Tenant engagement word cloud

Procurement and Tenant Involvement

When the procurement team prepare a tender we spend a great deal of time with internal stakeholders, to ensure the parameters of the tendered contract will fulfill the requirements of the client:-

• Developing the specification
• Identifying KPI’s and performance management
• Ensuring the most appropriate price / quality split
• Writing qualitative questions which allow analysis
• Creating evaluation criteria that is fit for purpose

But do we always get the right balance on the input to these decisions? Is there a role for external stakeholders to play? Those working with the current service providers, as well as the customers receiving the service, can provide valuable feedback and even innovative ideas leading to potentially cost saving solutions.

Ask the customer

In the housing sector, service delivery that is fit for purpose for customers (i.e. tenants and leaseholders) is essential. But even the most experienced housing professional won’t always view service delivery in the same way that the customers will. By consulting with tenants and leaseholders when the contract is being developed we can involve the very people the service provision is being procured for.

Customer experience and insight is invaluable as the procurement team develop the specification prior to issuing documentation to the market. Contracts for responsive repair, grounds maintenance and communal cleaning are examples of the areas where tenant/leaseholder involvement is not just desirable but essential.

Assessing contract performance

What is the best way to assess performance? Using the same KPI’s that were in the last tender pack?  Or talking to the service users about how they experienced the service delivery and how they think it can be improved?

We can gain insightful information about the performance of the contractors by talking to external stakeholders and getting their views on the measurement, type and frequency of customer satisfaction surveys. It may be that a KPI measurement which previously defined service delivery by volume also needs to be measured by time. For instance: the contractor may have installed the 450 external doors as the contract prescribed; but from the customers view they did not install the doors in the time expected, leading to service dissatisfaction.

Commercial evaluation is usually the domain of procurement, with support from the client. Too often the technical review of the qualitative questions is from a narrow group of internal colleagues only. Their view is incredibly important and should be valued; however this review group can also benefit from the input of tenant experience. Inviting the tenant liaison members to be involved in the qualitative marking allows another perspective and gives a more rounded overall view.

Shared benefits

The benefits of this collaborative way of working are there for everyone. The procurement team is able to develop a robust contract which is fit for purpose. The housing association develops a stronger relationship with tenant groups whilst also receiving free consultancy on their activities. The tenant / leaseholder feels more engaged by being involved in the process. Even the contractor who is appointed to provide the service benefits as they know a tenant panel was involved in the decision to appoint them.
During contract delivery, each of the key stakeholder groups involved in the procurement process will have a better understanding of what was offered; what is expected; how the service will be delivered and how the contract success will be measured. All of these improve the likelihood of good communication between the groups, contract success and higher customer satisfaction. Everyone’s a winner.