The ODPM response to the Gershon review covers management and maintenance, where money saved on procurement can be used to provide more social housing and ensure higher standards.
The project will run through until late 2005 and includes several new working approaches with the key outcomes being:
* To evaluate existing projects and share positive practice;
* To seek new ideas still in development;
* To consider the impact of implementing efficiency measures on tangible outcomes and improvements for customers;
* To build improved capacity and knowledge within the social housing sector so that efficiency gains can be practically implemented; and
* To develop a detailed range of 'efficiency packs'.
Housing Minister Keith Hill said the efficiency drive would benefit a wide range of housing sector stake holders.
"During the next three years the ODPM aims to achieve efficiency savings of more than £1.6bn, all of which will benefit local authorities, housing associations and their tenants. Importantly the savings can be recycled to build more social housing and that must be good news for everyone."
The project will also directly benefit the housing sector through the sharing of positive practice via dedicated website pages and through the 'efficiency packs' and help in the delivery of the key government target to deliver efficiency targets for the housing sector.
The Project is to be overseen by an Advisory Panel, comprising representatives from tenant and key stakeholder groups as well as from local authorities, housing associations and Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs).
The Audit Commission is working with the ODPM to identify efficiencies within management and maintenance practices, and has provided a range of information through a project website, including links to other efficiency projects and an 'Efficiency Showcase' for local authorities and housing associations to register and glean ideas from.