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Opinion: Value for money? Show me the money!

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Opinion: Value for money? Show me the money!

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Finance

Money Money

Image: Money via Shutterstock

By Alistair McIntosh, chief executive, Housing Quality Network 

Just when you think this VfM (value for money) shambles can’t get any worse, it does.

Have you read that Housemark paper? It is the first report I have ever seen on VfM that does not have a single pound note in it. It put me in mind of the story behind the coat of arms for Glasgow:

Here is the Bird that never flew
Here is the Tree that never grew
Here is the Bell that never rang
Here is the Fish that never swam

What do we have now?

Here is the VfM report that never mentions money

Why don’t you play the part of someone who is testing us on VfM just for a moment? Who do you want to be? Would you like to be the chancellor? You might prefer to be the housing minister. Who do I want to be? I must be young enough to take on the role of Alex Morton, the housing expert at Number 10.

What do these guys want to know? It’s really simple. Let me spell it out one more time: How much money did you save? What did you do with the cash? How many houses did you build? Did you keep the punters happy? And we want to know that for each and every association.

How hard is this to do? You threw enough money at the problem.

Sixty-six landlords did their best and sent a set of numbers into Housemark. Why was the level of response so poor? Who chose to join in? Each of those that took part owned around 5,500 homes as an average. It costs an outfit that size about £7,000 to join the club. This means that they spent near enough half a million pounds on gathering data. Why is none of it in the report? No one has a clue how well associations are doing on VfM.

This is a total fail. It did not need to be this way.

I see lots of outfits doing well at saving money. Where are they in all of this? Look at all the associations that have found ways to build homes with a lot less grant. You don’t hear much about them.

Ministers are right to want to get tough on VfM. You would do the same if you had the Housemark report in front of you. What can we do to change their minds? Let’s tell them what you are actually doing about VfM. Lots of you have a good story to tell. What is stopping you?

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