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Tony Bryan FCCA, CEO of Vantage, recently shared the stage with Glenn Harris MBE, Executive Director of Corporate Resources, Midland Heart (MH) at the National Housing Federation Finance Conference.

Glenn discussed the challenges facing everyone in Social Housing, the importance of VFM to business transformation and how they tackled a four year cycle of -1% rent reductions. About two years ago MH, like most other Housing Associations, needed to find ways to make cost savings whilst simultaneously, maintaining or improving their quality service offering. One of the first things they did was to look at their cost and quality drivers.

The first big piece of work Vantage undertook with MH was to look at their major works and in particular their heating costs, which were much higher than they should have been. Vantage looked at the supply chain, at the procurement processes and they also looked at how the contract was managed. Vantage took the pain out of this process, they went through thousands and thousands of invoices and demonstrated that although the contract said one thing, MH was actually paying something quite different in a number of cases. The variations in these contracts were massive and through harder and tighter contract management MH were able to bring their heating installation costs right down.

The Performance Improvement Club (PI Club) gathers data from its members and provides true financial comparisons across business segments. It brings together Senior Directors to share strategic and operational performance information. It is member led, only producing information and reports that are requested and valued by its members.  MH studied the data from other Housing Associations around the country to see who was doing what well. They looked at RP’s that were comparable to themselves; those in a similar geographical area, with a similar mix of care and general needs. Armed with that information MH talked to those organisations that were excelling in certain areas to understand what their drivers were and essentially what they were doing that MH wasn’t.

Glenn commented that “a key factor in our success has been benchmarking, and having the ability to compare our performance to similar or like-minded RP’s. This has been critical in identifying areas for improvement, learning from other providers and delivering the most efficient service to our customers.”

For more information on the Performance Improvement Club, including registration details click here

To download the slides from Glenn’s presentation click here