What does adam’s housing solution do?
Through adam’s digital commissioning solution, we streamline and automate commissioning activities so we can source the most appropriate dwellings for tenants. Local authorities use our solution because they know that they can source accommodation for people in an effective and compliant manner while keeping their costs under control.
We facilitate the procurement and ongoing management of rooms and properties to meet the rising demand for temporary accommodation. Using a simple workflow, we streamline and systemise letting processes for our customers, agents and landlords, offering a better choice of properties that are fit for purpose. The following activities are digitised and managed through adam:
- Creating a compliant supply base;
- Viewing real-time property availability;
- Managing supplier bookings;
- Procurement and contracting;
- Compliance monitoring;
- Electronic invoicing and payments.
How does adam challenge the status quo?
There are other solutions on the market which address social housing but there is nothing specific for temporary accommodation. Many authorities don’t manage TA from within their housing departments and aren’t using bespoke tools. Moreover, we see many struggling with spreadsheets, procuring accommodation wherever they can find it without formal contracts in place, and predominantly on expensive nightly rates. Oversight in terms of ongoing management and regulatory compliance are both very difficult to manage without an effective system.
The adam solution has been developed specifically for temporary accommodation and our bespoke digital platform was designed with input from authorities and housing providers, providing an efficient tool to identify, book, and manage properties from an approved supply base. Our platform supports the end-to-end process, including provider registration, commissioning, payments, contract management, compliance management and reporting.
Why do authorities use adam?
From talking to our customers, the main reasons authorities use the adam platform are to:
- Gain more control over the housing market and prevent it being so supplier-led.
- Standardise rates and reduce net-loss lists (i.e. any property for which they were paying more than the agreed rates).
- Enforce a set of compliance and standards in instances where no proper regulation or contracts are in place.
- Find properties faster than they could manually and to reduce pressure on housing teams.
- Grow their market by finding find new landlords and agents with available properties.
How does adam streamline interactions with third-party suppliers?
For third-party suppliers and contractors, the adam platform greatly simplifies and improves their experience of working with their authority. The system allows landlords and agents to effectively manage their housing stock, upload contracts and other documents, issue invoices, receive payments and communicate with the authority. This reduces the administrative burden of dealing with the LA, which in turn produces cost savings. Overall, the system is very intuitive, easy to use and streamlines the commercial process of engaging with authorities.
What about integration with IT infrastructures & business applications?
adam’s technology platform for housing is hosted in the cloud so it is not dependent on any of an LA’s existing IT infrastructure and is secure, scalable and resilient. Hosted exclusively in the UK across dual tier-three data centres, data sovereignty and availability are guaranteed across the suite of adam products. Data is synchronously replicated between the primary and secondary sites to ensure your data is safe with us.
Our products are developed and maintained by our in-house technical team, supported by our dedicated UX and business analysis teams who ensure every technology solution is delivered with the user in mind. The solution has open API functionality to allow integration with third-party applications as required.
What are the present market conditions?
According to a Home Office report, the most recent quarterly statistics recorded 86,130 households in temporary accommodation at the end of June 2019. This is a 79 per cent increase since December 2010 when the use of temporary accommodation hit its lowest point since 2004. The quarterly statistics for June 2019 mark the 31st time that the number of households in temporary accommodation is higher than in the same quarter of the previous year (source: UK Home Office).
The amount of money being paid to private accommodation providers has almost doubled in the last five years from £490 million in 2013/14 to £939 million in 2018/19. During the same period, the number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation has risen by almost 50 per cent, suggesting that the charge to LAs has risen disproportionately.
The way authorities are paying private providers has also changed dramatically, with a 120 per cent increase in the use of expensive ‘per night’ private temporary accommodation, including the use of emergency B&Bs (source: The Independent).
In our recent research discussions with authorities regarding temporary accommodation, the biggest obstacles they face are:
- Regaining financial control of the spiralling cost of temporary accommodation;
- Establishing standardised contracts across all providers;
- Having visibility of commissioned spend to understand profile of accommodation types – i.e. reducing their reliance on costly per-night accommodation and moving to more cost-effective units;
- Enforcing commissioning policies and re-balancing the relationship between providers and the authority.
The problems associated with homelessness are most acute in London, and London boroughs have been struggling with the provision of temporary accommodation for years. However, we are increasingly seeing these issues spreading across the country, with demand and costs rising quickly and councils ill-equipped to deal with the problems.
Therefore we believe adam’s new solution is coming to market at the right time, allowing councils to gain financial control over their processes and ensuring that individuals and families are placed in safe and appropriate accommodation.
How can adam also support housing repairs and maintenance?
The adam solution is solely for the commissioning and management of temporary accommodation but it can interact with our procurement solution which is used by authorities for the commissioning of repairs and maintenance.
Repairs and maintenance is an area that has particularly felt the pinch, with spending on the repair and maintenance of public housing hitting an all-time low in 2018 of £7.1 billion, in contrast to 1997 when £9.3 billion was spent on repairs and maintenance work on 5.5 million social homes.
Which authorities are using adam?
At the moment, Waltham Forest, Newham, Enfield, Redbridge and Haringey local authorities and councils are using adam for temporary accommodation. Over 11,000 unique properties have been offered to our customers through the platform, more than 26,000 bookings have been created so far, and over £340 million of spending has been processed through adam’s payment gateways.
All of our customers have seen an increase in their housing supply base, and on average their net-loss lists have been reduced by 25 per cent. In general, those customers have been able to streamline their processes, regain financial control over procurement and enforce a stronger set of compliance and standards.
How does adam help local authorities?
- Financial Control – Regain control of spiralling costs, establish standardised contracts across providers, reduce reliance on costly per-night accommodation, enforce commissioning policies and rebalance the relationship between providers and the LA.
- Booking Efficiencies – A single system to engage with suppliers from registration through to payment – view supplier availability in real time and quickly filter to find the most appropriate properties.
- Invoicing Efficiencies – Automated invoicing processes deliver FTE savings, preventing the need to manually receive and upload invoices, benefitting both LAs and their suppliers.
- Compliance – Full transparency and auditing, as well as improved monitoring of document compliance. 100 per cent of new bookings to contain valid documentation and automated expiry alerts trigger improved supplier behaviours.
- Insight – Easily create custom reports then schedule them, share with colleagues for effective decision-making.
- Management – A single tool for contract management. Track open complaints and repairs, flag issues and share intelligence internally and with other LAs.
- Suppliers – Whether you need a DPS or a framework agreement, adam’s market engagement services will help with onboarding your suppliers, including first vetting 100 per cent of applications.
Market drivers for temporary accommodation
- Lack of affordable social housing, rising rents and a freeze on LHA rates;
- The 2017 Housing Reduction Act increased LAs’ statutory requirements;
- Anyone homeless or at risk now has access to help, irrespective of their priority/need status;
- 80 per cent of LAs have seen an increase in homelessness presentations since the introduction of the Act;
- £1.1 billion spending on temporary accommodation (up by 78 per cent in the past five years), one of third of which is spent on B&Bs (despite concerns), and including £280 million from LAs’ own budgets (overspend vs Dept of Work & Pensions funds);
- 85,000 families in temporary accommodation (57,000 of which are in London) – an increase of 45 per cent in the past five years;
- 35,000 households in either Nightly Paid (22,000), B&B (7,000) or hostels (5,000);
- 28,000 households in the private rented sector and 22,000 in council-owned stock;
- A shortage of local housing supply, with 23,000 families placed ‘out of area’;
- 5,000 families with no accommodation secured;
Standards of accommodation are poor and don’t offer value for money.
Lee Dutton is the managing director for procurement at adam.