Risk-free savings for Action Housing & Support

Auditel Consultants, Gillian Gibbon and Nigel Collins have been working with Action Housing since 2005. They were engaged by the previous Head of Finance and Steve Owen, the Deputy Chief Executive, to review fixed line expenditure and upgrade their phone system.

Steve wanted to consider new technologies and in particular Voice Over IP, but was confused by the multitude of suppliers and choice of products. Whilst finding savings wasn’t the primary aim, cost reductions were of obvious benefit, especially as Action Housing is part funded by public money.

Action Housing and Support is a charitable organisation with 10 offices across the UK. They work with vulnerable and socially excluded people to help establish secure, independent lives and tackle homelessness and related issues.

To source a suitable phone system, Gillian and Nigel embarked on a complex project looking at all technological options and suppliers. Although VoIP was given serious consideration, the need for good data bandwidth to carry the voice data made this an expensive option, so Auditel recommended a traditional system.

By consolidating the fixed phones lines, they covered the cost of this new system, meaning the charity enjoys new phone facilities and savings have now reached nearly £35,000 on their fixed line expenditure. Delighted, Action Housing asked Auditel to continue their project with a review of energy and mobile phones.

The Auditel team began this next stage by reviewing electricity and gas usage at the organisations’ 10 offices. They tendered to suppliers to find an appropriate contract and fix a fair price in this volatile marketplace. Then they undertook a lengthy and difficult process to review the 150 domestic gas and electricity contracts at the various residential homes let by the charity.

Keeping a close watch on the contracts and fixing prices really paid off, especially when Action Housing received a letter from their electricity supplier in early 2008 stating their contract was about to end. Rather than go out to tender (at a time when electricity prices had risen sharply), Auditel checked their copy of the contract and confirmed that it didn’t expire till 2009. As a result the charity continued to benefit from the previously fixed rates which were considerably lower than the market average.

For mobile phone expenditure, Auditel analysed the current spend then tendered to the market as they were confident lower prices could be achieved. Having found a suitable new supplier they arranged for Action Housing to trial the new SIM cards to check coverage. The charity gave the go-ahead so Gillian and Nigel prepared to migrate the supply. However, following research into the marketplace, Gillian found that the charity might benefit from an initiative available to certain organisations. After lengthy negotiations, Auditel confirmed that Action Housing qualified for this deal which has so far resulted in savings of over £61,000.