The appointment of a New Homes Ombudsman Service – invitation to apply
The process to appoint an independent New Homes Ombudsman Service is now underway and the NHQB is inviting interested, qualified parties to apply.
Alongside the consultation on and introduction of the New Homes Quality Code, the appointment of a NHOS is the key element of the work by the NHQB to introduce the new arrangements.
The establishment of a NHOS is a move that has been committed to by Government, and was the number one recommendation made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group in its report (Better redress for homebuyers – June 2018) on the quality and redress issues experienced by customers of new build homes.
The voluntary proposal being led by the NHQB has the support of the UK Government and takes into account planned legislative developments, such as the draft Building Safety Bill (July 2020). The NHQB is in discussions with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales with a view to ultimately introducing the arrangements on a UK wide basis.
The NHQB will appoint a body as the NHOS in accordance with the requirements set out in the British and Irish Ombudsman Association criteria for the recognition of ombudsman offices (click here to view) and its Principles of Good Complaint Handling (and any amendments thereto) (click here to view).
The key Criteria for an Ombudsman service are:
Tenderers will be required to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to put in place arrangements to meet the requirements of the contract by the commencement date specified.
In recognising that this is a new service the NHQB will require the appointed NHOS to work with it to develop and evolve the service under an innovation partnership approach, to ensure that it is meeting customer expectations and to ensure that the NHOS is able to function effectively and support the housebuilding industry to provide the best possible outcomes for consumers.
The selected party will be required to work with the NHQB to develop a charging and payment structure for complaint resolution to apply after the initial 24 month period whereby investigation related costs are fully recovered from those being investigated. For clarity, the NHQB would continue to meet agreed payments in respect of back-office functions in respect of years 3-5. The NHOS will work with the NHQB over the initial 24 months and thereafter to initially align its budgets against increased income from housebuilders for those investigations as investigative cases increase and thereafter to ensure efficiencies are delivered so as to align with a lean cost model expected by the NHQB.
For year one and year two of the Contract it is recognised that the volume and complexity of investigations is uncertain. In order to provide some level of certainty in terms of income, a minimum payment will be guaranteed for these first two years of the Contract based on a pre-estimate of the average volume of investigations provided by the Successful Tenderer in its price submission for years one and two of the Contract.
Tenders (both Initial Tenders and Final Tenders) must be submitted either by the online form or by the word document and via email to email@example.com. Any questions about this tender exercise should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Any communication or attempt to contact any member of the NHQB’s staff, officers, and/or Board members other than in accordance with these Instructions may result in your organisation being disqualified from this tender exercise and not considered further. Tenderers should note that this a different email address than that used for the submission of Tenders.
If the NHQB considers any question or request for clarification to be of material significance to all Tenderers, both the query and response will be communicated to all Tenderers who have requested to participate.
High level timelines
Deadline for receipt of Requests to Participate and Selection Questionnaires 17:00:00 hours on Monday 14th June 2021
Initial Tenders are to be received no later than 17:00:00 hours on Friday 30th July 2021.
Final Tenders are to be received no later than 17:00:00 hours on Friday 27th August 2021 (the Tender Deadline).
On expiry of the deadline for receipt of Initial Tenders, the NHQB will review (but will not evaluate) the Tenders in accordance with the evaluation criteria set out in this Invitation Document.
Ahead of the negotiation of the Initial Tenders, the NHQB will provide feedback on the areas within each Tenderer’s Initial Tender where it considers there to be areas which require improvement.
Pursuant to the rules of the Innovation Partnership, the NHQB shall negotiate with the Tenderers their Initial Tenders in order to improve their content.
The NHQB will issue a proposed agenda and Negotiation Protocol to shortlisted Tenderers at the same time they are invited to submit Initial Tenders.
The negotiation sessions shall be limited to the content of each organisation’s Method Statement in order that they can improve on the proposed delivery of the NHOS, and on their proposed pricing.
Following the conclusion of the negotiation stages, the NHQB will invite the Tenderers to submit Final Tenders taking into account the outcome of the negotiations.
On expiry of the deadline for receipt of Final Tenders, the NHQB will assess whether Tenders received are Compliant Tenders and shall assess any Compliant Tenders received in accordance with the minimum requirements and evaluation criteria set out in Section 4 of this Invitation Document.
This timetable is subject to amendment by the NHQB at its sole discretion.