Sovereign Development Consortium holds conference to drive forward housing agenda

November 18, 2008

Senior members of the Sovereign Development Consortium (SDC) met in Swindon on 12 November 2008 for its second conference since launching in 2003. Over 90 delegates attended, comprising a mix of development staff from its member housing associations, alongside contractors, cost and project management consultants and other suppliers with which it has close working relationships.
With increasing pressures on the housing market, this timely event provided an ideal opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of the Consortium and how it can further drive collaborative working practices and efficiencies in the current economic climate.
Guest speaker, Trevor Ives, head of Investment (Projects), Housing Corporation, provided an early insight into the role of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), highlighting in particular its dynamic new business process and requirement to buy-in to the “Single Conversation”.
This is the procedure through which the HCA will reach agreement with local authorities and other local partners on how its resources and expertise can support local housing and regeneration ambitions in line with regional and national targets. Ongoing relationships will be key to achieving these ambitions, whilst ensuring comprehensive cover of the whole range of issues in an area which previously would have been discussed by a range of different agencies and departments.
Mr Ives, highlighted the need for the SDC to work with existing Local Authority partners to become a player in the “Single Conversation” and its key role in driving plans at a regional level. Additionally, he stressed the need for longer term planning for the upturn in the economy by offering greater consumer choice, bringing new sources of finance and broadening the base of providers.
Workshop sessions were led by contractors Carter, ISG Pearce, Leadbitter and ROK, who facilitated detailed discussions on what the Consortium has achieved to date and how its members can work together through these difficult times to ensure ongoing improvement, focusing in particular on Standard House Types, Supply Chain Benefits, the Pre-Development Process and Community Engagement – areas where the SDC can continue to make a real difference moving forward.
Lindy Morgan, director of the Sovereign Development Consortium, said: “We are demonstrating that well managed dynamic consortia can embrace, adapt and continually improve, which is essential in a challenging market. The SDC’s partnership working extends to the first and second tier supply chain, which has helped us realise efficiencies and we are committed to continually driving this.”
Mr Ives commented: “The Sovereign Development Consortium is focused on partnership working and driving innovation, efficiency and delivery, which are all key requisites for delivering affordable housing. Such consortia are extremely well placed to help drive the vision of the HCA and will consequently play an essential role in moving our agenda forward.”
The SDC was formed to take advantage of the economies of scale that joint working between Housing Associations can achieve. It continues to implement a programme of improvement and collaboration across the south east and south west of England and is committed to partnership working to deliver high quality and best value sustainable developments. Key to its success is the sharing of experiences, lessons learnt and best practice, and undertaking joint procurement to drive down costs and deliver real efficiencies.

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