08 September 2005 | Anusha Bradley
The government agency responsible for England's 2,000 housing associations has launched its first procurement strategy.
The Housing Corporation, which regulates and invests in the associations across the country, hopes the strategy will help it to save £430 million by 2008.
Before the strategy's launch, only pockets of associations around the country worked together to save money, and there were no formal guidelines on achieving value for money.
Launched in August, the strategy encourages more collaborative purchasing between housing associations and the use of public-private partnerships. It also sets out new processes and tools to measure their effectiveness.
These include standardised business plans to help associations deliver efficiency savings; streamlined housing plans that emphasise the importance of building quality homes; and a methodology that associations can apply to evaluate their achievements. The corporation will also run supply chain and procurement best-practice seminars around the country to disseminate information.
Overseeing delivery of the strategy is Steve Trueman, former housing director of local government procurement organisation 4Ps. He was appointed to the new position of head of procurement and new ventures at the corporation in April.
"It's about new ways of finding and delivering affordable housing. The next step is to develop an action plan."
He said emphasis will be put on good supply chain management and innovative construction to ensure continuous savings are made and quality homes built.
Trueman will review the strategy's progress in a year's time.