I read with interest the article about contractors speaking with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) about creating a trade body to discuss procurement of maintenance work for social housing (18 May, page 14).
This already exists as the Housing Maintenance Contractors Forum (HMCF), which has 30 members, including Kier and Mitie. It was created to represent large and small contractors in discussions with the OGC, Health and Safety Executive, Housing Corporation and clients and to raise the profile of maintenance.
It is vital that there is a trade body to provide a voice for the £1-20m turnover maintenance contractor. Consolidation is taking place in the sector, but evidence is inconsistent as to whether it is bringing any improvement to the quality of services to tenants, the delivery of day-to-day repairs and the refurbishment of void properties. The acquisition of smaller contractors with profits generated from the Decent Homes programme will not benefit the sector in the long term. Don’t let us pretend that these huge registered social landlords with dispersed stock will find service delivery from large national contractors easy to obtain as they strive to provide an excellent service for their tenants.
To this end, could I encourage maintenance contractors to register on the HMCF website, after which we will send them a membership pack, in an effort for them to have a genuine impact upon the sector?
Keith Simpson, honorary secretary, HMCF