The IPPR North report says that this Parliament must be the “Devolution Parliament” to truly “level up” the country.
We acted for Rooftop Housing Group ("Rooftop") and its subsidiaries in forming a VAT cost sharing group with Festival Housing and its subsidiary Festival Property Care ("FPC").
The legislation making cost sharing groups possible was only passed in summer 2012. We believe that this is the first time that a cost sharing group has been set up for a housing association’s "core" maintenance activities of response repairs and voids, gas servicing and repair and planned maintenance. The gas and planned work will be passed to FPC in stages, as existing contracts end. The total contract value is in the region of £55 million.
The arrangements have meant that Rooftop can retain FPC as the provider of these workstreams without the need for a tender process. They should also save Rooftop around £7 million in VAT over the next 10 years.
What was our role?
Early on in the project, we met with Rooftop’s Board and explained cost sharing groups to them. We highlighted the advantages, disadvantages and the commercial legal issues that Rooftop would need to focus on when they received the documentation. We also carried out legal due diligence over the arrangements.
We marked up amendments to new Articles of Association for FPC and a Shareholders Agreement that had been proposed by Festival Housing’s lawyers. These went through several versions, with amendments and counter amendments being proposed by both parties and their lawyers. The final documents recognised that FPC would continue to be majority-owned by Festival Housing, but gave Rooftop significant "minority protection" rights in relation to overseeing the work for the Rooftop organisations.
We also drafted the contract between the Rooftop organisations and FPC. This was based on the current contract, but with a number of important changes. In particular, the payment arrangements had to be structured to recognise the principle of "cost sharing". However this was achieved within the context of securing protection for Rooftop from cost overruns that had not been approved in advance.
How did we add value?
We brought to this project our experience of having previously advised on what we believe to be the first cost sharing group in the housing sector. We understood the commercial objectives of both parties. This meant we were able to propose solutions to "sticking points" that were acceptable to both of them.
We introduced the idea of separating the shares in FPC into A and B shares. This allowed Festival Housing to "retain the value" that they had built up within FPC, whilst giving Rooftop significant influence over the arrangements for the work that will be done by FPC for the Rooftop organisations.
Our knowledge of maintenance contracts meant that we know what contract management provisions would be important for Rooftop in a longer contract. These additional protections give Rooftop much greater scope to manage performance; and ultimately the protection that the arrangements can be terminated if performance falls below acceptable levels.
Finally, we were able to reassure the Board at the "sign-off" meeting that their concerns had been reflected in the documentation that had been agreed and that this was a "very good deal" for both Rooftop and Festival.
"This is something new for our sector; lots of organisations will be thinking about how they can make more efficiencies. We did it because it was about getting the best service for our customers.
The creation of the cost sharing group with Festival Property Care will enable us to provide more investment in our homes and the services we deliver to our customers. Festival Property Care has a sound track record of delivery and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits that the new venture will bring to our tenants and the local community.
The guidance and reassurance provided by Anthony Collins Solicitors for our Board and Executive Team enabled us to make a confident decision about the creation of the cost sharing group. Their input meant that instead of taking a leap of faith we could accurately gauge the potential benefits to our organisation, and more importantly, to our residents.
The process was a commercial and legal minefield but thanks to Anthony Collins’ support we were able to negotiate everything smoothly and successfully and the expert knowledge they offered was far greater than anything that we could have garnered in-house. From start to finish, Anthony Collins provided a first class service and we look forward to working them again in the future."
Juliana Crowe, Housing and Communities Director - Rooftop Housing Group
On 20 January 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) issued Advice for Building Owners of Multi-storey, Multi-occupied Residential Buildings.
The Society for Computers and Law (SCL) has introduced an Adjudication Scheme for IT Projects and Services.
The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 (the Regulations) place certain responsibilities on anyone supplying and charging for heating, cooling or hot water (the heat supplier).
In our latest Company Secretary Update, we focus on the Queen’s Speech over Christmas and the recommendations and commitments in relation to housing.
So after two days of legal argument, the Supreme Court have now retired to reach their decision in the joined cases of Tomlinson-Blake v the Royal Mencap Society and Shannon v Rampersad.
Anthony Collins Solicitors has revealed details of its annual social impact, including advising on funding deals for building 19,603 new homes and setting up 90 new charities.
The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) has announced its new calculation for the minimum price of homecare of £20.69 per hour (to be effective 1 April 2020).
A recent High Court case suggests that the Charity Commission is now more inclined to utilise its regulatory powers than ever before.
We are delighted to confirm that partner, Donna Holmes, has been appointed to the Panel of Guardians for Missing Persons Affairs from 1 February 2020.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.