Elecrical Board Nhg

10 Apr 2024

Helping us choose who we work with

As part of our campaign to highlight resident involvement opportunities, we spoke to resident Simon Gardner about how he helped us find new electrical safety contractors.

Last year we went out to tender to find new contractors to perform electrical safety testing in all our rented homes and communal areas. As part of the tender process, suppliers who want to work with us have to answer a series of questions on how they would provide the service.

One of those questions asks about how suppliers will keep residents updated and informed of the progress of works. This is clearly very important to our residents, so our procurement team asked some of them to score responses to this question for us. Simon was one of the residents who volunteered.

What made you want to get involved in the procurement process for electrical safety testing?

I try and get involved in my community wherever I can. I’m chair of the supported and sheltered housing forum, where we discuss the issues facing residents and offer input into shaping services. I have a background in helping others. In my working life I was a trade union steward and a student union officer and I'm currently a trade union case worker, so I have experience of representing the views of a wider group and influencing others. I also worked for Basildon Council in their resident involvement team, so I know what it’s like from the staff side.

How did you find the process?

I’ve not done anything like this before, so it was a new experience for me. There were 11 suppliers shortlisted, so we had to read 11 different versions of the answer to the question and score the response between zero and five.

We then had a moderation session with the procurement team to agree a final score for each supplier as a group. I found this negotiation really interesting.

We had to stay focussed throughout, despite the repetition, and make sure we were scoring each answer fairly.

Because I’m new to this kind of work it would have been useful for me to understand a bit more about the procurement process as a whole and where our question fitted in. If we have a pool of residents who are interested in helping with scoring tenders, perhaps organising a general overview training session would be a good idea to help us better understand the whole process.

What did you get out of the process?

I enjoyed the moderation session as it was good to catch up as a group, talk through the scores we had given each supplier and why, and come to a joint conclusion about the final score. It was heartening to see that we could reach agreed scores from different starting positions .

I enjoy being an involved resident. I live in Essex, so I’ve also recently been involved in the consultation for the transfer of homes in the county to another housing provider as well as being a representative on (and chair of) the supported and sheltered housing forum.

I think the landlord/tenant relationship is very important. We, as residents, are best placed to tell you when things aren’t working and to make suggestions for improvement. Empowering residents and genuinely allowing us to influence decisions is key.

Many thanks to Simon for taking the time to talk to us about his experiences.

We are always looking for residents to help us with specific procurement exercises. Coming up we have the door entry system tender, your input required on specifications and home standards, with particular attention to kitchen and bathroom specification and input on our proposals for new pest control contract arrangements.

We’d also like to do a broader review on how we engage residents on procurement exercises and would like your input and ideas

For more information about ways to get involved and to register your interest for any of the initiatives above and more have a look at our resident involvement page on our website.