20 suppliers have been appointed to the latest Social Housing Emerging Disruptors (SHED) framework, which helps social landlords to compliantly procure non-traditional, innovative solutions from micro businesses and SMEs.

Launched by Procurement for Housing (PfH), this second generation of the framework is worth up to £100m over three years and has been developed with the Proptech Innovation Network. The first SHED framework launched in January 2022.

Many of the chosen suppliers provide services that empower and engage tenants, in line with new tenant satisfaction standards that come into effect from April 2023.

They include Hello Lamp Post, an interactive text messaging service that gathers views by asking residents to chat with street furniture, and Alertacall, a contact system that creates digital communities in sheltered and supported housing, so tenants feel safe and connected.

Several suppliers also provide cost-of-living crisis support. Wonde’s Evouchers is an online system that helps housing organisations to distribute food and retail vouchers to residents. GoGreen enables tenants to find and claim income and energy efficiency support they are eligible for.

A number of SMEs on the framework offer new ways to retrofit and repair homes.

Ambue’s 3D building model helps social landlords to understand sustainability, energy efficiency and heat loss improvement opportunities. Bays Consulting’s dashboard provides housing organisations with stock condition predictions related to home hazards and health risks. PH Jones will enable social landlords to create virtual power plants of the future from the domestic batteries and renewable energy solutions they install in their homes, so they can provide stored energy during periods of peak demand.

SHED was set up by PfH to give housing providers a fresh perspective on traditional topics such as asset management, net zero and customer service. A new approach is needed more than ever as the sector balances competing demands around building new homes and updating existing ones, whilst weathering the economic crisis.

The framework has also been designed to help housing associations and local authorities buy compliantly from start-ups, something that has been difficult in the past due to bureaucratic public sector regulations.

Although new procurement rules, due to be introduced later this year, will encourage ‘supplier diversity, innovation and resilience’, many buyers are sceptical about whether the systemic challenge of procuring innovation in the public sector will be truly resolved.

Jenny Danson, director of the Proptech Innovation Network said: “It can take a huge amount of effort to bring innovation into social housing. Suppliers and housing providers have to jump through hoops to satisfy procurement regulations – it often involves lots of effort and cost. That’s why we developed the SHED with PfH – it gives social landlords a route to compliantly procure solutions quicker and cheaper, and suppliers have the certainty of being on the framework for three years and they receive support to break into the sector.”

Neil Butters, head of procurement at PfH said: “Social landlords are dealing with rising prices, a 7% rent cap and cost of living crisis, alongside urgent targets on building safety, net zero and development. They desperately need brand new ideas to tackle these challenges. The Social Housing Emerging Disruptors framework is a safe space to try out these ideas without complex procurement rules, legal challenges or lengthy tender documents getting in the way.”