Partnership renewed to build on over £250m housing success

03/07/2023
Lesley Anderson (SPA) and Sally Thomas (SFHA)

HOUSING leaders have renewed a crucial partnership – after revealing the huge successes it has delivered to Scotland’s market for affordable and accessible homes.

Since it was launched in 2018 the partnership has seen Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) support and collaborate with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) helping its members to deliver £258.5m worth of projects.

Now the two organisations have agreed to continue the partnership for another year, further strengthening the connections which have already seen 70 housing associations bring 258 projects to fruition.

SPA is Scotland’s largest free-to-join procurement organisation. Its frameworks offer an efficient and compliant route to market for the construction, refurbishment, consultancy and maintenance of social housing and public buildings.

Lesley Anderson, SPA Director, said: “The success of this partnership is built on shared values. Both organisations understand the vital importance to Scotland of having a ready supply of high-quality, modern, accessible, and affordable homes for rent.

“We are proud that our frameworks serve housing associations so well, enabling them to find quality contractors efficiently and compliantly ensuring that new homes are built, and existing housing stock is maintained and upgraded.

“Beyond that, we have shown a huge commitment to giving back to the communities where these housing associations operate. Working hand in hand, we can amplify the impact of our individual efforts and create a more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable future for communities.”

SPA works with 120 partners, including councils, blue light services, the NHS, and a host of other public sector organisations/bodies. However, it is particularly renowned for its work with an extensive range of social landlords.

As a proud not-for-profit, SPA’s Community Benefit Fund (CBF), sees surpluses invested back into Scottish communities, via its charity partner, Lintel Trust. Since 2017 the CBF has delivered more than £1.7million of grants and match funding to 102 community groups, charities and causes.

Projects have included Holiday Hunger programmes, community gardens, digital and social inclusion, employability initiatives and specialist mental health services. They have helped improve the lives of at least 19,000 people while delivering social value of more than £3.9million.

Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of SFHA, said: “I’m pleased to see this partnership renewed as many of our members have benefitted from advice, training, and best practice support from SPA, helping them to successfully procure vital services. 

“Since the inception of SFHA’s partnership with SPA extensive work has been undertaken to make the procurement process simple and accessible for housing associations. In the context of ever tighter budgets, yet a need to deliver more affordable homes, it is encouraging that SPA’s frameworks can help members find the right contractors and get value for money.”

As the membership body for Scotland’s housing associations and cooperatives, SFHA’s 137 members represent more than 90% of the sector and its vision is for its members to be central to the country’s social and economic recovery and renewal.

Another partnership success was the creation of a Procurement Advisory Service, free to SFHA members, ensuring better understanding and implementation of Scottish procurement regulations.  It included an enquiry function, guidance, seminars, workshops, and procurement roadshow events, with 90% of Scottish housing associations interacting with it.

The partnership also sees SPA sponsoring a range of SFHA’s showpiece events across the year, including its annual conference. SPA also supported delivery of quarterly procurement forums for SFHA members.

The two organisations also share insight about changes, trends and legislation across the sector. Crucially, when SFHA is involved in SPA’s regular events to benchmark and enhance its frameworks.

SPA’s 120 partners cover a diverse range of public sector entities from small cooperatives, regional and national registered social landlords (RSLs), as well as local authorities. It also works with 300 suppliers, mostly SMEs, who deliver services to SPA’s partners.

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