Local Authority and NHS budgets are under serious pressure. The Private Rented Sector is facing significant changes to regulation and promotion of good practice. Universal Credit continues to be a major issue in the housing sector, for tenants and landlords. We have been involved in a number of high profile initiatives, advising both providers, regulators, commissioners and representative bodies. Relevant projects undertaken include:

safeagent – West of England Landlord Panel- we are advising safeagent on their engagement with this partnership initiative by a group of West of England Local Authorities. The aim is to raise standards and confidence in the Private Rented Sector across the sub-region, through partnership working with accrediting bodies

Cheltenham YMCA 2019– we provided extensive written content to assist this organisation with a competitive tender. We also acted as editor and critical friend throughout the process

P2I Somerset Network Consortium – we designed an innovative “network” consortium model, enabling four local organisations to collaborate on a successful tender to provide county wide services for young people. The network consortium model allows for different agencies to take the lead according to local needs and capacity:

North Somerset Community Partnership – Collaborative Working – as a Non Executive Director, Phil Saunders was intimately involved with emerging tendering and partnership models such as Joint Venture Companies. Phil was also an early supported of Partner 2 Care, a broker of Personal Health Budgets which is now established across the Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset areas

Housing Related Support – West London Framework – we assisted two providers in preparation of their tenders under this framework. This involved comprehensive editing of method statements to word limits, as well as advice on pricing

St Mungos Community Housing Association – Responding to Joint Commissioning – We are advising on options for development of this major provider’s mental health services, in the context of NHS re-organisation and the emergence of Health & Well Being Partnerships;

Procurement and Tendering – West London Providers – we provided independent support to organisations responding to a Supporting People Framework Agreement exercise. As part of this work, we have advised on cultural and management issues, consortium and other partnership arrangements – and the tendering process itself

Supported Housing in Partnership (SHiP) – Commissioning and Procurement of Accommodation Based Housing Related Support Services – we produced a major report for this influential group of Housing Associations, looking at how the role of Registered Social Landlords in the provision of accommodation based services can best be defined and recognised

Hartlepool Borough Council – we participated in a development day for the Supporting People Commissioning Body and Core Strategy Group, looking at the implications of national policy developments for local and regional partnership working

Swindon Borough Council – SP Commissioning Body – we devised and provided a training day for the CB, aimed at improving standards of governance following an Audit Commission inspection report

Shropshire and Warwickshire County Councils – we advised the Commissioning Bodies and Core Strategy Groups of both these authorities on key aspects of their Supporting People strategies.

Consortium Building and Partnership Working

Partnership working is now an expectation of both central government and local commissioners. The provider sector is beginning to respond positively – but faces a number of challenges. We have extensive experience of putting together joint working arrangements – from initial identification of partners right through to the agreements and financial arrangements needed to hold consortia together. We are technical experts – but we also have the softer skills to make relationships work. Projects completed include:

Cheltenham YMCA – we advised this supported housing provider on partnership arrangements and tendering, in the context of a bid to provide emergency accommodation

Stevenage Haven – we assisted this small supported housing provider to broker a long term partnership with a large housing association, with a view to realising a major new hostel development

Southend Supporting People Consortium – we advised the Reach Partnership of four local providers on all aspects of consortium development and tendering, in response to a procurement exercise carried out by Southend Borough Council

Somerset County Council – we reviewed this authority’s partnership arrangements with Housing Associations for the provision of Learning Disability services, devised new joint project management arrangements, drew up a stakeholder agreement and produced detailed project planning and performance monitoring tools

London Borough of Haringey – we are working with the voluntary sector unit at Haringey Council to “manage the market” of providers. This has entailed brokerage of the local authority response to provider preferences as well as face-to-face facilitation of partnerships.