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8 December 2011 | Angeline Albert
An alliance between organisations that
represent more than 1,000 social housing landlords aims to drive community benefits
through purchasing, as well as saving money.
An aim of the partnership between the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC),
Procurement for Housing (PfH) and Fusion21, is to
encourage social landlords to consider the social, economic, and environmental
impact of their purchasing in addition to saving money.
The groups, which between them have 1,170
members from the UK social housing sector including local authorities, will
initially offer two framework agreements. The first agreement is for the
retrofit of solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and insulation systems. The
second agreement is a gas servicing framework, and will launch next April.
SMEs will be coached by the alliance on how
to become an attractive supplier choice for landlords. The frameworks will also
create training and work for the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, the
disabled and women wanting to enter the construction industry.
The frameworks were developed to help SMEs
break into the social housing market. Landlords buying through these agreements
will be supporting employment and training opportunities within framework
suppliers for local people. Rather than appointing one large company as the
main contractor, the alliance will also help small local suppliers offer their
services on the frameworks.
Some 37 per cent of suppliers on the
retrofit framework are SMEs, but the collaboration plans to increase this
figure during the next six months.
In a joint statement the social housing
groups said: “For every £1 million worth of work awarded to a supplier by this
alliance, 1.5 jobs and training opportunities will be created within that
supplier. This helps to reduce local unemployment and tackle skills shortages
in certain areas.”