Orbit Group

Options Appraisal for Orbit Group

The Project

Faithorn Farrell Timms (FFT) were commissioned by Orbit Group to provide independent and impartial advice in relation to their Polaris Programme and to produce a detailed Options Appraisal pertaining to the delivery mechanisms for the future provision of its housing improvement, repairs and maintenance services.

The Polaris Programme was looking at a ten-year strategy to map out the steps that need to be taken to achieve the overall vision. Key drivers and objectives are to produce sustained annual savings, increase resident satisfaction and embrace technological solutions that exist in the market place to achieve these goals.

Orbit have circa 57 current contracts operating across the breadth of Orbit’s stock profile, some of which are delivered on a regional basis whilst others span across the entirety of the stock. The contracts expire at different times and a number have extension mechanisms.

FFT were commissioned to assist Orbit to understand the impact of potential changed delivery solutions to enable Orbit Group to plan its future contract portfolio and prepare procurement programmes as appropriate.

Our Role

FFT’s key role was to facilitate geographical workshops and hold detailed discussions with the Heads of Service to explore the current successes in service delivery and also to ascertain potential areas of weakness and advise on opportunities to enhance value in the future.

Furthermore, we were required to prepare a detailed options appraisal report that clearly set out all the possible solutions available to Orbit in terms of delivery models, forms of contract, contract and framework durations, batching contracts together, anticipated costs to Orbit and the overall procurement strategy.

The Challenges

There were a number of key challenges associated with the commission due to the geography of Orbits stock and the number of existing Contractual arrangements in place. As part of the Options Appraisal, it was key to engage with stakeholders from all parts of business, including the various departments and different offices in the South and Midlands. There was also a considerable amount of information that was made available in relation to the 57 existing arrangements and the associated Contract extensions. The extent of data analysis was therefore vast. Orbit were also up against tight timescales in relation to issuing an Options Appraisal report to their board. The extent of the commission coupled with the tight timescales was therefore reviewed as a key challenge within itself, especially as we were keen to ensure that there was no one size fits all approach to commission.

The Solution

In order to ensure we were able to pull together an options appraisal report that fully addressed Orbits requirements, we held a number of regional workshops with key stakeholders throughout the business.

We also arranged a number of conference calls with key members of staff that were unable to attend the workshops. This enabled us to extract all the key information in terms of lessons learnt and desired outcomes moving forward.

We also took ownership of reviewing the 57 existing contracts to understand the key contractual clause, the duration of the arrangements and whether they could be extended. By doing this we were able to produce a single spreadsheet that contained all the key information in one document.

In terms of timescales, we produced a project plan that clearly set out our approach to the commission, the resources we would allocate to the commission and the key milestones. By doing this we were able to achieve the tight timescales required. Furthermore, our final report was able to clearly set out the options available to Orbit on a workstream basis, thus ensuring that there was no one size fits all approach. The report included information on the likes of setting up DLO’s, Joint Ventures and Wholly Owned Subsidiaries, as well as procuring more traditional or Partnering based Contracts and Frameworks. We also explored the various Contracts, such as JCT MTC, TPC 2005 (amended 2008), TAC-1, FAC-1, etc.

Added Value

Following issue of Options Appraisal Report, FFT attended a post appraisal meeting to present the findings set out in the report. This was not included in the client brief and was therefore undertaken as part of an added value offering. Furthermore, we were asked to provide additional advice on the timescales and costs associated with the leaseholder consultation process (Section 20) and also the mobilisation of the new Contractual arrangements. FFT provided advice on timescales and costs to enable Orbit to report to their board in terms of budget setting and programme planning. These tasks were outside of the brief and as such provided as added value.