Renovo: a joint venture for good
Every organisation has a reach greater than its clients but not every organisation recognises this. As a specialist services provider working predominantly in the social housing sector, we are particularly aware of the impact we can have.
Chequers has a long history of providing expert FM services in the housing sector. During this time, we have become embedded in the communities in which we work, coming to understand their unique strengths and vulnerabilities. In turn, this has allowed us to better support and give back to these communities.
One of the best ways to truly impact the communities we work in is through a joint venture (JV). A joint venture is a cooperative arrangement between two or more organisations that have come together to achieve a shared goal.
Renovo Facilities & Services
Renovo is an example of a JV. It is the result of our partnership with One Housing, a social housing association. One Housing became a client of ours when we won a large healthcare and support tender.
In 2016, two years into a five-year contract, the two organisations decided to explore the JV model. It was a novel concept for both, and any new venture comes with some risk that ideal outcomes will not materialise.
Once the partnership was in place, the previous contract between Chequers and One Housing was adapted to move staff contracts and work over to the JV. The result of the partnership was Renovo Facilities and Services Ltd. Renovo provides bespoke services to a diverse portfolio of 250 homes including general needs, leaseholder, hostel, sheltered, and extra care properties.
Why a Joint Venture?
Creating and committing to a long-term partnership is not a simple process. A legal framework needed to be shaped in order to protect both parties and ensure that both had a fair and representative stake. But the challenges have been worth the benefits the venture has offered.
Having built a strong working relationship over the years, the JV was seen as an ideal opportunity to drive efficiencies and innovation. Working with Renovo significantly reduces the cost of services for the social provider while ensuring that those providing the services continue to be paid a good wage – Renovo has committed to paying the London living wage to staff.
With a diverse range of skills brought to the table, procurement costs are reduced significantly. Collaborative work removes layers of bureaucracy and allows for sharing of knowledge and expertise. Both organisations work with insights they would not otherwise have.
As JVs are long-term initiatives, the savings they produce over their lifespan can be significant. The beneficiaries are numerous, including social housing providers, housing residents, local authorities and the NHS.
But the model provides far more than value for money. The prolonged contract means that organisations are invested in the long-term health of the communities in which they work. Renovo has allowed us to invest in goals that would otherwise be extremely difficult to accomplish.
The social benefits
Renovo actively works to support the local community. There are a great number of reasons people may be making use of social housing. For some, it may be because they are unemployed, searching for a new career path, or making the transition from homelessness to independent living.
Renovo engages with these community members. Specialising in facilities management, the JV is in an ideal position to offer skills and training that are in demand universally. As they do not require previous experience, qualifications are also accessible to a broad demographic. Renovo has two British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) training academies in the areas it serves. Those looking to build new skills can gain an internationally recognised BICSc qualification.
By offering training programmes alongside job opportunities, Renovo opens new doors to many people. Job vacancies are advertised to One Housing residents before being released more widely. As an active member of the community, Renovo attracts many locals. The employee retention rate is much higher than the cleaning industry average, due to good wages, a culture that is community-focused, and the benefits and training opportunities available to employees.
Supporting a community has wider knock-on effects too. Providing training and employment empowers people to become more independent. The NHS and local authorities can spend up to £30,000 each year in housing, healthcare, and social benefits on a single person unable to support themself. Empowering that person to provide for themselves not only removes the need for this support, but that person will also spend in and contribute towards their local community.
Sarah Mcloed, regional director at Chequers said, “Renovo has given us a platform to make a huge impact on social value. We have already achieved so many goals just a few years into the JV and there’s the potential for so much more. Social value is a big topic in FM right now and Renovo is a shining example of what can be done.”
The future of Renovo
Renovo has been active for four years and has already been recognised for a number of awards in that time. Renovo received an award for its training programmes from both the International Corporate Social Responsibility Awards and the Cleaning and Support Services Association Awards. Renovo has also been a finalist for awards in contract innovation, commitment to and investment in training, and SME partnership.
But these are still baby steps for Renovo; we believe there is much more we can look forward to as the partnership flourishes. A big goal is to integrate ever more sustainable practices into our work to address biodiversity and environmental issues.
Renovo is a gold member of the Green Organisation. The team regularly reviews product ranges and invests in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable products in the market. Part of Renovo’s vehicle fleet is electric, and the team is currently looking at the potential to convert all remaining vehicles.
Due to the financial savings the JV offers, Renovo is able to invest money into initiatives to constantly improve both daily practices and long-term social value.
Lucinda Walker, director of commercial and residential services at One Housing and the chair of the Renovo board of trustees, said “The work Renovo does reaches beyond what a single organisation could achieve. It has been a privilege to be a part of the project and to know it will only grow and improve from here.”
Contract manager at Renovo
Carlos Patino started working for Chequers 15 years ago as a cleaning supervisor. When Renovo was founded, the company recognised his skills and promoted Carlos to a contract manager.
Carlos currently manages 140 staff across a range of properties including care homes, housing, street properties and offices.
In addition to his new role, Carlos enrolled in a training development programme to enhance his skills and learn more cleaning techniques and practices. Training sessions are run by an internal BICSc assessor, ensuring that the programme meets the latest industry standards.
Carlos Patino said “Taking on my new role has been challenging at times, but looking back on my journey I can appreciate the benefits of the training and support from Renovo. I learnt a lot, developed my skills and it has been very enjoyable. The training has been great for me personally, and has also enabled me to better manage and support my team.”
Resident of One Housing
Christine was living at one of the One Housing hostels which had to be closed down. Through Renovo, she was entered into a training programme and employed at Baycroft as a housekeeper. Baycroft is a Renovo client that operates care homes and senior homes. Renovo delivers services including cleaning, gardening, and repairs.
The training programme included a mix of modules of BICSc training and online training. It enabled Christine to develop her skills and also to build up her self-confidence.
The training, employment and support provided was vital to provide stability in Christine’s life and was only made possible by the partnership between Chequers, One Housing and Renovo. Through her employment, Christine was able to afford new accommodation.
Christine Smith said “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities provided by Renovo at what was a challenging time in my life. The training has opened new doors for me and it’s been amazing to become a part of the team that helped me so much.”