DD1488 Procurement of IT for the Mayor’s mobility schemes

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
24 March 2016
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

This paper seeks approval to fund the IT hosting, support and development of Housing Moves and Seaside & Country Homes – the Mayor’s mobility schemes - and extend for a further year, to 31 March 2017, the current contract providing these services. This will enable the continuation of these two schemes, for which there is a compelling case. Both are strategically important for the delivery of London Housing Strategy priorities, they are extremely popular and successful, and the GLA is in contract with each of the London boroughs to administer Seaside & Country Homes (which is self-funding).  The GLA’s existing contract with Insight Direct (UK) Ltd was called off from TfL’s resellers framework, which was procured via an OJEU-advertised process.  That contract includes an initial term of one year and an option for two further periods each of one year.  This decision seeks the director’s approval of the first option to extend the contract for a further year.



The Executive Director approves:
•    funding of £56,500 for IT hosting, support and development services for the Mayor’s mobility schemes in 2016-17. This will come from the Housing and Land Directorate’s provisional budget for 2016/17 - £40,720 from the Directorate’s external services budget and £15,780 from the Directorate’s Seaside & Country Homes budget
•    the extension by one year – to 31 March 2017 - of the current contract with Insight Direct (UK) Ltd to provide IT hosting, support and development services for the Mayor’s mobility schemes. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Housing Moves, launched in May 2012, is the Mayor’s scheme to enable existing housing association and council tenants in London move from one borough to another (approved through MD522). Boroughs and housing associations contribute a proportion of their social housing lettings to a central ‘pot’, and their tenants and residents can then apply for the scheme and place a bid to move to one of the pooled properties. 
1.2    Since its launch in May 2012, over 15,000 households have applied for the scheme. Over the same period, there have been over 800 moves, with the rate of moves accelerating the longer the scheme is in place. In addition, the 68 lettings at the East Village secured by the Mayor for pan-London mobility were advertised and let through Housing Moves. Since April 2015, a top slice of new build rented homes funded by the Mayor has also been let through Housing Moves.
1.3    Seaside & Country Homes (SCH) enables older social tenants to move out of the capital, freeing up around homes each year which can then be used by social landlords to house Londoners in need. The scheme creates significant financial savings for London boroughs, and it provides a positive housing option to older Londoners. It was established in 1968 and the Mayor brought it into the GLA (from the Department of Communities and Local Government) in 2011, saving the scheme from threatened closure (approved through MD558). Since 1 April 2013, SCH has been funded by the London boroughs on a fee-per-letting basis (approved through MD1070).
1.4    Both schemes are underpinned by an IT system, the functionality of which includes the following:
•    online customer applications (both schemes)
•    properties advertisements and bidding (Housing Moves only)
•    equalisation of properties contributed and moves in (Housing Moves only)
•    the matching of applicants to properties (SCH only)
•    reporting and monitoring tools (both schemes).
1.5    The IT for Housing Moves and, subsequently, SCH was developed by Home Connections and is a much-enhanced version of their off-the-shelf choice based lettings system. Home Connections has also provided the hosting and IT support for both schemes. Initial IT development, hosting and support costs for each scheme were approved through MD552 and DD851 respectively. The initial IT development and support for Housing Moves was procured through a competitive process, with the addition of SCH undertaken as a variation to the original contract. The total cost of initial development and subsequent enhancements for both schemes amounts to around £150,000.
1.6    Contractual arrangements for hosting, support and IT development were reprocured in 2015 through TFL Resellers Framework, with the new contract in commencing in April 2015. Home Connections are sub-contracted by Insight Direct (UK) Ltd to provide the service.  DD1302 approved the contract being put in place and also gave provision for two one year extensions. There are compelling reasons for continuing both schemes for a further year at least:
•    they are both strategically important to London and play a key role in assisting to meet key priorities in the London Housing Strategy 2014:
o    to address the mismatch in the supply and demand of Affordable Rent homes across the capital, a proportion of new build Affordable Rent homes delivered through the 2015-18 Mayor’s Housing Covenant programme is top sliced for pan-London mobility. Housing Moves is the mechanism through which the top slice is advertised and let . All the top slice properties advertised so far through Housing Moves have been let. 
o    to facilitate mobility, particularly for working Londoners and underoccupiers
o    to halve overcrowding in social housing by 2016.
•    The London Housing Strategy specifically commits to exploring the expansion of both schemes.
•    There is overwhelming support from London’s boroughs and housing associations for both schemes. All but one borough participates in Housing Moves and all but one participates in, and funds, SCH. In addition, 40 housing associations participate in both schemes, and the G15 also contribute their own quota of properties to Housing Moves.
•    There is a high level of demand from Londoners for both schemes, with around 5,000 applicants currently registered for Housing Moves and over 1,000 for SCH.
1.7    The estimated maximum annual cost breakdown for 2016/17 for support, hosting and IT development across the two schemes is as follows:


Housing Moves

Seaside & Country Homes


IT hosting and support




IT development








1.8    There are likely to be changes and development required to the IT over the coming year to ensure that the schemes remain strategically relevant, and take on board any changes that may be required as a result of new policies and approaches under the next Mayor. 
1.9    The contract has the provision of hosting and support at a fixed cost, with the option for IT development if, as and when specified by the GLA up to a maximum cost. Expenditure on development will continue to be reviewed on a quarterly basis. GLA officers will continue to seek to negotiate a number of upgrades to the system and a period of development time to be provided by the contractor free of charge. 
1.10    The confirmation of a contract extension is needed as soon as possible, to provide certainty around the continuation of both schemes beyond 31 March 2016. This particularly important because boroughs have already been invited to purchase a maximum number of lettings for SCH during 2016/17 and addendums to the SCH contracts between each borough and the GLA are already being issued.


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The key objective is to enable Housing Moves and SCH to continue to operate, in order to deliver the policies and outcomes set out in paragraph 1.6 above.
2.2    The performance of the schemes during the first three quarters of 2015/16, are given in the table below. 


Housing Moves

Seaside & Country Homes






Bedrooms freed up





Equality comments

3.1    As those with the protected characteristics of age, race and disability are over-represented among existing social tenants, the proposals in this paper are likely to have positive impacts on these groups. 


Other considerations

Key risks and issues

Risk description



Mitigating action


Contractors outside the TfL Reseller Framework may challenge the extension of the contract


There was no challenge on the original contract as this procurement route has been selected as the most appropriate by procurement advisors at TfL. So it is very unlikely that there will be challenge in taking up the plus one extension.    

A new Mayor, elected in May 2016, may want to change or stop one or both of the mobility schemes

Low risk           

There will be scope in the contract to allow for changes to the schemes or for termination (through an annual break clause)


Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

Homes for London – the London Housing Strategy contains the following policies relevant to the mobility schemes:

  • P4 To deliver homes to tackle overcrowding the Mayor will support mobility so that people who are under-occupying can downsize and free up properties for households who are overcrowded.
  • P28 For affordable rented homes funded through GLA programmes five per cent will be let on a pan-London basis and ten per cent on strategic sites. In addition ten per cent will be retained for nominations by the registered provider. This will replace the current system of sub-regional nominations.
  • P29 The Mayor will explore the expansion of the Housing Moves and Seaside & Country Homes schemes for under-occupiers and those in employment.


  1. Impact assessments and consultation

An independent evaluation of the first two years of Housing Moves reported in early 2015 and concluded that the scheme is ‘well-run, is cost effective and costs are proportionate to outputs.’ The Department for Communities and Local Government, which previously operated the scheme, undertook an equalities impact assessment of Seaside & Country Homes in 2009 and a further assessment was subsequently undertaken by the GLA.

The London Housing Mobility Group (LHMG), chaired by the Mayor and with high level representation from boroughs and housing associations, provides oversight of the Mayor’s mobility schemes. The London Housing Mobility Working Group (LHMWG), which contains operational staff from boroughs and housing association, provides operational input to the development and running of the schemes. There is regular consultation with both groups on all aspects of both schemes.

Financial comments

5.1    The paper seeks approval to extend for a further year (to 31st March 2017) the IT hosting for Mayor’s Mobility Scheme (Housing Moves and Seaside & Country Homes project) with current provider Insight Direct (UK) Ltd.

5.2    The requested funding of £56,500 will be allocated from Housing & Land’s two separate budgets as follows: £40,700 from External Services budget and £15,780 from the Directorate’s Seaside & Country Homes budget. Funds will be fully expended in 2016/17 financial year.

5.3    The confirmation of this funding is subject to the finalisation and sign-off of the 2016/17 budget by the Mayor.

5.4    Any changes to above proposal, including continuation beyond the period stated above, must be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Confirmation of extension of contract

March 2016

Extended contract commences

1 April 2016

Extended contract ends

31 March 2017


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