Reputation is extremely important when it comes to the success of a housing association, and a lot of a housing association’s credibility is built on their contractors and the work that they carry out, in terms of quality and timescales.
With this said, it is becoming increasingly important for contractors to hold and maintain recognised and up to date qualifications to prove their ability to work, alongside their relevant experience and references.
While many contractors might argue that taking time out to get training, or re-register their qualifications is the last thing on their minds, especially as another contract beckons, those that do hold qualifications will stand out from the crowd – making it easier for you to decide which contractors to employ next.
As a procurement manager, you’ll be dealing with a wide range of contractors and sub-contractors, all carrying out different projects for you – so there’s a lot of different qualifications out there for contractors (way too many for us to cover here), but here are 5 qualifications that you should look out for when on boarding your social housing contractors.
1. PRINCE2 (Projects in controlled environments)
Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally – it is used to show that an individual or business has a process based method for effective project management.
In order to gain the accreditation, contractors will have had to show that they have a common and consistent approach to projects, ensuring that they are controlled and organised from the start, the middle and to the end.
They will have also had to provide proof that they regularly review the progress of the project against the original plan, and provide justification of the project to the business. These skills will be beneficial when hiring social housing contractors to carry out projects for you.
2. MSP (Managing Successful Programmes)
MSP represents proven programme management best practice in the successful delivery of transformational change through the application of programme management.
A contractor that holds this qualification will have had to prove that they are able to utilize best practices in programme management to successfully deliver transformational change, carry out coordinated organisation and implementation of projects to achieve outcomes in a timely manner and also to manage the solutions developed and delivered by projects into the organisations operations while maintaining a high level of performance and effectiveness that you would expect.
3. Involvement with the CPD
The CPD are Continuing Professional Development is the term used to describe the learning activities that professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. Being part of the CPD shows that the contractors you are looking to employ stay up to date with the latest training workshops and are continually looking to improve their skillset.
Engaging with CPD activities ensures that both academic and practical qualifications don’t become out-dated or obsolete for your contractors which means that you will have greater reassurance that all qualifications are at the level that they need to be for working with the housing association.
4. ISO 9000 – Quality management
The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management that provide guidance and tools for contractors and organisations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements and that quality is consistently improved.
Standards are based on a number of quality management principles that include a strong focus on the consumer, the implication of management process, and the approach to continual improvement.
5. ISO 14001 – Environmental management
The official definition by the ISO agency of ISO 14001 is ‘an internationally agreed standard that sets out the requirements for an environmental management system. It helps organisations improve their environmental performance through more efficient resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholder’.
Using contractors that hold the ISO 14001 qualification will help the reputation of your housing association as it shows that the housing association is committed to meeting its corporate social responsibility goals, which can help to maintain the trust of stakeholders.
Checking the viability of prospective contractors
As a procurement manager, you will know that the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) templates have become standardised throughout the industry. However, sometimes this mandatory information isn’t enough when it comes to on boarding your contractors, especially if your housing association has internal standards in place.
This is where the use of adapted or bespoke PQQs come into play. If this is something you feel that your organisation needs to identify the correct social housing contractors, you should download our eBook, The all-in-one PQQ checklist for housing associations that can give you guidance to create your own version.