We are excited to announce that we established a new consortium of housing associations in South Wales. The consortium is a collaboration of seven Housing Associations.
The seven members are : –
- Newydd Housing Association
- Cadwyn Housing Association
- First Choice Housing Association
- Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association
- Cynon Taf Community Housing Group
- RHA Wales Group Ltd
- Caredig Housing Association
Purpose of the Consortium
The consortium will allow the 7 like-minded community RSL’s (Registered Social Landlord) who share common values, goals, and face similar challenges to combine resources and improve the quality and capability of developing and delivering on projects. After the Welsh Government put forward legislation for the Renting Homes Wales Act 2016 (RHWA), the 7 RSL’s recognized the benefits of collaboration and wanted to work together to address the large challenge of communicating the changes to tenants contracts.
The Consortium pitched together to procure a contract with Blake Morgan Solicitors who provided specialist legal services required to implement the RHWA. The contract included the drafting of occupation contracts, staff training and bespoke advice.
A shared Project Manager was employed by the Consortium (hosted by Cynon Taf). Initial responsibilities included:
- Managing the contract with Blake Morgan and ensuring spend on legal services was coordinated and value for money.
- Co-ordinating the sharing of knowledge and best practice across the Consortium by organising and chairing specialist leads meetings and managing leads projects.
Several specialist groups were set up to support the relevant changes:
- Steering Group
- Repairs and Assets Management
- Supported Accommodation
Results of collaborative working
The RHWA was implemented legally and on time due to shared project management, a comprehensive implementation plan and effective risk management. The sharing of resources and costs ensured policies and procedures reflected the changes set out by Welsh Government.
Collaboration on legal advice associated with housing management and fitness for human habitation – both in relation to the implementation of the Act and post Act challenges. Communication resources were pooled which included information for residents on the changes being brought in by the Act, Fitness for Habitation and Damp and mould management.
There has been positive feedback from the operational leads who felt that the networking and peer support in the Consortium has given them confidence, enabled them to share knowledge and skills, and reduced the stress of making the operational changes required. The groups have also been able to share experience, knowledge and good practice on housing management and repairs matters which are not related to the Act.
Members have spent less of their allocated budgets on legal services than anticipated and there has been value for money from the Blake Morgan contract e.g., sharing the cost of: drafting of occupation contracts and licences, the drafting and reviewing of policies and procedures and advice and training sessions.
Plans For The Future
The collaboration of the success of the collaborative approach has created a desire for the Consortium to continue to work together on other projects to positively and cohesively meet the challenges facing the sector in the future. These include:
The group will share resources to invest in communication campaigns
- Dealing with Damp and Mould,
- Help with the Cost of Living Crisis,
- Affordable Warmth and Decarbonisation.
- Consideration of the shared procurement of legal services.
- The continued sharing of resources, skills, experience, performance and benchmarking information, and best practice.
Looking forward, the consortium plans to continue working together on projects, including sharing resources to invest in communication campaigns, considering shared procurement of legal services, and continued sharing of resources, skills, experience, performance, and benchmarking information. This bodes well for the future of the consortium and the sector it serves.