Pretty much everyone I’ve met in the Public Sector agrees that it’s tricky to find two Councils that do the same thing in quite the same way. Professionally speaking, this is one of the great appeals of my role - all my conversations with Empty Homes Officers have a common theme (BEHBIU*) but each will have its own shape and complexion. I’m glad to say this absolutely keeps me and my colleagues on our toes as we work to deliver the best service possible to Councils, in whatever way works best for them - there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach at Fraser and Fraser!
Most Empty Homes Officers agree that when it comes to tracing absent owners, or their executors and / or next of kin, services provided by genealogists / tracing agents / whatever-you-want-to-call-us will get the job done on the hurry-up - quickly and reliably and with the Council’s reputation front-of-mind. However, EHOs need to be comfortable they’re acting consistently with Council policy.
Questions arise as to GDPR - can data be shared with us legitimately? Answer definitely YES - see the recording of our recent webinar on GDPR for EHOs to learn more (by the way, it’s worth noting that different Council departments can very easily share information with each other GDPR-compliantly - drop me a line if you’re having difficulties in this regard and would like to hear more).
Procurement is another question and it comes up all the time - can the Council work with us ad hoc or should it go through a formal procurement process? Again, different Councils take different views - but the common thread is that it’s always a good idea to consult your procurement team. Experience shows that some will want to procure formally via a tender process; others say that we act as a consultant rather than as a contractor and that a lighter touch procurement process will do the job - in either of these and any other cases, we encourage and strongly support the process. It might be tempting to say that because there’s no charge to the Council there’s no need to involve procurement - but with every referral of an empty property to us there’s a transaction taking place however you slice it, and we work hard to act with and demonstrate Transparency, Accountability and Responsibility in everything we do.
Perhaps you’d like a no-obligation chat to hear about how we work with different Councils, in the ways that suit them - I’m as sure as I can be that we can offer you a service to fit your needs and your Council policy. You’re welcome to email me or buzz me on 020 7832 1400 whenever suits.
*BEHBIU - Bringing Empty Homes Back Into Use