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Housing providers focus on quality following Grenfell Tower tragedy

Social landlords are placing greater emphasis on quality when making procurement decisions following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Fusion21’s Procurement Trends Report today revealed.

More than half (51%) of the 80 procurement professionals who took part in the research in April and May this year, told Fusion21 that the quality of goods and services had become a more important consideration.

Among those who said Grenfell had not affected their organisation’s approach, were many who stated that quality was already vital. Three-quarters (75%) of procurement professionals, who work for organisations that collectively own more than one million homes, described compliance as “extremely important” when achieving value for money.

More than half (57%) outsourced procurement in order to access technical expertise that does not exist in-house; while more than a quarter (28%) outsourced in order to achieve value for money; 26% in order to make procurement more efficient; and 21% to ensure compliance.

Sarah Rothwell, Head of Member Engagement at Fusion21, said: “We conducted our Procurement Trends research in order to find out what was most important to procurement professionals after a hugely challenging couple of years for everyone in the housing sector.

“The research findings, which have been launched to our members at Housing 2018 in Manchester today, confirmed that the work of procurement teams around compliance has been the focus of renewed scrutiny following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

“At Fusion21, we will continue to respond to our members’ needs through our procurement services. Earlier this year we launched our national dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for Fire Suppression Systems and Associated Works – enhancing our existing comprehensive fire safety offer.

Appointment to this DPS is based entirely on suppliers fulfilling a rigorous quality criteria assessment which focuses on experience and capability.”

John Thornhill, Procurement and Contracts Manager at Futures Housing Group, who took part in the research, explained why organisations like his are increasingly outsourcing certain types of procurement contracts:

“Futures Housing Group has completed its decent homes repairs programmes, so our repairs work now tends to be more elemental. As a result, we’ve found it more useful to tap into procurement consortia.

“We no longer have the leverage we had when we had full-scale work to do, so it’s useful to use frameworks.

“Also, we’re tending to do smaller, more complicated procurements like telecare and fire risk assessments – if we put them out to tender by ourselves, who would we attract? There is no pool of local talent in these areas, so we have to look further afield.”