Delivery assurance: Common issues with the SHDF application delivery section
[11 November 2022] As we review SHDF applications, we've picked up common issues with the delivery section that applicants should be aware of.
The SHRA team is currently reviewing draft bids for the SHDF Wave 2.1 application, due for submission on 18th November 2022. As we do this we’re picking up some common issues with the delivery section that applicants should be aware of. We’ve listed these here to highlight the need for improvement.
The issues we’re seeing could be down to bid writing rather than an issue of true lack of readiness to deliver (noting that this section is second in the application form – so it’s natural for the focus to be on first section at this point).
We have some bidders who we feel are low risk and have good delivery credentials, but have struggled to evidence that yet in their written responses.
We are taking a number of measures to help the sector improve over the next week, including drop in sessions and workshops. We’ll be holding two bid writing clinics on demonstrating good project delivery for consortia bidders. There will be discussion on strong central project management, standardised and regular reporting, governance, and escalation routes for consortia.
The first of these is today (Friday 11 November) at 2pm, and the second is on Monday (14 November) at 3pm. You can sign up below via Eventbrite, and these will also be promoted via the SHRA website and through your support manager.
- Sign up: Friday 11 November, 2pm
- Sign up: Monday 14 November, 3pm
Common issues with the delivery section
A common issue with the delivery section is a generally sweeping approach that seems to lean towards generalisation, with a lack of form and structure to the responses, few examples and a lack of clear lessons learned.
Some specific examples that are reasonably common, though not always present:
- Not providing enough information or succinctly outlining what your project management approach is (Prince2, Agile etc.) – some applications may at times mention these in passing but are not going into detail.
- Lack of clarity around the more organisational approach to project management – who (as in individuals) has responsibility and authority for each area of the project, what are the escalation routes, decision making and reporting responsibilities? How are these delegated and/or coordinated within and across a consortium? What is the rhythm of project meetings, reporting timing etc.?
- Lack of evident acceptance or recognition of the risks – often presenting this as a done deal or a rosy picture, rather than naming and mitigating risks.
- Missing information on cost modelling – often no or little indication of where costs have come from. Contingency is sometimes mentioned as a percentage but with no indication on how appropriate this percentage is or what it is based on.
- Lack of breakdown into the key eight milestones that the government has set out as part of SHDF, and a lack of timeline based project management structure and timeline focus.
- Lack of clarity on how RPs will manage projects as an end-to-end solution.
- Lack of evidence of awareness of delivery issues caused on site by differences between modelled data and more in-depth retrofit assessments, access issues, planning issues, utilities etc.
- Reliance on procurement frameworks, but a lack of evidence of the delays, capacity issues and detail of procurement that can come about – e.g. is there a relevant lot within the framework? Will there be capacity at the time of your procurement? Have you spoken to the framework provider?
- Many stating high confidence on delivery, but limited examples of the lessons learned or the reasons that the experience you reference will benefit your delivery (e.g. we’ve delivered these schemes before so we’ll do it well again – without examples).
- Limited detail on contractual forms you intend to use (JCT, NEC etc).
- Limited detail on resident engagement approach, how you’ve done it before, who will lead, specifics of how you will take on the needs of individual residents (e.g. no mention of translation services, timing of engagement, difficulties in getting into homes).
- Resident engagement approaches often seem very transactional, and don’t seem to be seen as an ongoing and progressing conversation.
For more critical guidance on the SHDF application form, read our critical guidance blog.