ITDA helps Together Housing win £430m contract
Attaining the NCC's IT Department Accreditation (ITDA) standard has paid dividends for the Together Housing Group, helping it to win a Government house-building contract worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
The contract covers the Pendleton area of Salford, which is to be transformed through the £430 million 'Create a New Pendleton' scheme, one of the UK's biggest ever regeneration projects which involves a Together Housing-led consortium building 1,600 new homes and modernising a further 1,200 existing properties.
Mo Ali, Together Housing’s Group ICT Governance Manager, explained: “Holding the ITDA accreditation has benefitted the organisation greatly already, not least in the Group securing the recent Pendleton PFI bid. Proving that our ICT function is closely aligned with the current business objectives, as well as confirming that the use of current industry and sector best practice is being deployed, was essential to the Pendleton PFI selection criteria.”
He added: “One of the main drivers for having the ITDA was to demonstrate the competence of our ICT service for the Pendleton PFI bid, along with any other future PFI bid, or other business opportunities that might arise. ICT is a vital component of any piece of work that an organisation might undertake these days and so the fact that our organisation has confidence in its ICT service area is of great benefit.”
To achieve ITDA accreditation, organisations have to prove their ICT department’s capability in more than 100 areas of best practice, including management, delivery and operations, business direction, business generation and customer relations.
Together Housing put itself through the ITDA assessment process earlier this year. Mo Ali said: “The assessment was testing, which it should be, but in the end it was quite enjoyable because it was fruitful.”
Significantly, whether an ICT department passes first time or not, the ITDA scheme provides an action plan to help it to continue improving. Together Housing’s action plan has focused it on data protection. “This was one of the main things to come out of the ITDA,” Mo Ali said. “We‘ve already got data protection policies and procedures in place and we are now planning a full data protection audit across the organisation to continue the good work in this area.”
As well as the action plan, achieving the ITDA kitemark has brought Together Group’s ICT department added recognition within the business. Mo Ali explained: “It has given assurance to our customers, as well as the management teams and Boards, that our ICT systems and services are operating effectively, and that they are totally secure. Before the ITDA assessment it was just our word, now we’ve got a third-party arbiter confirming that all is well.”
The ITDA comes at a key point in his department’s development. The Together Housing Group was created in April 2011 when six housing associations joined forces. Since then they have kept their own branding and identity at street level – but internally ICT is leading the way in becoming one of the first departments to fully integrate.
As ICT takes this lead role within the organisation, it has the ITDA accreditation backing it. Mo Ali commented: “The IT Department Accreditation absolutely provides value. We have got external validation from the NCC, it’s money well spent.”
National Computing Centre
The NCC (National Computing Centre) is an independent membership organisation for IT decision makers. Founded in 1966, it provides advice, guidance, best practice and experience sharing to help those responsible for IT make the right decisions.
NCC’s ITDA accreditation scheme is based on current IT best practice and has been created with the input of the wider NCC membership community. The ITDA assessment approach is evidence based, which means the actual assessment typically takes only one day.
All ITDA applicants, whether they pass first time or not, receive a business improvement ‘action plan’ to ensure that any recommendations are seen through.
The Together Housing Group was created in April 2011 when six housing associations – Chevin, Green Vale Homes, Harewood Housing Society, Housing Pendle, Pennine Housing 2000 and Twin Valley Homes – came ‘Together’.
Together is one of the 20 largest housing associations in the UK and covers a large area of northern England, reaching across Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, Rossendale, Humberside, Hull, Bridlington, Scarborough, Harrogate, Calderdale and Sheffield, with its headquarters in Halifax.
The Group manages around 38,000 homes and has more than 1,200 staff, with an ICT department of 21, led by Group Head of ICT John Roe. All group office locations and ICT systems are now fully integrated and there is a single disaster recovery strategy for the whole operation. The long-term strategy is to provide ICT services to other, external, organisations in order to generate further business revenue.
The National Computing Centre
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