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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.

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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.

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Best practice guide to supply chain compliance now available as a free download.