I reported earlier that the tenants in Bushbury Hill had chosen Wrekin Housing Trust as their proposed transfer partner. Is it serendipity or good judgement that their choice has just won a best landlord award at the recent UK Housing Awards? They won in the Large social landlord of the year category. My boss doesn’t like this picture but as she didn’t blag me an invite…
I’m not suggesting that tenant groups looking for a transfer partner base their invitations on the shortlist of various awards, this certainly wasn’t a factor our Board were even aware of when selecting potential partners. However performance, regulatory rating, financial stability and reputation are all relevant factors. We asked Wrekin to take part in our selection process based on our good experience of working with them over a number of years.
The alternative to invitation is to have a completely open process and run it more like a tender, this has merits as you will reach a wider pool of potential partners and may unearth a hidden gem. I know that LATMOS (in Lambeth, London) ran an open beauty contest and this generated considerable interest. They chose to join WATMOS who are based in Walsall, so this shows that the best fit is not always on the doorstep. The beauty contest has merits, but does require more time than Bushbury Hill had available.
However tenants make their choice my advice to groups using the Right to Transfer who want to transfer to a partner to be clear about their long term objectives and priorities and make this the basis on which they shortlist potential partners. Tenants are not beholden to choose the highest bidder, finding the best fit for your group involves more than looking at the bottom line.