Social landlord Barnet Homes is in the running for a major national award in recognition of its efforts to involve residents in the procurement of new £200million contracts.
The landlord, which manages 15,000 properties on behalf of Barnet Council, has been shortlisted in the Best Customer Engagement Initiative category of the National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2012/13.
The accolade comes after Barnet Homes, with the support of consultants Echelon, engaged dozens of tenants and leaseholders in the process of procuring new contractors to deliver repairs and maintenance services over the next ten years.
From the summer of 2010, residents have been involved in determining contract requirements, assessing and interviewing companies bidding for contracts, and ensuring that there is a smooth transition when the new contractors take on services from April 2012.
They will continue to play a role in monitoring the performance of the new contractors over the next decade as they provide services ranging from repairs and gas servicing to lift maintenance and electric work.
Among other things, the residents’ feedback and contributions mean the new contracts include:
• shorter (two-hour) appointment slots
• new evening and weekend appointment times
• new performance indicators to measure ‘right first time’ fix rates
• fully liveried ID badges, uniforms and vans for all contractors
Jan Andersson was one of the residents involved throughout the procurement process.
She said: “I had no idea what to expect when I went along for the initial sessions but soon found it was physically and mentally exhausting, amazingly enlightening and great fun. I only committed for one day and then wanted to be involved at every stage.
“It was interesting to see the huge varieties of companies and the size of their bids: from two-man partnerships to the biggest companies in the land. Each stage took several days but our views as residents had equal weight as staff and the way companies were chosen or eliminated was on every level as fair as it is possible to make it.
“I am now involved in the mobilisation of Responsive repairs and find the whole process extremely engaging and feel privileged to be part of it.”
The awards will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham on 13 March 2012.
Barnet Homes Chief Executive, Tracey Lees, said: “We’re thrilled to have been shortlisted for these awards. We’ve worked extremely hard to engage residents throughout the procurement of these contracts and it’s fantastic that we’ve been recognised in this way.
“I’d like to thank all of those residents who gave up so much of their time to assess bids, interview contractors and speak to residents in other parts of the country about the services they’ve received. Their input was invaluable.
“We’ll continue to involve residents heavily in the monitoring of our new contracts, working with them and the contractors to ensure we live up to our vision of providing great services at great value.”