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Why do Registered Providers (RPs) often struggle to achieve a successful repairs model?

From our extensive experience working with Housing Associations nationally, we have seen a range of repairs and maintenance (R&M) delivery models and just about every issue or problem imaginable. However, one the most commonly asked question is whether to have an internal delivery model or DLO, an external model, or a mixture of the two.

We speak to Vantage’s Operations Direction, Rob Bryan, on why an efficient and effective repairs model can often be elusive. “Internal efforts to resolve problems can focus on fixing the wrong things. RPs may decide to change their delivery model, perhaps from a DLO to an external model or vice versa, but the root causes of the problem go much deeper.” says Bryan

We are regularly brought in to assist with one of two situations:

  • to ‘sort out’ a failing external contract
  • to understand why a DLO isn’t working as expected and make recommendations for change

When an external repairs contract seems to be struggling, we are asked to come in and resolve the situation. Following some time with the team, it is not uncommon to discover that the core clienting or contract management skills are not where they need to be. The initial procurement of the external contract may have got the organisation off to a flying start, but there aren’t the skills or training available, in the team, to manage the contract effectively. Worst case scenario, the contract is considered untenable and is terminated, only to be replaced by another contract with much the same issues.

There are many reasons why a DLO might not be working, but in our experience, it often comes down to one or more of the following five issues:

  • People people people: good leadership is key and can be hard to come by. The best DLO are those with the right people and skills in place. Having a robust coaching and training programme helps high-performing RPs make the most of their teams.
  • Lack of buy-in: any company, no matter how good, will struggle without the buy-in of the key team members, the executive team and those doing the doing.
  • The supply chain: this isn’t just about setting it up, so it works well first time around, but also training your staff to get the best performance from the service on an on-going basis.
  • Commercial KPIs – setting appropriate KPIs and having the capabilities built into your team to accurately set, measure and adapt KPIs as necessary encourages continuous performance improvement.
  • Passive/Reactive Asset Management – ‘active asset management’ seem to be buzz words in the sector at the minute, but RPs are grappling with what that means for them and not fully yielding the benefits.

If any of the above sounds familiar we would love to talk to you and your team. Vantage are leaders in transformational change and R&M performance improvement in social housing. Contact us to discuss your options and see how much you could achieve.