Confessions of a Project Manager

It’s 10am on Tuesday 6th March 2012 and the Housing Minister has already taken part in several media enquiries, press releases, radio interviews and been contacted by several online publications. Grant Shapps has just re-launched his Tenant Cashback Scheme!

For anybody not affiliated with Social Housing, has no interest in the government or reside on the planet Zorg; Tenant Cashback is a scheme currently being piloted by three Housing Associations which aims to give tenants more repairing responsibilities by passing over some DIY repairs to them to carry out for themselves. The intention is that this then creates savings for the Landlord who in-turn share a portion of this with their tenants. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

“What about gas and electrical repairs?

What about the dangers of Asbestos?

How can this possibly generate a saving?”

Going back almost 11 months these were all the questions that I was asking! Admittedly when the proposals first materialised I wasn’t the schemes biggest fan but by September 2011 I was assigned Project Manager for Bromford Group’s pilot; Home Rewards Club. So what changed?

Grant Shapps was keen for Housing Associations to try this for themselves. See how this could work best for the organisations and their customers. Look at where savings could be made and efficiencies gained. I liked the idea of this. We weren’t being closely monitored or bound to a set of rules, so why restrict ourselves to a single approach. We could mitigate the risks, we could control the costs and we could test what works best for all participants. This was our opportunity to do something more for our customers and enable them to do more for themselves; something for something you might say.

Taking away risks of gas, electrics, asbestos and works at height, we’ve built a model that we feel protects both us and our customers but at the same time can still generate a saving. We’re not saying what we have is perfect, but we’re still in the pilot phase and we’re giving it a go!

So, fast-forward to approximately 10:09 on the morning of 6th March and I’m frantically pulling together comments and documentation ready for some press releases of our own. Bromford Group is right in the thick of the media-hype surrounding Tenant Cashback – and I’m happy to be a part of it.



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