Changeworks’ programme management team works with local authorities and housing associations to deliver projects to improve the energy efficiency of homes, reduce carbon and alleviate fuel poverty.
The team is currently working with five local authorities in South East Scotland to manage energy efficiency projects worth over £16 Million in total in 2016–17.
We spoke with Paul Thom, Changeworks’ Programme Manager to find out about the services offered and who benefits.
How do you work with your clients?
We listen. Our priority is to understand the client and programme or project aims and ambitions. This ensures that when we manage a project, the team keeps sight of the intended outcomes no matter what issues and challenges present themselves.
In discussion with the client, we set up a clear reporting schedule and regular progress meetings to keep our clients fully briefed throughout the process.
We use our experience and industry knowledge to identify and proactively meet the challenges of delivering the projects under our charge.
Our approach is best summed up by Changeworks’ values of passion, integrity, innovation, collaboration and empowerment.
In a nutshell, what does Changeworks’ programme management team do?
We act as a managing agent for our clients providing programme management services for energy efficiency projects in Scotland.
Our dedicated team offers whole programme support throughout the project development process. This includes bid preparation, procurement, project management, marketing, customer liaison and complaints handling, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance and commercial management (financial management and administration).
We have procurement experience in Public Contracts Scotland (rules and regulations, used across most of Scotland) as well as the bespoke Energy Saving Trust framework. We can also investigate and carry out procurement exercises using different routes to suit our clients.
As a managing agent, we ensure that all of the stakeholders, including third party suppliers, fulfil their contractual obligations and the project’s aims are achieved. We are fully committed to our role which is all about alleviating fuel poverty, reducing carbon and helping people to be warm in their home.
Who uses your services?
We work closely with local authorities delivering the HEEPS: ABS (Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes) programme on behalf of the Scottish Government. We also work with housing associations (Registered Social Landlords) carrying out work to improve the energy efficiency within their housing stock such as external wall insulation, and universities and community groups involved in energy efficiency projects, such as the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op and the University of Edinburgh’s IDEAL project.
We tailor our service to each individual client and pass on the benefits of economies of scale, our experience and learnings to all clients. For example, we’re currently working with five local authorities in the south east of Scotland which gives us a unique overview of the challenges and opportunities that the HEEPS: ABS programme offers in different areas of the country. As the department costs are spread across our client base we also are in a position to provide very competitive rates for the works that we carry out.
Since work with our local authority clients in the South East of Scotland began seven years ago, all have commissioned further work with us.
How do you manage householders, tenants and third party contractors?
We establish good, close working relationships with all our stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for the project.
Niddrie Mill in Edinburgh is a good example of our how whole area approach brings together local authorities, housing associations, tenants and private residents to achieve 100% sign up to an energy efficiency scheme.
For householders, we create a plan to identify when and how we engage with people and establish clear opportunities and routes for communication. We launch each project with a local community event offering householders the opportunity to meet and raise questions with the project’s stakeholders.
Our work with Scottish Borders Council is a good illustration of how we communicate with all stakeholders.
All the contractors we work with are appointed through a procurement process, either the Public Contracts Scotland or the bespoke Energy Saving Trust framework. We agree delivery schedule, hold regular progress meetings and carry out quality assurance inspections to ensure works to the require standards. If it’s not, we ensure contractors quickly return to rectify the work.
We’re changing people’s lives for the better with most of our projects. You can’t beat the sense of satisfaction when you’re talking to householders who have reduced their monthly electricity or heating bills and also feel better due to living in a more energy efficient home.
How do you ensure high standards?
I’m a firm believer in making sure that the whole team understands their vital role in the delivery of our services to clients. Everyone in the team visits live projects at some stage, developing our relationships with clients, contractors and householders.
Our regular team and client progress meetings ensure everyone is kept up-to-date. We also review our processes and procedures to ensure we’re responding to the changing landscape.
Our quality assurance inspections on energy efficiency works installed, such as external wall insulation and cavity wall insulation, ensure that the contractor’s work is being carried out to the required standards. [Watch external wall insulation being installed on one of our projects. If only they all took four minutes!] They also give householders reassurance and some support during a potentially disruptive period.
We also have access to additional specialist skills and consultancy services that Changeworks can provide, such as marketing, monitoring and evaluation.
We do all we can to ensure that our commercial client gets excellent value for money and true to Changeworks ethos and culture, we also go that extra mile for the end customer.
What’s on the horizon?
We are working with local authorities partners to complete the 2015–16 HEEPS: ABS programmes and deliver those in 2016–17. We’re also developing pilot projects for Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) to develop new ideas and improved methods of delivery to inform future energy efficiency programmes and are involved in projects such as IDEAL, with Edinburgh University.
If you’d like to discuss how we can help you and your energy efficiency programme or project, email me or call 0131 555 4010.