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Efficiency, effectiveness and economy Vicky Johnson, HouseMark - 05/04/2012

We all know that local authority housing has experienced significant changes over the last year, most significantly the introduction of HRA self-financing.

In this new environment it is more important than ever for councils with housing have a real understanding of how their scarce HRA resources are being utilised to maximise performance. Local authorities need to make optimum use of resources if their HRA business plans are to be sustainable, property assets maintained and improved and, most importantly, to ensure customers are satisfied with the service they receive now and in the future.

HouseMark's core benchmarking is a key tool in developing a detailed understanding of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of your services. In addition to providing a detailed picture of the cost, resource and performance of your frontline housing management and maintenance services, it also enables you to compare your overheads with others. This is valuable information when negotiating service level agreements or challenging recharges to ensure you are getting good value from services provided corporately by your local authority.

You can also use the data outputs to demonstrate how you are doing to a range of stakeholders. HouseMark has recently developed a new benchmarking dashboard that takes your core benchmarking data and presents it in an easy to understand format which can be used to present information to your tenants and other stakeholders. This is a really useful tool for tenant scrutiny. The dashboard can be shared with staff by embedding on your intranet or more widely by including in your public website as a way of demonstrating openness and accountability.

This week we have written to all our members setting out our timetable for 2012 data collection and asking them to confirm their benchmarking intentions. There will be regional cross sector report available mid-August for those who get their data in early, and a report comparing stock retained councils in November.

If you are a HouseMark member and your benchmarking co-ordinator has not received details or you would like further information, please contact benchmarking@housemark.co.uk or your regional manager.

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