Faithorn Farrell Timms LLP

Procurement of a Responsive Repairs and Voids Contract for Paragon Asra Housing Group

The Project

The Paragon asra Housing (PAH) were seeking to procure Responsive Repairs and Void Refurbishment Works in their London and the Midlands regions. Faithorn Farrell Timms placed the notices in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on behalf of our client.

  • Contract Notice London – Responsive repairs and void refurbishment works to 3,500 properties. A single Contract with one Service Provider worth circa £15,000.000.00 over a five-year team, with the option to extend for a further five years.
  • Contract Notice Midlands - Void refurbishment works to 11,500 properties. Three regional lots in Northampton, Leicester and Nottingham worth circa £7,500.000.00 over a five-year team, with the option to extend for a further five years.

Our Role

As part of our role, we undertook the following tasks:

  • Arranging and facilitating scoping workshops with our client and all key stakeholders to ensure their requirements would be factored into the programme at a very early date. In doing this, we were able to agree a bespoke project plan that was realistic and achievable.
  • We advised that the best Form of Contract would be the Term Partnering Contract (TPC) 2005, due to the fact that asra were keen to instil a partnering / collaborative approach in the new Contracts. The delivery basis was a Price Per Property and Price Per Void model.
  • Assisting with Section 20 letters, preparing, issuing, and marking the PQQ’s, as well as managing clarifications
  • We prepared a risk register and established how key risks would be mitigated and managed
  • Preparing all relevant tender documentation to the tenderers who had passed the PQQ stage of the process, including the Term Brief, Price Framework, Specification and Form of Contract. We also prepared a detailed suite of KPI’s.
  • Facilitating the technical marking, producing the tender report and issuing feedback letters
  • Publishing the Contract Award Notice (CAN) and preparing the contracts

The Challenges

Asra are located in both London and the Midlands and therefore all meeting dates had to be programmed in to alternate between their two offices. We made good use of conference call or video conferencing facilities.

Another key challenge was the wide diversity of PAH’s 3,200 properties across London and how the successful service provider would be able to deliver an excellent service across such a large area. The tender documents therefore needed to be bespoke to ensure the right technical questions were asked and relevant clauses included.

PAH also wanted the ability to be able to allocate the South region to a DLO after two years should they so desire. Bespoke clauses therefore needed to be added to the Contract to allow such a break to occur.

Further to the above, there were a number of additional challenges / risks that needed to be considered and overcome. These are set out below:

  1. Programme – It was essential that a project plan was both realistic and achievable. Failure to identify all the relevant tasks could have resulted in corners being cut to meet deadlines. Those corners that are cut will at some stage resurface.
  2. Section 20 Process – It was essential that the Section 20 Notices that were issued were right, failure to issue correct Notices could result in the process having to start again or the client being unable to re-charge leaseholders for elements of the work.
  3. Incorrect Contract Notices - It was fundamental to ensure that the Contract Notices were drafted correctly and covered all the requirements of the works / services to be procured. Failure to get the Contract Notice right could have had a significant effect throughout the duration of the Contracts or result in a challenge from a tenderer.
  4. Compliant Feedback – The extent of feedback that is required on Contracts of this nature is very detailed. It was therefore essential that well-constructed comments were obtained from the evaluation team when marking the technical submissions and interviewing. Failure to obtain such comments could have resulted in the feedback process being very difficult.
  5. Incorrect Tender Documents – It was fundamental to ensure that sufficient time and resource was allocated to the preparation of the tender documents. Failure to get the tender documents right due to pending deadlines could have had a significant effect throughout the duration of the Contracts.
  6. Compliance with the PCR’s – Failure to comply with the Regulations and Crown Commercial Services requirements could have resulted in a challenge being brought by an unhappy tenderer. By using MyTenders for e-tendering we believe this helps to reduce the level of risk.
  7. Abnormally Low Tenders – Failure to investigate potentially Abnormally Low tenders could result in significant issues when the Contracts are let. It could also bring about challenge for the client not following the process set out in the PCR’s.

The Solution

Communication was essential to ensuring that the Contract commencement date was achieved. We worked collaboratively and in partnership with PAH during all stages of the procurement process and project life to ensure the tender documents were bespoke. We clearly defined all resources/stakeholders (internal and external) involved in the project at inception of the procurement process. We fostered a close working relationship with PAH’s resident groups, who played a fundamental role regarding the scoping of the documents and the selection of the correct partner organisations.

To ensure that the procurement progressed in accordance with the Project Plan, we prepared and issued a monthly Highlight Report to the Project Team. This report clearly set out progress in the month and reported against the key deliverables (e.g. a must-start date). Using a Red, Amber, Green status, we summarised how the procurement process was proceeding, which enabled the Project Team to escalate any concerns to Senior Management by way of an exception report.

Due to our successful involvement in the procurement exercise, PAH also asked us to assist with elements of the mobilisation phase, such as chairing the pre-contract meetings.

Added Value

We recognise that every organisation’s requirements are different and as such, spending time upfront to truly understand what the client wants is fundamental. We facilitated lessons learnt workshops to ensure all the lessons were recorded and reflected in the new bespoke documents.

Prior to the award of the various TPC 2005 Contracts, further detailed analysis of each of the tender returns was undertaken to ensure Value for Money was being achieved. Value for Money is not simply about obtaining a low price, but more about obtaining a first-class service at a sustainable price. When the Contracts were signed, the team were satisfied that they had selected Service Providers who could deliver increased resident satisfaction at a realistic price.

We ensured that social value, such as including local employment, training and work placements, use of local supply chains and community regeneration opportunities, was incorporated within the procurement and that the priorities of our client and the local community were reflected throughout the tender documentation. The tender documents encouraged bidders to demonstrate how they would partner with the voluntary sector and local businesses to enhance social value being delivered and maximise outcomes.

A procurement of this scale is an extremely specialist exercise. FFT have provided an exemplar service that has led to the recommendations in this board paper.

William Cornall

Group Director of Development & Assets, Asra Housing Group