Same circus; different clowns

Anglian Water has found you can’t push water uphill; forever.  At last they have managed to divest themselves of the ‘millstone round their necks’ AKA Morrison.

I believe they have been trying to sell Morrison for over a year but, quite rightly, no one would take them; as a gift.  Even with Guy Wakeley’s new super PDAs.

In a post in February this year I predicted that Morrison was in real trouble.  And, it was. But, of course, Morrison has been denying the obvious during this year.

The really worrying development for tenants and housing organisations is that Morrison were bought by yet another dinosaur, Mears. Now, that IS worrying ….  Did I hear some tenants say “frying pan and fire”?

It was laughable this week to hear Mears pontificating at the CiH (SWoTM) Homes conference in London (supported by outsourcing consultants peddling the same tired old outdated procurement models) that they had two recommended models of delivery for social housing:-

  1. Housing organisations outsource all their repairs and maintenance work to contractors e.g. Mears because they are such private sector experts. Anyone remember RoK, Connaughts, Kinetics, Renovo Services?  They were private sector experts too. Same circus; different clowns.
  2. Housing organisations outsource the management of their Direct Labour Organisations (DLOs) to people like Mears.  Because, being private sector, they naturally know how to run them better than you. Ask any staff currently undergoing such a purgatorial adventure and they will tell you their experience of this claptrap. Anyone remember RoK, Connaughts, Kinetics, Renovo Services and Morrison?  They were private sector experts too. Same circus; different clowns.

I trust that sensible housing organisations don’t listen to this self-promoting tired old nonsense from Mears, CiH (SWoTM) et al and do the sensible thing:-

  1. Keep your own DLOs, if you are lucky enough to still have one.  Learn to manage them properly, on real customer focused lines.  (Ignore the ‘Charter to Mediocrity’ promulgated by the CiH (SWoTM).  It is old group thinking and nothing new or innovative.  A little bit like their conferences really.)  You need to fundamentally change many practices that the DLO may have retained from a previous incarnation, based on a traditional disEconomies of Scale management.
  2. In-source contracts away from such organisations as Mears et al, either to a reconstituted DLO or create your own Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a separate company to deliver repairs and maintenance for you.

Don’t be ‘flimflammed’ by the last few remaining R&M contracting dinosaurs and their CiH (SWoTM) mouthpieces.  Ignore them.

It has also been noticeable in the housing press recently that Joint Ventures (JVs) are being advocated to you by some large contractors.  They are no better than the more overt approach to capturing your housing organisation.  Same circus; different clowns.

Setting up a traditionally-based JV, where there is no learning prior to the creation of the new organisation on what an effective, efficient and economical way of operating looks like is a road to failure.  It will be based on dysfunctional traditional ‘disEconomies of Scale’ nonsense advocated by the usual procurement consultancies.  The old thinking will prevail (because it’s all these so-called expert procurement consultancies know and of course they have to stay in business don’t they?); the wrong-headed structure will be created which then dictates how the work works.  Another great way to capture your money and deliver just as bad a service as before.  Sealed in waste through old practices.  Great!

The truth is that the game is up for the dinosaurs.   Most people I talk to or read about realise that the future is NOT to hand over your R&M work to these ‘dinosaur’ types of organisations.  The dinosaurs cost you more and deliver less.  Consistently.

Have an organisationally self-owned and controlled R&M organisation that can do what you need it to do for your tenants. Designed by you, for your tenants.  You are in existence to provide a housing service for your tenants, not making yet more profit for the shareholders of the dinosaurs.

Thanks for reading.

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