Keeping on top of contractor management is difficult – even collecting updated insurance information every year can be a painful task, let alone checking the actual work that contractors do for you. When it comes to keeping your most active contractors compliant, you should have in place a set of rules and policies for them to adhere to, depending upon the activity they are set to carry out.
To ensure you and your contractors are always compliant in the wake of new and recent legislation, make sure your housing association has the following social housing contractor policies in place.
Now under the ownership of the Government’s Disclosure & Barring Service, a CRB check is a record of an individual’s unprotected convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that can also include intelligence held by the police that relates to an individual and their suitability for a job position.
With many housing associations providing homes to the elderly, people with mental health problems or disabilities, vulnerable families with children or even younger single people, it is a requirement that anyone who is carrying out work for the housing association to have an enhanced CRB check. Find out more about CRB checks on our blog.
Health and safety sentencing guidelines
The new Health and Safety Sentencing Guidelines have been described as the most dramatic change to health and safety legislation since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. The new guidelines have been introduced to give courts comprehensive guidance for offences and also introduce a structured nine-step approach that the Court should follow, so as to calculate sentences correctly. More on sentencing guideline here.
The revised penalties for these guidelines have increased dramatically and it is expected that in the event of a conviction, the newly revised penalties will have a substantial and damaging impact on the convicted business, compared to that of previous sentencing guidelines penalties.
Modern Slavery Act
As of January 2016, the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) is in force. While the obligation falls only on large housing associations (those who turnover £36m), smaller housing associations can publish a statement if they wish, and it would be considered best practice for this to be the case.
The obligation on a housing association to consider whether such crimes exist within their business extends to its supply chains. By outsourcing or sub-contracting, housing associations need to consider how to carry out the necessary checks and standard terms should be introduced with contractors to ensure that they are aware of the housing associations stance on modern slavery. More about the Modern Slavery Act.
Public Contracts Regulation
For associations still within the public sector, you will fully understand the role of the Public Contracts Regulation created by the European Commission already. With the aim of cutting procurement costs and implementing a fairer tendering process, the new regulation has meant a lot more work for procurement managers in particular.
Although this regulation doesn’t affect the work contractors do on a day-to-day basis, it does impact the way they tender for work, and how a potential contract could increase/decrease in size depending upon requirements and performance. More information on the Public Contracts Regulation.
Corporate social responsibility
The call for all associations to embrace a more sustainable and economical future has been met cautiously by the majority, despite the introduction of the Public Services Social Value Act in 2013. The act was introduced to encourage procurement in the industry to think about social value when assessing the viability of contractors and suppliers.
While value for money is still seen as the overriding factor for procurement, associations are urged to work with companies that are making a positive economic, social and environmental impact – something that should be questioned during the PQQ or due diligence process.
Importance of policies and rules
Ensuring and evidencing that suppliers are operating in line with policies and rules is just the start. You need to ensure that contractors have read your policies and rules, they understand them and are complying with them on a daily basis.
For this to happen, you or your team need to personally source the correct documentation, send and approve the fact that the new contractors have understood what’s been given to them. Another time-consuming job, but one that is incredibly important.
Outside of the policies and rules that you set specifically for your contractors, keeping on top of legal changes can be a burden. To help you create, implement, and monitor these contractor policy, take a look at the free Altius eBook, Best Practice Guide to Social Housing Contractor Compliance here here.
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