Introduction to the NHMF Contractor Forum
The National Housing Maintenance Forum's (NHMF) Contractor Forum was established as the trade affiliation for contractors working in the field of social housing, with the aim of creating closer working relationships between contractors, clients and sub-contractors. The forum works closely with the NHMF in promoting good practice in the procurement and management of repairs.
For many years the NHMF has had at least one contractor represented on its committee to ensure that it understands fully the contractor's perspective when developing the M3NHF Schedule of Rates and related products. Contractors have also been involved in various training sessions and conferences in order to promote good practice. The NHMF is keen to involve contractors at an earlier stage in the consultation process when developing the schedules and diagnostic systems that are now used by nearly all social housing providers; it feels that it would benefit from their wide practical experience. Members also support and contribute to sessions at the annual NHMF Maintenance Conference.
The Contractor Forum has now met on fifteen occasions, starting in January 2012 and most recently in May 2016. The NHMF has agreed its aims and objectives, its membership, the fees needed to fund it and its terms of reference, which can be viewed here.
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 the NHMF AGM on Monday 23 January 2017 - 6pm at the NHMF Maintenance Conference
Members of the NHMF Committee and the NHMF Contractor Forum hold a joint meeting to review the events of 2016 and propose a plan of work for 2017. The committees for both groups are elected at this meeting. Nominations for office should be sent by email to Liz Circuit, Secretary NHMF.
Further meetings are held in April and September. The dates for next year will be set in January 2017.
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
- training to improve how the SoR is used to reduce differences in the way the descriptions are interpreted
Minutes from the previous meeting are available in the members' area.