Amey and DIO identify joint objectives to improve collaborative working on National Housing Prime contract

18 October 2018
Image of terrace houses.

Tim Redfern, Director of Defence for Amey, and Air Commodore Wendy Rothery, Head of Accommodation for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), have worked together to identify and produce five main objectives that they will be focussing on to improve collaborative working between the two organisations and help improve service delivery for the customer.

The National Housing Prime contract is a challenging and complex environment in which both DIO and Amey staff are consistently exposed to commercial and operational pressures. By its very nature, being charged with the delivery of military housing against a backdrop of reducing funding can produce tensions where teams are not effectively aligned. Amey recognise the pride that their staff take in their roles and understand the emotions that are associated with delivering such an important service to the Armed Forces and their families.

To that end, Amey’s Defence team are working with staff to implement a programme to develop more joint, open and collaborative ways of working on the National Housing Prime contract.  The framework for a different type of contract governance and working is ISO 44001, the Collaborative Business Relationship Management System and, together Amey and the DIO will implement processes and management activities that will support attainment of the ISO standard in National Housing Prime over the next six to twelve months. In doing so, they hope to improve their joint relations which in turn, will deliver better outcomes for the Service personnel that they jointly serve. 

Beyond the obvious benefits of realigning their relationship, ISO 44001 is mandated in the 2018 DIO Commercial Strategy, and the DIO and Crown Commercial Services have made a commitment that ISO 44001 will be one of the mandated standards in FDIS. The DIO is certified to ISO 44001, however, neither DIO nor Amey currently operate in line with the standard in National Housing Prime (NHP).  Both Amey and DIO manage the Regional Prime contracts in line with the ISO 44001 standard and we will seek to transition the governance, processes and ways of working into the NHP in order to derive similar benefits to those experienced there.

There are five joint objectives that Tim and Wendy have agreed. The first is response maintenance, this has historically fallen short of contractual requirements resulting in low levels of customer satisfaction. They will deliver improvement in response maintenance (emergency, urgent, routine) to meet contractual requirements and ensure that NHP staff are consistently meeting contractual target of 95%.

The second objective is void reduction. Amey and the DIO would like to reduce the number of unoccupied properties on the NHP contract. Occupancy rates of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) have been in near continuous decline since January 2017, representing sub-optimal use of Defence resources and an erosion of value to the taxpayer. Housing stock is to be reviewed and rebalancing will be achieved by disposal of existing SFA and expansion of the MOD Sub-letting Scheme as DIO prepare for implementation of the Future Accommodation Model. 

The third is accommodation assurance. A lack of agreement between the DIO and accommodation staff has diverted attention from the main effort to improve performance across many measures in the NHP. Amey and the DIO are agreeing and implementing a joint assurance process that meets MOD and contractual requirements that protects measures to be assured and the methodology of assurance. This will be defined either internally or via an independent third party.

The fourth objective is to improve customer satisfaction across the NHP contract. Customer satisfaction rates have been around 50 Net Promoter Score over the last five years. Amey and the DIO are working hard to improve the service they provide and have this recognised by Service families. This can be monitored through customer surveys from the DIO and Amey’s Customer Insight Team. 

Lastly, the fifth objective is commercial approvals of project works as Additional Works Services. Amey and the DIO will be implementing a joint process to improve annual project work in time to facilitate delivery within defined financial years.

By adopting different and collaborative ways of working, Amey and the DIO will be able to measure and improve the strength and effectiveness of the joint relationship, and agree and deliver on joint objectives and priorities and will be able to positively exploit these to deliver greater benefit. They will also be able to develop and embody a culture of cohesion and continuous improvement.

Head of Accommodation Services DIO and Amey’s Business Director are the joint sponsors of this programme. Respective joint business leads are Kieron Mullen, Service Manager NHP DIO, Thomas Silvey, Operations Director NHP, and they will be supported by Steve Fulcher, Operational Relations Manager & Collaborative Working Lead, for Amey.