The Housing Corporation, the giant quango which hands out government money for social housing, has taken bids with a combined value of £1.8bn in a month using a new online system hosted by application service provider (ASP) FutureLink Europe.
But it has not been a trouble-free process for the Housing Corporation and the thousands of housing associations that have been bidding for a share of the £760m available for next year, admitted Neil Hudson, Housing Corporation investment director.
The Housing Corporation was forced to extend the deadline for bids from last Friday to Monday after users reported they were unable to access the system last week. Hudson said the corporation was forced to buy extra capacity from its application service provider to cope with a rush of users.
"This is the first stage of a transformation of the Housing Corporation," said Hudson. "We want to reconfigure our organisation to allow housing associations direct access to our systems."
The Housing Corporation chose to use an ASP because it lacked the resources to do the work itself.
Michael Yarde, head of information systems at London and Quadrant Housing Association, which manages 30,000 homes, said, "We had to do some pretty extensive opening up of our firewall to get connected, but we did manage it with support from the Housing Corporation."