Key factors to consider during a repairs option appraisal

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A repairs option appraisal on your current service offering should be used as the foundation from which you make strategic and operational decisions. It is an essential tool allowing you to identify your vision and goals for your repairs service (ensuring these are linked to your strategic plan) and whether operational changes are needed to fulfil these. An options appraisal can lead to improved value for money through tangible metrics such as a lower cost per unit on repairs and higher tenant satisfaction and it can also lead to improved strategic relevance such as the delivery of local priorities and ambitions.

Being clear about your strategic direction

Every organisation is unique and an repairs option appraisal will reflect this. It is important to understand both where you are currently and where you want to be. An honest and transparent review of your current service will allow more informed and effective decisions to be made moving forward.  You must identify what your main goals are and prioritise them. For some it’s maximising efficiency but for others, non-profit landlords for example, there can be a number of social objectives impacting their decisions. It is also often the case that current trend has an influence through similar organisations making similar decisions but this does not necessarily mean it is the direction you should be heading in. It is essential to find the best strategic and operational fit for you.

Defining your objectives

Objectives that are well defined, relevant, and inclusive of your policies are key to shaping your appraisal and allowing you to identify all possible approaches as well as their potential costs and outcomes. Clarity, transparency and cooperation within the organisation should mean no options are overlooked whilst ensuring the objectives are realistic and attainable with the resources you have available.

Choosing the best option for you and implementing it

Some options in the appraisal may seem better than others on paper but do they truly reflect your current objectives?  One option may provide an attractive short term gain but will it continue to pay dividends in the long run? A key goal for your appraisal should be to achieve maximum effectiveness and best value. Considering the short and long terms benefits of your decisions is essential as well as the length and possible disruptions caused by implementing new practices. Will the proposed changes be easy to implement? And do they align with the structure and culture of your organisation?

The financial cost

Cost will undoubtedly play a big role in an option appraisal particularly when it comes to a high spend area like repairs. You will be faced with a number of viable options and the cheapest may not necessarily the best fit for your strategic and operational goals. Firstly you must evaluate whether your decision aligns with your goals and strategic direction set out at the start of the appraisal and secondly, what is the expected return and when will you see it? Every organisation is different and finding the right balance between costs and the quality you wish to provide will maximise the value of your investment. It is essential the costs, returns, and benefits in both the short and long term suit you as an organisation.

As a specialist housing consultant we help housing providers understand and better deliver their repairs services. For further information about how a repairs option appraisal consultant can help you, please email  JNeville@pennington.org.uk

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