier or contractor has been relaxed for over 12 months now. This means that:

Instead of simply guessing on the size of the project where your knowledge is limited, you can now work strategically with a contractor or supplier to get the job done in the allocated time frame. If you need the extra budget to make it happen, as long as it falls within the percentage boundaries, you can concentrate on making this happen, rather than re-tendering.

The all-in-one PQQ checklist

If saving money and becoming even more efficient is your goal for your housing association, than starting to take another look at these five common oversights above will help you refocus your efforts.

This all begins by taking a look at your internal processes, and seeing what you can do to improve and get the most from your contractors. In the free guide, All-in-one PQQ Checklist for Housing Associations, we go over the essential requirements from your pre-qualification questionnaire, following the regulation change in 2015, and how you can use PQQs to make time and money savings right from the start of the process.

Download the free PQQ checklist on our web page here.

Download the all-in-one PQQ checklist for Housing Associations

DBS checks for contractors: A guide for housing associations

Every discipline that a contractor resides within will have specific industry standards that they must meet in order to carry out their job, but aside from these, within the housing association, there are internal standards and requirements that contractors must meet. For example, if a contractor is going to come into contact with a vulnerable person, such as the elderly or children, they need to be DBS checked.

What is a DBS check?

A DBS check is a record of an individual’s unprotected convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that can also include intelligence held by the police that relates to an individual and their suitability for a job position.

Organisations such as the housing association can request that their staff, volunteers or applicants have been checked, but only if they are working/volunteering/applying for a position that is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

There are four different types of checks available:

Basic checks

These can be requested by an individual or by the employer for any role and will show all unspent convictions.

Standard checks

A standard check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering. A standard check is suitable where applicants won’t be working with children or groups that could be described as vulnerable.

Enhanced checks

An enhanced check is suitable where the applicant will be working with children, young people and vulnerable groups. This check includes all information described in the standard check as well as intelligence held by the police if they believe it is pertinent to a recruitment decision.

Improve your social housing contractor compliance today >

Enhanced with DBS Barred list checks

This will show the same information as an enhanced check, along with any information that is held on the barred lists.

Why are they important for housing associations?

As housing associations are sometimes described as ‘supported accommodation’, there are a certain amount of services that must be provided in addition to housing, and this includes ongoing maintenance and emergency repairs.

With many housing associations providing homes to the elderly, people with mental health problems or disabilities, vulnerable families with children or even younger single people, it is a requirement that anyone who is carrying out work for the housing association to have an enhanced DBS check.

As mentioned in our blog, Health and safety manager’s guide to monitoring social housing contractors, it’s important to monitor your contractors against your standards and KPIs on a regular basis, a DBS check should fall within this monitoring process.

DBS checks could also be used as a preliminary screening tool for employing new contractors, as those whose results don’t come back as you would like, can be removed from the process.

What else should you think about?

DBS checks for contractors aren’t the only thing that your contractors will need. It’s important that when on boarding any new contractor that you ensure they have all of the right certifications and insurances to show that they can do their job correctly.

As with the DBS check, if there is ever a safeguarding issue where your organisation and the people working with children or vulnerable groups have not been adequately checked, your organisation could be held legally liable, so you need to make sure that you have all of the relevant documents in order.

Contractors management best practice

After reading this blog, you might be feeling a little unsure about how to best manage and monitor your social housing contractors to ensure that they’re meeting requirements. DBS checks are clearly important and need checking periodically – if you haven’t got a system in place to check and monitor these, however, now is the time to begin looking for a solution.

For more information and tips on monitoring and managing your contractors, download our eBook, the Best Practice guide to social housing contractor compliancewhich will teach you all you need to know about the contractor management best practice.

Download the all-in-one PQQ checklist for Housing Associations

Modern Slavery Act: 5 steps to compliant social housing contractors

Modern Slavery Act for social housing contractors

As of January 2016 the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) is in force. The MSA aims to combat crimes of slavery and human trafficking by creating criminal offences and powers of enforcement.

Modern Slavery Act definition

The MSA says that businesses have a role to play in reducing slavery, and has imposed obligations on large organisations, including housing associations, to publish a statement at the end of each financial year that proves they have no involvement with slavery or human trafficking.

While the obligation falls only on large housing associations (those who turnover £36m), smaller housing associations can publish a statement if they wish, and it would be considered best practice for this to be the case.

The obligation on a housing association to consider whether such crimes exist within their business extends to its supply chains which includes anything which enables the organisation to provide services to its end user.

By outsourcing or sub-contracting, housing associations need to consider how to carry out the necessary checks and standard terms should be introduced with contractors to ensure that they are aware of the housing associations stance on modern slavery.

As reputation is key for housing associations, for the impact on customers and stakeholders, it’s vital that housing associations take the MSA seriously and make an effort to adhere to the obligation.  With reputation in mind, here is how you can ensure that your social housing contractors are compliant:

1. Verification

This step should take place at the beginning of the on-boarding process – it includes checking that a contractor’s standards and industry certifications are in order before any work begins.

Typically, this can involve you and your team working to verify insurance, certifications and other claims a contractor might make when pitching for work – you should never rely on a contractors claims alone.

At this point you can ask your contractor to provide you with documentation to show that they abide by the MSA.

Improve your social housing contractor compliance today >

2. Authorisation

Authorisation is the process of approving a contractor to deliver work for your company – this means authorising contractors to do specific jobs. Once you are satisfied that your social housing contractors have met your assessment requirements, you need to ensure that they have the relevant information and documentation so that they can begin work.

Once a contractor is authorised, it’s time to put them on your ‘approved contractor’ list – this is often underrated, but it’s important. You don’t want a non-approved contractor to slip through the cracks and carry out work for your housing association, especially if they aren’t biding by the rules of the MSA.

3. Policies and rules

Create policies and rules that clearly explain to your contractors what you expect and want to see from them, this includes requiring them to abide by the MSA laws.

Make sure that you’re using a good IT system to disseminate the information and get acknowledgements back that your policies and rules have been received and understood by the contractor – this will cover you and the housing association, should the worst happen.

4. Monitoring

As explained in another of our blogs, Health and safety manager’s guide to monitoring social housing contractorsyou need a process in place where you can monitor the progress of your contractors against the targets and contractual specifications that you have set for them.

This can be in the form of an audit, which can assist your housing association in identifying areas for improvement and assess the performance of your social housing contractors in accordance with your KPIs, which is crucial to maintaining your high standards and reputation.

5. Implementing contractor management best practice

In this blog, we have only touched on the surface of best practice for managing your social housing contractors. If you’d like to learn more about how you can implement measures to ensure that your social housing contractors are compliant, you should download our eBook, the Best practice guide to social housing contractor compliancewhere you will learn tips about how you can achieve contractor compliance.

Download the all-in-one PQQ checklist for Housing Associations

All-in-one social housing PQQ checklist launched by Altius

Between PAS 91 and the Government’s Public Contracts Regulations 2015, PQQ templates for housing associations have become standardised throughout the industry. Gathering mandatory information has been simplified, especially with the support from online procurement organisations to screen contractors and suppliers in the first place.

However, despite the assistance from the Government on PQQ best practice, this mandatory information is sometimes not enough for procurement, contracts and health and safety managers in the industry.

The use of adapted PQQs or bespoke contractor questionnaires is now common place within the industry, particularly during a due diligence process with new contractors. To help you define a PQQ template that retrieves all of the relevant data needed to meet your specific company requirements, here at Altius we’ve created a checklist to give guidance on developing your own bespoke version.

Introducing the checklist

The All-in-one PQQ Checklist for Housing Associations covers both the basic information you must have on a PQQ, plus key additional information, for example; CRB checks, Modern Slavery, working with vulnerable adults, and health and safety details.

The free and downloadable checklist also include tips on implementing a new PQQ into your current contractor management process, focussing on:

The PQQ process

If you’re currently reviewing your PQQ process, then the idea of doing this in-house or to outsource has probably crossed your mind. The checklist will help you assess your current operations and whether you are best to handle this internally, or outsource if you lack time and expertise.

PQQ collection

Manual collection by posted physical copies, or emailed word documents is certainly easy to set-up, however, postage and compatibility problems mean that this manual way of collecting PQQs and managing contractors is somewhat flawed. Likewise, some software solutions can be too basic on not offer a full solution to meet your internal requirements. The checklist looks at both alternatives, and assesses what is right for you.

Ongoing contractor assessment

Following the introduction of a new PQQ, how are you going to maintain, audit and assess contractors to ensure they are still eligible to work with you? This section of the checklist will look at how a new process, whether it be done in-house or outsourced, can help to not only ensure contractor compliance, but also raise quality within the contractor’s work too.

Download the checklist

To get your hands on a copy of the All-in-one PQQ Checklist for Housing Associations, and see how you can begin to implement the right PQQ into your contractor management system, click here.

Download the all-in-one PQQ checklist for Housing Associations

5 key speakers to watch at PfH Live 2016

Key speakers at PfH Live 2016

This event has now passed.

Procurement for Housing is set to welcome over 8,000 delegates to their biggest exhibition and conference yet, PfH Live 2016 in Manchester. Last year saw some great insight from the panel sessions on key industry topics and issues – and this year is no different.

Over the three-day event, PfH, combined with the Housing 2016 conference and exhibition, will welcome more industry experts from across the country to share their experiences and expertise on better procurement for housing associations. Of the many seminars and panel sessions set to be hosted in June at the Manchester Central Convention Centre, here’s five that you must take the time out to watch.

1 – Mark Easton – BBC (with a guest panel)

Just over one year on from the general election, the government are delivering their policy agenda at pace. So far housing policy has been at the centre of this, from Right to Buy, pay to stay and the introduction of starter homes and a renewed emphasis on creating a nation of home owners. With four more years left of the parliament, what do Number 10, the Treasury and DCLG really think about the future of the sector? Add the EU referendum into the mix, which falls five days before the conference, and we have a potentially very interesting four years and possibly beyond.

2 – Nicola Robinson – CIPS & Fiona Adams – Stonewater Housing Association

The supply chain is the backbone of the business and is also an enabler for effective business strategy execution. In this session, you will explore how to create, control and leverage your spend throughout the entire supply chain.

Improve your social housing contractor compliance today >

3 – Jo Meehan – University of Liverpool

The importance of contract management and how it can be leveraged to gain more influence to effect positive strategic change and impact procurement at sourcing stage.

4 – Magnus Walker – PfH

Driving procurement excellence in volatile markets can be challenging and we have to know how to offset the risk to ensure best value is obtained. In this session, you will take lessons from one of the most volatile markets – energy – and will hear challenges and experiences from the sector to offer practical insight.

5 – Isabel Hardman – The Spectator (with a guest panel)

The guest panel will examine and explore what social housing may look like in 10 years and how the sector should/could respond to this. Themes to be discussed include: what will the mission be? What will the Housing Benefit bill look like in 5-10 years?

Going to the event?

Let us know your views on the exhibition, conference, and the key speakers you have seen throughout the event and post your thoughts on the comments box below.

Download the Best Practice Guide to Social Housing Contractor Compliance

Health and safety manager’s guide to monitoring social housing contractors

Keeping on top of all your social housing contractors can be a tough task, especially when you have to oversee a variety of areas, from plumbers, electricians to even window cleaners. Every project that each of your contractors’ works on is different, with different policies, requirements and targets.

But, by having a stringent process in place for monitoring your contractors, you can make your job a little easier, and the management of contractors a lot more effective.

Here at Altius, we believe that contractor monitoring can be done effectively in all housing associations in three steps, behaviour, audit and KPIs. Below, we talk about each of these steps in detail:

Contractor behaviour

The physical monitoring of contractors is crucial to ensuring that your contractors are complying with the policies and rules that you have set for them. While completing an on-site assessment is more time consuming than a desktop audit, you will also gain a greater sense of knowledge that you wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

Monitoring the behaviour of your contractors on-site also gives you the chance to make sure that they’re performing against the specific requirements the housing association asked. For instance, if they’re working in areas with vulnerable adults or children, it’s important that they are suitably trained and are performing their duties without disruption.

Improve your social housing contractor compliance today >

Remember, people behave differently when they know that they’re being observed, so use processes that are discreet. While you’re conducting your observations, make sure to give contractors feedback, including areas where they could improve and credit for doing their job well and to your standards.

Introducing audits

Many companies – housing associations included – don’t think that audits are necessary until they realise that one of their contractors is underperforming, by which time, it is often too late to fix the problems.

By introducing audits at the beginning of your working relationship with social housing contractors, they won’t just see audits as a negative undertaking, carried out only to find problems with their processes. Having their backing with audits will be of benefit to you both.

The audit process should be combined of desktop and on-site audits, which involves checking contractor information and certifications against the standards set by the housing association, and then physical monitoring of contractors should you decide that this is required. For more information on using this multi-layered approach, take a look at our blog ‘How to conduct your social housing contractors audit effectively’.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are practical and objective measurements of progress used to monitor performance, and should be used when you’re monitoring social housing contractors. They are designed to compare the performance of a contractor to a predetermined goal, or against the required standard of practice.

Your KPIs should be set at the beginning of your working relationship with all contractors, which give you a benchmark for assessing their performance. Remember, the KPIs that you set will vary depending on the job that the social housing contractor will be doing for the housing association, try to be as specific as possible so that you can have a clear indication of how they’re performing in their role.

As you can see, this step goes hand in hand with the previous two when it comes to effectively monitoring social housing contractors – so, all three should be implemented to your monitoring process.

Best practice

The monitoring of your social housing contractors is just one stage in the process of gaining contractor compliance, and works best when implemented alongside the other steps our supply chain performance framework, namely ‘capability’ and ‘management.

If you’d like to learn more about how to achieve compliance with your social housing contractors, you should download our eBook, the Best practice guide to social housing contractor compliancewhich shares with you, tips and recommendations to ensure that your contractors are compliant.

Download the all-in-one PQQ checklist for Housing Associations

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