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Value for Money – A BHT Success Story

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BHT has undertaken value for money reviews since 2010, both internally and with the assistance of external consultants.

These have resulted in savings or income generation amounting to £340k in 2013/14 or income generation of £1.6m in 2013/14.

Click here to download a PDF of the summary below:

The areas reviewed include:

Service reviews

  • The closure of the Olympus House Project that had, year on year, made an operating deficit.
  • Legal Advice services were reviewed resulting in a reduction in staffing from 33 to 16, with a significant improvement in financial performance anticipated in 2014/15.

Review of Terms and Conditions

  • The review of Terms and Conditions undertaken in 2009 has continued to achieve savings, in 2013/14 savings of increments estimated to be in the region of £100k together with additional accumulated savings from previous years.

Central Support Staff

  • The review of fundraising capacity that was undertaken in 2012/13 saw an increase in capacity, resulting in an increase in spending of £31k from 2011/12 in the fundraising activity. This additional capacity has allowed further income generation activities to be undertaken together with the preparation of a major bid for funding through the Big Lottery Fund which would not otherwise have been possible and which secured additional funding of £1,654k in 2013/14, to be spent up to and including 2021/22.

Management Review

  • A review of the senior management tier that was undertaken in January 2013 resulted in the deletion of one post with net savings of around £40k, the full benefit being felt in 2013/14. These savings have been recycled into an enhanced second management tier in order to allow additional delegation of responsibilities resulting in an increase in capacity to develop new business.


  • Savings of £16k have been achieved through a review and renegotiation of telephone landlines.

Mobile Communication

  • Savings of £13k have been achieved through a review and renegotiation of mobile phones.

Energy Procurement

  • Savings of £75k have been achieved through a review and renegotiation of gas and electricity supplies.

Business Supplies and IT Consumables

  • Savings of £34k have been achieved through a review and renegotiation of office furniture, equipment, office supplies and IT consumables.

Information Technology

  • The provision of IT services to Sussex Central YMCA continues to resulted in additional income to BHT of £55k per annum and this will increase during 2014/15 as a result of further merger activities resulting from the creation of YMCA Downslink. In order to have the capacity to service this client, a help desk was established at a cost of £25k per annum which has resulted in an improvement in responsiveness to BHT staff.
  • The use of improved voice recognition software by solicitors has allowed a reduction in back office staff at the Brighton Advice Centre with a saving of £10k per annum.
  • Zendesk has allowed expansion of IT support services without needing to expand the team or compromise on quality. This is demonstrated by very positive 2013/2014 IT survey results.
  • The annual broadband charges have been reduced by £10k and a further saving of at least £5k is expected to be made over the next year without detriment to performance.
  • Services and equipment are procured from a wide range of suppliers to keep costs as low as possible including second hand parts from eBay
  • When procuring computers they are tested to ensure they have low power usage. All new monitors are LED backlit which use significantly less power than cold cathode backlit LCD screens.
  • Efficient servers and virtualisation keep the datacentre using less than 1.8kw of electricity.
  • Computer equipment is repaired and upgraded wherever possible to prolong the useful life of equipment.


  • The continuing provision of training to external agencies has continued to result in income of £40k per annum to BHT which has been invested in providing yet further training opportunities for our staff at no extra cost to the organisation.


  • Job boards, social media and BHT’s own website (promoted through a mailing list of over 2,000 registered individuals) have been used to fill 75 posts at an average cost of £123 per post. This has resulted in a reduction in expenditure of around £56k by no longer placing job adverts in expensive newspapers, with no identifiable negative impact on our ability to recruit quality staff. Advertising still takes place in newspapers and specialist magazines, where appropriate.

Service Charge

  • A review undertaken by an external consultant in 2012/13 has resulted in an increase in service charge receivable in 2013/14 of £60k at a cost of 15% of the increase. The additional charges to tenants are eligible for housing benefit.

Value for Money in Service Provision

  • Through various activities of BHT, improved performance reducing losses to BHT and savings to other organisations have been achieved. An example is the employment of an Alcohol Nurse whose work has reduced the number of evictions over a 17 month period for a cohort of 13 clients from 37 evictions to a total of one during the course of the year.
  • Savings over a nine month period to the NHS was £198k (emergency call out: £38k savings; presentation to A&E £10k; hospital admissions £81k; long term hospital admissions £68k).

Project and Client Value for Money

  • Each project has undertaken a value for money review, involving clients, to identify ways of achieving value for money, and these activities were reported to a panel consisting of Board members, senior managers and clients.

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