"There are alternative service delivery models out there and we should continuously explore what's best for our customers"
Thursday 14th of September 2017
"There are alternative service delivery models out there and we should continuously explore what's best for our customers" says by Peter Walters, Executive Advisor (formally Chief Executive) of VIVID.
In a sector with over 350 housing associations, each with more than a 1,000 homes there is no lack of diversity in shape, size, geographical distribution, tenure mix, culture, and financial strength. And just as every housing association differs in so many ways, so every organisation needs a unique approach to maintaining strength and delivering the best for its current and aspiring residents.
Sometimes such improvements are best done with others, but are we making the most of the opportunities that collaboration, sharing, or even merger can offer?
There are alternative service delivery models out there and we should continuously explore what's best for our customers. Shared DLOs? Combined back office services? Better use of management agreements to provide local services to long distance residents? For smaller associations, for example, combining development teams or piggy-backing the resources of larger associations needn’t represent a loss of independence but could achieve efficiencies and improvements in quality. And a number of HAs are now working on a wider collaborative agenda with non-housing agencies to address issues such as well-being, move-on from care, and multi-agency combined local service delivery.
And mergers? Understandably, they can generate strong emotions, as well as the occasional success story. Where there’s a strong business case (and there isn’t always), they can bring about big improvements in one fell swoop. I've been very much involved in three successful mergers - mostly recently the creation of VIVID, bringing about great results for residents and even more importantly future residents in substantially upping the number of homes we can build.
But while mergers, successful or otherwise, tend to grab the headlines, let’s not forget the opportunities to develop a proliferation of less ambitious but more focussed joint working delivering real benefits to our customers.
There’s no single solution to increasing the quality and efficiency of our services, but we should always keep exploring the options.
Peter Walters will be speaking at the Tpas, ‘Collaborate, Merge, or Share’ event in London in October.