The “Key Business Issues Relating to Best Value Management and Strategic Development in the Housing/Regeneration Industry & New Business and Asset Management” are inclusive of what is termed “Best Value”. In the Housing Industry the 4Cs of best value are applied to every review. The four “Cs” are: (1) Challenging why and how a service is being provided; (2) comparing performance with the performance of others in the industry; (3) embrace of fair competition as a means of securing efficient and effective services; (4) consulting with local taxpayers, customers and the wider business community.
Under the Best Value standard, local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to “secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.” (What is Best Value?, 2006) Best Value is defined as “providing local people what they want, when they want it, at a price they are willing and able to pay. It’s also about being imaginative in how local needs are met.” (What is Best Value?, 2006) Other principles of Best Value are stated to include:
Being accountable to local people. They have to listen to and consult the people they are there to serve. They have to report regularly on what they have achieved and what they are planning.
Looking to continuously improve. Sometimes this will come through many small changes, sometimes through larger changes when the existing service is fundamentally challenged.
Setting targets and publicly reporting achievement against them.
Cutting across departmental boundaries, rather than just looking at services individually. Councils can also work with other local agencies to tackle issues beyond the reach of a single service and need co-operative working with partner bodies.
Developing partnerships with the private sector, with communities and agencies, and between authorities. These partnerships will be able to review services jointly, develop local plans, acting together to achieve local outcomes, and provide services in some cases.
Being open about service delivery. Councils shouldn’t assume that they should deliver activities if other more efficient and effective means are available. This is not to say however that authorities must contract their services out – what matters is what works best for delivering services to the community, so an open mind is needed. (What is Best Value?, 2006)
PART A – Critical Review of the Existing Key Business Issues Related to Best Value Management and Strategic Development in the Housing Management, Regeneration, New business and Asset Management Industry.
In the assessment of DHA the comments provided by the inspecting agency were in the areas of the following which require improvement:
(1)Effective Financial and Corporate Governance;
(2)Asset management, including repairs and response management;
(3)Reinvestment in Current Stock to meet the Decent Home Standards;
(4)Poor procurement and project management systems;
(7)High levels of social behavior and poor neighborhood communities.
According to the standards of ‘Best Practice’ in this industry accountability to the local people is considered critical. It is necessary that Dante Housing Association ‘listen’ to the residents; it is critical that Dante Housing Association ‘consult’ with the residents; and it is critical that Dante Housing Association ‘report’ on a ‘regular basis’ to the residents and inform them what plans are in process.
All of these actions herein stated fall directly in line with numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and are associated with number 7 of the problem areas that must be focused on in the six months allotted for Dante Housing Association, hereafter referred to as DHA to make the necessary changes and improvements. In fact, the continuous view toward improvement is necessary to be instituted into the principles and practices of DHA so it is important that this perspective and standard be initiated into all aspects of improvement toward which this report is focused.
The regular reporting and accounting publicly is critical as well in the process of instituting ‘Best Value’ standards for DHA because to meet the goals that are set for DHA is not enough, because without reporting of these goals and their achievement publicly then the public will not be aware of what DHA is doing and may assume that DHA is doing nothing.
DHA must institute a principle of collaboration across boundaries both within and outside of DHA in order to attain the best prices, gain the cooperation and assistance of other agencies position to offer such assistance because so many times the changes that are needed are bigger than DHA has the capacity to provide single-handedly. This leads to the next issue which is the need for DHA to establish partnerships and cooperative efforts with other companies in both the public and private sector and for the reasons as just stated.
Finally, DHA must agree to consider options available in services delivery and if outsourcing some of these delivery of services might mean savings, efficiency and effectiveness then DHA must prepare itself to make the necessary changes to deliver services in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
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