Introduction to the NHMF Contractor Forum
Established to act as the trade affiliation for contractors working on social housing with the goal of creating more alignment between contractors, clients and sub-contractors, the Forum works with the National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) in promoting good practice in the procurement and management of repairs.
For many years the NHMF have had at least one contractor represented on their committee, making sure we understand the contractors’ perspective in developing the M3NHF Schedule of Rates and related products. And we have involved many contractors in training sessions and conferences to promote good practice. We thought there was more we could learn from your experience, and wanted to involve contractors at an earlier stage in consultation on development of the schedules and diagnostic systems that are now almost universally used by social housing providers.
The Forum has now met 15 times. They first met in January 2012 at the NHMF Maintenance Conference Holiday Inn Stratford-upon-Avon and the last meeting was at Bristol Zoo Gardens in Bristol on 10 May 2016. We have agreed the aims and scope of the Forum, its membership, the fees needed to fund it and terms of reference. The terms can be viewed here.
We have also begun to tackle a number of issues of common concern to contractors.
If you are already a member of the contractor forum you can visit the members’ area to get support, logos and M3 schedule reference files.
Membership is open to any contractor providing maintenance services to managed housing. The company would be the member, with a named representative who would be our point of contact. You can complete the form here for membership. The initial membership includes a good cross-section of large, medium and smaller sized contractors and specialist sub-contractors. The forum is chaired by Paul Reader from Morgan Sindall Property Services, with Neil Watts of Breyer Group, Chris Pritchard of CLC Contractors and Keith Stone of Jones Group as deputy chairs, and Liz Circuit as secretary. It is serviced by M3 who also service the NHMF.
The benefits of membership include the opportunity to participate in meetings of the Forum and to shape the development of products and services that are widely used in the sector. Members receive copies of the NHMF Bulletin and are kept informed of the development of products, services, seminars and conferences under the NHMF banner, with opportunities to get involved in matters of interest to them.
Any contractors interested in joining the forum should complete the NHMF Contractor Forum membership form. Meetings are open to subscribing members of the Contractor Forum.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 28 September 2016 at Derby Homes
Topics discussed at previous meetings included:
- the need to manage customer expectations due to budget reductions and the associated impact on service delivery
- how to deal with the fact that IT systems, while data rich, are not speaking to each other and are not being used intelligently
- client reductions in skilled staff causing contractors to have to assess and inform residents when repairs can be done
- the most common and serious issues being faced by contractors and DLOs
- producing a procurement guide aimed at reducing some of the costs of tendering for both contractor and client whilst promoting effective competition
- providing direction for market development (price per property is being used but could the industry develop this further?)
- establishing an industry standard for the handling of TUPE at contract handover
- establishing consistent standards of best practice
- assisting clients with training to improve how they use the SoR and to reduce differences in the way they are interpreted
Minutes from the previous meeting are available in the members' area.